1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15: Baptisms for the Dead

                Paul preaches to the Corinthians and tells them that the Gospel he preached to them is the word of God and that Jesus Christ did in fact die for our sins; “…that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; “(1 Corinthians 15:4) Paul explains that the evidence of Him is all around, for many saw His great works and miracles. Paul explains that all men will be resurrected, Paul explains that if there is no resurrection then Jesus Christ also did not rise on the third day; “…if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ is be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14) Paul goes on to make a very bold statement; “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:16)

Essentially we learn that if you believe that Christ rose on the third day, then you must also believe that all men will one day be resurrected. Paul goes on to explain the purpose of Jesus Christ and the Fall/Redemption of Mankind through Him;

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive… Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him…. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:20-29)

So, Paul is telling us that through the Fall of Adam and Eve, death was brought into the world, but through Jesus Christ we can eventually overcome that death. The Corinthians participated in Baptisms for the Dead and because of this Paul was essentially asking them; ‘if you don’t believe in resurrection, why are you participating in the baptisms of the dead?’ – From this we learn that Baptisms for the Dead were performed in ancient times and that it was for the very purpose of those who did not get a baptism in this life. This practice of Vicarious Work is done today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paul goes on to explain what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints already know as the Plan of Salvation. Paul describes the different bodies; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory…” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)

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1 Corinthians 14

1 Corinthians 14: Speaking in Tongues

                Paul encourages the Saints (the members of the Church) to “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts…” (1 Corinthians 14:1) If we are desirous for Spiritual Gifts, we also need to be willing to “…seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12) Paul teaches the saints about the Gift of Tongues, which is speaking in another known language. Some believe that speaking in tongues is a secret way of communicating in gibberish with God. However, Paul explains that it is not communication, but rather gibberish.

                “…if I come unto your speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? …how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth now what thou sayest? …I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than then thousand words in an unknown tongue.” (1 Corinthians 6; 16; 19)

                 Essentially Paul is saying that unless someone in the room understands you, it profits no one for someone to speak in an unknown tongue. Speaking in Tongues is not falling on the floor and screaming gibberish… Speaking in Tongues is speaking in different languages, like English, Spanish, German, Japanese, etc.

Paul then explains that there should not be confusion in the Church of Jesus Christ or strife on which church is true, there can only be ONE true Church of Jesus Christ; “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) The Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are called “Saints” and the LDS church is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, the same one He established when He was on the Earth.

Paul leaves the Corinthians with lots of knowledge and reminds them that it is their own choice to believe him, however, he explains; “…if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 14:38)

1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13: Charity

                Paul speaks about Charity, and explains that he could have all the power in the world, he could have faith and help the poor… but if he has “…not charity, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2) He explains that when he was a child he did childish things, but now as a man “…I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) He explains that now “…we see through a glass, darkly…” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Paul is most likely speaking about a spiritual veil that has been placed over our eyes so that we see the world without our prior knowledge of our pre-existence. In this manner we are here on earth to learn and to prove ourselves to our Heavenly Father that we might return once more to live with Him.

Paul gives the best definition of Charity;

 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

We all need to follow the admonition of Paul, and never let Charity fail us.

1 Corinthians 12

1 Corinthians 12: Organization of the Church

                Paul speaks about Spiritual Gifts, and explains that there are a variety of gifts that can be given, a variety of administrations and diversities… but only one Spirit. Paul explains that “…no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)

Examining what Paul said; ‘…no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.’ This means that no one can claim to believe in Jesus Christ, without feeling the Holy Ghost testify of Him. Therefore we learn a very important principle; Spiritual knowledge can only be found through Spiritual means. Sure, someone can go and testify of Jesus Christ as being the Lord and someone listening to that knowledge can be converted. But, until the person being converted receives the knowledge Spiritually they cannot know and will not truly be converted. For this reason many do not believe in Jesus Christ, some even think believing in God is foolish. Why is this? Because they learn about God or Jesus through worldly knowledge and do not accept the knowledge that can only be gained spiritually.

Paul testifies that; “…by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or fee; and have been all made to drink into on Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) This scripture is similar to one we read later when Paul addresses the Ephesians, which reads: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)

                So the question that has caused contentions throughout the world for 1,000’s of years… who is right? Which of all the churches, sects, religions is correct? Paul teaches that the church he belongs to (the one Jesus Christ established) was the correct church and because of that we can only be baptized into one body (or church) and there is only One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism. He said this to both the Corinthians and the Ephesians to convert them to the true church, because they were joining false religions that taught in contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is where Paul teaches about the TRUE ORGANIZATION of the Church of Jesus Christ;

“And God hath some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps [administrative offices, programs and provisions in place to help the saints], governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28)

Today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) claims to be the TRUE church of Jesus Christ. LDS Doctrine believes that the Church Jesus Christ setup before He departed the world, slowly eroded until the last Apostle died and the power and Authority that He had given to them was no longer in the world. This period of time without the Authority (or priesthood) on the Earth was known as the Great Apostasy, which accounts partly for the time we know as the Dark Ages. After centuries of having no Authorized servant on the Earth, God decided to bring forth His church once more in the Last Days. God called a prophet and through that Prophet Jesus Christ restored His church on the earth. That church is known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that has the same organization Christ originally intended; Prophet, Apostles, Teachers, Evangelists and so forth.

