5:1-6:11 – ‘Your boasting is not good’ – May we never become so taken up with ourselves that we forget Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us: ‘Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us’, ‘you were washed… sanctified… justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God’ (5:6-7; 6:11). There were problems among God’s people – ‘sexual immorality’, ‘lawsuits’ (5:1; 6:7). In all of this, Christ was being forgotten. There are no depths to which we cannot sink when we take our eyes off Christ. There are no heights to which we will not be raised as we look away from ourselves to Him. Christ is able to lift from the guttermost and ‘save to the uttermost all those who come to God through Him’ (Hebrews 7:25). Let it be more of Christ and less of self!
6:12-7:24 – The Lord has placed the highest value on us: ‘you were bought with a price’ (6:20; 7:23). Our love for Him must be stronger than any other love. Some are under pressure, at home, from an unbelieving husband or wife. You wonder whether your Christian witness is doing any good (7:16). You feel you are getting nowhere. You feel like giving up. You feel yourself being dragged away from the Lord. What does the Word of God say? – ‘Lead the life which the Lord has assigned’; ‘Remain with God’ (7:17,24). A difficult situation at home is just one example of ‘the world’ trying to ‘squeeze us into its own mould’ (Romans 12:2). The world will keep chipping away at our faith – until there’s nothing left. ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world… He who does the will of God abides for ever’ (1 John 2:17).
7:25-8:13 – We are to ‘use the things of the world’ without becoming ‘engrossed in them’ (31). Becoming more worldly in our way of living is not a purely personal thing. We harm other people ‘for whom Christ died’. They look to us for a godly example and we let them down. We ‘sin against them’. We ‘sin against Christ’. Our choices affect other people. We choose a self-centred life. We cause them to ‘fall into sin’. We live a life of ‘love’, and they are ‘built up’ in their faith (11-13,1; Matthew 18:5-7, 10). How are we to live? Are we to become preoccupied with how our actions affect those who watch our every move? That could become very confusing and distracting. We must keep our eyes on Jesus. We must live ‘not … as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart…’ (Ephesians 6:6-7).
9:1-27 – ‘If I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting’ (16). Paul preached the Gospel. His whole desire was to bring men and women to the Saviour (22). Paul did not want to draw attention to himself. He didn’t preach so that his hearers would say, ‘What a good preacher Paul is’! He did not want to be ‘an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ’ (12). Paul was not a ‘performer’, trying to increase his own popularity. Paul described his ministry like this: ‘I do it all for the sake of the Gospel’ (23). Keep your eyes on Jesus. This is very important. Don’t get so preoccupied with ‘a good preacher’ that you lose sight of the great Saviour! There is no room for ‘superstars’: ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord’ – ‘The Name of Jesus is the Name above every name’ (James 4:10; Philippians 2:9-10).