As we begin to study these two highly important letters concerning church life in the first century, we are reminded early on that Paul is an Apostle. He repeats this assertion in his introductions in letters to the Romans, Timothy and Galatians. Now the definition of an Apostle was that the person had spent time with Jesus. Generally that would mean that they would have been one of His larger group of disciples, but Paul asserted that he had seen the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, that it hadn't been Jesus appearing in a vision, but Jesus Himself. In 1 Corinthians 15 v 3-8, Paul's claim is that ''Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw Him''. Paul's introduction here tells us three other things: 1. It tells us something about the Church. From Paul's more distant perspective he could observe that the church at Corinth was one of many fellowships which were all part of the Church of God. I have been involved in five churches in my life and each one thought really only about themselves. It makes the Church much weaker when we strive to go it alone or feel that we are in competition with the neighbouring churches. 2. It also tells us some things about the individual Christian. Firstly, that he or she is consecrated in Jesus, that means that they are set apart for God. The items in the Temple were set apart for certain acts in the Temple and were not used for anything else. Secondly, Christians are described as people who have been called to be God's dedicated people. By your life and service as a Christian your responsibility is to show yourselves fit for that service. Thirdly, remember that Paul addressed this letter to a small group of first century believers who had issues, but it still has remarkable relevance to today's readers, because it is for all who call on the Name of the Lord. 3. It tells us something about Jesus Christ. It reminds us that no man or woman nor one church has exclusive possession of Him. Yes He is your Lord and He is my Lord, but He is also the Lord of all people. It is one of the great wonders of Christianity that 'God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love!'
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