Is That Really The Church?

Photo by Thais Do Rio on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 1. When we come to the Book of Corinthians, we see the Apostle Paul addressing a dysfunctional Church. Paul was very concerned about Corinth, because God used Paul to establish the Church there. In Acts chapter 18 we find out that Paul first went to the Jews.

Acts 18:4-6 (ESV) {Paul} reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Corinth was a very hard ministry for Paul. God actually came to Paul in a vision one night, saying …

Acts 18:9-11 (ESV) … “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

At one point Paul was taken before the tribunal or or court but the proconsul (think Prosecutor) Gallio refused to prosecute Paul. One convert to our faith that Paul had in Corinth was “Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue” (Acts 18:17), who was beaten for standing up for Christ and for Paul. I believe Sosthenes went on to be an elder or a pastor in the Church at Corinth. In verse 1 we see talking about this same Sosthenes.

Sosthenes came to Paul and told him what had been going on in the Church. It was Sosthenes report that caused the Apostle – as the Spirit led him – to pen this letter.

Now we can read the first three verses:

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, 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: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Word Study As Paul addresses the Church (and Sosthenes is probably the one who carries this letter back to Corinth), he begins to define what the Church at Corinth (and every place) is supposed to be. The word “Church” is the Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsía, {pronounced ek-klay-see’-ah}, which means “a people called out from their worldto assembletogether for God. The word “church” was used for Israel in Acts 7:38 by Stephen as he witnessed Christ to the High Priest of Israel.

The Church exists to glorify God, and to represent
Him on planet earth.

When Jesus prayed for His Church, He said:

John 17:11-15 (ESV) … I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. … 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Jesus expected His Church to be IN the world, but not OF the world. Jesus said:

John 15:19 (ESV) If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

The Church is meant to be a lighthouse in the midst of a dark and evil world. The Apostle calls the Church,the church of God”. It belongs to the God Who said, “Let There Be Light”, and there was light. Jesus said that we are to “Let your light SHINE before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The Church is a group of believers:

vvs 2 … that are sanctified in Christ Jesus,
to be saints

The Enduring Word Commentarynotes:

The words sanctified and saints communicate the same idea, of being set apart from the world and unto God. Notice the words to be are inserted by translators. The Corinthians were called saints, not called to be saints.”

We who are part of Christ’s Church are called out of this world to stand up for Jesus Christ. Please note how many times Paul references Jesus in these first three verses.

In verse 1, “Jesus Christ”.
In verse 2, “Christ Jesus” and then “Jesus Christ our Lord”.
In verse 3, “the Lord Jesus Christ”.

The Church does not represent a political party, sexual or sensual permissiveness, or a social justice program.
The Church represents and glorifies Jesus!

1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Paul addresses the Church (where ever it might be) he usually includes the phrase we find in verse 3. You’ll see this phrase Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ in his letters to the Churches at

Rome, Galatia, Ephesus, Colossae, Thessalonica,

And in his pastoral epistles to

Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

Paul always lists Grace before Peace, as peace with God does not come until you have the Grace of God in your life. Grace is only secured when you come to the “Lord Jesus Christ”, repenting of being your own god, and trusting in Him. The same Grace that saves the Christian is the Grace by which we live our lives. Grace is a gift of Jesus.

The Grace Of God Is The Overflowing
Goodness And Glory Of God

1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

Grace is a free gift, given by Jesus to whosoever will believe on Him. Our standing before God as “saints” is not based on our abilities, nor on our personal merit. If a person has a spiritual gift, it is not something that they earned or deserved. It is something that was given by God the Holy Spirit. Even though later in this letter the Apostle will rebuke the Corinthians, he is still thankful that God saved them by Grace.

1 Corinthians 1:5-8 That in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church at Corinth was “enriched” by Jesus. They knew about Jesus. They had spiritual gifts in the Church. They were rich (πλουτίζω ploutízō, [pronounced ploo-tid’-zo]), wealthy in blessings from the Lord. I have often wondered about well known Christian evangelists and preachers who, doing great works for God, are found to have some horrible flaw or worldliness in them. The truth is, God in His Grace can use a broken or a flawed person or even a Church. To those who do not believe this to be true, consider Jonah!

Jonah fought God.
Jonah ran from God.
But God used him in Nineveh anyway.

The Apostle told his student Titus:

Titus 2:11-13 (ESV) … the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Paul told Titus that the “grace of God” not only brings salvation, but it trains the believer to lead a God honoring life while waiting on Jesus’ return!

