Summary: From Riches to Rags - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:



• Corinth was cosmopolitan

• Corinth was commercial

• Corinth was corrupt


• they were genuinely saved (vs 4)

• they were greatly enriched (vs 5)

• they were securely established (vs 6)

• they were spiritually Gifted (vs 7)


• 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,


• 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!


• 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.



• If In asked you to name some of the great ‘sin’ capitols of the world;

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