1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Heavenly abiding counters evil because if we truly love God and live in His heavenly will, as Jesus taught us, we fulfill all the Laws and the words of the prophets that are written in our Bibles.
In other words, if we abide or live in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven, we naturally do all of the things that we are told to do in the Bible, and wouldn’t think about doing any of the things that we are told not to do, and as a result, we help free creation from its present corruption.
This in turn brings peace to earth and eliminates the violence that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die ever year around the world.
As we look at Psalm 15:1-5, and the other Bible passages contained in today’s message, let’s think about how they relate to heavenly abiding counters evil.
1. O LORD, who may abide in Thy tent?
Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?
We believe that this verse is really referring to living in the heavenly will of God here on earth, and in the future living forever in heaven with the Lord, for we know that God doesn’t live in a tent nor in Jerusalem exclusively, for His presence is all over the world.
2. He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
Again, these are the people who know that heavenly abiding counters evil, for they stand head and shoulders above the vast majority of the people in the world who continue to live in the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
3. He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
We have seen these things coming from people in the highest levels of government, and they fool and mislead many people, but their power and might doesn’t make it right, and His righteousness stands against them for they are following the corrupt ways of the devil.
We who truly live in the heavenly will of God would never think of slandering someone, nor even think of doing something evil against our neighbor or anyone else or do something against a friend.
4. In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the LORD;
He swears to his own hurt, and does not change;
If we are to love God, then we must love everyone else who He created, which means that we cannot despise anyone, but we are not to honor them either.
The world despises, we are to love.
We are to live steadfastly in the heavenly will of God.
5. He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
We should always be His peacemaking children, and strive to free creation from its present corruption, for heavenly abiding counters evil.
The prophet, in Micah 6:1-8, is asking the people then, and we believe us today, to really see our lives as God sees us, and to realize that heavenly abiding counters evil…
1. Hear now what the LORD is saying,
"Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills hear your voice.
The people are not listening to God, and they are definitely not living in the heavenly will of God; thus, the Lord is tired of listening to them, so He tells them to plead their case before the mountains.
When people fail to live in God’s heavenly will, they are also not committed to freeing creation from its present corruption, which has resulted in their ungodly ways causing millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year, and in the process their destructive ways are causing our precious environment to rapidly reach the point of no return.
2. "Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD,
And you enduring foundations of the earth,
Because the LORD has a case against His people;
Even with Israel He will dispute.
God is angry with the ways of the world, and most of the people, because they are pursuing their own worldly ways, and neglecting the way God wants us to live.
As a result, God seems to be allowing the people and their lands to stew in their own evil ways.
3. "My people, what have I done to you,
And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.
God even questions the people about their feelings about Him, and if they think He has done anything wrong.
I sure wouldn’t want to go before the Lord and tell Him that I was angry with Him for not supporting me and my worldly ways, which seems to be the way that most people are living; all we have to do is look at what most people are eating.
4. "Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt
And ransomed you from the house of slavery,
And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
God even reminds us of all the things that He has done for us over the years.
5. "My people, remember now
What Balak king of Moab counseled
And what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
And from Shittim to Gilgal,
In order that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD."
Balak wanted to have the people of Israel cursed as they traveled out of Egypt to the promised land so that he could defeat them in battle, but Balaam counseled that he could not curse the people because they were blessed of God.
The Lord is reminding the people about how much He did to protect them so that they would realize the error of their ways and repent and return to God wholeheartedly.
Then the prophet seems to interject himself into this message as an example of what some of the people may be thinking, and all of the questions he asked are to be answered in the negative, for the Lord does not want any animal or even human sacrifices or other physical offerings; He just wants our obedience and loving dedication to His heavenly will.
6. With what shall I come to the LORD
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
7. Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
And then the prophet tells us what the Lord really wants.
8. He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Let’s just think about what the most obvious worldly practice is: the eating and wearing of animals, and no part of this brings any justice to the animals or the people who care about them, and it certainly doesn’t show any lovingkindness toward them.
