Thursday, March 20, 2014

Touching Base, Part 234

TB 234
The Body – PART 7:
“North of 7”
23 March 14

(This article can also be found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Got any favorite texts? Probably the most popular scripture texts would be Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13 and John 3:16. Got any least favorite texts? How about the genealogy texts or the long list of tribes and names in the Pentateuch? Or for some, it might be some of the prophets who constantly are announcing words of judgment on the crazy behavior of the Israelites. And to that we could add another category - “Most Difficult” - passages that are hard to understand, passages that create lots of debate. Part of that difficulty is rooted in language, culture and understanding the context. I call it the “North of 7” dilemma. “North of 7” refers to an actual geographic area north of highway 7. For some, it’s cottage country, a place to retreat to fish, hunt, skidoo or just break with the normal pace of life. It’s where we encounter “different” - a different culture, and at times language, pace and focus.

One thing that is true about Scripture that’s “North of 7” and physically being North of 7 is that we share a lot of common issues. Our humanity ties us together, our dreams, wounds, brokenness and joys. We are very different but we can be quick to discover that we have much in common.

Today our text is definitely “North of 7” - there is much one could debate because not all is that clear. For example regarding verse 10, one commentator says, “But finally, again, we must admit that we cannot be sure.” Gordon Fee

My purpose is not to debate, but to agree on two very clear things Paul is saying in this text.

Big Idea: Both Genders Make the Body Better
Text: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Question: What are the two clear things Paul is saying in this text?


Have you seen a healthy model of interdependence, where the dependence issue went both ways? Or did you grow up in more of a sexist, chauvinistic background? For some, one gender’s opinion did not carry as much weight as another’s.
Note how Paul develops this issue of interdependence.
V.3. Note the word head (kephale).This is a “North of 7” kind of word. There are intellectual heavyweights on both sides of the argument who deeply love Jesus but are on opposite sides regarding interpretation. One side says that this word “head” is a word that refers to authority. The other side says that, in the Greek language, the predominant usage of this word would have meant “source”, like the source of a river… that the original audience would have understood the word head in this way.
Now regardless of how you land on this word’s meaning, gender interdependence is something we all can agree on that Paul is driving at. Personally, I side with the “source” crowd.
“the head/source of every man is Christ” - Jesus is the source of our salvation. Paul is making a singular point about men, not at all saying that Christ is not the source of salvation for women as well.
“the head/source of the woman is man” - Why would Paul say that? Verse 8 give us a clue - he is obviously referencing Genesis 2, where woman is created from man. The source is man.
“the head of Christ is God.” - Probably referring to the incarnational work of Christ - God is the source of Christ - who through his redemption became the source of every person for salvation.

V.9 - “woman for man” – This is not a statement that speaks of her subordination but that she was necessary for him. Check out Genesis 2 the very text that Paul is referencing. Without her, Adam was incomplete, alone, without a companion. The animals will not do, he needs bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, one who is like him but different.

And just to clarify, also note, v.11,12 - Paul is not so much driving at authority but that we need each other - mutual dependence or interdependence - connected and in need of one another.

As a man, Jesus is an example of interdependence. He could list names of women who played a key role in His ministry.
One example is Luke 8 - we are told that the group that travelled with Jesus were both men and women - It would have been scandalous having a rabbi travelling with a group of men and women relating to one another as brothers and sisters. Not to mention the fact that Luke goes out of his way to tell us that women were the ones helping bankroll this mission.

Paul could list names of significant women that he relied on – interdependence - Junia, Priscilla, Phoebe, Julia, Trophena, Tryphosa, Persis, plus Eudia, Syntyche in Philippians who labored alongside Paul as missionaries for the early church.

“Questions can make hermits out of us, driving us into hiding. Yet the cave has no answers. Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries, when we mix, mingle, confess and pray, Christ speaks.” Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear (Thomas Nelson, 2009), p. 144.

Both genders are in that community mix.

Men… who are the women who have deeply impacted your life, who currently speak into your life, who you learn from, grow from, are challenged by?
Women… who are the men who have deeply impacted your life, who currently speak into your life, who you learn from, grow from, are challenged by?

Both Genders Make the Body Better.


It is amazing that even though we are “North of 7” we have so much in common with these folks. This next issue may surprise you.

“This week (March 11) marks the 40th anniversary of an event close to the hearts of gender activists everywhere. On March 11, 1974, ABC aired Marlo Thomas’ “Free to Be…You and Me” — a musical program celebrating gender-free children. Thomas and her fellow co-neutralists envisioned a world where the sex distinction would melt away. Instead of “males” and “females,” there would be mutually respectful, non-gendered human persons. The project resulted in a platinum LP, a best-selling book, and an Emmy. More than that, the idea of gender liberation entered the national zeitgeist. Parents everywhere began giving their daughters trucks and sons baby dolls. Like so many dream boats floating on the utopian sea, this one crashed and sank when it hit the rocks of reality.” Christina Hoff Sommers (a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of several books, including The War Against Boys. Follow her on Twitter @CHsommers)

“In a wide-ranging interview in the Wall Street Journal, Camille Paglia says most feminists today deny the basic differences between the sexes, and as a consequence are setting us up for a huge fall. “What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” she says. Male neutralization, Paglia says, includes the idea that men and women are biologically the same and that gender is nothing but a social construct. And this is why we shouldn’t be surprised that California schools have started to allow kindergartners with supposed “gender identity” issues to go to whichever bathroom they choose.” (Academic trained at Yale, Camille Paglia)

So what was going on “North of 7”in our context regarding blurring the distinctions?
There were eschatological women. Their definition of spiritual somehow broke down the distinctives in the sexes. They were like angels, they perhaps thought where there was no sexual distinction. What do we know about angels? They do not marry (Mt 22:30), so they could be regarded as sexless;
How would you, “North of 7” in Corinth remove the distinctions?

Check out the text.
V.4-6 What about this tells you that you are “North of 7”, in a very different world? In verse 6 Paul uses a technique called “reductio ad absurdum” (to take something to its logical extreme) to show them the logical extension of their position. For a woman to shave her head in that culture would be absolutely unacceptable. Note v.13.

In Paul’s context (because this issue did differ amongst Romans, Greeks and Jews) in a Roman city like Corinth, it would not have seemed strange for women to have their heads covered during religious acts. In Corinth, it symbolized immodesty and even seduction to not cover one’s head. In some cases in this context, hair was viewed like a private part. But there were women who wanted to remove head covering to remove the distinctions, and in the process they were dishonoring the men and shaming themselves. For example, in the Corinth of his day, the only women who appeared in public without some kind of head covering were prostitutes.

V.7- What does Paul mean in 7a? We know that Gen 1:26-27 clearly says that both are created in the image of God. One writer states, “Paul does not deny that woman is created in the image of God, or that she too is God’s glory - his point is singular - she is related to man as his glory - a relationship that seems to be jeopardized by current actions.” (Gordon Fee)

V.14,15- What does Paul mean by “nature”? He is probably meaning natural feelings of contemporary culture.
In Paul’s day (as, in many ways, in ours), gender was marked by hair and clothing styles. We can tell by looking at statues, vase paintings and other artwork of the period how this worked out in practice. Paul employs hair only as an illustration from nature. Paul is saying there are differences; there are distinctions that need to be honored and upheld. In the culture of that day, some form of a head covering defined those distinctions. Don’t transcend them, embrace them.

Should we, or shouldn’t we, employ head coverings today? Why or why not?
Why is it that when we start talking about distinctions between the genders in our culture today, some can get all defensive?

Discuss the following:
It is these differences, distinctions that make the Body strong.
How have you seen this?
People need to realize that one of the gifts they bring to the Body is their gender, not just their spiritual gifts. Both genders are huge gifts to the Body.

These differences are what make interdependence so crucial.
Do you have an example of how the opposite gender brings strength to your team because of how uniquely they are wired?

Three final words as we wrap.
Embrace - This is how the healthy Body of Christ works. There is no plan B.
Pursue - Make the effort, burst your gender bubble. Some of us don’t live in balance.
Listen - Learn, ask, and expect great insights. Your gender has blind spots, and your opposite gender has great insights.

Both Genders Make the Body Better!!!! And all God’s men and women said….!

