Summary: This message is not a verse by verse commentary, but a look at how some general connections can be made to help us in these confusing times.
“Dear Wakelee Church…Sincerely, Paul”
The Corinthian Connection Series
“Calm Answers in Confusing Times” ~ I Corinthians 12-16
Wakelee Church ~ June 27, 2004
(All verses are NJKV unless otherwise noted)
Introduction - Have you ever been confused??? Even our own language can be confusing at times.
A comedian once said that the English language is the most confusing language on the planet…
"There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet at all, are actually meat.
Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it, an odd, or an end?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on."
The comedian concluded by saying, "Well, it is obvious that English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all."
Confusion…few things are worse than being confused.
And for the church at Corinth, they were especially confused over spiritual issues.
Chuck Swindoll wrote of the Corinthian church, “The Corinthian Christians found themselves in disagreement, which led to their developing cliques and splinter groups—each going in a different direction, listening to a different leader…Woven through the fabric of these lessons is God’s concern that we not allow [confusion] and divisions to break down our love for each other. There are many more things that hold us together than separate us as children of the living God.”
It could be assumed that Paul sensed some of this confusion in the reports he received. And while I doubt it was over the language (although it was totally Greek to him…ha, ha), the confusion he was sensing was real, and as he sat in Ephesus working with the church there, his mind drifted back to Corinth, to the young church there, in order to give them some calm answers in the midst of their confusion.
These are the connections that we will study this morning. I invite you to following along on the half-sheet in your bulletins.
Connection: “We’re all in this together!” – I Corinthians 12:1-30
Key Verse – “ There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries,
but the same Lord.” – I Corinthians 12:4-5
It’s interesting to note the two-part strategy that Paul gives here. In the midst of their confusion over
who can do what and what can be done by who, Paul simply states that God gives to the individual Christian the spiritual capacities…diversities of gifts.
But this diversity of gifts works only in unity with one another…same Spirit…same Lord.
The confusion hampered the ministry of the church, Paul’s connection was to say, “We’re in this together!”
Connection: “Love is not confusing!” - I Corinthians 13:1-13
Key Verse “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” –
You can imagine the controversy here. Each splinter group of the Corinthian church battling out against each other. Church council meetings where everyone is at each other’s throats. Back-biting and gossip flowing through the church everywhere.
And in steps Paul… “You’re accomplishing nothing but making noise, like sounding brass or a clanging symbol…there is a more excellent way…and that way is love.”
Let me tell you, Paul said, you’re trying to make this confusing, but in fact its extremely simple…love one another…without love you are nothing, you are doing nothing, you are accomplishing nothing.
Do we need faith? Of course, faith enables us to come to God.
Do we need hope? Of course, hope allows us to act on faith.