The Church Of God Which Is At Corinth

Posted by on Apr 3, 2005

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

April 3, 2005

Sunday Morning

“The Church Of God Which Is At Corinth”

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Introduction:

 

A.   The city of Corinth was a thriving metropolis with a population of about 400,000.

1. Now when I say “thriving,” please understand that I mean only in a commercial sense.

2. Corinth was certainly not “thriving” spiritually.

3. In fact, Corinth was a “mecca of immorality.”

4. It was noted for it’s open and gross licentiousness.

5. The whole city was steeped in immorality of all kinds.

6. Drunkenness, gluttony, promiscuity and idolatry were rampant in this city.

7. (Illus.- Just to give you one example, there was an idol temple in Corinth that was dedicated to the worship of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. In this temple there resided 1,000 priestesses, who were actually nothing more than paid prostitutes. And so, the practice of fornication was a religion to many of those who lived in Corinth.)

8. The city of Corinth was so wicked, that the Greek word which literally means, “to live like a Corinthian,” became a byword of shame and disgrace.

9. Believe me, if someone called you a “Corinthian” back then, they were not complimenting you.

 

B.   It was to this “mecca of immorality” that Paul came on his second missionary journey.

1. It was here that he met Aquila and Priscilla, who became his very close friends and coworkers in ministry.

2. It was also here in Corinth that Paul won a man named Crispus to the Lord, along with his entire family.

3. While Crispus was a Jew, many Gentiles were also saved, and as a result of 18 months of Paul’s laboring in Corinth, a church was established.

 

C.   What kind of church was the church at Corinth?

1. According to 1 Cor. 3:1, it was a “carnal” church.

2. It was a church that was primarily made up of baby Christians, Christians who, for whatever reason, had failed to grow spiritually.

3. It was a church with many problems. In fact, this seems to be the primary reason that Paul wrote this letter (1 Corinthians), to deal with these problems.

 

D.   This morning, as we begin our study of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, I want us to focus our attention on these people to whom the letter was addressed.

1. We know who the author of this letter was from Vrs. 1, which says, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God,” but what can we learn about those to whom the letter was addressed?

2. First of all, we can learn that they were…

 

I.       Saved.

 

A.   How do we know that they were saved?

1. We know because they had called “upon the name of Jesus Christ.”

2. Look again at Vrs. 2 of our text, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

3. But someone says, “Wait a minute. That verse merely says that they had called upon the name of Jesus, it doesn’t say that they were saved?

4. It does in light of the promise found in Rom. 10:13?

5. The Bible says in Rom. 10:13,, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Amen?)

6. And so, these people to whom this letter was addressed were most certainly saved!

 

B.   Now this raises a question.

1. What does it mean to be saved?

2. First of all, it means to be forgiven.

3. The Bible says in Rom. 4:7, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

4. (Illus.- I remember the night that I got saved. I remember how it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my heart. Why? Because for the first time in my life, I knew that my sins had been forgiven. Amen?)

5. And so, to be saved means to be forgiven.

6. It also means to be alive spiritually.

7. The Bible says in Col. 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

8. Not only did God forgive me of my sins when I got saved, but He also “quickened” me.

9. In other words, He made me alive spiritually.

10.   You see, before I got saved, I was spiritually dead.

11.   Oh, I was alive physically, but I was dead spiritually.

12.   But then God’s Holy Spirit quickened me.

13.   The Bible says in 1 Cor. 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

14.   And so, to be saved means to be alive spiritually.

15.   It also means to be bound for heaven. (Amen?)

16.   Listen to what the Bible says in 1 Pet. 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”

17.   What does it mean to be saved?

18.   It means to be forgiven.

19.   It means to be spiritually alive.

20.   It means to be bound for heaven.

21.   You know, when you consider what it means to be saved, it’s hard to understand why anyone would not want to be saved. (Amen?)

22.   And so, these people to whom this letter was addressed were saved!

 

C.   But someone says, “Wait a minute, preacher. Didn’t you just say that this church had a lot of problems? Weren’t there divisions in this church? Wasn’t there sexual immorality in this church? Wasn’t there idolatry in this church? Weren’t these people guilty of taking one another to court, making light of the Lord’s supper and abusing spiritual gifts?”

1. The answer to all of these questions is, “Yes!”

2. But notice, I said that these people were saved, I didn’t say that they were sinless!

3. Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to be sinless in order to be saved?

4. Now please don’t misunderstand what I am saying.

5. I am not condoning the sins of which these Corinthian believers were guilty, I’m just saying that there a difference between being saved and being sinless.

6. I am saved (there is no doubt about it), but I am certainly not sinless (and neither are you).

7. And so, these people to whom this letter was written were saved.

 

D.   Notice, also that they were…

 

II.      Sanctified.

 

A.   Look again at Vrs. 2 of our text, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,”

1. Now what does it mean to be “sanctified”?

2. A lot of people think it means to be especially holy.

3. (Illus.- I’ve had more than one person tell me, “Preacher, I believe that I am saved, but I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am sanctified.)

4. Well, the truth is, you can’t be saved without also being sanctified.

 

B.   What then does it mean to be “sanctified,” if it doesn’t mean to be especially holy.

1. The word “sanctified” and the word “saints” come from the same (Greek) root word which literally means “separated, set apart, devoted to a holy purpose.”

