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HE WHO OVERCOMES SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS,

and I will be his God and he shall be My son

1Corinthians 10 (part 3) QUALIFIED

Our Journey

1 Corinthians Chapter 10
Bible Study

(part 3)
 

QUALIFIED


"These things happened to make them an example for others. These things were written down as a warning for us who are living in the closing days of history."
- 1Cor 10:11 God's Word Translation

The things written concerning God’s people in the Old Testament from Genesis through to Malachi were recorded not just to track history, but to both encourage and warn us believers here today. The New Testament writers John, Peter, James, Jude as well as Paul in his epistles including the letters to the Corinthian saints refer often to the victories and the shortcomings of Israel, using them as types of our own experiences as Christians.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching the Truth), for reproof (rebuking error), for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2Tim 3:16-17 NKJV (GNT)

So, as we looked at in part one of this study, we do well to know and heed the Word of God to those He calls His people, for surely it applies to us even here in the 21st Century. And I personally do believe we are nearing the time of the end of this age and the convergence of the physical & spirit realms.

In our attempts to simply the Gospel in recent generations, so many in the assemblies do not know the righteous requirements of God. In an effort to draw the masses into the churches, we have neglected to preach the whole counsel of God in fear that it may offend or make the hearers uncomfortable. We have falsely taught that a simple recited prayer brings all of God’s blessings and assures us of eternal bliss when we pass from this life. Let us lay aside man-made tradition and delve a little deeper into what the whole of the Scriptures declare.

Leading up to the text we’ve been studying in 1Corinthians 10, Paul wrote these words - “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
- 1Cor 9:24-27 NKJV

Another translation renders Paul’s statement in verse 27 -
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (NLT)

Some in modern Christendom would find it odd that Paul would have any concerns at all about falling short of obtaining the crown of Life. Yet the one who wrote so much about faith never allowed himself to become comfortable or settle down. His faith in Christ was what spurred him on toward the original goal of Christianity (God’s purpose in Christ Jesus).

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
– Phil 3:12-14 NKJV

And what was the goal that the apostle pressed on toward? To spend eternity in the spirit realm? No. Heaven was not the goal of the disciples or the First Century Church. Rather, in understanding what Jesus taught, and the mysteries of God hidden in the Old Testament, Paul’s goal as a follower of Christ was - “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
– Phil 3:10-11 NKJV

Paul had been saved and forgiven of his past sins.  Jesus had appeared to him at the height of his persecution of the followers of Christ, opened his eyes (literally by the hand of Ananias, after blinding him on the road to Damascus) and delivered him. Paul turned from his former behavior (repented) and after a time of instruction from the Lord obediently began to teach Christ to both Jews and Gentiles, now himself suffering great persecution.

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— 23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
- Acts 26:19-23 NKJV

Just as Abraham, Paul did not merely believe what the Lord had said to him, but proved his belief through with works of obedience and repentance, so that what God had declared to him through the prophet would indeed come to pass: that Paul was “to bear My Name before Gentiles, kings, and the sons of Israel.”  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.” (Acts 9:11-18)

As we looked a little at previously, it is for His Name that God’s Eternal plan is being unfolded. To be a part of that plan is by the Father’s own calling (predestination), our acceptance of our calling, and our obedience and faithfulness to Him.

Abraham became the “father of many nations” “because he obeyed” (Gen 26:5); indeed his “faith was brought to completion by his works.” (James 2:20-24).
Near the end of Paul’s life the apostle finally looked forward with assurance to the “crown of righteousness laid up for him” because he had “finished the course (race)” (2Tim 4:6-8). Paul had “fought the good fight.” He had had “kept the faith” and “endured til the end” through trials and temptations as Jesus taught we must do if we are to be fully “saved”, body, soul & spirit. (Matt 10:22)

Not one of the New Testament writers ever took God’s saving grace for granted. These men would have balked at the idea some have today of a salvation without repentance, or such man-made doctrines as “once saved, always saved” or an escape to heaven to avoid the necessary tribulation for which God has appointed His Elect to bring them to perfection. They knew the teachings of Jesus on the parables of the talents, the ten virgins, and of the seed that was sown on different types of ground. They recognized that the fullness of redemption was the prize for which they were striving. Their deliverance from bondage to the world which they had received was not the end, but rather the beginning of the race. And the same is true for us. The end is victory over the enemy, inheritance and union with the Father & the Son.

