Summary: This sermon is an exposition of 1 Cor 1.1-3
The Salutation of First Corinthians
Text: 1 Cor 1.1-3
1. Motivation is a huge factor in determining how successful we will be at anything we attempt. Illustration: A teenager lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a fruitless search, he told his mother the lens was nowhere to be found. Undaunted, she went outside and in a few minutes returned with the lens in her hand. "I really looked hard for that, Mom," said the youth. "How’d you manage to find it?" "We weren’t looking for the same thing," she replied. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150."
2. During the next few months we will be studying the book of Second Corinthians; will you be looking for a “small piece of plastic” or for “$150”? What is our motivation to pay attention to this book? For an answer to this question today we will examine the Salutation to the book.
3. Read Text.
Proposition: Pay attention to the message of First Corinthians.
Probing Question: Why should we pay attention to the message of First Corinthians?
There are 3 motives for paying attention to the message of First Corinthians. First of all because the author’s identity, secondly because of Recipients’ specificity, and finally because of the universal context it addresses.
I. The Author Identified – v.1.
A. EXPOSITION: “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother”
1. “called as an apostle of Jesus Christ” should be rendered “a called apostle” of Jesus Christ.
2. “apostle” means an “ambassador” or “one sent out”.
3. “by the will of God” indicates that Paul’s call was Divine. (See also Gal 1.1*; 1 Cor 15.8,10.)
1. God calls people to service.
2. Don’t take a task on yourself without the calling of God - Jer 23.21*.
3. Coming from God’s called apostle this book is authoritative.
C. ILLUSTRATION: Farmer felt called to preach. Sitting under a tree sees letters P and C in the clouds. Decides it means “Preach Christ.” Sells farm and equipment goes to preach. He was horrible. After a sermon a neighbor came to him and said, “Are you sure God wasn’t trying to tell you to Plant Corn?”
II. The Recipients Specified – v.2.
A. EXPOSITION: “to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in
every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours”
1. “the church of God” – This was a troubled church, even a bad church, but it was “the church of God”.
2. “saints by calling” – rather “called saints”. “Saints” means “holy” or “set apart”.
3. “with all who in every place…” – lit. “all (pas) that are in all (pas) locations” – that is all believers, all the called saints.
1. Only God decides when a church is not a church! No one but God can make such determinations, remember this when thinking about churches of other faiths, etc.
2. Saints are not a special class of Christian. All Christians are saints. This “sainthood” is not by virtue of the Christians’ perfection but is based on the Sacrificial death of Christ our Lord
– See Heb 10.10, 14*.
3. This book, First Corinthians, is written to us!
C. ILLUSTRATION: I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I used to be, and I can say with the great apostle, "By the grace of God I am what I am. -John Newton.
III. The Traditional Blessing Contextualized v.3.
A. EXPOSITION: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. “grace” – (charis) this is the unmerited favor of God. We need grace for salvation but also we need grace everyday – Lam 3.22-23*.
2. “peace” – (iraynay) from a root word meaning “to join”, by impl. means “to join peacefully” or “to join as one” or “peacefulness” or “quietness”.
1. This church needed God’s grace to deal with all their problems and troubles. All churches need God’s grace daily.
2. This church needed to have “peace” that is they were divided and needed to be “joined together as one”. Divided churches cannot be what God intends for “the church of God”.
1. There are 3 motives for paying attention to the message of First Corinthians. First of all because the author’s identity, secondly because of Recipients’ specificity, and finally because of the universal context it addresses.
Illustration: Two brothers were convicted of stealing sheep. For their crime they were each branded on the forehead with the letters "ST," for "sheep thief."One brother immediately ran away from the area and attempted to build a new life in another country. Even there, people