1 Corinthians – Introduction | 1 Corinthians 1:1-8

1 Corinthians – Introduction | 1 Corinthians 1:1-8

Introduction

  • So I want to do a things a little bit different with my sermons from now on…
    • Recently God has been opening my eyes to what is known as Expository Preaching, and drawing me away from “Topical Preaching”
    • And so before I get into my message I want to explain the difference so you guys kind of know my heart going into this…
  • Topical Preaching is how I normally preach, and many other pastors preach this way to.
    • Topical preaching means the pastor picks a topic, and then goes and gets a bunch of scripture that talks about that topic.
      • This can be great because it gives the preacher freedom to address whatever he feels the need of the church is.
      • Topical sermons can be powerful, well presented, convicting, and exciting. I mean this is the way I have always preached!
      • But there is a problem with topical sermons, that is, it puts to much focus on the preacher, and not enough focus on God and His Word.
        • It allows me to go “What do I want scripture to say?” and then I can go and get a bunch of scriptures to support whatever point I want to make… if you are in the hermeneutics class, this is called Eisegesis.
          • Now don’t get me wrong, I do my best not to do that, to only preach and teach true Biblical doctrine… but even so it still puts the spotlight on me…
          • Like “What scriptures can I come up with? How can I present this the best way?”
          • And I don’t want that church, I want us to focus on God’s word and what He is saying, not how I am presenting it.
  • So then there is this other kind of preaching called expository preaching.
    • Expository preaching says “I am going to take this section of scripture and preach through it, line by line, and simply allow the Word of God to speak for itself”.
      • Now that doesn’t mean that I am just going to stand up here and read scripture, but instead it means we are going to focus on large portions of scripture and simply drive home the point or points that passage is making.
      • It means we are going to let God’s word speak for itself, and we are going to listen to whatever it has to say, even if we don’t like it.
      • It means wherever the scripture goes, that is where I am going to go with the sermon.
  • That all being said I feel like God is leading us as a church to go through the book of 1st Corinthians.
    • This means that when I sit down to write my sermons instead of saying “Lord what am I going to preach about this Sunday”… instead I am going to open up and read the next passage in 1st Corinthians and say “Lord what are you telling your people through this passage in 1st Corinthians for our church this Sunday”.
    • And folks this takes a step of faith… because I have to believe that God is going to line up our lives with what is written in 1st Corinthians, I have to be willing to preach about uncomfortable subjects, and I have to submit myself as a preacher to the authority of God’s word!
      • But if I do that, and we do that as a church then I believe God is going to do great things here, Amen!

Body

  • Church let’s open up to the book of 1st Corinthians. We are going to start right off with verse 1:

1 Corinthians 1:1 ESV  Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

  • So Paul opens up 1 Corinthians and says “Look I just want you to know who is writing this, this is Paul.”
    • Now if you don’t know who Paul is, let me give you a background.
      • Paul was a Jewish leader who gave his life to rounding up and persecuting Christians. He would go door to door, like the SS in nazi Germany, looking for Christians to arrest. He even held peoples coats as the murdered Stephen, the first martyr for Christ.
        • But God had bigger plans for Paul and while he was traveling to Damascus Jesus appeared to Paul and lead Paul to being saved.
          • Paul had a drastic conversion and as a new man decided to live his life for Christ. He became one of the best church planters ever, and he wrote about half of the New Testament.
  • Now as Paul introduces himself he gives his title, he says “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus”
    • So Paul is really laying his cards down on the table here. He is saying “Look, I am writing by the authority of my calling, a calling given by Christ Jesus”.
      • Now before I go any further I just want to point this out, because we have talked a lot about callings lately… YOU ALL KNOW THAT YOUR CALLING HAS AUTHORITY RIGHT?
      • LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN! YOUR CALLING HAS AUTHROITY!
      • Why does it have authority? Because it is a calling by the will of God!
        • Because God is the one who gave you that calling, and who is man to speak against the will of God?
          • This is why if we as a church affirm your calling, then I as your pastor am going to submit to you in your calling.
            • If you are called to be a children’s ministry then I am not going to tell you how to run children’s ministry, I am going to submit to your God given wisdom. I am still going to help, and guide you, because that is my calling, but you should take boldness in the authority God has given you, amen?
  • Ok, so Paul introduces himself… lets go on to verse two…

