Text: 1 Corinthians, Title: The Troubled, Triumphant Church, Date/Place: NRBC, 6/17/12, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage:
C. Main thought:
1. Division among the body of Christ. “Is Christ Divided?”
2. We divide over ages, preferences of music, personalities, temperature of the sanctuary, buildings, budgets, and many other things. We must seek to end division and strife. What things can you decide to let go of that are really not that important eternally? What broken relationships can you begin to fix? What are you going to do? When are you going to do it?
1. In 1:23 he told them that he preached Christ crucified, here he says that he determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
2. Some in the SBC are hung up right now on Calvinism and have put out a statement that provokes right before the convention. But Paul would admonish us to preach Christ and Him crucified, and not worry about which camp you are in. Are our ministries Christ-centered? Worship, SS, wed nights? Are our lives fixated on Jesus and all His glorious perfections?
1. Paul reminds the church that they will be held accountable for every deed done in the body, and all of them will be tried by fire, and we will be rewarded or suffer loss.
2. Jesus says every idle word. Are you on the foundation of Christ? Will the things you spend your time and money on be of eternal reward? Are you investing in souls?
1. Paul reminds them of his love and care for them. He is not being mean in the letter. He is being firm as a father would his children. Elsewhere he describes his ministry like that of a “nursing mother.” A better metaphor at our house would be a overly sensitive over protective sister.
2. Our ministry for each other needs to flow from a genuine concern for the other to grow up into Christ; being firm where we need it, and not when we don’t. Work to form Christ in them, just like you do your children.
E. 5:6-7, 11
1. Paul’s concern here was for the Name of God, the purity of the church, and the rescue of an individual.
2. We must consider the purity of the local church. We cannot tolerate sin, it will poison us all. We must lovingly hold our people accountible for living the Christian life. Think of it as a Christian rescue mission to save a brother or sister from themselves, an intervention. Like those documentaries where the family confronts others with substance about problems.
1. He makes a statement that all these “sinners” will not inherit the kingdom, and sounds very judgmental and pharisaical. Then he says, “and such were some of you.” Two truths: 1) its a lesson in humility, 2) it’s a lesson in gratitude for saving grace, 3) and it’s a lesson in life transformation.
2. We are a collection of sinners who have been snatched from the fire. We cannot look down on anyone, but for the grace of God we all go there. Rejoice that God saved you! You couldn’t do it, couldn’t earn it, and were helpless to fix yourself, but He did, while we were yet sinners. And if He really did it, the word “were” truly applies, you are not the same anymore.
1. The marriage bed is sacred. Paul tells them to live where they are called. If married, honor that, love your spouse, and enjoy ALL the benefits of marriage regularly! If single, serve the Lord, and rejoice in your gift of singleness. If you are married, stay married, if single, stay single.
2. Are you being the spouse that you should be? That’s all you can work on, yourself. Fix yourself, and let God fix your spouse. Three qualifications to refrain from marital relations for any significant amount of time. Singles, are you rejoicing, trusting, and serving the Lord in your freedom from marital obligations?
1. Paul says to not let your life cause others to stumble in their walk with Christ. Quickly explain the situation.
2. Some of you may have freedoms (true ones, not sins) that would confused or alienate other believers, be careful. Personal habits, clothing choices, Sunday rest, worship preferences, tatoos, long hair, leisure activities may have to be put aside for you to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ, or at least not flaunted, because even though those things inherently might not be sinful, some can’t handle them.
1. One of Paul’s concern throughout his entire ministry is that the good news of Jesus Christ be spread to all kinds of people. And according to these verses, he did all that he cold to ensure that this would happen.
2. Are you sharing your faith? How many people have you witnessed to in the past 6 months? Are you making inroads into lives for that purpose? Are you loving and learning people in your quest?
1. This is one of the most hopeful verses in the book. He says that trials and temptations are common to all, and God is sovereign over them and faithful through them. He will provide an escape if you would take it.
2. Had all you can handle? God is there for you. Come all you that are weak and heavy laden, and He will give you rest? Fighting a particular sin to the death? Suffering unjust pain and heartache? Can’t go on? Trust Him for He will not load upon you a burden to hard to bear, but one hard enough to cause you to trust him.
1. He told them to imitate him, because he was imitating Christ. And he told them that everything they did, let it be done to the glory of God. Every action, every job, every word should be framed around the reputation of God that will be promoted.
2. What will God think about what you did? What will people say about God as they look upon your life? Will they see that He is the most glorious being in the universe? When you enjoy food, thank God. When you breathe fresh air (or any air at all), thank God. Praise Him in everything, exalt Him.
1. Paul tells them to be reverent, loving, and remembering at the Lord’s Supper. Instructs on how its done, then warns them about their unholy practices that are bringing harm to the body.
2. The little kid who jumped in the baptistry. How about you? Do you participate in the Lord’s Supper the other day? Did you remember the Lord? Did you feel like you were truly remembering the Lord? Do we approach other things of the church casually?
1. These next three chapters deal with the gifts of the Spirit. The important point that he makes is that there are diversities of gifts, all from God, and all to profit the church.
2. So, have you been using your spiritual gifts to benefit the body of Christ? You were placed here for a reason. This church needs you, and needs you to function in the role that God has gifted you for. To fail to build up the church with your gift causes us and the kingdom to lose out, and be less than what we should.
1. Everyone’s favorite—the “love” chapter. Read the text. The poetry is exquisite. It’s a reminder of how our love of each other is supposed to look.
2. Does your love for those in this church and in your family look like this? Do you assume good, refuse to keep lists, endure much pain from them, and exhibit overwhelming kindness? You can, if you trust the Spirit to work that in you, and obey His leadings.
1. Paul reemphasizes the hope that we have in the resurrection of Christ. He lists those who saw Him alive, and then in this passage explains why it is so important. There were those among the churches that were saying that Christ didn’t raise. Correct doctrine is extremely important.
2. We must step it up a notch in teaching theology. Parents, we must do it in our homes. I have resources to equip you. Teachers, dig deeper, don’t worry about “over their heads,” they can get it. Teenagers do chemistry and calculus every year. Know that our hope is solid and secure on the most provable miracle in the history of the world.
1. Death and taxes—taxes we will get away from when we die, but Paul says that we overcome death in Christ. We will never die, but only alive more real than ever. Paul taunts death here.
2. We have power over death, and it will be cast into the lake of fire. We are all a little worried about it, but Jesus took the sting from it.
1. Final statements are a warning, then a prayer, and a loving greeting. He reminds us that we must love Christ, otherwise, you will not see heaven. Then he prays grace upon us. Then he reaffirms his love and affection.
2. Heaven is not for those that want to miss hell, but for those who love Christ. Doesn’t matter if you go to church, a church member, baptized, or memorized the whole bible, if you don’t love Jesus, you aren’t really going. “Why are so many on their way to heaven acting like their way to heaven.” How do you tell: desire to be with him, willingness to sacrifice for him, obedience to him, And all of this is by grace. Your entire existance is based on grace.
A. Closing illustration:
C. Invitation to commitment
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