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January 2003
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A New Year and a Fresh Start (con't)

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, 'I follow Paul;' another, 'I follow Apollos;' another, 'I follow Cephas;' still another, 'I follow Christ.'

“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

These are strong words—“agree,” “divisions,” “perfectly united,” “quarrels.” Paul wastes no time in getting to the heart of the matter, and as the letter progresses we discover just how meaningful and necessary these 2,000 year old words are for a Church stepping into the year 2003. We are not a people perfectly united in Christ, free of divisions and quarrels, and God's Spirit is grieved. Ours is a spiritual battle that demands obedience if we are to truly have an impact on the lost.

I look forward to this Bible study and pray that God will open my eyes completely to His truth and that I will be teachable and usable in His hands so that the Gospel is faithfully preached. I do not want to be one of those who empties the cross of its power by denying Jesus full Lordship in my life. It is pure vanity to speak the words while refusing to walk in love as He walked.

It is also appropriate that this particular study comes at the beginning of a new year. What better time to be willing to start afresh leaving old patterns behind in the stale dust!

Will you join with me to pray for renewal among our people and churches? God wants to bless us like we have never imagined, but we withhold His hand by poor choices in our daily lives and relationships. I love what He says in Psalm 51:17 and Isaiah 57:15. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” “For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'”

I want Him to really LIVE in me! How about you?

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Strawberry Baptist Association
163 West Main, Bedford, VA 24523
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Updated 12/28/2002
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