The Grace of God is a free gift from God. It blesses us with salvation. But it also leads us to live our lives glorifying God, not ourselves. The Grace of God leads us out of worldliness to walk with Christ Jesus “in the light” (1 John 1:7). Yes, the Grace of God saves us for Heaven. We who are under His Grace shall be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Grace of God is based on the faithfulness of God. The Free Bible Commentarynotes:

The Bible has two seemingly paradoxical truths about the believer’s relationship with God. It is covenantal in nature; therefore, it involves an initial and an ongoing faith and repentant response. We must be diligent to maintain our relationship. It is secure in God’s faithfulness (Jude 24). No one can steal our relationship from us (John 6:37, 39; 10:28; Romans 8:38-39). Security and perseverance are both biblical (Ephesians 2:8-9, 10 and Philippians 2:12-13). They are the two necessary aspects of {God’s} “covenant.”

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our God is faithful in His ministration of Grace. God calls broken creatures into an eternal relationship with Him. The ones that He saves, He will keep. If you are born again as a child of God, the Bible very clearly states two things:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

But it is also equally true that:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The salvation of the Christian is settled at the Cross and the empty tomb. But once saved, you become God’s product, God’s project, God’s progeny, God’s property, God’s PEOPLE, God’s PRIESTS.
God demands you walk with HIM.

The Tongue That Saved Us By Calling On Jesus
Is The Tongue That Should Speak Grace To Others

1 Corinthians 1:10 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.

It is through the tongue that we learn of God’s Grace. It is through the tongue that we are forgiven by God. The Bible says:

Romans 10:10, 13 (ESV) if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. …13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If we are saved by Grace, we got there by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord, and by affirming His resurrection is a historic reality. Jesus Christ loves us, and makes intercession for us every single day. The Bible says, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One Who died – more than that, Who was raised – Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). There is not a day that goes by where you and I do not fall short of the glory of God. There is not a day that goes by where you and I do not, in some way, sin against God. And yet,

Jesus intercedes for us still. Jesus never gives up on His children. The Corinthian Church is proof of that.

God wants His children to use their tongues productively. God used His tongue to bring light out of darkness, and order out of chaos. “By the Word of the Lord were the Heavens made; and all the hosts of them (the stars) by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

  • We are to use our tongues to promote the Kingdom of God, to bring others into Christ’s family. We read:

vs 10 I beseech you, brethren,
by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Christians are brethren, we are family. We all share the same blood type: we are under the blood of Jesus Christ. We are family, God’s family. We are called to work together for His glory. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day {of the Lord} drawing near. We are God’s people together. A flood is coming – a flood not of water, but of evil. Let us bind ourselves together in God’s family. Let us get on the Ark of Jesus’ Cross, and rest in His Presence.

There is no room for infighting in God’s Kingdom. We are to love and care for one another.

Colossians 3:13-15, 17 (ESV) {be} bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. … 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

It is not the RELIGIOUS person who will get to Heaven, but the person in a RELATIONSHIP with God through Jesus Christ. If you are saved, you love Jesus. And if you love Jesus, you will do as He says. “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me” (John 14:21). What are Jesus’ commandments? Primarily, to love Him with your all. Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

As well as Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Jesus wants us to love God – and by extension the Son of God – with our all. He also wants us to love others who are our “neighbors”. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus even went farther than this. He said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”. (John 15:12; 13:34). Those who belong to God are to love God and love others. We are to use our tongues in constructive ways.

1 Corinthians 1:10 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.

  • We serve a risen Savior. He is Lord. One day, Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned..

If you belong to Christ, if you have believed on that old rugged Cross, then you are to be good trees, and not evil. The fruit of your lips should reflect the truth that you are born again, a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 12:33, 35 (ESV) “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. … 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. ”

The root of the problem from which all other problems stemmed at Corinth was their use of the mouths. They were not guided by Grace in how they used their mouths.

1 Corinthians 1:11-15 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.

The Church at Corinth was meeting in private homes at this time in history. Some had begun to brag about who baptized them, insinuating that they were better saved because a more prominent preacher baptized them. This is foolish! Baptism is a public profession of salvation, but who baptized you does not make your salvation greater or lesser than another’s.

We are all saved by faith in Jesus Christ, by the wondrous Grace of God. The Apostle in another place prescribed how to handle those who fostered division in the Church. He wrote:

Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

The Church of Christ is the Body of Christ. There is no room in it for divisions, sectarianism, secularism, or foolishness. We are called to serve the Lord TOGETHER. There is no spiritual gift of criticism, no calling to be obnoxious. We are to work together to shine for Jesus, to bring the Gospel message to the world around us. Anything that hinders that calling is satanic, not spiritual. May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts with His Word. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.