Join us today for Breathe - Community, 4pm in the Upper Room

Mark Kotchapaw
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Touching Base, Part 233

TB 233
The Body – PART 6:
Who Do You See Here?
16 March 14

(This article can also be found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Philip Yancey says, “I often wish that we could somehow set aside church history, remove the church's many layers of interpretation, and encounter the words of the Gospels for the first time. Not everyone would accept Jesus—they did not in his own day—but at least people would not reject him for the wrong reasons.

Once I was able to cut through the fog still clinging from my own upbringing, my opinion of Jesus changed remarkably. Brilliant, untamed, tender, creative, merciful, slippery, loving, irreducible, paradoxically humble—Jesus stands up to scrutiny. He is who I want my God to be.”

How much do you resonate with what Philip Yancey says?
Has this been your experience?

Today we are looking at the big idea, The Church Is Jesus!
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

In this section, Paul touches on some similar themes that he has been addressing since chapter 8. He elaborates on, and provides an illustration to help drive home the importance of giving up one’s rights. I would like to focus on two key statements that Paul makes that help the Corinthians understand what the Church is all about, or should we say WHO the church is all about.

V.31 “… do it all for the glory of God”

What does the first part of the sentence tell you about the glory of God?

“Doxa” or glory means the manifest presentation of God’s infinite and majestic nature; normally conveyed to humanity as superlative brightness. It is a word that ties three concepts together: repute, splendor and reflection or image. Do all for the reputation, splendor and reflection of God.

What do people often think of when they think of the glory of God?

Notice the very practical ways God’s glory is revealed in this text. Finish this sentence, “I reveal the glory of God in my life by….” (scan v.23-33 for some clues).

Let me help:

V. 29b,30 “Why should my freedom be determined by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?” is again the objection of the Corinthians, as in v.23a, and does not represent Paul’s own view. In v.28, Paul offered a hypothetical example, and here he offers a hypothetical objection or retort to his own argument. Paul himself has just argued that he does limit his freedom, and the Corinthians ought to limit theirs precisely because of someone else’s conscience.

What I want you to note is that the impressive beauty (glory) of God does not always come packaged the way we (or Hollywood) would like to portray it.

If you have seen the movie Son Of God, then you know that they are portraying Jesus as a “hot Jesus” played by Diogo Miguel Morgado Soares- a former model. However note the following:

One tradition dating back to the second century suggested Jesus was a hunchback, and in the Middle Ages, Christians widely believed that Jesus had suffered from leprosy. Most Christians today would find such notions repulsive and perhaps heretical. Was he not a perfect specimen of humanity? Yet in all the Bible there is only one physical description of sorts, a prophecy written hundreds of years before Christ's birth. Here is Isaiah's portrayal (from Philip Yancey), in the midst of a passage that the New Testament applies to the life of Jesus:

“Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness… . He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Sometimes the glory of God surprises us!

For another example, check out John 17 and note the mission of Jesus - to bring God glory and note one of the ways that was done, “ …by completing the work you gave me”. This included dying on a cross. Cicero calls it “ the most horrendous torture.” So hideous was the act of crucifixion upon a man that he writes that “the very word ‘cross’ should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen but from his thoughts, his eyes and his ears.” (The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, p.49)

Does the Church demonstrate the glory of God in the setting aside of rights, serving, loving, coming alongside, sacrificing, “dying” for others?

Sometimes our contorted version of God’s glory has made us God’s shame.

The Church is Jesus, and we are to reflect His glory.

11:1 “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

Was Paul being arrogant when he called for others to imitate him? Not at all. Living in a pre-literary age, he was adopting a deliberate teaching strategy used by many communicators—calling on new converts to imitate the patterns of behavior he modeled for them. Ultimately they were to follow Jesus but for many Paul would have been the model for Christ-like behavior. Note 1 Cor. 2:1-5, Paul clearly wants them to see Jesus.

“Follow” means to mimic or copy, it means to allow who you are following or trusting to determine your response, actions, attitudes and beliefs.

Is that difficult? Can you think of any situation where following Jesus is particularly challenging these days?

