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Summary: 1. The church consists of those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy. (v. 2) 2. The church does not lack any spiritual gift (v. 7) 3. The church is kept strong to the end by Jesus Christ. (v. 8-9)

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Some of the topics that will be covered

1. The church consists of those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy. (v. 2)

2. The church does not lack any spiritual gift (v. 7)

3. The church is kept strong to the end by Jesus Christ. (v. 8-9)

INTRO:

“If you ever find the perfect church – don’t join it –you’ll wreck it!”

“I thought I had found the perfect church, except for all the people.”

There is no such thing as a perfect church. A church, quite literally is a group of disciples of Jesus Christ. It is not an organization. It is not a building. It is people. And EVERY church, large or small, old or new, has its flaws because it has PEOPLE in it!

One might think that if you had an extremely gifted pastor, filled with Holy Spirit power, planting and giving leadership to a church, that it would be more likely to be free from problems. But that’s not the truth.

The church founded by Paul in the ancient city of Corinth is the clearest example.

INTRO Paul and the Corinthian church plant….

In the book of Acts we learn about how a Jewish Pharisee named Saul who was consumed with persecuting followers of Jesus was miraculously converted. He changed his name to Paul and then began changing the spiritual landscape of Asia Minor through preaching the gospel and planting churches.

In Acts 18 we discover that Paul finds himself in Corinth, (show map) a prominent city linking the East and the West, found on an isthmus in the Mediterranean Sea. He spent somewhere around 2 years there around the year 50 AD, preaching and teaching the converts there in how to live the Christian life.

Paul then left, and ended up spending a couple of years in Ephesus, leading the church there. While there, he receives word from some members of the church in Corinth about some problems that have sprung up. He also receives a gift from an official delegation from the church in Corinth, and again hears some disturbing news. The church has divided into factions following different teachers. Certain members of the church have fallen into sin, and the church body has not responded correctly. Problems have come up surrounding their gatherings for worship.

In response, Paul finds someone to write down his words, and he begins dictating a letter to the church.

In this letter he will encourage them for what they are doing right. He will instruct them on who they are in Christ, and how God is at work in and through them. But he will also instruct them about how to handle the numerous problems he has heard are happening in the church. Along the way he gives incredible insight into such subjects as the following:

• The true nature and foundation of the church

• what to do when people who call themselves Christians are involved in blatant sin

• how to handle “gray areas” in which Christians disagree over what is right

• dealing with sexual temptations

• marriage, divorce, and remarriage

• Spiritual gifts and their proper role in the life of a church

• An incredible exposition of the true nature of love

• The roles of men and women in the church.

• The importance of the resurrection of Christ.

It is an incredible letter to a real life group of people trying to live out their new-found Christian faith in real life situations. And it is an incredible wealth of information for people like US to learn how to live OUR Christian faith in the midst of the real life situations we all face.

Let’s get started! Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 1:1, and lets hear how Paul begins what will be a lengthy letter to the church in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 1

1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

2To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving

4I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

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