Summary: Paul begins dealing with the many problems in the carnal Corinthian church
Someone: “The church is like Noah’s Ark: If it were not for the storm on the outside,
no one could stand the stench on the inside.”
The message of First Corinthians is written to a troubled church. Corinth was full of problems. Paul is writing to that church in order to deal with all of the problems that have been reported to him.
Even the early church had problems! Often, I hear people say that if we could just get back to the way things were in the early church, all our problems would be solved. Corinth was the early church! Every church has problems and will continue to have problems as long as we have people.
Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this”
Divine calling: Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
1. Divine language: called….apostle….will of God……sanctified…saints by calling
2. Paul begins by establishing his authority to say what he needs to say.
Opinions are like noses/Everybody has one and sometimes they get stuck into where they cause
more harm than good.
Paul was called by God and spoken to by God with regard to the concerns in Corinth.
3. Acts Ch. 18 - Paul like usual went to the Synagogue to teach - rejected as usual by the Jews
Next door - house adjoining wall Crispus - ruler of Synagogue. Saved
Sosthenes was the guy who took his place & took Paul to court - when the case was thrown out
Sosthenes was beaten up - opposed Paul ended up getting saved & ministered w/ Paul.
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth,
Corinth was a large city - 700,000 people - a Roman colony on Grecian Soil
A wealthy city - It was called the VANITY FAIR Of the Roman Empire ! The lounge of Greece
But Corinth was a wicked city ! A Port city that sat between the Adriatic & Aegean Seas
Because of its 2 seaports Corinth became a major Commercial center. Canal nearby
To avoid sailing 200 extra miles around Southern Greece / sailors would put their boats on rollers / roll them 4 miles. This made Corinth a convenient & popular stopping place for these sailors / looking to get drunk & indulge in one night stands
The city of Corinth was also filled w/ shrines & pagan temples the most popular was the Temple of Aphrodite " Goddess of love" City of Aphrodite
1000 temple prostitutes who went out every night soliciting business in the name of worship
Paul Wrote the book of Romans / there In Ch. 1 : 18 Man’s demise
Paul only had to look out His window!
In Rome they had a saying to describe those who lives were characterized by living Loose
They said you are behaving like a Corinthian. If a ‘Corinthian’ was on stage in a Greek play he was expected to be a drunk or something similar.
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Corinth was a Wicked pagan place & the wickedness had crept into the church! MESS!
It is here in this epistle that we are introduced to the concept of a carnal Christian!
a) Paul founded Acts 18 - 18 months - Now the church was a mess. Multiple problems.
People focused on men/ Immorality / Marriage problems / Lawsuits/ Divisions / Abuse of gifts /
abuse of Lords supper
The interesting thing in contrasting the Corinthian letters w/ some of Paul’s other letters is that in this letter is there is no mention of the problem of wrestling legalism. wrong rituals - Circumcision - resting upon dead works(Philippians) No questions raised in this letter on the deity of Christ, or the virgin birth, or the substitutionary atonement, or the incarnation of Jesus.
Here in Corinthians the problem was license. They had accepted the grace of God to such a degree that they did not think it made any difference how they behaved, and that is part of what was causing the problem.
Divine Enablement : 4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,