1 Corinthians 1:2-3 ESV  To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Right out of the gate we know who wrote this letter, and now we know who the letter is written to.
    • It’s written to the church in Corinth.
      • And you know what is exciting about this, to me as a pastor? The church in Corinth is a church that Paul himself planted!
      • In Acts 18 we read about how Paul planted the church in Corinth, he spent a year and a half in Corinth working diligently with a couple names Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Through his work many of the Jews, including the head of the Synagogue got saved and he planted a mighty church in Corinth.
        • Why is this so exciting?
          • Because this letter, 1 Corinthians, was written to a church plant! And folks what are we, here at CLC, we are a church plant! So it is almost like Paul is writing directly to us as a church! And that is why I think we are going to get so much out of this letter!
  • And I love the way he describes the people in the church of Corinth “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.
    • CALLED TO BE SAINTS TOGETHER
      • Folks if you are a Christian make no mistake about it you are called to be nothing short of united with our brothers and sister in Christ.
        • That is why we had a joint service with life line, that is why we worship together with an evening of prayer and worship, this is way two churches can share the same building and have service at the same time on the same day week after week! Because we are called to be saints together!
        • We are called to be saints together with other saints of ALL PLACES!
        • Folks God is talking to our church! SO PLEASE LET OUR HEARTS BE UNITED! Amen‽ Not in our church only, but with saints everywhere!
  • Paul continues in verse 4 and 5

1 Corinthians 1:4-5 ESV  I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—

  • This is so exciting what God is doing… it is like he knows EXACTLY where our church is at and my heart for this church, because Paul’s thankfulness for his church is exactly the same kind of thankfulness that I have for all of you.
    • Paul says I give thanks to my God always for you… why? Because by the grace of God through Jesus Christ you are all enriched in every way, in all speech and knowledge.
      • Folks his heart for the Corinthians church is the same heart I have for you!
        • Because we just started LIW classes and I am BLOWN AWAY by the response, not just by attendance… but by how much knowledge God has given each of you.
          • I read through the homework and I think “I can’t believe how wise and knowledgeable these answers are”… really I am reading these responses and thinking “This isn’t my church, this is some post-grad Bible School”.
            • Answers from some people who have only been saved for a short while, that would fit in well with a Masters of Divinity program!
            • MAN I PRAISE GOD FOR THAT!
            • I PRAISE GOD FOR ALL OF YOU!
            • He is growing the saints of CLC so much it is amazing, and I want you to know church, that is a reason to praise, that is a reason to celebrate!
              • This is not some church were we sit around and feel good, this is an active, alive, moving, growing, serving church! Just like the church in Corinth!
  • Paul goes on…

1 Corinthians 1:6-8 ESV  6  even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– 7  so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Guys, do you understand the very nature of our church’s existence serves to prove Christ is real and that He is God?
    • That is what Paul is saying to the Corinthians…
      • He is saying, look how much knowledge you have grown in, look how much bolder you are in your speech, look at all of the gifts that you flow in… gifts of healing, of prophecy, of faithfulness, of tongues…
      • As you look at these gifts growing inside of the people of your church, then you can see that it is God who gives these gifts and this proves that God is real and God is alive!
      • Why else would a bunch of people wake up on a Sunday morning to come worship Him, why else would so many people come to LIW Class.
        • Some of you did not even know Christ before God raised up this church, some of you were living in sin and temptation… but God saved you from that!
        • We have seen healings in this church, we will see more!
        • We have seen prophecy in this church, we will hear more!
        • We have celebrated in others salvations and by God’s grace WE WILL CELEBRATE MORE!
  • Not only will we do more, but Paul encourages his church that Christ Jesus will sustain them until the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Now Paul is fixing to get into some rebuke here, he is about to call out some problems and even some sin, but he want’s to make one thing very clear: Christ is the one who sustains, and Paul tells his church in Corinth that Christ is with their church, Christ is proven in their church, and Christ will sustain their church so that those saints within will be held blameless on the day of judgment.
      • Another word for blameless is “innocent!”

Conclusion

•             Paul closes his introduction to his letter to the Corinthians with this, and so I will conclude this introduction to 1st Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1: 9 ESV 9  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord

  • God is faithful, this does not mean that God has a lot of faith, it means that we can have faith in Him, a faithful person is someone you can trust to keep their word.
    • So Paul says God is Faithful, do you believe that church, is God faithful?
  • It is by God whom we are called into the fellowship of Christ.
    • Do you believe that church? Are we called by God?
      • And see that’s what is encouraging to me about this letter this morning… it is almost like God is telling me “Christian, it is not that I am going to do great things through CLC, it is that I am ALREADY doing great things for CLC, and will continue to do great things through CLC, I am faithful, I have called this church, and I will sustain it until the end!”
  • Jesus Christ is our Lord!
    • Is Christ your Lord this morning?
      • AMEN AND AMEN!

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