The “race” Paul mentions in 1Cor 9:24 as an example of how we are to run, is in the Greek, στάδιον – stadion, translated ‘furlong, race’, meaning “a certain measure of distance, a race-course.’ (Strong’s 4712)

I believe this tells us that in our race there is a determined finish. That’s why Paul says he doesn’t run with “uncertainty.” He knows the goal, the end determined by the Lord for us. But indeed, there is a race to be run.

So, now having been spared by the Passover, the Israelites had a race to run. There was a course set before them that led to the Promised Land. All they had to do was compete by the rules God had given them. They had been set free from bondage.  They had been saved by the glorious grace of God. What God required of them… was to leave in Egypt, along with their captors: their idols, their pride and their sin.

“Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.”
- Eze 20:7-8a

As disciples, have we left the things of the world behind? Or have we brought along remnants of that which we were once bound to? Dare I say, the bulk of churches today have not only failed to “cast away” that which God calls abominations, but have actually brought them into the assemblies that which will only defile the saints, leaving them in the dark, and present a false view of God to the world.

In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul commends believers for their faith and love for one another, and encourages them to continue to walk in ways that please the Lord and bear fruit.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
- Col 1:9-14 NKJV

Bearing fruit here means growing in the image of God, as we read in Galatians 5:22-23, Matt 3:7-10 and John 15:1-11.

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
– John 15:8-10 NAS

The charge to Israel coming out of Egypt (and to us coming out of the world), was to grow in the knowledge of God that they might be a light to the nations.

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.””
- Isaiah 49:6 NAS

“Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
- Acts 13:46-48 NKJV

This “being a light” is not, as is mistakenly taught sometimes today, trying to evangelize everyone. What did Jesus teach on this -

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
- Matt 5:16 NKJV

It is when others see our behavior, our righteous deeds, our good works, that they will know we follow Jesus, and will give glory to God. The world is waiting to see those who profess belief in Christ to actually BE holy and righteous. If they hear us “witness” about Jesus and speak His Name, but see darkness in our behavior, we have done more harm than good. An oversimplification of the Word has led many to believe that a simple confession of His Name is enough. It is not.

Anyone who has seen the Indianapolis 500 or watches NASCAR understands what it means to "qualify" for a race. You now get to run in the race. You get to compete for the prize!

“Qualify”, or “meet” in the KJV, from the Greek - ἱκανόω – hikanoo – means to ‘enable, i.e. qualify. Make able.’ (Strong’s 2427)

In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary – ‘To fit for any place, office, occupation or character; to furnish with the knowledge, skill or other necessary for a purpose; as, to qualify a man for a judge, for a minister of state or of the gospel.’

Another definition of Qualify is -
'Be entitled to a particular benefit or privilege by fulfilling a necessary condition.'

Christ, the Passover Lamb, fulfilled that necessary condition by His atoning sacrifice on the Cross. He has enabled us and furnished us; indeed, He has “given us all things that pertain to Life and Godliness” (2Pet 1:3), made us fit for the purpose to which God has called us. Oh, what a privilege we have to walk with Jesus toward the finish line. But as Paul wrote in another letter “if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2Tim 2:5)

In auto racing the cars are supposed to meet certain requirements. If the vehicle is found to have some added illegal features, it is disqualified. If rules are broken during the course of the race, that car will be penalized at best, or possibly be eliminated from completing the race. How many times have we seen in recent years, athletes stripped of titles or records because it was found that they cheated or used steroids?

As we continue going through 1Cor 10, we will find that those whom God saved broke the rules. They were unfaithful, came up with their own ideas of what was best for them, and forfeited the benefit of their salvation. They did not obtain the promise. Friends, as we are discovering from the New Testament Scripture, the same is True for us whom have been “saved.” If we are not faithful to the One who has saved us, then we have “believed in vain.”

Truthfully, we who have accepted Christ's blood atonement are “qualified” to "run the race set before us" (Heb 12:1-2).  We have the benefit of having the Spirit of Christ guiding our life, through the good times and the hard times: and we have that privilege to follow Him. He has done His part. Will we now do ours? Will we allow Him to guide us in every decision? Will we be faithful and follow Him with our whole heart until the end?

