Saints GO Marching On Series – 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Intro: The story has been told of a do-it-yourselfer who went into a hardware store early one morning and asked for a saw. The salesman took a chain saw from the shelf and commented that it was their “newest model, with the latest in technology, guaranteed to cut ten cords of firewood a day.” The customer thought that sounded pretty good, so he bought it on the spot.
The next day the customer returned, looking somewhat exhausted. “Something must be wrong with this saw,” he moaned. “I worked as hard as I could and only managed to cut three cords of wood. I used to do four with my old-fashioned saw.” Looking confused, the salesman said, “Here, let me try it out back on some wood we keep there.” They went to the woodpile, the salesman pulled the cord, and as the motor went Vvvrooommm, the customer leaped back and exclaimed, “What’s that noise?”
The customer trying to saw wood without the power of the saw to help him is very much like the believer who attempts to live the Christian life without the daily empowerment of the Spirit.
In this letter to the church of Corinth Paul wanted the saints to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, he wanted the church to understand it belongs to God. The church is a family of believers and we are brothers and sisters. We are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy. The church is MADE UP OF ALL THOSE EVERYWHERE WHO CALL ON THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. In the Upper Room Discourse Jesus with a select few disciples explains to them “THE WAY” What He expected the follower of Christ to do. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16
Text: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 (NKJV)
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Called to be an apostle: “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” One might almost believe that Paul was bragging on himself in this introduction of the letter. This is the introduction of Paul's letter to the Corinthians. This passage contains only three verses but they are powerful. They cover some foundational facts which are absolutely essential to grasp when dealing with the messenger of God and a problem church.
The messenger of Christ is called by God's will. It is God who calls men and women to serve Him, not the men and women who choose to serve God. Paul was called by God to be an apostle, which means he was appointed by God to be a messenger, a witness, a missionary to carry the gospel of Christ to men. It is imperative to understand the messenger's call and appointment comes from God, not from men, the messenger being the Christian. No man or woman puts themselves into the ministry. God alone chooses and calls us. In Paul's particular case, some of the Corinthian believers were questioning and denying his call by God. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16
Paul’s credential were impressive but he was not trying to brag or make himself out to be more than he was, he was a messenger of God and he goes a step further to emphasize the importance of being that brother or sister to other believer’s. Paul called Sosthenes our brother, which means he was a brother in Christ. Sosthenes was probably one of the men sent by the Corinthian church to deliver their letter to Paul—the letter which asked Paul the questions that he answers here in First Corinthians. Sosthenes may also have been the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, the ruler who had taken the lead in having Paul arrested and tried. Sosthenes was himself taken and beaten by the Roman governor because he dared to bother the busy schedule of the courts with such an insignificant matter as preaching. If Sosthenes was the same as the ruler of the synagogue, he was at some point converted to Christ. The messenger of God is called by God, but his call does not make him better or superior to other believers. His call and office as a messenger of God is to be acknowledged and respected, but it does not make him a superior person. He is a brother to all other believers.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.’ Philippians 2:1-3 (NIV)
- Paul was called to be an Apostle, he was CALLED OUT!
2. Called to be saints: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.”
The saints are the church and it is important for the Christian to understand who and what they are: The local church is born of God: it is "the church of God, which is at Corinth"; that is, it is God's church in a particular city or locality. The church is not the church of Corinth or of any other city; it is the church which has been given birth by God; therefore, it belongs to God.
The local church and its believers are set apart in Christ and called saints. The word sanctified means to be set apart or separated. God's church is to be set apart and separated unto Him. The idea is that believers are not to be taken out of the world, but they are to be different from the world. Their life-style and purpose in life are to be different. They are to live holy lives and to no longer love the world or touch the unclean things of the world.
“Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
The church and its believers are to be sanctified to God. They are set apart to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. No person can approach God—no person can ever be set apart to God—except through the Lord Jesus Christ. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Believers are called "saints" and are to be identified with all other believers. With that said the church of Corinth had a problem with that. The church is supposed to be universal. There is no exclusiveness, no superiority in the church of God—not in the true church. Some were claiming to be superior and to have a more special relationship to Christ than others. Super-spirituality and pride were seeping into the lives of some—to such a point that the whole fellowship of the church was being threatened. Super-spirituality and pride have no place in God's church. There is only One who is to be honored and exalted: Christ Jesus our Lord. All believers, no matter how low or how high their position and station in life, are the subjects of Christ and not the lords of other believers. The scriptures tell us: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality, “no respecter of persons” He show no partiality.
3. Called to be followers of Christ: “All who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The local church and its believers (the Saints) experience grace and peace. If you have been called to follow Christ you have been given grace. Grace means the favor of God. It means all the good and perfect gifts of God, all the good and beneficial things He gives to us and does for us, whether physical, material, or spiritual. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:6-8 (NIV)
Peace is the result or fruit of God's favor: peace with God and peace with men. When a man receives the grace of God, he is immediately reconciled to God and man. He is given fellowship with God and a love for all other men. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)
Conclusion: Charlie Waters, former strong safety for the Dallas Cowboys football team, tells a story about Frank Howard, who had been Charlie’s college coach. When Frank Howard was head coach at Clemson University, he went out to practice one Monday before a big game with his first- and third-string quarterbacks out with injuries. That left him with his second-, fourth-, and fifth-string QB’s to play the coming Saturday. In the first five minutes of practice, his starting quarterback (previously second-stringer) hurt his knee. That elevated the fourth-stringer to first-string position and put the fifth-stringer on the second team. About ten minutes later, that replacement QB hurt his knee. Well, the fifth-stringer was now next in line for the first team. Coach Howard blew the whistle and gathered all the players around him. He took the one remaining QB, put his arm around him, and said in his gruff voice, “Son, do you believe in magic.” The QB said in a halfhearted way, “Well, sort of.” Coach Howard looked at him, pointed his five fingers at him like a magician, and said, “Poof! You are now a first-string quarterback.” Many people expect the Christian life to work in the same manner—“Poof! All your problems are now solved.” I would love to stand up in front of you all and with a magical wand say “Poof!” all your problems no longer exist. But that’s now how our walk with Christ works.
Tuesdays Night Karol and I went to movie 10 theaters and watched a onetime showing at 7:00 pm of “The Insanity of God” this production was sponsored by Lifeway of the SBC and it was narrated by two Missionaries who took their three children and served in different areas of some of the roughest parts in the world. Even with the loss of one of their own children, they continue to believe the crucifixion of Christ and His Resurrection was worth it. What resonated in my mind from this production of these stories of hundreds of missionaries and what they did for Christ was worth it? I have to ask myself the same question – is it worth it? If you’re a saint here today you must ask the question is it worth it, if it is not worth it what are you doing?
The saints must march on, and don’t forget to use the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
In : Sermon
Tags: "saints go marching on series" "book of 1 corinthians"
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