To walk humbly with the Lord is the same thing as living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 5:1-12 is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount and this portion contains the Beatitudes, and an address by Jesus that to us is proof that heavenly abiding counters evil…
1. And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
The way this verse is worded or translated, it could mean that he went up on the mountain to be in a more intimate atmosphere with His disciples without the multitude, or it could be that speaking from a hillside was more conducive of making His voice heard by all the people, and it doesn’t matter which, because His message is still being heard by multitudes, parts of which are included in our discussion today.
2. And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying,
3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Being poor in spirit in this context means that their spirit is not cluttered with the things of this corrupt world, but with the things of God, which is why theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Furthermore, since there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, these people cannot be participating in any aspect of this violent world that causes suffering and death to millions of humans, billions of animals, and is so destructive to our environment.
4. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
This is more than mourning for a loved one, it is also about people who mourn about all the destructiveness of this world, and desperately want it to end.
5. "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
The only way people can be gentle in this way is to be living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven, and lovingly and peacefully do everything in their power to free creation from its present corruption.
6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
This world is so full of unrighteousness that it is often hard to see true heavenly righteousness, which is the reason that Jesus says that those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied by the Lord.
7. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
To be truly merciful, we also need to have that deep empathy that feels the pain and suffering of the whole of creation (humans, animals, and the environment in which we all live).
8. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
If we desire any aspect of this corrupt and evil world, we cannot be pure of heart, which also requires us to be living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
In other words, we need to desire the things of God in order to see Him.
9. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Some people believe that killing off their enemies will bring peace, but history has shown us that these kinds of actions only bring about more violence.
As Jesus taught us, true peacemakers are the ones who look and act like they are really the children of God to such as extent that others will follow their example and end their warring madness, and this includes the warring madness that causes billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
10. "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Many people throughout the ages have been persecuted for a whole variety of reasons, but here in what Jesus is teaching, we are only talking about those who are being persecuted for the sake of the righteousness of God in which there can be no pain or suffering or death.
11. "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
In some parts of the world this is happening to those who believe differently in God than the majority of the people surrounding them.
We have also personally experienced this as peacemaking Christian vegan animal rights people, even in our churches, including some clergy, because they want to continue to live in this world with all its violence whose killing puts meat on their plates.
12. "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so
they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
As Jesus says, don’t let such evil people take away our joy, but rejoice and be glad for we know that our reward will be great in heaven, for heavenly abiding counters evil.
Now let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, and see how Paul approaches the subject of how heavenly abiding counters evil…
18. For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The ones who are perishing are obviously following the corrupt and evil ways of this world, and those who are being saved are living in the heavenly will of God.
19. For it is written,
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside."
In other words, no one is smarter than God, not matter how smart they think they are.
20. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
We need to recognize that God knows what He is doing, and no matter how many people get together with some other way of doing something, they cannot outsmart God.
21. For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
And this is still the major problem in the world and why we are so full of violence and corruption.
We need to live in His heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven; it’s the only way we are going to get into heaven.
22. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom;
23. but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,
This is like the signs that we’ve seen posted that read “Jesus is the answer”, and He is; He’s the only answer in this corrupt and evil world.
24. but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
It doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from, God calls us all, and we need to accept Him and His teachings of love and peace.
25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
This is why we say that heavenly abiding counters evil, for the only ones who would challenge God are those with evil or worldly intent.
Jesus showed us a similar example when He cleansed the temple of the worldly ways of the priests, and the only people He really challenged were the Scribes and Pharisees, and they were considered by the people to be knowledgeable religious leaders, and we believe that this is the same thing that Paul is addressing.
26. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27. but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
28. and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are,
29. that no man should boast before God.
God chooses those who follow His calling, and who wouldn’t even consider challenging God or boasting before Him, as many in this world do, and sooner or later they get put to shame.
30. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31. that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."
This is who we all should be.
This is the only way that we are going to be able to free creation from its present corruption, for the same people who challenge God’s ways are the ones who further corrupt the world day after day and cause more pain and suffering.
We can make a difference if we want to.
We can be the peacemaking children of God who work to free creation from its present corruption.
We can do it.
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