Summary: We are to be different.
Th: Live the Difference
Pr: WE ARE TO BE DIFFERENT.
?: How? How is it observed?
TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 1:1-9 three blessings that we receive that enable us to be different.
The _____ blessing is we are…
RMBC 04 January 04 AM
ILL Notebook: Identification (Hydrologists)
A helicopter crew was alerted to search for two geologists missing in the Sierra Nevada. They spotted two men standing in a clearing and dropped a note: "If you are the lost geologists, go to the center of the clearing and wave." Instead they turned and walked back to their campfire. Obviously, the crew assumed they were the wrong men and continued their search.
Two hours later they turned up the lost pair’s abandoned snowmobiles. Tracing their footprints in the deep snow led them back to the same camp they’d seen earlier. This time the crew sent a man down on a rescue hoist, who confirmed they had the right men and picked them up. "Why didn’t you respond to our note?" the crew asked.
"Because," the rescued men replied indignantly, “we are hydrologists, not geologists."
Do you know who you are?
ILL Notebook: Difference (The Lion King – Simba)
Many of you are familiar with the story of “The Lion King.” You might remember when Simba couldn’t decide whether or not he should return to the Pride Lands. He has some heavy baggage he has carried, including a tremendous guilt about his father’s death. As Simba was growing up though, his father had taught him much about his role in life and how he should act. But when things became difficult, he ran. Now his past has caught up with him. When Rafiki finds him, Simba is challenged about his identity and what to do next. The critical point comes when Rafiki literally raps him on the head and says, “You don’t even know who you are!”
(illustration derived from “Who Are You?” by Jeffrey Kellum)
Today, we begin our series called…
1. “Live the Difference!”
One of our goals through this year is for you to identify and know who you are!
For, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to make a difference.
Not only that…we are different!
It is nothing to be ashamed of, for God has made that difference in our lives.
To aid us in our theme, we will be turning to the first letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth.
It begins this way…
 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,  to the church of God that is in Corinth…
Before we go any further, let’s do a little background on these key elements revealed in these first verses…
2. (Background of I Corinthians…)
First, there is…
Paul begins the letter by communicating who he is.
He is an apostle.
He does not say this to boast, but rather to verify his authority.
His call by God establishes his credentials, and gives his listeners the reason they need to give attention to what he writes.
Next, let’s consider the city of…
If you have a map in the back of your Bible, take a look where Corinth is located in Greece.
You will see it is located at the end of a very small strip of land that was known as “The Bridge of Greece.”
Corinth was also known as the “Crossroads of the Roman Empire.”
It was prosperous and important; cosmopolitan and multi-cultural.
The people there were intellectually alert, materially successful, and morally corrupt.
Philosophically, they believed in the reckless development of the individual.
Corinth was especially known for the temple that sat above the city.
It was a temple built for the worshippers of the goddess of love, Aphrodite.
The religious tradition of this temple involved a ritual prostitution.
And to fulfill this tradition, 1000 prostitutes, both male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, would make their way into town every night to practice their “religious” duties.
For the typical Corinthian, surrendering to every lust was a way of life.
The church at Corinth was not unfamiliar with Paul.
Indeed, he was their founder.
In fact, Paul had stayed longer in Corinth than in any other place during his journeys.
Perhaps, the very culture and moral state of the city bears out the rationale for this.
Now…neither was the church of Corinth unfamiliar with…
It is apparent that he was known by the Corinthians, as he had been the leader of the synagogue when Paul first approached the city.
Now…it appears that Sosthenes is accompanying Paul, perhaps as his secretary.