Summary: First in a series on 1 Corinthians focusing on the spiritual position of the believers in spite of their practice.
Chico Alliance Church
September 15, 2002
Pastor David Welch
Introduction to the Book
BACKGROUND OF CORINTH--THE CITY
Major trade center
Two types of games--Olympian/Isthmian. Isthmian held in Corinth.
Cosmopolitan population--Greeks, Roman officials and businessmen and near eastern peoples, including Jews.
Idol worshipping community--Temple to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
Temple would house some 1,000 priestesses, ritual prostitutes who would come to town every night.
The city had gained a well known reputation for corruption. Its very name became synonymous with gross immorality, and evil behavior.
Corinth was intellectually alert, materially prosperous and morally corrupt.
The ideal Corinthian was the reckless development of the individual. The merchant who made his gain by all and every means, the man of pleasure surrendering himself to every lust.
Paul addressed some of the prevalent sins that were affecting the church and out of which many of the church people had escaped.
fornication, (porneia) idolatry, adultery, effeminacy, homosexuality, stealing, covetousness, drunkenness, reviling, swindling.
Because of its strategic location, there was an incredible amount of wealth that came into the city. It was a city that attracted all kinds of people as a result.
Much has been made of the conditions in Corinth--much of it has been overstated and exaggerated according to Fee’s commentary.
The picture that emerges is one of a predominantly Gentile community, the majority of who were at the lower end of the ladder.
BACKGROUND OF THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH
Paul first came on his 2nd missionary journey.
Stayed with Aquilla and Priscilla
Preached regularly in the synagogue with increased opposition
Stayed about 1.5 years with increased Jewish opposition.
Paul left Aquilla & Pricilla in charge ( Acts 18)
Apollos became the 2nd leader and was a powerful preacher.
Paul is thought to have written a response to some issues in the church a short time after he left.
The present letter makes reference to a previous correspondence.
It is apparent that although there was a church in Corinth--there was a great deal of Corinth in the church.
This resulted in a number of attitudes and behaviors that required major surgery without killing the patient.
There were many problems associated with this church
Two appear prominent--
1--A problem of internal fractionalization
2--A problem of external fraternization.
They tolerated all kinds of sinful behavior in the church when they should have been dealing with it.
They failed to reach out to those in the world they were supposed to win.
In spite of the problems, Paul centered on their position in Christ.
He continually reminded them of who they were by reason of their identification with Christ.
Address and Introduction 1:1-9
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
A. Reproof concerning divisions 1-4
B. Reproof concerning disorder 5-6
II. Response to questions and issues 7-16
A. Concerning Marriage 7
B. Concerning Liberty and things sacrificed to idols 8-11
C. Concerning the Lord’s Supper 11
D. Concerning Spiritual gifts 12-14
E. Concerning the Gospel -- the Death and Resurrection of Christ 15
F. Concerning the Collection 16:1-4
We will look this morning at Paul’s introduction to his letter where he strongly reinforces the true identify of those who call upon the name of the Lord in spite of some obvious inconsistencies in their life.
Romans is considered a major work revealing the teaching of salvation.
Galatians partners with Romans to reinforce the doctrine of salvation.
The Corinthian letters partner with Romans to reinforce the practice of salvation.
Let’s dive into the introduction.
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
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:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 1:1-9 (NASB-U)
I find at least eight specific characteristics listed in this brief introduction related to the work of God in and for them and two specific actions related to their response to Him.
This is God’s balance.
Make sure you keep your theology God-centered and driven and not man driven.