Summary: In 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses essentials for a sound church. In this chapter, he emphasizes how we came to be.
Essentials of the Church
We are a church, in the Townships, that wants to make a difference for the Kingdom. However, we recognize that we have some challenges. We have the geographical challenge of being spread out over a considerable distance, and not having a concentration of us, in any significant number, in any one location. We have the challenge of being an aging congregation. We have the challenge of being a church with limited financial resources. However, we are a church that has been here for many years and one which, I firmly believe, is to be an outpost, with a continuing mission, in the work of God’s kingdom. We are a church that wants to do God’s work. While we seek, and wait, for His clarity on the matter of how and what He wants us to be doing here, I think it is an ideal time to be renewed in essentials of the church. It is a good time to be renewed in those basic matters that will enable us to be a better church, and to function more completely on the front lines of the Kingdom in this lovely area.
Over the next months, we will draw some essential lessons from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church. It was a church, too, trying to figure itself out and trying to understand how to be, within the kingdom work of the time. Paul’s letter is very helpful for us and is, I believe, very renewing and encouraging, too.
Today, then, we’ll focus on the first chapter, where there is one essential of the church clearly laid before us. This is one that we dare not forget, as we advance in doing the work of the family to which we belong- that wonderful family of God.
1 Cor.1.- 8 times, Paul emphasizes where this church came from. This is the essential- likely the most basic and necessary essential- of the church. Through using the words ‘call’ (and variants), chosen, and ‘you are’, Paul underscores how this body came to be, and how each individual came to be in it. Let’s begin to see this, and how Paul unfolds this vital lesson.
v.1- Paul was called- he acknowledged that he came to be, within the Christian context, through God’s intervention in his life. His was a dramatic calling, as we know, and it was not simply a calling to conversion, but one to service, as well. He was merrily going along living his life, and doing, for God, what he thought ought to be done, when ‘whammo’, he was struck as with lightning and his life changed. He wasn’t called for just anything, but was called to serve Jesus, as a result of God’s will. When you think of it, this is the same for each of us, and Paul underscores this, as he goes along. Each of us was merrily going along in our lives and God, for reasons that only He seems to know, ‘dared’ to interrupt our lives and ‘dared’ to give us a direction different from what we might have taken on our own. For some of us, this happened early. For some of us, this happened later. But, for all of us, it happened. God’s will is involved. Just imagine that- meditate on that- think of that. God, who made everything ‘from things which do not appear’ called, and you heard.