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Summary: Paul’s passion for telling of Christ and the struggles he went through and how they can apply to our lives

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Gold Medal Living

“Passion of a Champion”

August 8, 2004

Intro: Looking at how to live as spiritual champions. Last week we looked at determination and the need to press on. This week we are going to look at the passion it takes to be a spiritual champion. Again, we are using the life of Paul as a backdrop for our study. For this purpose, we are defining Passion to mean “Focus”

Today we are going to look at a letter Paul wrote to Christians in the city of Corinth. He had spent a long time there helping them establish a church and now he was writing back to answer questions they had sent him.

In order to fully appreciate all of this, we need a little background on the city of Corinth.

• Corinth was a city along a major trade route of the ancient world.

• It had an extremely wild lifestyle that became the object of jokes to ancient playwrights.

• It was seen as an obscene and vulgar place that was shameless and immoral.

• It was no small town. Corinth had a population of 700,000 and was second in size only to Rome itself

• Every race of people was represented in Corinth.

• Traders and profiteers from all corners of the globe came to make money off the city.

• Religions of all types flourished and a temple to the goddess Venus employed 1,000 prostitutes

• Yet as Christianity began to take root, the church grew to be one of the largest in the 1st century. It is against this backdrop that Paul writes I Corinthians to answer some problems that have erupted in the church.

Paul’s Focus

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

I Corinthians 2:1-2(NIV)

Paul points out the focus of the time he spent in Corinth. For 18 months he lived in Corinth, working as a tent maker and speaking in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

Wherever Paul traveled, his focus was to proclaim Jesus.

As we read scripture of this travels, we find that as Paul headed to Corinth he constantly preached Jesus at every point along the way.

Acts 16-18 tells of Paul’s travels and some of his trials as he approached Corinth. Many scholars believe Paul showed up at Corinth beaten, frustrated and depressed. He had good reason.

• In Philippi, he was arrested, flogged, put in stocks and run out of town.

• In Thessalonica a riot breaks out and he is sent to jail.

• In Berea the people who ran him out of Thessalonica stir up another riot and he has to flee.

• In Athens, he speaks to the city’s intelligent community and is sneered at.

Trouble seemed to always follow Paul. One noted evangelist said, “When Paul goes into a town to preach a riot breaks out. When I go they throw a tea.”

After suffering all he did, he spent 18months in Corinth. Ultimately the Jews attacked him and he was beaten again.

Through all of the difficulty, Paul held on to his focus for Jesus.

Paul determined that he would at all times preach Christ no matter the cost.

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”


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