1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11: Hair and Grooming

                Paul invites everyone to be followers of Christ, he explains that the head of man is Christ and the head of Christ is God and the head of the woman is man. Paul explains that when you pray you should not have your head covered; “Every man praying… having his head covered, dishonoureth his head [Christ]” (1 Corinthians 11:4) essentially those who pray with a hat on or having their head covered are being disrespectful to God.

Here is where the idea of a woman needing to cover herself up comes from… “…if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn [to be broken off]…” (1 Corinthians 11:6) So the question is, does a woman need to be covered up? Let’s remember a few things…

“And God said, Let us [Our Heavenly Parents ‘Father and Mother’] make man in our own image, after our likeness… God created man in his own image… male and female…” (Genesis 1:26-27)

So God said ‘let us’ create man in our own image, male and female. Does that mean that we have a Heavenly Mother and Father? I believe we do, and while there isn’t much information about our Heavenly Mother, one LDS Hymn hints that our Heavenly Mother does exist: “When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high?” (LDS Hymns, 292)

So, if we have a Heavenly Mother and the head of the woman is the man, does that mean that women are beneath men? No. In fact, God puts women as equal to men; “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:11) Therefore men and women are equal and in marriage should act as EQUAL partners.

Paul goes on to give some great advice:

“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14) Men should be clean shaven and properly groomed.

“But if any many seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:16) Anyone who likes to argue the things of God, outside of  constructive discussions regarding faith is contentious and is not welcome among the Churches of God. Basically, different beliefs and religions should be respected. Disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs is ok, but criticizing them for their beliefs is wrong.

“…he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself…” (1 Corinthians 11:29) Do not partake of the Sacrament unworthily, or else you will drink unto damnation.

1 Corinthians 10

1 Corinthians 10: Christ is the Rock

                Paul reminds the Corinthians of the Jews that traveled with Moses through the red sea on dry ground. He reminds them that they were all baptized and did all eat and drink from the “…spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4) Paul says that while many followed Moses, an equal number or more were not well favored in the eyes of the Lord. Paul reminds the Corinthians that “…we should not lust after evil things…” (1 Corinthians 10:6)

We also should not… worship idols, fornicate, murmur or tempt Christ as many of the Jews traveling with Moses did do. After having warned about committing sin, Paul reminds them (and us) that God “…will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) So is it wrong to Sin? Yes. Are we all guilty of Sin? Yes. Is there a way to overcome our Sin and become closer to Christ? Yes.

Paul tells us that as a body [group] of people who believe in Christ, when they partake of the Sacrament together, they become one Body… because they are all partaking of the same bread. Paul tells us that we should avoid meat that was offered as a sacrifice to an idol, for it had been offered to a devil. Finally, Paul explains that he is “…not seeking mine [his] own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:33) Therefore, as an Apostle of the Lord he freely preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ without cost. He does it for the good of others and not himself.

1 Corinthians 9

1 Corinthians 9: Preaching without Cost

                “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1) Paul tells the Corinthians that he is a Special Witness of Christ, why? Because he has seen Jesus Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are His disciples, because they are disciplined to follow His commandments. However, those who are Apostles are called of God and given Authority to act in His name. They are also known as the Twelve Apostles (see Matthew 10) Paul also explains that Apostles are FREE, meaning they don’t make money from their work.

Paul explains that as an Apostle he needs to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ; “…the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel, should live the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:14) For this reason, those who are called to the Apostleship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called to that position for life. Usually these men are retired and financially stable on their own accord as to not charge for their work as Apostles. The Church also, DOES NOT support the Apostles financially, nor does the church support any of the leaders financially throughout the church. Why? Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ should be taught free of charge. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all those who work as leaders, teachers and ministers are called voluntarily. Most have full time jobs and families while they serve in these holy callings.

The main teachers throughout the church are the Full-time Missionaries who are called throughout the world. These men and women serve 1 ½ to 2 years and support their missions personally, or through friends and family. They serve these full-time positions to focus solely on their mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are free from the day-to-day distractions of the modern world, so that they may be more effective teachers and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul humbly explains his mission as an Apostle; “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain more.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-19) Paul tells the Corinthians that he is a servant of the Lord and servant unto all men without reward. He preaches the gospel willingly and because he does this, the only reward he receives is a warm feeling of joy and happiness for following the commandments of the Lord and bringing more souls unto Him.

Paul makes the Corinthians think when he says; “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1Corinthians 9:24) What is the prize? It is Eternal Life, it is Salvation, it is joy and happiness that only the Lord can give us. It is important to note that it is not bad to want something so great. It is only bad when we do it against our will, we should have a desire to obtain it for the right reasons.