Summary: This sermon is an exposition of 1 Cor 1.4-9.

The Marks of a True Church of God

Text: 1 Cor 1.4-9.


1. Read text.

2. This passage represents Paul’s expression of thanks that the church at Corinth was a true church of God. He can tell this from the evidence he sees in their lives.

3. Paul is saying to them… “I am thankful that I can tell that you are a true church of God from the evidence.”

4. Today I want us to honestly examine our church in the light of this passage to see how we measure up.

5. What are the marks of a true church of God?

A true church of God is…

I. A Changed People – vv.4-6.

A. The Strength of the Change– v.4.

– The grace of God.

1. Grace is given NOT earned.

2. Only God can give changing grace. Thus the true church is changed by the grace of God rather than the efforts of man.

B. The Sign of the Change– v.5.

– You were enriched in Him.

1. “…in all speech.” – This should be understood as a proclaimed message. Thus the true church proclaims God’s message.

2. “…and all knowledge.” – the word knowledge here refers to the process of taking in knowledge. Thus the true church is a learning church.

C. The Significance of the Change– v.6.

– The gospel is confirmed.

1. What is “the testimony concerning Christ”? This is a reference to the gospel message, the message that Paul was preaching and the Corinthians accepted (see also 1 Cor 1.18).

2. “…was confirmed in you.” – This is reference to the fact that the transformation of lives is a proof of the truth of the gospel message. Thus the true church “practices what it preaches”.

A true church of God is…

II. A Capable People – v.7.

Illustration: Philip Brooks, famous preacher and hymnwriter (O Little Town of Bethlehem - among others) said; “It is almost as presumptuous to think you can do nothing as to think you can do everything. “

A. Because God is the One building the church every true church has what it needs to do what God calls it to do.

B. Every true church is capable because it is charismatic. What does “charismatic” mean?

1. Gr. Charisma or charismaton means “gifts of grace”.

2. It is these “gifts of grace” or “charisma” that make the church capable of fulfilling its God given calling.

C. All churches are not gifted in the same way so therefore all churches are not called to the exact same ministries. The general mission is the same for all true churches but there are differences of emphasis based on the “gifts of grace” each possesses.

A true church of God is…

III. A Confident People – vv.7b-9.

A. Confident in the Revelation of Jesus Christ – Gr. Apokolupsis, referring to the Second Coming of Christ. Thus a true church is looking for Christ’s return.

B. Confident in the Recognition of Jesus Christ – The word confirm means to establish or secure. Thus a true church derives its sense of security from the power of Christ.

C. Confident in the Reliability of God – God is trustworthy. Thus a true church trusts God.

Illustration: E. Stanley Jones said; “Faith is not merely your holding on to God--it is God holding on to you. He will not let you go!”


1. What are the marks of a true church of God?

2. A true church of God is a changed people, a capable people, and a confident people.

3. How does Our Church measure up?

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