Be Wise About Your Calling
1 Cor. 1:1,2,9,24,26
A. The church in Corinth may be described as: defiled (with immorality), divided (at least four groups) and disgraced (hindering the gospel instead of glorifying God’s way).
B. How did this happen to a group who had been called to be saints?
1. Six times the word called or calling is found in this chapter (vs. 1,2,9,24,26).
2. Paul wrote the epistle of Romans from Corinth and could likely look out his window and see many of the sins he condemned in Rom. 1:18-32.
3. To “live like a Corinthian” was well known description of immoral debauchery.
C. In 1:1-9, he described the church as God sees it - the ideal.
D. In 1:10-31, he described the church as men saw it - the real in Corinth.
1. After a lovely wedding, the bride came out and saw a limousine parked across the street; she saw her old boyfriend, who had boasted “I can get her any time I want her,” and the driver drove off with her.
2. When a man and woman pledge their love for one another, every other relationship outside that marriage are sinful. Likewise, the Christian is called (vs. 2,9) and must not look back to the world.
A. The command to be one (1:10).
1. They were not speaking the same things - contrast v. 2 “the church of God” and “of Paul,”
etc. (The same letter deals with having different opinions, chaps. 8,10, but factionalism is forbidden.)
2. No divisions, but perfectly joined (knitted) - used of knitting bones together that had been fractured - that is unnatural and must be cured. Also used of repairing torn fishing nets.
3. The same mind - the Christian way of thinking (2:14-16); the same judgment - manner of deciding a particular issue (as harmony of singers by following director - not following one another, our’s is in mutual following of Christ).
B. The division and three questions (1:11-13).
1. Their saying (“of Paul, Apollos, Cephas and Christ”) - like dividing Christ and handing different parts to different people - grotesque!
2. Instead of emphasizing the message, they were emphasizing the messenger - got their eyes off the Lord and on the Lord’s servants - who had nothing to do with that!
3. Of Paul - began with himself. Mainly composed of Gentiles (may have been attempting to change liberty into license), or may have been because he established the church (Acts 18:1-11).
4. Of Apollos - (Acts 18:24-19:1) - Alexandria was the center of intellectual learning, so may have been more intellectual in his teaching; and a great speaker.
5. Of Cephas - the Jewish name for Peter. May have been Jewish members (no mention of him being in Corinth, unless, 1 Cor. 9:5).
6. Of Christ - May have been same party spirit as others (viewed others as wrong - because Christ only belonged to them, their opinions), or was it Paul’s comment - “but I belong to Christ”?
7. Three questions:
a. Is Christ divided? - Asking about the literal body of Christ and making application to the spiritual body.
b. Was Paul crucified for you? - Martin Luther said: “In the first place, I pray you to leave my name alone, and not to call yourselves Lutherans but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine! I have not been crucified for any one...How then does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ. Cease, my dear friend, to cling to the party names and distinctions; away with them all; and let us call ourselves only Christians, after him from whom our doctrine comes.”
c. Were you baptized in the name of Christ? - “in/into (eis) the name” meant into his absolute and undisputed possession (if deposited money into a man’s name - his possession). Paul was glad that his actions could not be misconstrued to mean that he had annexed men to him, rather than to Christ (vs. 14-18).
C. The proper attitude toward teachers (3:1-8).
1. Man is carnal (fleshly) - which is not sinful, but should not act fleshly/carnally (3:3 - human nature apart from God).
2. Proof of carnality - their party spirit (v. 4). Means you can determine one’s relationship with God by looking at his relationship with men. The factious attitude, which separates men from fellow men, also separates them from God.
3. What is the proper attitude toward men?
a. One plants - sows that seed (vs. 6-8)
b. One waters - works toward the same purpose - a crop. They are servants working together.
c. God gives the increase - He put the power in the seed (the word, Rom. 1:16). This does not require miraculous work of God on the heart, any more than on physical seed!
Remember: there is diversity of service (plowing, sowing and watering), unity of purpose (3:8 - not in competition) and humility of spirit (without God’s part - no crop/increase). The Corinthians were having problems getting along because God was not the one getting the glory. People are baptized into the one who died for them - not into those who teach them!