Tithes and Offerings
The Intro to 1 Corinthians
1 Cor 1:1-9 (Pastor Heo)
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
From today we will study 1 Corinthians. God bless us with this new book.
The main agenda = how can we Christians live a Christian life in a non-Christian society: “The application of Christian principles to worldliness.”
The practical message: “Be wise: be a person of wisdom.”
Christ is the answer: 1:30 “Jesus Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption.”
God bless us with this new book.
This book is written in the style of a letter to the church at Corinth. So, let us see the introduction.
At that time, Corinth was the most important city in Greece, it linked north and south Greece with two ports. So, it played a very important role politically, socially, religiously, commercially. At that time, so many men and women, slaves, business people came in and out. So the standards of morals were very low – homosexuality and prostitution abounded. It was filled with all kinds of sin, and many kinds of philosophies where people spread their own speculations and conspiracies. In such a place, a church was built. But how?
Paul planted a church there in the last part of his second missionary journey. He came here and worked for more than 1.5 years. As the fruit of his mission work, he planted a church at Corinth.
So, why did he write a letter? A few years after his departure, he heard a bad report about the church he established because it was challenged by the worldly culture.
It is thought that Paul wrote to the church four times:
- (5:9 “I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people” – this means he had written to them previously, but the letter was lost).
- Also in AD 55 or 56, he wrote a second letter, which we call today “1 Corinthians” – after that, he most likely visited Corinth, but during his visitation was challenged about his authority of his apostleship.
- This was a “painful visitation” and afterward he wrote a third letter – which was lost.
- Later, he wrote a fourth letter to the Corinthian church which we have in the Bible today, called “2 Corinthians.”
These books are still very relevant today. Some may ask: how are they relevant? We are separated by time and culture.
But “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword…” Timothy 4:12
As we know, even today, most of the problems the Corinthian church had at that time, are still present with us today. Yet, even though they had those problems, we have here some of the most beautiful passages in the whole Bible:
- chp 13: Love
- chp 15: Resurrection
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,”
Paul was his Roman name – after he became a Christian and became a missionary to the Gentiles, he used his Roman name (Paul) rather than his Jewish name (Saul) so that he could link himself to those to whom God had sent him.
We know that he wrote at least 13 books in the NT, and here he introduces “Sosthenes” – perhaps Paul’s secretary (he was the minister in the church during his second missionary journey – at one time, the people attacked both Paul and Sosthenes – so he was well-known to the members of that church).
“To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy [KJV = “called to be saints”], together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Every local church has two addresses: geographic location + heavenly address
- This church:
- Geographic: in Corinth
- Heavenly: in Christ
- Even AICF:
- Geo: In Jeonju
- Heavenly: In Christ
This does not say, “Church of Corinth” but rather “Church of God IN Corinth.”
The word “ecclesia” in Greek means “called out people” and is the name for “church.” “Called” is one of the keywords.
Biblically, church is: “An assembly of people called out of this world by God to be holy and sanctified, and then sent again by God into the world to help save the world.”
So, a man of God, in the church, has been called by God already and sanctified. Yes, we know that men (people) have many problems and sins, but Paul calls them FIRST “saints” and “sanctified.” Rather than focusing on sin first, he encourages first and reminds them (and us) of their HIGH position.
What kind of encouragement was this? Identity encouragement – positional truth – “you are saints and sanctified.”
Also, today, we are saints and sanctified. If you are Christian, this is what you are today.
Before, they called dead people who lived biblically a “saint” but actually EVERY true believer is already a “saint” because they’ve been sanctified and set apart by God. We’ve already received the truest blessing of God, and have been set apart. Believe you are a saint.
But, we must remember that this is not of our own power, but only by Christ’s power and what he’s done for us.
Our identity as saints and sanctified is not based on our own achievement and performance, but based on the work of Christ, his death and resurrection.
So, our identity is sure, very safe. It was given to us by someone else (Jesus Christ) so the basic meaning of “saint” and “sanctified” = “separation” / “difference.”
This separation / difference is not to be marked by withdrawing from ordinary life, but rather it must be displayed as a difference in an ordinary life.
Also, we must know that to be a Christian is to accept Christ, to live for him, and be ready to die for him. Are you Christian? Let me repeat:
Be a man / woman for whom Christ died, know it, accept it, accept him as Lord, live your whole life for Christ, even prepare to die for Christ.
This is the definition of Christian. God bless us all to be real Christians. “I’m a saint.”
Also, this letter is a difficult letter. It had to deal with difficult problems and difficult situations. In these difficult situations, Paul’s first focus and consideration was Jesus Christ. This is an amazing principle we can apply in our real lives.
In the 9 verses we read today, the name “Jesus” or “Christ” or “him” is repeated 10 times. He is in EVERY sentence as a keyword.
- called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus
- to those sanctified in Christ Jesus …. who call on the the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
- Grace and peace to you from … Jesus Christ
- …his grace given you in Christ
- in him you have been enriched…
- our testimony about Christ
- you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ
- He will keep you strong to the end… on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (remember this verse)
- God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord…
In our application, what can we learn from these truths?
When we deal with any matter in our lives, in any area, when we try to deal with difficult situations or problems, we may use human laws, info, counseling, wisdom, Internet surfing. This is not bad, BUT if we are really saved, whenever we try to deal with any kind of difficult situation, the FIRST thing we must do is to focus on Jesus Christ and meditate on what he has done for me, and meditate, and pray. We must approach the throne of God through prayer.
Yes, the current situation in the Corinthian church is NOT GOOD, but verse 8-9 say “he will keep you strong to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, God, … is faithful.”
Yes, maybe we are immature and imperfect still. We still struggle, have hardships and failures, but these things are NOT the whole picture of our lives. FINALLY, we will be blameless because of what Jesus has done for us through his death and resurrection.
“God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”
Another keyword in this passage: “called.” Somyong in Korean – a calling to salvation, and also a calling to service.
The standard greeting of all Paul’s letters are “grace and peace.”
Grace = God’s undeserved kindness, free gift of grace and kindness in Christ. In Greek, grace is charisma.
“Those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus so that he may be the first born of many brothers.”
Romans 8 “Those he called, he justified, he sanctified, he glorified. What can we say, if God is for me, who can be against me?”
“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thes 3:13 is almost the same. “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
- He will do it.
- He will do it.
- He will do it.