Sunday, January 2, 2011

What should we tell people?

Before we start 1 Corinthians, let's take a look at the start of this church. Paul planted this church and stayed there a year and a half, as seen in Acts 18:Act 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Act 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

Act 18:6-7 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.

Act 18:8-10 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city."
Apparently, when Crispus became a believer he immediately left the synagogue and Sosthenes became ruler of the synagogue. It is worth mentioning (and demonstrated here) that when someone is born-again they will come out of a false teaching religion.

Notice who they beat in verse 17. Some commentary I read indicates that Sosthenes was beat out of rage that he was unable to succeed in his "legal" attack against Paul. At this point, Sosthenes is not a believer, he's the ruler of the synagogue.

Act 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.
Why is this so interesting? Take a look at 1 Corinthians 1:1
1Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Somewhere between the events of Acts 18 and 1Corinthians 1, not only did Sosthenes get saved, but he joined Paul on is mission. That is what Paul is saying in verse one, he's saying Sosthenes and I are writing to you, chances are Sosthenes was writing what Paul was telling him to write.
The other thing Paul makes clear in this short verse is that it is by God's will that he bring the message of The Gospel to the world.

The short introduction to 1 Corinthians in my Bible has some vital information for understanding why this letter was written. Corinth was the most important city in Greece. It was the main hub of world wide commerce and was also a degraded culture full of idolatrous religion. As I read that, I couldn't help but think of how that reminded me of New York; and probably most major cities in America. The church of Corinth was having problems and Paul is going to address them.

1Corinthians 1:4-8 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That's powerful! God's Grace is poured out by Jesus, everything that they needed was communicated and given to them by Jesus, proof of The Gospel of Jesus Christ was evident in their life, they were not in need of any additional spiritual gift, they were anxious for Jesus' return and through Jesus they would be blameless at His Second Coming.

Paul urges them in verse 10 through 16 not to have division. As I read of these silly divisions. I couldn't help but think of all the denominations we have in the world. As far as I can tell from The Word, denominations are unbiblical and they are a trick of the enemy to cause division.

Paul makes it clear, we don't need creative marketing, fancy buildings, flamboyant speakers or "world class" entertainment....we need The Message of The Cross; Christ Crucified. "But people won't like me"...."But people won't come to church"...."But people don't like 'aggressive' witnessing"
1Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
This next verse is HUGE and is confirmation of what we talked about in Romans 10; As you read this verse, notice how God chooses to save men and what pleased Him:
1Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1Corinthians 1:22-23 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

1Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

1Co 1:29-31 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
31 that, as it is written, "HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD."

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