Summary: Seeing the Church through grace and peace
This sermon (1 Corinthians 1: 6 -9) was preached at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey, on Sunday 11 January 2015.
We have discovered that the Corinthian church was very much like us – where the society had no moral compass and there was a religious maelstrom of all religions and the inclusion of none.
As we have mentioned before, we are looking at the contents of this letter through the prism of grace and peace (verse 3).
We looked at thanking God last time so we shall be investigating the completeness to be found in God this week.
The source of our completeness is the amazingness of God, which we have been singing about.
God is absolutely central to everything we are reliant on– note: Christ is mentioned nine times in first nine verses.
There are three areas that mentioned in these four verses:
a. Certainty – testimony of Christ revealed in you
b. Continuing sustenance
c. Conclusion of time
In verse 6, the word indicates that we are to be bearing witness to what God has done for us – the word (‘confirming’) is often used in papyri in legal sense of guaranteeing.
We can confirm what God has done in our lives, which is seen through His grace and peace poured out through us to others.
The starting position has to be salvation, being made holy in God’s sight. We have seen previously that we are already called to be a child of God (2 Timothy 1: 8 – 12).
‘Blameless’ (v. 8) signifies ‘unimpeachable’ – God looks down and sees righteousness of Jesus covering us (2 Corinthians 5: 21 – ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’)
We need to know who we are in Christ Jesus I am reminded of the illustration found In Disney’s ‘Lion King.’ Simba the lion heir apparent had been exiled, experiencing the massive guilt about his role in his father’s death. His father had taught Simba the importance of his role in the animal kingdom and how he should act; but when the road got tough, the young lion prince ran. When Rafiki, the monkey who was the king’s prime minister, finds the errant prince and challenges him about his identity and what he should do next. The critical point comes when Rafiki literally raps Simba on the head and says, ’You don’t even know who you are!’
We need to know our identity as children of God.
As the children of God, we should be aware of eternal hands holding us up – we need to be aware of fact that God has saved us and how marvellous is our relationship with heavenly King.
Elyse Fitzpatrick stated: ‘Maturity in the Christian life is measured by only one test: how much closer to His character have we become?’
We have sure confidence in the love of God since it is grounded in fact that God is faithful. The character of God is at stake since He promised in His Word that nothing can separate us from Him (Romans chapter 8).
‘Faithful’ is defined as ‘firm in adherence to promises.’ Jeremiah wrote: ‘Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’ (Lamentations 3: 22 – 23)
2. Continuing sustenance
Verse 7 tells of gifts. There are three possibilities as to what this means – a) salvation (Romans 5: 15 – ‘For if the many died by the trespass of the one man [i.e. Adam], how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!’ b) spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12: 4ff) or c) God’s gifts in general (Romans 11: 29 – ‘for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.’).
In this passage, it is the reference to God’s general gifts in general (c) that He outpours into the lives of His children.
His gifts are given to us not for our pleasure but as means of drawing others into the Kingdom of God. It should be our testimony of how God sustains and protects us. It should be talking points: how much do we use how God is working in our lives as starting points in conversations?
God’s gifts in our lives illustrate His grace. His love meant that He had to rescue us
Paul know of the grace of God in his life: ‘The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.’ (1Timothy 1: 14)
His enrichment of gifts upon us is an assurance, a foresight (v. 8) of the good things that we will experience in eternity.