Summary: Why be a Christian? The reasons are many - here are three.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 THE BEST KIND OF LIFE THERE IS.
I want you to use your imagination this morning. Imagine being a tourist – you are traveling around the world, you have to spend the night in a certain city. And so you get there, you check into your hotel, and then you decide to look around. As you walk around, you realize that this is a very industrial city, lots of shipbuilding going on. That makes sense since this city is right on the coast. You see that this city is booming economically – lots of products being shipped in and out. It’s very cosmopolitan and multi-cultural. You walk by people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds, all kinds of walks of life. You see soldiers, politicians, sailors, businessmen, slaves. At the end of the street you see a big stadium – this city well known for its passion for sports.
You look up, and at the top of a hill, you see a huge building. You ask someone what that building is, and they tell you that it’s a temple to the local god. You find out that their version of religion is very immoral – over 1000 prostitutes work in that temple, and to go there and to be with a prostitute was considered an act of worship in that city. You find out that the whole city this very immoral, that drunkenness and immorality were standard ways of life.
And then, to your surprise, you find out that there is a church in this city – a group of Christians that believe the same things as you. It’s a brand new church, and they’re struggling – that doesn’t surprise you because of the city in which they live. They invite you to come and visit with them, and so you do.
While you are there, someone bursts through the door and holds up a letter. It’s from the Apostle Paul, the man who started their church. Where are you? You are in the first-century city of Corinth. The city that I described to you this morning really did exist, and it had many similarities to our world today. And those Christian living there had many of the same temptations, same struggles, same challenges that we Christians have today.
This morning, I want you to imagine that you are one of those people, because really, in many ways, you are. That letter they received from the Apostle Paul is also written to you. His words of encouragement to them, are also words of encouragement for you today. As we focus on this letter – the first nine verses – you’re going to find out that Christianity, no matter if you’re living in first-century Corinth, or in 21st century America – Christianity is the best kind of life there is. For three reasons: 1) Because of who you are. 2) Because of what you have. And finally, 3) Because of what will happen. May God be with you this morning and bless you as you focus on his Holy Word, as you learn today how Christianity is the best kind of life there is.
Paul starts the letter by reminding the people that he is an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. As an Apostle, he was God’s messenger – what he writes here is not just his own ideas, but the very words of God. In verse 2, he say: “to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.” The word sanctified means to be set apart as holy. Doesn’t that seem strange that Paul would talk about these people that way? Is Paul saying that these are a holy bunch of people? It sure sounds that way: “to those called to be holy.” Later in verse 8 he describes these people as “blameless.” How can that be? As you read this letter, you find out that these people are anything but holy – they had all kinds of problems. How in the world can Paul call these people holy?
Because that’s exactly what they are! Did you know that? Did you know that every Christian is holy in the eyes of God, blameless in the eyes of God. When God looks at you, he sees you and says, “You are holy.” How can that be? Do you think you’re holy? Raise your hand right now if you didn’t make any mistakes this past week. Who here in the last seven days never said a bad word, never did a bad thing, never even had a bad thought? Who here this past week was not selfish, even for a second? Can anyone here honestly say that they are holy and blameless?
If not, then the Word of God must be wrong! Because here, God says that these Corinthian Christians, and you, are holy and blameless. God must not know us very well! Actually, he does know us very well, doesn’t he. He sees every mistake we make. He hears every word we speak. And it’s scary to think about, but true – he even knows every thought that we have. God knows that we aren’t holy, but quite the opposite. He knows that because of the way we are, the way we think and act, we deserve to be punished, to be thrown away from his presence forever.