Summary: An introductory sermon for a series of sermons on the letters to the Corinthians. Outline taken from Chuck Warnock of Confessions of a Small Church Pastor
Sermon for 1/6/2007
Introduction to Corinthians
A. Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
B. In the newsletter I said, The Corinthian church destroys the idea that the early church is a model for us to imitate! The early church as recorded in Acts is worthy of our imitation but what we find in Corinth is not!
C. Well, on second thought, I might be wrong there. Chuck Warnock said something that has made me rethink. He says, “I think it’s time somebody came to the defense of the church in Corinth. Okay, so they’re all dead now. But they live on in two of Paul’s letters for all the world to see. I think Corinth, probably Paul’s worst church, may be our best model for church today. Better than Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, Southeast, or any of the other models out there.”
D. This morning my task is to wet our appetites for the letters to the Corinthians. We will be preaching through 1 and 2 Corinthians this year. This is an introduction.
Thesis: To introduce this series of sermons, Chuck Warnock gives 6 reasons why he believes that the Corinthian church is the best model for church today.
1. They were brand new Christians.
A. Paul came to the city of Corinth in 52 AD. Upon coming to the city, he met Aquila and Priscilla, Christian Jews recently kicked out of Rome, and these three began preaching and teaching about Christ in Corinth. (Acts 18:5 NIV) When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
B. (Acts 18:11 NIV) So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. Paul stayed in Corinth at least 2 years altogether. When he left Corinth, he went to Ephesus and began the church there.
C. Considering this, (Acts 18:4 NIV) Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. This went on for a while until the Jews got tired of it and kicked Paul and the other Christians out of the synagogue. From this we see that there was not a Christian presence in the city of Corinth until the coming of Paul.
D. Paul and his companions had a great ministry in the city of Corinth. (Acts 18:8 NIV) and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
E. Considering that Paul left Corinth in 54 AD and that not long after this Paul had a three year ministry in Ephesus. The letters to the Corinthians was written by Paul while he was in the city of Ephesus. These letters were probably written by Paul toward the end of that 3 year ministry, so that means that 1 Corinthians was penned around 57- 58 AD.
F. What all of that means is that the church in Corinth was 6 years old when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Most of the Christians would have been Christians for less than 6 years. The majority were baby Christians.
G. These people had no connection to any church before their conversion to Christ.
I. Think about this, everything was new and fresh. What a pleasure to be around new Christians, everything is so exciting, so new, so fresh. New discoveries, new challenges.
J. No We’ve never done it that way before. no “we-did-it-this-way-at-my-other-church” notions.
K. (1 Cor 3:1 NIV) Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ.
L. It is a shame that some find new believers annoying. They ask so many questions and we have to explain everything. Isn’t that wonderful! We take so much for granted!
2. They participated.
A. Everyone wanted to participate at this church. Not many spectators.
B. Okay, so maybe they participated a little too exuberantly, but they all wanted to contribute to worship. (1 Cor 14:26 NIV) What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
C. Many times there worship was chaotic. Everyone wanted to share and Paul had to encourage them to take turns. (1 Cor 14:31 NIV) For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.
D. They were going for participation first; order came later. (1 Cor 14:40 NIV) But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
E. Now, we mostly have order, but not much participation.
H. Gone are the days of just the preacher speaking. I like what we have done here!
I. No, not everyone needs to have the microphone, but the more that participate the better the worship. Isn’t that what the Lord wants! In heaven, will we be just sitting around. Sounds boring to me!