When Christ is not the one who we are mimicking, what does the church become? How would you finish this, “The church is…“ (i.e. an accumulation of the traditions of men, a reflection of the trends and needs of current culture)

As a group brainstorm on why “the Church is Jesus” is so crucial. One answer is that people have feet of clay. Regardless of our spiritual heroes, people fail us, our role models let us down at times. If we don’t point people to Jesus, then we can overstate the importance of people, create a savior complex for some and see people crash.

The Church Is Jesus!

Join us today for Breathe, 4pm in the Upper Room – The Living Word Of God

Mark Kotchapaw
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Touching Base, Part 232

TB 232
The Body – PART 5:
Getting More Than We Bargained For!
9 March 14

(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

I am sure that we can all tell a story of how we got more than we bargained for. It might be positive, as in “it was awesome, what a deal, I felt so great”. Or it could be downright lousy… if you had seen what was coming, you surely would have ducked.

This week, our text challenges us to think about getting more than we bargained for, not in the positive sense but in the negative sense. The issue circulates around the issue of idolatry. Corinth was filled to the brim with idolatry, and most (if not all) of the Gentiles coming to Christ had come out of idolatry - at least that was the game plan!!!! Some were still dabbling in it, thinking that they could get away with it (remember v.12), but Paul wants to be clear that what they are doing is playing with fire… and they will get burned.

Big Idea: Our hearts’ affections have a spiritual connection.
Question: How does this text demonstrate that they got more than what they bargained for?
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

There are two answers to this question that we want to look at, that come from this text. But first note v.14. The command is to flee idolatry. The problem is revealed by the verb “flee” - not all were putting on their running shoes and darting in the opposite direction.

John Calvin remarked that the human heart is an “idol factory”. Anything can be an idol and everything has been an idol. Timothy Keller says that idolatry refers to anything that bumps God from being number one in our lives. Another author says that idolatry is when a good thing becomes an ultimate thing. The bottom line is that the act of idolatry challenges Jesus’ Lordship in our lives.

Now to answer the question.

1. Our hearts’ affections can have a demonic connection (v.15-21)

Paul makes this point by contrasting two tables:

a. The Lord’s Table v16-18

V.16 - cup of thanksgiving - a technical term for the cup of wine drunk at the end of a Jewish meal and over which the thanksgiving or grace is said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, who gives us the fruit of the vine.” In the Passover meal this was the third cup of the four to be drunk. This was probably the cup Jesus identified as the cup of the new covenant in his blood at the Last Supper. The point is that this new covenant was enacted by Christ’s death.
V.17- What are your observations about the bread? Note the symbolism.
Paul says that we partake (or participate) in this table. This word is getting at the idea that when we drink and eat at this table there is a communion with Christ, or one might say an appropriation of the benefits of His death—forgiveness, cleansing, and the like. We have been blessed by what Jesus has done for us. It is the celebration of the New Covenant.
Paul talks about the table in v.21. Table fellowship in that culture connoted intimate relations. As we partake at the table, we are celebrating our relationship with Christ. This is a picture of fidelity, faithfulness and devotion.
Notice v.18, Paul is referencing the Old Testament covenant and that the Israelites also benefited from what God had done through the OT agreement/covenant.

Notice that there is another table, and this is the problem or tension in the text.

b. The Table of Demons v19-21

V.19- What is Paul saying? See 8:4
V.20,21 Where is the real danger with idolatry?

So picture this, you have Christians eating from the Lord’s table - devotion, affection, love, blessing and fidelity. But you have those very same Christians going off to another table, not to observe from a distance but to participate in – hearts’ affections. Note “You cannot”- v.21, said twice - Paul is saying you cannot do this and get away with it, you cannot do this and not pay a price. The challenge to flee in v.14 suggests that some were not fleeing but instead were cleaving.

What is it about idolatry that demonstrates they were getting more than what they bargained for?

Our hearts’ affections have a spiritual connection.

How can you tell when the Body has drifted into idolatry? Remember Paul’s words are directed to the Church, the Body in Corinth. Check out Revelation 2:1-7. Note all the good things going on in this church, BUT there is something deeply wrong - idolatry.

