6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is the first sermon of the series, and looks at the Paul’s focus and concern regarding the Corinthian Church


1 Corinthians 1:1-19

Introduction: As we begin a study in First Corinthians, we need to lay a little groundwork so to speak. Paul founded the Corinthian Church during his second missionary journey … Acts 18:1-18 records the founding of the church

Acts 18:1-4 In Corinth

1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

The church was composed of mostly Gentile believers. The city itself was a very wicked city, and as such presented the young church with a constant temptation.

One of the bright spots of this ministry is the possible conversion of Sosthenes. Acts 18:12-17 records this:

Acts 18:12-17 (NIV) 12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court.

13 "This man," they charged, "is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law."

14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you.

15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law--settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things."

16 So he had them ejected from the court.

17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.

Though, no one can be sure, it would seems that Sosthenes, who is referred to at the beginning of the letter is the same Sosthenes who ruled the synagogue, and was beaten for bringing Paul before Gallio.

Paul writes this letter for two main reasons:

· Paul is writing to correct the disorder in the church

· Paul is writing to answer questions that the church has submitted to him.

As we study this book further we will see that Paul bounces to each of these reasons several times, dealing with each of them alternately, not unlike a person walking – first on the left foot, and then on the right foot.

So if you are taking notes, there is an outline included for your convenience ……….

I PAUL’S CREDENTIALS – 1 Corinthians 1:1

A Called by Christ

1 This is the highest calling anyone can have is to be called by God himself to accomplish something for God.

2 The issue is not what we are called to do for God, the issue is THAT we are called to do something for Him.

3 Calling is an act of the will of God

4 Calling is an act of appointment by God

B Paul was called to be an Apostle

1 The office of an apostle

a Some in the church were denying his call to apostleship

b This office was a foundational office according to Eph 2:20

Ephesians 2:20 (NIV) 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

2 The work of an apostle

a While Paul defends his call to be an Apostle, he also declares his ministry as an apostle

b A messenger, a witness, or even a missionary is the thrust of Paul’s calling.

1 Real messengers are called by God

2 Real messengers are not called OVER others

3 Real messengers are called TO others

4 This brings us to our next point ….

II PAUL’S FOCUS – 1 Corinthians 1:2-3

A Paul was called to God’s Church in Corinth

1 The church is made up of a special group of people.

2 A gathering of people together does not constitute a church.

a Pews do not make a church

b A steeple does not make a church

c A sermon does not make a church

d Music does not make a church

e A sanctified set apart group makes a church

SANCTIFICATION – Three parts, One person

· Part one – Positional Sanctification

o Permanent

Hebrews 10:10 (NIV) 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

o We can NEVER be un-sanctified in our positional. Once we got saved, we got sanctified

o We have been set apart for God through the work of Christ on our behalf!

· Part two – Progressive Sanctification

o Daily Discipline

o Requires effort and energy

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