Summary: He's writing to a church like mine, with problems
Thank you for inviting me. It’s nice to be invited where people like me for who I am. When I was born they asked, “So, how’s his mother.” And when I got married they said, “My, what a lovely bride” and I have no doubt that the day I die, they’ll probably say, “I wonder how much did he left her.” I get about as much attention as a white crayon.
Turn in your Bibles tonight to 1 Corinthians 1 and I’ll read verses 10-17 and while you’re doing that I’ll tell you a little story.
A woman was driving home from the Sunrise mall one night and it started to snow. Well, the snow got so heavy she was afraid she was going to lose control of her car and end up in the ditch. But as she kept going, she saw a snow plow. And she thought, if I keep as close to this plough as I can; I’ll be alright.
The problem was, sometimes the snow got so heavy she could hardly see the rear lights of the plough but she kept on going and her faithful guide kept on leading the way. After twenty minutes of driving, she noticed that the plow stopped, and the driver got out and walked back to her car. She rolled down the window and he asked, “Lady, where are you going?” And she said, “I’m heading home, I live up by St. Jacob’s.” And he said, “Well, you’re never going to get their following me! I’m plowing this parking lot!”
It’s good to know where you’re going and tonight we’re going to
“10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
I realize the previous speaker probably dealt with the setting of this passage but let me remind you a few things about the city of Corinth, to set the scene for tonight’s message.
Corinth was a city that had a very strategic location. It was in the very centre of Greece and in those days all the north and south overland traffic had to pass through Corinth. It was like the 401 went right through the city. There was also a point off the southern coast of Greece that most sailors feared to around; so, the ships were hauled out of the water and dragged overland on these huge rollers and the path of these rollers went right by the city of Corinth. So, this made Corinth a major trading center.
It was also known as a great sports city and one of the two Olympian Games which were called the Isthmian games were held in Corinth.
The fact that it was a major trade and travel route also resulted in the population being multi-national and it was made up of Greeks, Roman officials, business people from the near east and many Jews.
The city was also the home and worship centre of Aphrodite, who was the pagan goddess of love but there was no love there. The temple of Aphrodite housed a thousand priestesses who were nothing more than ritual prostitutes.
So, Corinth was a fast paced city with a population of 700,000 and they were well known for their drunkenness and immorality. It was basically, the Las Vegas of its times.
And it was to this city where Paul planted a church. And on one hand, it was probably a very difficult place to preach but on the other, he had a lot of help. He had Apollos, Timothy, Silas, Aquila and Priscilla and there may have also been other believers who were never mentioned.
In spite of all the spiritual help they had, I think the Corinthian church was as troubled as the city it was planted in; because rather than becoming a thermostat that affected the spiritual temperature of Corinth they became a thermometer and they reflected the loose lifestyle of their pagan neighbors.