Summary: This sermon introduces the book of 1 Corinthians and emphasizes salvation by grace alone.
Paul & the Corinthians: Saved By Grace
January 5, 2002
A. [Getting into Heaven]
Little Billy, caught in mischief, was asked by his mother, "How do you expect to get into heaven?"
He thought for a moment and then said, "Well, I’ll just run in and out and keep slamming the door until they say, ’For heaven’s sake, either come in or stay out.’
Then I’ll go in."
B. As we begin a new sermon series this morning from the book of 1 Corinthians this morning I want to ask you, "How do you expect to get into heaven?"
C. This letter was written to the church at Corinth, Greece.
1. Everything about this letter is relevant to the church today.
2. The church at Corinth had many problems, even though it had all the spiritual gifts.
a. This church had some very bad problems.
1) We will consider them briefly today and go into further detail in the weeks and months to come.
2) During our study of this book we will go into great detail as to the many problems the church in Corinth had.
3) The problems that church had are just as relevant to us in 1997 Greencastle as they were in the year 55 Corinth.
b. And yet, even though they had all of these problems, Paul said in verse 7 that they had all of the spiritual gifts.
1) In verse 7 Paul said they did not lack any of the spiritual gifts.
2) Paul will go into detail about those gifts later in this book, but here at the onset he just says that they don’t lack any of them.
c. That illustrates the grace of God.
1) This shows that even though these people were sinners, God saved them - that’s grace!
2) And, even though they were saved and still sinning, God still had blessed them with all of the spiritual gifts - and that’s grace!
3. And so I believe the book of 1 Corinthains will be very instructional for us.
D. Most of the attitudes and problems that cause trouble in today’s church are addressed in this letter.
E. Let’s read our portion of the letter for this morning 1:1-9.
F. How do you expect to get into heaven?
1. This morning my sermon is entitled, "Paul and the Corinthians, Saved by Grace."
2. First let’s look at...
I. The Apostle
A. The author is Paul.
1. His background and conversion are recorded in Acts 9, 22, and 26.
2. Paul was one of the most brilliant Jewish scholars alive.
a. Paul went to college to study under the most renowned Jewish scholar of the day.
b. That man’s name was Gamaliel.
c. Paul was his best and most brilliant student.
3. Paul knew the OT scriptures backwards and forwards.
a. He knew it all from Genesis to Malachi.
b. He could quote great portions of it.
c. He knew the words of the OT as well as anyone could.
4. But Paul didn’t know God.
a. He knew the scriptures, but he didn’t know God.
b. It wasn’t until later in life that he got to know Jesus.
c. As a result of his brilliant education, Paul’s early adult life was dedicated to persecuting the church.
d. As a result of his exceptional knowledge of the scripture, Acts chapters 7 & 8 record that Paul was imprisoning and killing Christians.
e. Paul didn’t know God or Jesus whatsoever as a result of his knowledge of the scripture.
5. It wasn’t until Acts 9 that Paul came to know and believe in Jesus of Nazareth.
a. It happened on the road to Damascus.
b. Paul was blinded by a bright light from which Jesus asked Paul why he was persecuting Him.
c. Several days later Paul was healed of his blindness and got up and was baptized.
B. And sadly, there are many today that are like Paul was.
1. Many, like Paul, have gone to church their whole lives.
2. Many, like Paul, have heard many sermons from the scriptures.
3. Many, like Paul, don’t have any idea who God is; he doesn’t live in their hearts.
4. And unlike Paul, they have never had their own Damascus road.
5. They have knowledge of Christ, but they don’t have a saving knowledge of Him.
6. They have only a superficial knowledge that is never allowed to saturate their lives.
C. Are you expecting your knowledge of scripture to get you into heaven?
1. A thorough knowledge of the scripture cannot get anyone into heaven.
2. Knowing the Scripture cannot save; only knowing the Son will save!
2. Knowledge of the scripture is a good thing, but it cannot get you into heaven.