GRASSROOTS CHRISTIANITY

Wrong living results from wrong belief

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Jerry A Collins

SCC

6/5/05

 

q     What does it mean to be called of God?

q     What are some ways we can label someone as a Christian?

q     What specific things are said about Jesus Christ?

 

So much of what we do is dependent upon what it is we believe. Wrong living always stems from wrong belief. If I believe I need something I cannot afford, then I will get into debt to have it. If I believe that I need to get even with you, then I will hurt you and cause you pain in some way to achieve it. If I believe I need to pass a test I did not study for, then I may cheat in order to do so. In our passage today is the foundation for the rest of the book of 1 Corinthians. Here we learn the correct doctrine we must believe to provide the basis for keeping us out of the trouble they faced in the Corinthian church. The problem with the believers in this city was that they did not believe this and it resulted in the problems addressed in the rest of the book. What is the doctrinal foundation of our faith that determines the way we will conduct our lives?

1. WE HAVE A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Paul introduces himself 1 Pauls style is to generally puts his name first when he begins writing his books. So we are clear on who the author is. Here and in Romans he tells us he is called as an apostle of Jesus Christ. The point is that you cannot just decide to be an apostle. You have to be appointed by the One doing the sending. In Galatians 1:1 confirms he was appointed by God for this. It is not passed down thru history or conferred by laying on of hands or an ordination. It is given by Christ personally (Acts 9). This calling was by the will of God as a desire and decision of God. So from the onset it is made clear that delegated by God he speaks and writes and resisting him is resisting God. Sosthenes is introduced as a brother who seems to be well known to these believers. In Acts 18:12-17 a man of this name is ruler of the synagogue in the city who apparently became a believer.

The recipients in Corinth 2 This audience is described as the church of God which is at Corinth and here we have four ways to label believers. 1) The church combines 2 words meaning to call or summon out of. So it is to a group of ones called out, the ones sharing in Christs salvation. We would not describe the chamber of commerce this way. 2) Sanctified in Christ Jesus meaning we have a new position before God now. We are set apart from the worlds condemnation and set apart to holiness. Our holiness comes from our position in Christ not something we manufactured. 3) Saints by calling meaning that God has appointed us for salvation. There is no calling for us as apostles. Gods calling deals with our salvation not our service. Paul did not chose who would be believers in Corinth, God did. 4) Who in every place call on the name of JC. Here emphasizes the global & universal nature of the church in every age. This refers not to prayer necessarily but to those who have Jesus as Lord instead of some other god. In previous phrase emphasis was on Gods sovereign choice but here the emphasis is on those who call of our free will. The name of course is Acts 4:12. As Lord we recognize Him as supreme authority, coming judge. As Jesus we recognize His humanity and as Christ we His deity, anointed as Messiah. So for all of us believers from beginning too today, we acknowledge He is our owner and sovereign to whom our allegiance is fully and immediately due.

So we have 3 1) Grace to you meaning unmerited favor since God gave us something we did not deserve. 2) Peace from God meaning we have peace with God now not that we will have peaceful circumstances. And all of this comes from 1) God our Father meaning He is our protector, provider, planner & disciplinarian and 2) from the Lord JC for He is the foundation of who we are, how we live & think, what we do, what we believe, our future is all wrapped up in Him. To whom much has been given, much is required. We have a special relationship with God which alters the very way we think and then live.

2. THAT RELATIONSHIP HAS CHANGED THINGS WITHIN US

I thank God for you 4 which is an amazing thing to say about a group of believers who were a constant problem for him. He knew what they were like. He was not thankful for their behavior. If he had to rely on his own resources, transformation could not happen among them. But God lived in them and He was at work within them so He could be thankful primarily for what God has done for them rather then their response to Pauls ministry so far. Gods grace was given to them in JC. So they were members of His body. This grace results in 4 things: First, they were enriched in Him in everything 5 The believer has everything the Lord has to give and thus everything ever needed. 2 specific examples are gifts of speaking and knowledge. Second, this richness establishes Christs testimony in them 6. The gifts were evidence or a guarantee of the testimony of Christ in them. The presence and the evidence of these gifts would establish Christs work thru His people. Third, they possess all spiritual gifts 7a. There is nothing lacking in these gifts given to these believers. There were problems in the use of these gifts that will be corrected later but they have received a large spiritual heritage and wealth. Fourth, they should anticipate Christs return 7b. These gifts are the means of ministry to one another. Yet these gifts were not the ultimate. They were to be used in anticipation of the rapture of the church, when Jesus fully reveals Himself to us. So our ministry is always in light of eternity. God has gifted us for ministry that serves the needs of other believers and does so understanding the nature of our service in light of Christs return. There are ramifications in eternity for our service in the body of Christ today. God has provided everything necessary for us to address the personal and spiritual needs we will face here.

3. THAT RELATIONSHIP CHANGES OUR FUTURE

We will be blameless 8 The confirmation we receive in the end means that the outcome is assured. Then things will be made firm and strong. In that day we will stand before God blameless, free from accusation, because of who we are in JC. Christ is the one who will make us blameless not ourselves.

We will have fellowship with Christ 9 Everything is dependent upon Gods faithfulness. God Himself issues the summons for fellowship with His Son JC. God is the principal cause of this fellowship we can anticipate in the future. So we will share and participate in relationship with JC. In one sense this verse completes discussion about results of grace God has given us. But also sets tone for next discussion on division in the body of Christ. If we share in fellowship with Christ Himself, we must also do so with one another, His children.

1. Understand the church to be the body of all believers everywhere during our age. That means we view the church as all the believers in Muskegon or West Michigan not exclusively the ones we know.

2. Be thankful for all believers even those who cause lots of problems, like the Corinthians, because they are also saints by calling. We are part of the same family and in a vital relationship with one another.

3. Jesus Christ is the center of all we are and hope to be. 1) apostle of JC 1. 2) sanctified in CJ 2. 3) call of name of LJC 3. 4) grace & peace from LJC 3. 5) grace given in CJ. 6) awaiting eagerly revelation of LJC. 7) day of our LJC. 8) called into fellowship with JCL.