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1 Corinthians

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Godly Confidence

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Paul had some very difficult things to say to the church in Corinth. It was immature, riddled with pride and tolerated immorality. They had a poor understanding of the gospel, the Christian life and the role of Christian ministry. The church had become for some an extension of the morally undisciplined leisure culture in the world around them. Little wonder that the church was divided even though many people were very gifted.

Thank God for His Gifts

1 Corinthians 1:4-7

God always does everything excellently! Even though Paul needed to rebuke the Corinthian church, he gave praise to God for everything He had done for them and in them. It was through God's grace that they had been saved when they put their trust in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). They heard the gospel, and responded in repentance and by receiving new life in Christ. How gracious God had been to them!

Faithful to the End

1 Corinthians 1:8-9

It is right that we try to please the Lord, and encourage other people to do so as well. But however hard we try, we cannot please God unless He helps us. So, when encouraging another believer, we must first point to God who holds us steady so that we can do His will. Only God can prevent us collapsing spiritually, and He is committed to our eternal security because we belong to Him.

Party Spirit and Disunity

1 Corinthians 1:10-13

There was disunity in the church in Corinth. Paul, Peter and Apollos had all taught in the church. They all presented the same message of salvation by faith in Christ, and they all spoke well of each other. But 'party spirit' is a malignant disease which seizes hold of perceived differences in order to try to control the church. They latched onto the different styles of these men and clubbed together to champion one teacher over another. The church was being torn apart from the inside.

Baptism and the Gospel

1 Corinthians 1:14-17

Paul had heard that baptism had become a cause of disunity amongst the believers in Corinth.  Some people wrongly believed that baptism made people more special or holy, depending on who had done the baptising.  So Paul was glad that he had only baptised two men and one family.  He did not want people to think that they had been baptised in his name.  It was the name of Jesus which mattered because He was their Saviour, not Paul.

Foolish or Powerful Message

1 Corinthians 1:18-19

The message of the cross is straightforward: Jesus died as a substitute sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world and everybody who believes in Him is assured that they have forgiveness and eternal life.  It is a brilliantly gracious message  - the best news in the world.  It is at the heart of God's powerful gospel; all those who believe it and receive Christ are assured of salvation.

Who is Wise?

1 Corinthians 1:20-21

Wisdom is more than knowledge.  Yes, it is full of truth, but wisdom knows how to apply truth in such a way that God's purposes are fulfilled and people are blessed by Him.  So wisdom must start with God.  God is the only person who is always wise and never foolish (Romans 16:27), and so we must listen to Him.

Signs of Spiritual Authenticity

1 Corinthians 1:22-25

It is not wrong to ask the question, "How do I know that your faith is the true way to God?"  But you need to look in the right place for the answer.  Human beings have an inbuilt desire to reach out to somebody or something bigger than themselves, believing that there is more to life than the world offers (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  So, thousands of religious ideas have been spawned as people search for an external meaning to their lives (Acts 17:24-28).

God Calls Surprising People

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

What sort of people do you think God might call into His family?  If He were in recruitment the answer would be the brightest brains and a strong desire to achieve the best.  But God is not a Human Resources consultant!  He is the Creator who loves weak and helpless sinners: He wants to save them.  Jesus' selection of disciples showed that.  In fact He does not call many people who would be head-hunted for international corporates; although He does choose some, most might be called the 'rejects of society'.  

Christ Calls an End to Selfish Boasting

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

While religions of many different flavours boast of self-improvement in order to reach God, it is by God's loving grace alone that we are in Christ Jesus; safely sheltered from the wrath of God against our sins.  There is nothing anybody can do to achieve favour with God, except to receive His gift.