Summary: Have you ever had a friend that was so close that they could come to you and tell you where you were wrong? A true friend will not allow you to continue down a path of destruction...
Date Written: January 31, 2012
Date Preached: February, 2012
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: A Series from 1 Corinthians
Sermon Title: A Message from a Friend
Sermon Text: 1 Cor 1:1-17 [ESV] – Read – v1-3 here
1Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2To 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:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the next several weeks we are going to be looking at the letter to the church in Corinth and this morning we are going to focus on the basis for this letter…
Many believe that this letter was a harsh rebuke from Paul, and while there are several accounts in the letter where Paul is rebuking certain behavior… overall this letter is a letter from a friend and co-laborer in Christ… sent to uplift, encourage and sharpen the believers at Corinth.
Let me ask you a question, “Have you ever had a really good friend?” you know the kind of friend who was willing to say things that needed to be said…
A friend who will stick by you when things are hard…
A friend who will be there for you when all others are against you…
A friend who is willing to sacrifice to make your life better…
Do you have a friend like that?
What about the type of friend who is willing to speak up when you are out of line… a friend who is willing to say the hard things, even when you don’t want to hear them!
You see a friend like that is a true friend… a friend like that is one who keeps us going in the right direction and keeps us from doing further damage to ourselves and to others. A TRUE friend will tell you when you are wrong… and in our passage of Scripture this morning we find Paul doing just that…
This letter can seem harsh in many places and it MAY seem as if Paul is throwing these believers under the bus…but the fact of the matter is that Paul is A FRIEND of these people…
He had been with them since the beginning and if you read Acts 18 you can read an account of how this church was planted by Paul on his 2nd missionary journey. Paul had established some really close relationships in the 18 months he had stayed with these people! Paul’s letter was NOT out of anger, but out of love and a desire to see his friends be what God wanted them to be.
Paul had received 2 reports: One was a letter from some believers about things that were going on that were NOT godly and Christ-like! The other was a letter with many questions about doctrine and how to live as a believer. This letter was Paul’s response to those 2 letters he had received.
Paul had heard that:
There was division within the church, infighting about who was in control (ch 3)
There were believers taking each other to court… a court that was NOT governed by believers, and allowing judgment of their settlements by unbelievers (ch 6)
There were reports of gross sexual immorality even to the point of an incestuous relationship (ch 5)
The questions that were posed to Paul were sent by a group of men from the church led by Stephanus and they asked questions about:
Marriage (ch 7)
Christian liberty (ch 8-11)
Lord’s Supper (ch11)
About Spiritual Gifts (ch12-14)
These were difficult questions to answer but Paul being the great friend in the faith that he was… answers them faithfully and truthfully… not pulling any punches! Some of his answers may sound harsh, but his focus was from his love for these believers and his desire to see them be all God wanted them to be…
This morning as we look at this opening part of this letter, I want us to focus on Paul as a FRIEND responding to a very difficult situation. A situation that required him to be honest and direct… but Paul understood that love trumped all and that love must be his focus, so let’s explore how Paul begins his letter to this body of believers!
In this first part of this first chapter I can see a man who cared for this church, a man willing to speak the truth in love to ensure that they knew what God expected… I see a true message of love from Paul to the church in Corinth… In our passage this morning I see 3 responses from Paul to the believers of this church: