In our last service we read Romans chapter 8 and made some comments here and there as we went along. We are going to do the same thing this morning in the first chapter of Corinthians. This was upon my heart when I got up this morning. I did not want to read it then, because I wanted to read it fresh with you. We’re just going to read it and when something stands out we might discuss it or talk about it. We bless the reading of the Word to our hearts.
I Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother.
I am reminded that Paul did not ask for his apostleship; he was called. Some feel they are called for something when it is really something they just wanted, not necessarily a calling at all.
I Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth…
“Unto the church of God” is not speaking of a denomination. It is speaking of God’s church in Corinth.
I Corinthians 1:2 …to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
I am reminded of a word that came sometime back on this first part, the church of God which is at Corinth. The Greek reads a little different: the church of God which is in Corinth. Corinth was a city in Greece. The Greeks had many gods, so Corinth was a major city with many, many different gods. They were very religious in the wrong way. This church was right in the midst of it.
We have heard prophecies in the past of how God is going to raise up His church right in the midst of Babylon. That is kind of the way it was there in Corinth. If you realize what the city of Corinth was like with their many gods and their idolatry, you can understand some of the problems that the church had in Corinth. They came out of a background that was very much less than holy and a lot of changes had to take place. That is the way it is with all of us. We come into the things of the Lord and we usually come in with a lot of baggage. Our thinking is all messed up. Our feelings are not right. If you come into the Lord in Corinth, then you have a lot of Corinth in you. It is just like those Israelites when they came out of Egypt. When they were in the wilderness they were out of Egypt all right, but most of their problems were brought about because there was a lot of Egypt in them. Whatever our Corinth is, God has to get it out of us.
I Corinthians 1:3-4 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and
from the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you in Jesus Christ.
It took a lot of grace for those Greeks to come out of the things they were in and to come into the Lord. It is the same with us. It takes a lot of grace, and the thing of it is, you don’t know what you were until after you get out of it and then look back.
I Corinthians 1:5 That in every thing you are enriched by (in) Him…
We need to point out sometimes that the prepositions in our Bibles are not always correct. In verse 4 it is: The grace of God which is given you in Jesus Christ, not by Jesus Christ. If you need to experience the grace of God, He does not send it to you apart from Him. You enter into Him and that is when you start experiencing His grace.
I Corinthians 1:5 That in every thing you are enriched in Him (not by Him) in all utterance, and in all knowledge.
It is not a matter of you being enriched by Him, meaning God is up there somewhere and He is sending down some enrichment to you. No, you are enriched in Him.
I Corinthians 1:6-7 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
7 So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" here is incorrect. Let me give you what the Greek says: That you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the revelation of Him to you that will pull you out of your old life. This is not talking about the coming of the Lord to take place at the end of the church age. This is talking about a revelation of the Lord that is taking place right now. The revelation of Him is available to every person on the face of the earth, but it is only a reality for those who open their hearts to receive the revelation – waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a waiting with expectation.
What is your particular problem? Everybody has one. In fact, you might be blessed with several problems. But everybody has a problem. What is the answer to your problem? A revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your revelation of Him can pull you out of your problem. As long as you are focused on your problem you are locked in, but when you focus on Christ and you have a revelation of Him, a drawing takes place that pulls you into Him and out of your problem.
I Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who shall also confirm you unto the end. Until the end of what? Well, what we have been talking about is getting out of our particular Corinth and into the Lord Jesus Christ. That is where you find grace, where you find every need is met in Him. The end is not the end of time. It’s not the end of the church age. It is not the end. Probably it is closer to a beginning – the end of your problems, the end of your Corinth. “The end” is the Greek word telos and it means "the goal aimed at." What is it that we are after? Whatever our particular Corinth is, we are endeavoring to get out of that and into the revelation of Christ. Just think, every time you pull out of some Corinth and you move into a revelation, then the revelation enlarges and you find yourself moving a little more out of your personal Corinth, moving into a little more revelation and what is happening? You are moving into the telos, into the goal the Lord has set for you.
Is that like maturity? Maturity is not a state that you come to and you’ve made it. Maturity is a continual, progressive movement into more of God. If at anywhere along the way you stop progressing, then you have lost your maturity.
I Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful…
That is important. You want to pull out of your Corinth and you know you can’t do it on your own; you look for the revelation of the Lord and you begin moving because God is faithful. He that has called you will perfect it. The first verse said, Paul, called to be an apostle. How did that happen? Well, it was through the will of God. God said, “This I am giving you,” and He brought Paul into it. Paul grew and was perfected and matured and became an apostle because God was faithful. We usually think of Paul being something special, that God had a lot more to work with Paul. No, Paul was about to wreck the church. Paul had human nature just like we do. God did not have an easier job with Paul.
“But Paul was very dedicated.”
God is faithful to bring the necessary change. Whatever your particular Corinth is, God can deliver you from it. Whatever your need is, God can be that to you. He is faithful. It is important to understand that. We have two very important things from these scriptures: (1) verse 3, Grace be unto you, and (2) verse 4, I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God. It is His grace and His faithfulness in verse 9 that is able to bring us out of everything we have been. Isaiah says, “Remember the pit from which you were dug” (Isaiah 51:1). God took us out of a pit, so to speak, the pit of human nature, the dregs and the scum of human nature. His grace and His faithfulness bring us out and into the goal He has for us that we might be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful by whom you were called unto (into) the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
The calling of God upon you – “Oh, I want to be an apostle!” – well, don’t worry about being an apostle. Just realize that you are called into a fellowship of His Son. That is the most important thing of all. A lot of people want to work miracles, want to do great things; they want to look super-spiritual. Look, it is being called into the fellowship of His Son. Jesus sent out the seventy disciples (Luke 10:1). They came back and you talk about a bunch of happy disciples. They did a lot of great things, worked a lot of miracles. Jesus said, “Yes, I saw Satan fall from heaven. Listen, don’t rejoice over all those things you did. Rejoice in the fact that you have a relationship with the Lord.” There it is. He is faithful. And you are called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose