Summary: Paul's authority to write to this church. Who is Sosthenes. The source of Paul's apostolic Authority.


A. The human author of this letter was Paul, Saul of Tarshish

1. I am not going to spend a whole lot of time introducing Paul, except to say that Saul, his former name means “Prayed for”

2. Paul, on the other hand, means “small”

a. Saul is a somewhat exalted name

b. Paul, appropriately, is a diminutive name

(1) Lets begin by turning to 1 Corinthians 1:1

II. Body

A. The greeting

1 Corinthians 1:1 (NKJV)

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

1. Paul begins by pointing out his authority, an apostle

a. An apostle is one sent with a commission

(1) In other words, an ambassador

(2) An ambassador is a representative of the one who commissioned him

(a) Turn to Matthew 28:18

b. Remember, Jesus told His disciples that He, Jesus, had been given all authority, in heaven and on earth

Matthew 28:18 NKJV) (

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

c. Jesus had the authority, given Him by God the Father

d. And He gave that authority to His apostles

(1) At the time of the communist victory in taking Saigon in Vietnam, our military helicopters were evacuating the American embassy in Saigon. The ambassador to Vietnam ordered the helicopters to carry away some very high ranking Vietnamese officials and their families while leaving behind Americas, embassy employees and military personnel. The president of the United States, Gerald Ford, had to personally call the piolets and the aircraft carrier captain to countermand the embassador’s orders, placing all American citizens at a higher priority than Vietnamese officials.

(a) An ambassador has the authority to order military and civilian employees

(b) Only the president of the country the ambassador represents can countermand the ambassador’s word

(2) That is the kind of authority an ambassador has

(3) That is the kind of authority an apostle had, has and will have

(4) That is the kind of authority we have as we represent our Lord and Master

2. Also note who Paul was representing, God, it says, “called to be an apostle through the will of God”

a. God called Paul

(1) Turn to Acts 9:10-16

b. God gave Paul the authority to represent Him

(1) Paul was chosen and called by God

(2) Not by himself, he did not assume his position by himself

(3) Not by men, there was no ruling body that said, “Paul, you’re now an apostle.”

(4) Paul was chosen and appointed by God

Acts 9:10-16 (NKJV)

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." {11} So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. {12} "And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight." {13} Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. {14} "And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name." {15} But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. {16} "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

(5) Now, I read this passage to give us the context of the Lord’s words in verses 15 and 16

Acts 9:15-16 (NKJV)

The Lord said, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. {16} "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

(a) The Lord verifies that Saul of Tarshish was chosen specifically by Him

i) He is a chosen vessel of mine

(b) Also notice at the end ov verse 16, “how many things he must suffer for My name's sake”

(c) I would say that the Lord didn’t pull any punches

(d) He is My chosen vessel and he will suffer many things for My name

3. Now, we don’t call ourselves apostles, well some do, but generally we don’t call ourselves apostles

a. Many churches say that there were only 12 apostles

(1) There is some question of who took Judas’ place

(a) Paul or Matthias

i) Matthias was chosen by the casting of lots on Pentecost

a) Lets turn to Matthew 28:19 - 20

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