2. A good Biblical example of this is the Old Testament tabernacle, as well as it’s contents.

3. Once the tabernacle and it’s contents were constructed and set up, they were sanctified to the Lord.

4. Listen to Num. 7:1, “And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;”

5. Now there was nothing especially holy about the tabernacle itself or it’s contents, but they were holy in the sense that they were set apart and consecrated to God’s service.

 

C.   The same thing is true of us as believers today.

1. When God saved us, He also sanctified us.

2. In other words, He separated us and set us apart for a holy purpose.

3. What is this holy purpose for which we have been set apart?

4. Paul answered this question in 1 Cor. 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

5. Paul put it like this in Rom. 15:5-6, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:…That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

D.   Now this raises a question.

1. If our purpose is to glorify God, how do we accomplish this purpose?

2. Jesus answered this question in Mat. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

3. Peter put it like this in 1 Pet. 2:12, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

4. How do we glorify God?

5. By…

-serving God,

-obeying His commandments,

-letting others see our good works.

 

E.   If you will stop and think about it, this is why God saved us.

1. Some think that the only reason God saved us was to keep us out of hell and to take us to heaven when we die.

2. That’s one reason, yes, but not the main reason.

3. The main reason was so that by…

-serving Him,

-obeying His commandments,

-letting others see our good works,

we could bring glory to God in this life!

4. That’s what Paul meant when he addressed these Corinthian believers as the “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.” (Vrs. 2)

 

F.    And so, these people to whom this letter was addressed were sanctified.

1. They were saved.

2. They were sanctified.

3. Notice, finally that they were…

 

III.    A Part Of An Assembly.

 

A.   Let me ask you a question.

1. When you hear the word “church,” what comes to your mind?

2. If you are like most people, you think of a building.

3. (Illus.- For example, if someone were to stop you on the street tomorrow morning and ask you the following question, “Where can I find the First Baptist Church of Ranson?” you would probably give them directions to this place [building]. Without thinking, that’s probably what I would do also.)

4. And so, most people, when they hear the word “church,” think of a building.

5. There is another group of people, who when they hear the word “church,” think of some mystical spiritual body that exists only in heaven.

6. (Illus.- Many years ago I asked a gentleman whom I had just met if he belonged to a church. He said, “Yes.” When I asked him WHAT church he belonged to, he said, “I belong to THE church.” I asked him again, “And what church is that?” And, again, he said, “THE church.” When I asked him to explain what he meant by that, here’s what he told me in so many words, he said, “I belong to the big church, the universal church, the church in heaven.”)

7. And so, some people, when they hear the word “church,” think of some mystical spiritual body that exists only in heaven.

 

B.   Now let me ask you another question.

1. Which of these two ideas is correct?

2. Is a church, in fact, a building, made of wood, and brick, and mortar, or is it a mystical spiritual body that exists only in heaven?

3. The answer is, “Neither!”

4. Let me tell you what a church is!

5. A church is a body (a local body) of baptized believers in Christ, who have come together and covenanted themselves together for the purpose of carrying out our Lord’s commission.

 

C.   Look again at Vrs. 2 of our text, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,”

1. Paul did not write this letter to a building.

2. Neither did he write this letter to a mystical spiritual body that exists only in heaven.

3. He wrote this letter to a body of baptized believers in Christ who had come together in the city of Corinth, and had covenanted themselves together for the purpose of carrying out their Lord’s commission.

4. By the way, do you know what the Greek word from which we get the english word “church” means?

5. It is the word “ecclesia,” and it literally means “a called out assembly.”

6. Pardon my grammar, but the truth is, if you can’t assemble it, then it ain’t a church!

7. (Illus.- I remember talking to another man who told me that he belonged to the universal church. I said, “Really? Well, tell me, when and where does your church meet?” He asked me, “What do you mean?” I said, “When and where does your church come together for fellowship and for Biblical instruction?” He said, “It doesn’t.” I said, “Then it is not a church!”)

 

D.   But someone asks, “Does a person have to belong to a local church in order to be a Christian?”

1. No, but they do if they want to be a good Christian!

2. Listen to Heb. 11:24-25, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:…Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

3. Why is it so important that believers be a part of a local church?

4. Those of you who are a part of this church know the answer to this question.

5. As believers, we need the…

-fellowship of other believers,

-encouragement of other believers,

-spiritual instruction of other believers!

6. To put it simply, we need one another! (Amen?)

7. It’s amazing how many “one anothers” are found in Scripture.

8. For example, God’s Word commands us to…

-love one another (Rom. 13:8),

-admonish one another (Rom. 15:14),

-serve one another (Gal. 5:13),

-bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2),

-teach one another (Col. 3:16),

-comfort one another (1 Thes. 4:18),

-edify one another (1 Thes. 5:11),

-exhort one another (Heb. 3:13).

9. This is why we all need to be a part of a local church!

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned about these people to whom Paul’s letter is addressed?

1. They were saved (had called upon the name of the Lord).

2. They were sanctified (separated and set apart for a holy purpose).

3. They were a part of an assembly (a local church).

 

B.   Let me ask you three questions.

1. First of all, are you saved?

2. If you are saved, then you are also sanctified, but are you fulfilling that holy purpose for which you were separated and set apart?

3. Finally, are you a part of a local church?