This doesn't mean that there is a ghost behind every bush, or that every problem only has a spiritual solution or that if I commit idolatry that I have demons stuck to me like 3M Post It Notes. But it does mean that we need to be mindful of the spiritual reality of idolatry and the danger of it. The heart of idolatry is robbing God of His rightful worship and gives the enemy a platform in our lives.

Does your worldview make room for the spiritual backdrop within which our lives unfold? Does your worldview acknowledge that the enemy is also part of that spiritual backdrop?

Read through the following texts to see how the Gospels demonstrate this reality. Satan does play a key role in the Gospels, where he is mentioned more than 30 times and is described performing various activities. These passages help us to better understand Christ's mission, the challenges we face, and the reality in which we live:
• He thrusts Jesus into the wilderness, for 40 days, where he is tempted by Satan (vv. 12–13). The Spirit-empowered life is hardly portrayed as one of tranquil bliss.
• In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains to his disciples that Satan snatches the kingdom message from the hearts of many hearers (Mark 4:15).
• When Peter wants to prevent Jesus' suffering, Jesus calls Peter "Satan" (8:33) and rebukes him for acting with human rather than divine motives. The kingdom without the Cross misunderstands the King's mission.
• When we pray for God to protect us from temptation, we also pray for protection from the tempter, "the evil one" (Matt 6:13).
• Luke 13:16 suggests that Satan also causes some illnesses, even in people who have done nothing wrong to invite his activity. As Peter said, Jesus healed those oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
• Satan wants to destroy the faith of Jesus' disciples (Luke 22:31).
• in John, Jesus himself also prays for our protection from the evil one (John 17:15)
• And elsewhere, John says that the entire world is in the devil's grip (1 John 5:19).

As the Corinthians dabbled in idolatry, Paul wanted them to see that they were getting way more than what they had bargained for. Notice, though, we have one more answer to the question we started with.

2. Our hearts’ affections have a divine connection (v.22)

Notice the Lord’s reaction to Christians who are eating at both tables.

Notice below what some say about the Lord’s jealousy. Do you agree?

“Richard Dawkins claims that God breaks into a monumental rage whenever his chosen people flirted with rival gods. Oprah Winfrey said that she got turned off of Christianity when she heard that God can be jealous. Bill Maher said that being jealous of someone having other gods is not moral.” Paul Copan, Is God A Moral Monster?

We need to understand that the Bible describes jealousy in two different ways, both as a vice and as a virtue. As a virtue, jealousy is described as fighting for someone’s good or best interest. Jealousy denotes God’s holy zeal for the honour of his name and the good of his people who are bound to him in the marriage of the covenant (Dt. 32:16, 21; 2 Ki. 19:31; Ezek. 36:5f.; Zc. 1:14f.; Jn. 2:17)

The term “jealousy” is a powerful love word. God becomes jealous when we are rummaging around in the garbage piles of life and avoiding the ultimate source of satisfaction. Like the comic strip of a dog who had been drinking out of a toilet bowl. With water dripping from his snout, Fido looks up to tell us, “It doesn't get any better than this!”

Idolatry is seditious and evil, thus Scripture typically associated God’s jealousy with idolatry. – Ex 20:5, 34:14, Deut 4:23-24, 5:9,6:14-15,Josh 24:19-20, I kings 14:22, Psalm 78:58

Note, it is not the idol itself that arouses God’s jealousy but what lays behind it - the enemy whose intentions are evil. In the Gospels, we see an elaboration on what the Old Testament and ancient Jewish tradition say about Satan: he is an accuser, deceiver, and tempter.

So here is my question: how moral would God be if He saw His creation drinking out of the toilet bowl and did nothing? love and moral integrity should cause a person to rise up – this is godly jealousy - to protect, like a loving spouse, a compassionate father, a God who engages with his people. Jealousy is a love word.

Our hearts affections have a spiritual connection - demonic and divine jealousy.

As God looks at your heart is He jealous?
What idols are most tempting?
As he looks at Bethel, is there any reason for Jesus to say to us, “You have abandoned your first love!”

Jesus invites us to eat at His table, a place of devotion, faithfulness and fidelity. Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a feast. See Luke 14:15-24. Let Him breathe His life into you and let nothing take that breath away!

Join us today for Breathe, 4pm in the Upper Room - Pray Fit!

Mark Kotchapaw
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact