Escalate Sermon Blog & Connection Point Questions

Bringing a Habitat for Humanity Mentality to Church - 1 Corinthians 14:1-25

August 6, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Have you ever attended a church worship service? Most of you who will read this post have. For some of you it is something you do every week. For others of you it is something you have only done once before. But what I really want you to consider this week is what you were thinking about in the hours the preceded your attendance. Many of you were probably thinking like a consumer, wondering what you were going to get from your attendance. But is that the way we are supposed to think when we are getting ready for worship? Is that the right mentality to have? Or do we need to condition ourselves to think differently about corporate worship services? Paul has some thoughts to help us think through these questions and we will do our best to examine them and put them into our context this week.

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The Essential Marker - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

July 22, 2013 by Matt Morgan

If you have ever seen one of the episodes of American Idol that shows individuals auditioning to be contestants on the show then you have probably heard the judges ask the individuals the question, "What makes you the next American Idol?" If you think about it, there is really only one acceptable response to that question, "I have the ability to sing extraordinarily well." A great personality might help; good looks might help; a unique style might help - but if one possesses those traits without having the ability to sing then that individual is not going to have any hope of winning a singing competition. First and foremost the individual must have the ability to sing. Similarly, if one were to ask an individual, "What sets you apart as a believer in Christ?" our temptation might be to respond with any number of answers. One might answer, "I have an incredible knowledge of the Bible," "I am a gifted worship leader," "people are drawn to me when I teach," or "I serve as an elder at my church." But Paul warned that church at Corinth to be careful about what evidence they point to when it comes to determining the maturity of their faith. Paul said that there is one essential marker that we all should possess if the Holy Spirit is residing in our lives. When our lives are transformed by the Gospel then this one marker should be evident in us all.

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What I've Been Given and What It's For - 1 Corinthians 12:1-31

July 5, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians contains one of the most recognizable illustrations in the New Testament. And yet it continues to be one that many believers in Christ refuse to live out. So what's the deal? What is chapter 12 all about? Has the church misunderstood Paul's point in 1 Corinthians 12? Or is our problem one of obedience and faithfulness? This week we'll examine what it is, that as believers in Christ, we have been given and what it's been given to us for. Then hopefully we'll have a clearer understanding and resolve to faithfully live out what God reveals to us in this great chapter of Scripture.

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An Unworthy Manner of Eating - 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

July 5, 2013 by Matt Morgan

There is a good chance that if you are considering reading this post that you have participated in the Lord's Supper before. (It may not be true for all of you, but probably true for most.) And there is also a good chance that you've heard the warning not to participate in the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. But what does that mean? Many of you probably have an idea which is partially right. But if you look at the context in which Paul gave that warning, you might find that you haven't seen the whole picture and that making sure that you are not participating in the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner actually requires further examination. We'll explore that in detail this week as we look at 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and what it means to partake of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner.

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Christ is the Source of our Life so that we can be the Glory of God - 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

June 17, 2013 by Matt Morgan

This week we take on perhaps the most difficult portion of this letter to the church at Corinth. It addresses a very specific problem in a very specific context and gives almost no supporting details. Yet in the midst of some uncertainty come some profound principles that can certainly be applied to the Church today. Both women AND men need to spend some time giving some consideration to implications of the Gospel that we don't always do the best job teaching. Not so that we become more knowledgeable, but so that we can glorify God more.

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Lay Aside My Freedoms for 'Who?' - 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

June 10, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Living in America - "the land of the free" - really causes us to value our rights and our freedoms. As a nation it seems like we are always working to protect our rights and freedoms. So the idea of laying our freedoms aside doesn't seem very appealing to most of us. I think many of us would be willing to lay aside our rights and freedoms, IF in the end it worked out for our benefit. But how many of us would actually be willing to lay aside our own rights and freedoms for the good of another. The answer is probably very few. Paul had some words of instruction for the church at Corinth in regards to their personal rights and freedoms - words to help bring some clarity to a church that was confused about the Gospel's implications on this area of their life. They are words that the Church in America today desperately needs to hear as well.

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Life-threatening Idolarty: A Lesson from History - 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

June 5, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Many of us have heard Edmond Burke's (1729-1797) famous quote, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." I'm not sure what inspired him to say/write this - if it was an original thought or a concept/idea he picked up on while reading something else. But while the quote (and variations of this quote) seem to go back to Edmond Burke, 1 Corinthians 10 sounds as if the Apostle Paul had had this idea 1700 years earlier. Paul challenged the church at Corinth to look at Israel's history - both the privileges they had and the judgment they endured - and to ask themselves if they were following in Israel's footsteps. The Corinthians needed to understand that God had not looked lightly on Israel's idolatry and that there was no reason to believe that He would look lightly on theirs. And I believe that the church today needs to be challenged to do the same thing. If we don't learn from Israel's idolatry - we may in fact be destined to repeat it.

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Self Disciplined for Running Purposefully - 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

May 28, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Races make sense when the runners in the race are all running towards the same finish line. But that takes great self-discipline. The runners have to train hard; they have to know where the finish line is; and they have to stain within their lanes. When runners practice self-discipline then one is able to watch a race and understand what the runners are running after. If runners run aimlessly - the race doesn't make any sense at all. In this week's text, Paul encourages the church at Corinth not to run aimlessly.

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Full of Knowledge But Empty of Love - 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

May 20, 2013 by Matt Morgan

I'm going to make a big assumption! I'm going to guess that none of you have eaten a meal at the temple of an idol in the last 6 months. So you're probably thinking that you can find something much more productive to do with your time than to work through 1 Corinthians 8, in which Paul addresses some in the church at Corinth who were regularly involved in the practice of eating at the temples of the idols in their community. But let me plead with you not to do that. Yes, Paul writes to a very specific issue taking place in the church at Corinth that doesn't directly correlate to what believers in Christ wrestle with in our communities. But Paul also helps clarify some implications of the Gospel that are incredibly important for believers in Christ today. So take a few minutes to work through this passage with me. Take a few minutes to ask the Holy Spirit to speak truth into your heart and mind. And take a few minutes to give some consideration to how this passage should change your every day life. Our churches desperately need individuals who will wrestle with 1 Corinthians 8 and live out the truths of the Gospel that it challenges us with.

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Relationship Status: Fully Devoted to Jesus - 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

May 14, 2013 by Matt Morgan

Those who are engaged to be married will sometimes get anxious or nervous about their engagement. Usually it's because there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future will look like and what life will be like when one's relationship status changes from 'single' to 'married.' However, for many of the single and engaged believers in Corinth, they were anxious and nervous about engagement for other reasons. They had heard from some that marriage was sinful and that it should not be pursued. So not surprisingly they had some questions for Paul. And in this week's text we'll discover Paul encouraging all believers that their relationship status with others was not nearly as important as the relationship status: "fully devoted to Jesus."

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