Summary: Paul teaches the Corinthians and us that our position in Christ should have a practical impact on our daily lifestyle.
Intro: The culture of the Corinthians – sexual immorality and cultural diversity.
The context (occasion of the letter) – The immoral conduct of the Corinthians was reflective of the culture instead of Christ. (Our culture and context isn’t much different)
1) Paul wanted to deal with immorality and carnality in the church at Corinth 1-6:11
2) Paul wanted to deal with the reports he received about the church 6:12-11:34
3) Paul wanted to instruct them about their specific questions 12-16
Paul was dealing with what it means to truly be spiritual with the letter to the Corinthians. What you will find as he reprimands, corrects and instructs the church Paul clearly condemns arrogance, self promotion, bragging/boasting, and self-confidence. The Corinthians main ideal or character value was the reckless development of the individual. So culturally they valued self help, self actualization, self promotion, and self indulgence.
Even though Paul’s letter was written to a specific church about specific issues the hearts of people haven’t changed much since its writing. The truth/life principles that Paul taught the church at Corinth still apply today.
Not only does Paul challenge their immoral lifestyle he clearly describes what should be the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. Emphasizing Christian conduct, witness, service, self-denial, purity, and weakness as the means in which God displays His strength.
I. Paul’s greeting
A) Responsibility from the Lord (1.1 “called as an apostle”)
Jesus calls us to Himself first, and then He calls us to ministry. Paul faced fierce opposition in other cities and according Luke's account of coming to Corinth in Acts 18 still had some fears and doubts. It is good to know that even the great apostle Paul fought fear and doubt. Acts 18.9 tells us how the Lord encouraged Him to continue His calling. Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 And he stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. I am not here because of an upward move or improvement in position. God called me to Immanuel. He continues to whisper encouragement to me to not be afraid. Paul’s responsibility was to share the cross and resurrection with the people. This letter is a call to practically live out the principles of crucifying self and setting Jesus up as Lord of your life.
B) Authority from the Lord (1.1 “of Jesus Christ by God’s will”)
1 Corinthians 9 and 2 Corinthians 10.10 makes clear to us that there were people that questioned Paul’s authority. He began his letter telling them His authority came from His calling and from Christ. What is your calling? Is if of God or opinion or gifting? You can be extremely gifted and talented but not called.
C) Community of the Lord (1.2 “To God’s church at Corinth)
Paul was called to the church of God at Corinth.
1) Ekklesia—The term in Greek can mean any kind of assembly. Paul and the Christians of his day bypassed the regular religious words for brotherhoods and used this common word. It reflects the deep conviction that the church is not just another religious group among many. It is unique. This would have been a reminder that God called them out to build a new humanity.
2) Sanctified – In the Greek literally means set apart. It is not mostly high moral character as much as begin set apart for God’s purposes. This would be a reminder to the Corinthians and us that we are to be different in our thoughts, attitudes, actions, relationships, decisions that those without Christ around us. This means that when we are set apart by a relationship with Jesus Christ that relationship changes our character. You must ask the question why the Corinthian's were receiving such criticism from Paul Later on in his letter. Paul was challenging, scolding, rebuking them because their practical life did not line up with their position in Christ.
Sanctified in Christ
Position Christ paid for your sins so that you stand right with God. Christ for you
Practical – The ethical, moral, and spiritual transformation. Christ in you
It is very hard to see ourselves as saints of God sometimes. If you struggle with sin at all it is discouraging and can be defeating. Focus on what Jesus has done for you. He has paid for your sins, set you right with God and called you to be His assembly, His saint. Let this truth of what Jesus has done for you move you to practically walk in faith.
Is difficulty resisting sin and temptation a good reason to give in to it?