Summary: From Riches to Rags - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
A). BACKGROUND (VS 1-3):
• Corinth was cosmopolitan
• Corinth was commercial
• Corinth was corrupt
(B). THE CORINTHIAN’S RICHES (VS 4-7):
• they were genuinely saved (vs 4)
• they were greatly enriched (vs 5)
• they were securely established (vs 6)
• they were spiritually Gifted (vs 7)
(C). THE CORINTHIAN’S RAGS (VS 8-17):
• they were full of divisions (vs 10)
• they were full of quarrelling (vs 11)
• they were full of cliques (vs 12-17)
• What have these celebrities got in common?
• Actor Nicolas Cage.
• Actor Burt Reynolds.
• Actor Don Johnson.
• Singer Marvin Gaye
• Actress Kim Basinger
• Footballer George Best
• Entertainer M.C. Hammer
• Boxer Mike Tyson
• Singer Willie Nelson
• Singer Kerry Katona
• Actor Neil Morrissey
• Singer Tammy Wynette
• Singer Dionne Warwick
• Footballer Paul Gascoigne
• Singer Michael Jackson
• The answer is they all went from riches to rags;
• They all made millions and millions of dollars or pounds – then blew it!
• Either addictions to drink & drugs or bad business investments;
• Took them from riches to rags!
• i.e. Michael Jackson.
• Even before his death in 2009,
• The King of Pop was recognized;
• As the most successful entertainer of all time by the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
• But in 2007, Jackson filed for bankruptcy;
• After not being able to pay back a $25 million loan on his home, Neverland Ranch.
• This tragedy – the slow slip from riches to rags – happens not only to individuals;
• But to Churches as well!
• An example of that is the Church at Corinth.
• It started so well (Acts chapter 18 verses 1-11),
• It was spiritually rich and seemingly invincible.
• But then like those celebrities it went from riches to rags;
• It became spiritually bankrupt and full of spiritual poverty.
• Now before we look at the problems and the solutions for this Church;
• Let’s get a bit of background information.
• In New Testament times Corinth was a bustling port;
• It was a cosmopolitan city, containing a mixture of people and races,
(1). CORINTH WAS COSMOPOLITAN:
• Cosmopolitan simply means multi-ethnic, international, broad-based,
• Ill: Hounslow Holiday Club – at least 15 nationalities.
• Quote evangelist Bob Telford: “we must do some outreach in Stratford–upon–Avon”.
• If you asked him ‘why?’,
• He would reply; “Because you will encounter people from all over the world!”
The city of Corinth was like that!
• People passed through from all over the world!
• The city was mostly populated by freedmen – ex slaves:
• They had either bought their freedom or earned it in some way.
• ill: Notice how Paul describes the Church members (chapter 1 verse 26):
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.”
• Many of these ex-slaves had worked their way up the social ladder;
• Since their conversion to Christ many of them;
• Had become quite wealthy and they occupied some important positions in society.
• They had gone from rags to riches both materially and spiritually!
(2). CORINTH WAS COMMERCIAL.
• Thanks to its location,
• The city was a centre for both trade and travel:
• It was seated at the crossroads of the Roman Empire.
• Corinth was a place where all trade routes met.
The southern part of Greece is very much an island.
• ill: 10 miles away from us is the city of Portsmouth;
• As you know Portsmouth is actually an island – it is cut off by water.
• Which makes it unique - Portsmouth is the UK's only island City
• There are of course a couple of man-made roads that go into the city,
• All traffic in and out of the city must pass though those limited ways!
Similarly the southern part of Greece is almost an island:
• On the west is the Corinthian Gulf;
• On the east the Saronic Gulf.
• The only thing to join these two parts of Greece together;
• Is a little strip of land four miles across.
• In ancient times it was called “The bridge of Greece”.
• Because all trade routes met and used this city.
• So as a bridge of commerce and trade constantly went by.
• The result was Corinth became a rich and populous city;
• With one of the greatest commercial trades in the ancient world.
(3). CORINTH WAS CORRUPT.
• If In asked you to name some of the great ‘sin’ capitols of the world;