Summary: Before a church can grow and mature, there are some things that need to be set straight.




INTRODUCTION: A. Someone: “The church is like Noah’s Ark: If it were not for the storm on the outside,

no one could stand the stench on the inside.”

1. The Church at Corinth fit that description: it was a mess

--full of problems: divisions, immorality, pride, selfishness, pettiness, and much


2. Reports of these problems greatly distressed the apostle Paul

a. In fact, he mentions in this letter that he had already sent one letter before this

one concerning the problems at Corinth

b. In actuality, what we call 1 Cor. is actually 2 Cor.

3. Acts 18 describes the founding of the church at Corinth

a. Corinth as a city was a crossroads of commercial trade and pagan worship

--Situated in Corinth was the temple of Artemis hosting more than 1,000 temple


b. Paul spent somewhere between 18 months to 3 years getting this congregation

started and on the right foundation

c. However, the influence of the world was more attractive than the influence of

the Holy Spirit to many who called themselves Christian

B. The apostle Paul is harsh in his letter

--His harshness, however, is based on his love and concern for their spiritual well-


1. One commentator notes that Paul’s quarrel with the church at Corinth was a lover’s


a. He loved them despite their problems

b. It was a love that grieved because they had failed to become everything that God

had intended and designed them to be

2. Paul understood that unless he loved the church, even a problem church like

Corinth, he could never help her overcome her problems and neither can we.

C. Maybe you’ve heard the old adage: “If you ever find a perfect church, don’t join. If

you do, you will spoil it for sure!”

1. Of course, we know that is no such thing as a perfect church

--All churches have problems of some sort because churches are made up of

imperfect people

2. The problems described in Paul’s communication to the Corinthians occur at some

time and in some way in every congregation

--It makes this letter a very profitable study for any congregation

3. As the apostle Paul teaches, whenever problems and difficulties arise, there are

some things that need to be set straight.

4. 1 Cor. 1:1-9 – “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and

our brother Sosthenes, To 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: Grace and peace to you

from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you

because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched

in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— because our

testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any

spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will

keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord

Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ

our Lord, is faithful.”


A. Paul is not just writing as a fellow Christian, a friend to those in Corinth, or even as founding preacher of

the church in Corinth

--He’s writes as someone who is “called” or “commissioned” to do the job set before him”

1. Paul’s authority and leadership came because of something outside of himself

a. It wasn’t something he decided but rather God decided and extended the invitation

b. The term translated as “called” means “chosen; appointed; by extension equipped and empowered”

for the job set before him

2. To what was he called?

a. to be an apostle – a leader; a preacher; a building block for the church

b. In the original language, an apostle was one who was “sent on a mission with authority and power

to accomplish said mission”

B. Paul’s calling gave him spiritual authority over those placed under his care

1. A church is in real spiritual trouble when the congregation will not follow the leadership God has set

into place

a. One of the major problems that Paul deal with in this letter is that there were those in the the

Corinthian church who either looked to themselves as the source for authority or they looked to

sources outside the church for authority

b. Paul is reminding them of the “chain of command” in any congregation

1). Christ is the head

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