This is the Air We Breathe…
Keep your chin up, for greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1-2 I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God’s plan, along with my friend Sosthenes.
I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, believers cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life.
I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live.
He’s their Master as well as ours!
3 May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours.
4-6 Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus.
There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge.
The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
7-9 Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all!
All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale.
And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus.
God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus.
He will NEVER give up on you. Never forget that.
Sosthenes may have been Paul’s secretary who wrote down this letter as Paul dictated it.
He was probably the Jewish synagogue leader in Corinth who had been beaten during an attack on Paul (Acts 18:17) and then later became a believer.
Sosthenes was well known to the members of the Corinthian church, so Paul included his familiar name in the opening of the letter.
Paul wrote this letter to Corinth during his three-year visit in Ephesus on his third missionary journey.
The two cities sat across from each other on the Aegean Sea, and both were busy and important ports.
Titus may have carried this letter from Ephesus to Corinth (2 Corinthians 12:18).
Here’s the setting:
Corinth, a giant cultural melting pot with a great diversity of wealth, religions, and moral standards, had a reputation for being fiercely independent and as decadent as any city in the world.
The Romans had destroyed Corinth in 146 BC after a rebellion.
But in 46 BC, the Roman emperor Julius Caesar rebuilt it because of its strategic seaport.
By Paul’s day (AD 50), the Romans had made Corinth the capital of Achaia (present-day Greece).
It was a large city, offering Rome great profits through trade as well as the military protection of its ports.
But the city’s prosperity made it ripe for all sorts of corruption.
Idolatry flourished, and more than a dozen pagan temples employed at least a thousand prostitutes.
Corinth’s reputation was such that female prostitutes in other cities began to be called “Corinthian girls.”
A personal invitation makes a person feel wanted and welcome.
We are “called by God to be His own holy people.”
God personally invites us to be citizens of His eternal Kingdom.
Only Jesus Christ, God’s Son, can bring us into this glorious Kingdom because only He can remove our sins.
“To be made holy” (or sanctified) means that we are chosen and set apart by Christ for His service.
We accept God’s invitation by accepting the truth that only His Son, Jesus Christ, can bring us into God’s presence and by trusting that what Jesus did on the cross can forgive our sins.
By including a salutation to “all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul makes it clear that this is not a private letter; it may have been circulated to other churches in nearby cities.
Although the letter deals with specific issues facing the church in Corinth, all believers can learn from it.
The Corinthian church included a great cross section of believers—wealthy merchants, common laborers, former temple prostitutes, and middle-class families.
Because of the wide diversity of people and backgrounds, Paul takes great pains to stress the need for both spiritual unity and Christlike character.
How do we receive grace and peace from God? Grace—God’s free gift of salvation—is freely offered, even though we don’t deserve it.
All we have to do is accept it.
We do this by believing what God says—that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, taking the penalty for our sins upon Himself so that we are free to enjoy eternal life with Him.
When we truly believe this, we will follow Jesus as our Lord because He is perfect and right in all he does.
By accepting this greatest of gifts, we will have peace of mind and heart because we know our eternal future is secure and that Jesus cares for us and guides us here and now.
With Him by our side every day, we have nothing to fear.
Paul thanked God for the Corinthian believers.
On certain occasions, we specifically focus on our blessings and express our gratitude to God for them.
But thanks should be expressed every day.
We can never say thank you enough to parents, friends, leaders, and especially to God.
When thanksgiving becomes an integral part of your life, you will find that your attitude will change.
You will become more positive, gracious, loving, and humble.
Whom do you need to thank today?
The Corinthian church members had all the spiritual gifts they needed to live the Christian life, to witness for Jesus, and to stand against the paganism and immorality of Corinth.
But instead of using what God had given them, they were arguing over which gifts were most important.
Paul addresses this issue in depth in 1 Corinthians 12 through 14.
Before tackling the problems, Paul described his hope for the Corinthians.
He guaranteed these believers that God would keep them strong to the end and consider them free from all blame when Christ returns (also see Ephesians 1:7-10).
This guarantee was not because of their great abilities, spiritual gifts, or shining performances but because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for them through His death and resurrection.
All who believe in the Lord Jesus are in partnership with Him and will be considered blameless when He returns (also see 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 9:28).
Today’s struggles, difficulties, and failures don’t tell the whole story.
Keep the big picture in mind. If you have faith in Jesus, even if it is weak, you are and will be saved.
Like a frustrated coach watching his team bicker on the court, Paul called for a time-out.
He saw the danger of divisions and arguments.
The Corinthian believers’ lack of unity was obvious.
They may have been playing in the same “uniform,” but they were doing as much as the opposition to bring about their own defeat.
The problems weren’t so much differences of opinion as divided allegiances.
They were arguing over which position on the team was most important in a way that made them ineffective as a unit.
Harmony is beautiful—in families, in friendships, at work, at church.
Harmony, however, does not require everyone to hold the same opinions about everything.
There is a difference between having opposing viewpoints and being divisive.
Someone once told me that the church is like a university, which means diversity in Oneness.
A group of people will not agree on every issue, but they can work together harmoniously if they agree on what truly matters—Jesus Christ as Lord of all.
Focus on Jesus and the purpose He has for you.
Speak and act in a way that will reduce arguments and increase harmony.
Petty differences should never divide Christians.
Christians must focus on Christ to understand God’s will. Human wisdom won’t do it.
From Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…
One of my Boy Scout assignments was to build a kite.
One of my blessings as a Boy Scout was a kite-building dad.
He built a lot of things: scooters on skates, go-carts.
Why, he even built our house.
A kite to him was stick figures to Van Gogh.
Could handle them in his sleep. With wood glue, poles, and newspaper, we fashioned a sky-dancing masterpiece: red, white, and blue, and shaped like a box.
We launched our creation on the back of a March wind. But after some minutes, my kite caught a downdraft and plunged.
I tightened the string, raced in reverse, and did all I could to maintain elevation.
But it was too late. She Hindenburged earthward.
Envision a redheaded, heartsick twelve-year-old standing over his collapsed kite.
That was me.
Envision a square-bodied man with ruddy skin and coverall, placing his hand on the boy’s shoulder.
That was my kite-making dad.
He surveyed the heap of sticks and paper and assured, “It’s okay. We can fix this.”
I believed him. Why not? He spoke with authority.
So does Christ. To all whose lives feel like a crashed kite, He says, “We can fix this. Let Me teach you.
Let Me teach you how to handle your money, long Mondays, and cranky in-laws.
Let Me teach you why people fight, death comes, and forgiveness counts.
But most of all, let Me teach you why on earth you are on this earth.”
Don’t we need to learn?
We know so much, and yet we know so little.
The age of information is the age of confusion: much know-how, hardly any know-why.
We need answers. Jesus offers them. But can we trust Him?
Only one way to know.
(From 3:16 by Max Lucado)
Human wisdom tells us to get as much as we can, believe only what we can see, enjoy pleasure, and avoid pain.
God’s wisdom tells us to give all we can, believe what we can’t see, enjoy service, and expect persecution.
Trust makes all the difference.
Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Come join the Adventure!