“let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
- Heb 12:1-2 NKJV

The word “race” here in Hebrews 12:1 - ἀγών – agon – (Strong’s Gk 73) is translated “fight” in Paul’s letter to Timothy where he encourages the young disciple to Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal Life.” (1Tim 6:12 NKJV)

Another translation gives the picture of running our race by the rules - Compete well for the faith” (NABRE)

We must compete by the rules that God has set forth in His Word if we are to attain to what the Lord has grasped us for. A simple confession of faith is the beginning of our walk; diligence, faithfulness and obedience is required to finish the course and enter into the Promise. The New Testament teaches the Lord will present us “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.” (Col 1:22-23). We must continue in the faith, fighting the good fight, regardless of our circumstances. Tribulation or persecution or presumption or fear are not excuses the Lord will accept in that Day for not running well that race set before us.

This was the life the converted Paul lived. Truly he is an example we should follow.
He never taught an escape from tribulation. In fact, he embraced the suffering that he knew awaited him along way to the finish line of his race.

“now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy...”
- Acts 20:22-24a NKJV

This man, Paul, had found that "pearl of great price" (Christ), and gave up all he had to obtain Him. He recognized that in order to have the fullness of Christ, he must let go of everything else. This is what Jesus taught us -

“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
- Luke 14:25-33 NKJV

We must put EVERYTHING into our commitment to Christ. The grace of God is given to us freely, but there is a cost to follow Jesus. It will cost EVERYTHING to enter into the plan of complete redemption. Many will give up a little initially, like the man above who spent a little to lay the foundation, but to finish the project, to obtain the fullness of what God has for us, we must spend everything, we must forsake all other gods and follow God with our whole heart. As we continue in this study, we will find that only two of the adult men who were saved from Egypt finished the course well and obtained the promised prize.

“Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — 12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ 13 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was destroyed.”
- Num 32:11-13

These two men were truly an example of those who were qualified, and ran their race well. They “walked worthy” of the wonderful opportunity given them to receive an inheritance from the Lord. If you are reading this study and have made it this far, I’d be confident to say that you’ve been given the same opportunity as well. May the words of the Psalmist be True of each one of us -

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.”

- Psalm 119:1-3 NKJV

May we stay in the Way and not stray from the path. I pray to complete the journey God has ordained for me; having started well, I want to finish well.  Are not the words each of us want to hear in that Day –
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
- Matt 25:21,23 NKJV

Surely, we must have done well and been faithful if we are to hear those words. Believing we’ve been qualified will not sustain us in that Day if we have not actually run the race to the best of our ability, using the grace He has given us.

Israel started off well -
“So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.”
- Ex 14:30-31 NKJV

But like those in the parable of the sower, they received the Word with joy at first, but turned away when troubles came...

“He saved them from the hand of him who hated them,
And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11 The waters covered their enemies;
There was not one of them left.
12 Then they believed His words;
They sang His praise.

13 They soon forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.

21 They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things in Egypt.

25 But complained in their tents,
And did not heed the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore He raised His hand in an oath against them,
To overthrow them in the wilderness.”

- Psalm 106:10-14,21,24-26 NKJV

The Israelites individually disqualified themselves. By their rebellion and disobedience, they failed to run the race well and, in the end, did not receive their promised inheritance. They did not enter into the Promised Land. God had saved them in His mercy and poured His grace upon them, but they had not received it with faith. This is an example for us, which the writer of Hebrews uses -

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” - Heb 4:1-2 NKJV

Paul exhorts us not to follow their example…

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” - 2Cor 6:1

For we have that example of those who perverted the grace of God. Grace today seems to be taught as an unconditional state of amnesty for those who profess Jesus Name, yet a simple study of Scripture shows that this is not True. God’s grace to those who believe has qualified us to “come after Jesus.” Is it up to us whether we will truly “deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily and follow Him.”

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.”
- Jude 1:3-5 NIV

If we’ve been qualified, given God’s grace & faith and all we need to compete well, how can we “bury our talent” or “shrink back”?

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
- Luke 9:62 RSV

May none reading this be found to have disqualified themselves in that Day for any reason.
Let us know that if we have answered God’s call upon our lives, been baptized, and are walking by the Spirit, following Jesus, then we are “qualified” to become sons & daughters of God. Oh, how wonderful is the opportunity the Father has given us to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus and share in His inheritance of creation.

Remember, God has enabled us; He has provided the Way, and given us His Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us and teach us.

Next… The CLOUD

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