1 Corinthians 1. Forum Discussion

Unity within the church. We are all part of one body, the body of Christ

It is a little more than 20 years since Jesus’ resurrection, and the churches of Corinth are experiencing problems.

Paul has received a report that there are divisions among the brethren. He is writing to, “Exhort the brethren not to let divisions exist between them, as they are all part of one body – the body of Christ.”

In verses 4 and 5, Paul reminds them that by God’s grace they have been blessed with increased speaking abilities and greater knowledge. He further reminds them that they are not lacking in any spiritual gift needed to accomplish the work of the Lord.

Families fight. Church families fight. It’s not the way any of us want it, it’s certainly not the way that God wants it, but it is a reality that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. We are imperfect people worshiping a perfect God and things can sometimes get messy.

Paul begins his letter by reminding those in Corinth of three things:

  1. They are all on the same team (followers of Christ).
  2. As followers of Christ, they should all be of the same mind and in the same judgment.
  3. Christ is their leader. Not Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or anyone else.

In short, they need to get back to what is important and put aside their petty differences.

Paul then goes on to talk about the wisdom of God, and the foolishness of the world.

It’s when things are going well that we are most susceptible to neglecting our relationship with God and paying too much attention to worldly things. As Paul writes, that is foolishness and eventually it will come back to bite us.

Think about the book of Job.   This is a story about a man that loses everything.   He loses his wealth, his family and his health.   As things get harder and harder in Job’s life, he turns away from his faith in God and begins complaining and being self-righteous.   In one of the most powerful passages in the Bible, God calls Job out for his behavior and puts Job in his place.   Job 38:4-18:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
“On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,

When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who enclosed the sea with doors
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
When I made a cloud its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,

And I placed boundaries on it
And set a bolt and doors,
And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop’?

“Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth?”
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
“It is changed like clay under the seal;
And they stand forth like a garment.
“From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the uplifted arm is broken.

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
“Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
“Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.

Eventually, after intense suffering, Job returns to God, repents, and accepts God’s sovereignty.

In Job 42:6, Job says, “Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”

Job 42:10 says, “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job . . . and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.”

This is a powerful example of what happens when we emphasize worldly matters and de-emphasize God.

Just like Job, those in Corinth needed to examine themselves and give God His due respect. God needs to be our focus too, not the world.

Sometimes we can get into trouble if we spend too much time looking around at each other, and not enough time looking up to God.

Like Job, when we turn back to God, we will be welcomed with open arms and God will bless us with His abundance grace and mercy. When things get tough, we need to get back to the basics of Christianity and remind ourselves:

  1. We are all on the same team (followers of Christ).
  2. As followers of Christ, we should all be of the same mind and in the same judgment.
  3. Christ is our leader. Not Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or anyone else.

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 1 Corinthians 2 and the superiority of the Holy Spirit compared to the thoughts of man. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

Comments

A couple of thoughts come to mind. In San Diego our evangelist was a name named Guerimo who was nicknamed the bulldog of preachers. He was very likable, deep in his convictions, and had a larger than life persona on stage. The challenge with that is too many seemingly were more enthralled by Jim than the message. He, being a Man of God, put an end to that; calling out the members and making it clear he would rather see himself transferred than to have any perceived notion that it was his church. It was and is only God’s!
Concerning Job, I love when God speaks: Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge. Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you will answer! The next part is not written but I think it should have been in parentheses that Job probably fainted or worse. What I love about Job is God generally is cryptic in his description of himself (I am the I am)...except here. We experience the sarcasm, the wit, the poetic beauty, the power, and ultimately the love of God for Job and all his people.
To God be the Glory!

Reply
DAVID

Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing them David!

Reply
Pat Dermody

The Christians in Corinth were struggling with their environment. They were surrounded by corruption and sin which brought about doubt. Today as we face the coronavirus we may have doubts ...no job, loss of savings, food insecurity, depression, weakening of relationships. We must remind ourselves to stay faithful to God and that He is right by our side. Life is short and live with the knowledge that ultimately He will give us eternal life. To use the vernacular, “ keep the faith.”

Reply
Pat Dermody

Amen Pat Dermody! Thanks for your comments!

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It's been a while since I have thought about the book of Job. With all of the things going on in the world, it is the perfect reminder to us that God is in charge. When we put our faith in Him, He will bless us.

It is foolishness to put our faith anywhere else.

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