Sunday, November 9, 2014

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 1 – Introduction

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 1 – Introduction
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We have just finished looking at the first epistle of Paul, Romans, which was written to the Christians in Rome in February of 58AD.

We now turn to the second of the epistles authored by the Apostle Paul, I Corinthians.

The church in Corinth was founded by Paul after he worked there for 18 months. (I Corinthians 4:15; Acts 18)

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

                   I.            ORIGINS OF THE EPISTLE
a.      Paul's founding of the church in Corinth
                                                                         i.      Paul spent 18 months founding the church

                                                                      ii.      After Paul left, disorders broke out
1.      During his 3 years in Ephesus Paul must have rushed over, in fact, the scriptures say he did this three times, to put these abuses in order.

2.      This is not an example or church hierarchy, rather, a founder setting straight the path of a church HE started!

b.     Upon his return, he wrote his first letter
                                                                         i.      This first letter is now lost (I Corinthians 5:9, 11)

                                                                      ii.      So we are actually calling the second the first, and the third the second.

c.      Paul received reports about the churches condition
                                                                         i.      He knew they were struggling with abuses because of reports that reached him, some reports of some members of a well-known family. (I Corinthians 1:11)

                                                                      ii.      and commonly heard reports from travelers (I Corinthians 5:1; 11:18)

                                                                   iii.      These reports proved, in spite all of Paul's efforts, the sad disorders continued.

                                                                     iv.      A REPLY to his first letter (which we have no record of, the letter has been lost), with inquiries from the struggling church in Corinth. (I Corinthians 7:1)

                                                                        v.      So to answer these questions, as well as to further unburden his soul about the disorders, Paul wrote what we refer to as I Corinthians.

               II.            CLUES AND KEYS TO MESSAGE
a.      They key to understanding this epistle
                                                                         i.      Understand the mental, moral and spiritual condition of the Corinthians

b.     We know where most the members in Corinth come from
                                                                         i.      Most are from lower class (I Corinthians 1:26)

                                                                      ii.      They were not Greek, mostly rivals of Athens

                                                                   iii.      Greeks were proud of their language, literature, learning and logic

                                                                     iv.      Paul rebukes human knowledge throughout this epistle

                                                                        v.      They may have worldly wisdom, but are fools in God's eyes

                                                                     vi.      The natural man cannot receive things from the Spirit

                                                                  vii.      The highest truths are veiled to him

c.      These people are also addicted to;
                                                                         i.      Immorality I Corinthians 5:1-11; 6:15-18
1.      "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate..."

2.      "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!"

                                                                      ii.      Drunkenness I Corinthians 11:21
1.      "...for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk."
a.      They heard "free bread and wine for communion? Let us eat and drink until it's all gone!"

b.     Abusing communion and its meaning

c.      Leaving others with no bread

d.     Leaving others with no wine (By the way, you cannot get drunk on grape juice)

                                                                   iii.      Overall, sin best describes this church and city.

d.     The epistle of reproof
                                                                         i.      This epistle contains doctrine of reproof and correction (I Corinthians 15:12)

                                                                      ii.      It is intensely practical

                                                                   iii.      correcting the abuses in the social lives of the Corinthians

                                                                     iv.      And though primarily intended for the Christians in Corinth, the principles declared make it applicable to God's people of all time.

a.      The book and its divisions
                                                                         i.      Basically, the first half of this epistle is what was reported to Paul, and the second half is what was inquired of him.

                                                                      ii.      Paul begins the first half of the letter discussing the church disorders and the social irregularities.

                                                                   iii.      The second half answering the questions of social irregularities, and church disorders.

b.     Paul begins this letter with a welcome and thanksgiving

c.      Paul then thanks God for the grace given this early church
                                                                         i.      They struggled with direction and leadership

                                                                      ii.      They did great when Paul was present

                                                                   iii.      Paul would continue to correct them, and pray they would eventually get their footing.

                                                                     iv.      Corinthian Christians remind me of American Converts.
1.      Sometimes we live in sin so long; we have many destructive habits we need to break so that God can use us to our full potential.


A careful study of the New Testament reveals this fact, that our Lord's full title Lord Jesus Christ, is never given to Him, except when the writer is seeking to declare and emphasize the Lordship of Christ.

Six times in the first ten versus it is used!

The Name Lord is very prominent as well throughout.

There is a deep significance to this, for all the disorders that had crept in to their lives had arisen through failure to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord.

We must crown Him Lord of our lives if we are to live victoriously over sin!

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