Destination: 1 Corinthians | Skip HeitzigJun 11, 2021
We are in Jerusalem, the center of much of the New Testament in the Bible. Let's look at this background of the book we are approaching in this flight segment. Paul invested heavily in the Corinthian church. The residents of this area were known for their camel riding customs. Our flight over Corinthians will reveal that where sin abounds, grace multiplies. Let us open our Bibles to the book of the first Californians. I mean, First Corinthians. You know there are some similarities if you think about it. California is an avant-garde and modern place. What happens there tends to spread to the rest of the country.
It is a shopping center. People consider it a sporting place, but it also has its seedy side. When you think of California, you don't think of the bastion of morality. Think about a lot of immorality that has started there, the porn industry is largely concentrated there, 90% of it is concentrated there. Corinth fits that description and I just want to tell you a little bit about where it was located and why it came to be that way. If you had a map, and I know you probably do, in the back of your Bible is the continent of Greece called Akaya and the time of Paul, but let's think of it as Greece, there's the continent and that's where a then and if you go down, there's This huge area that's a peninsula called the Peloponnese Peninsula says that ten times real quick Peloponnese Peninsula ten times I'm just kidding so it narrows down to a little neck called the isthmus remember that in school and it's... a mess is about three and a half miles wide, so all north to south traffic would have to go through this little three mile bottleneck, this is a mess and then this wide area of land called southern Akaya or that peninsula, if you wanted to go from east to west you had to sail around that huge peninsula, it was 200 miles, it was not an easy trip, it was very dangerous, in fact, that little cape in the background, Cape Malaya, was where there were a lot of winds and currents and ships capsized and So, a couple of thousand years ago there was a saying: "Whoever wants to sail around Cape Malaya must first make his will because it was very dangerous, so they developed a system in instead of having a ship go around this 200-mile stretch of land.
Did you think what would happen if we took the boat out of the water, put it on wheels and moved it just three and a half miles and you think about it, would you rather go 200 miles by boat or three miles by land? Well, the answer is easy. They go by land, so they developed a path wide enough to put these contraptions on rollers, take the boats out of the water and move them from one shore three and a half miles to the other shore by land because Corinth is located right in the middle of the Route of the Cross roads from north to south and now from east to west because if you took your boat out of the water on land you would cross Corinth was in the center of the bullseye it was at the crossroads so all the traffic all the traffic commercial all the knowledge and ideas from north to south and from east to west ended up in Corinth for that reason it was a great commercial city a lot of money came out of it it had many ideas it was the fashion industry the trends were established in Corinth but it also had a seedy side was a place because of its population and because of its prosperity it not only had a lot of luxury but also a lot of immorality because people gathered there and took advantage of what was happening in Corinth now what was happening in Corinth as you saw in this little video clip just behind the city there is a hill called acro Corinth and on the top of that hill, if you are standing in Corinth today you can see it right in front of you was the temple of Aphrodite in a thousand they called them priestesses of the temple they were professional prostitutes They came down every afternoon and took the men of the city or the travelers, the sailors and the sailors and carried out their trade with them and that is why it became known as a very libertine, immoral city, in fact in Greek works when anyone He played the role of a Corinthian he was always drunk in the Greek place there was even a phrase that was coined Corinthians if he had the intention of playing the Corinthian to act like a Corinthian who was a drunk or an immoral person and because prostitution was so intense in that city, there was a saying among men, not everyone can afford a trip to Corinth and that is a place where God did a great work, in fact, Paul spent a year and a half in Corinth, 18 months.
Now there's a hint of this in First Corinthians, chapter 6. I'm going to read it to you, you can look it up if you can find it quickly, verse 9. He says you don't know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God, don't be deceived, nor the sexually immoral. Neither idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexuals nor sodomites nor thieves nor the covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God for how extensive List the following verse that tells you and such were some of you, that is their background in Corinth, but they were washed, they were sanctified, they were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the spirit of God, how did Paul get to Corinth and why did he happen? so much time there well if you remember in the book of Acts Paul is traveling on a second missionary journey from the east to the west and he arrives at a roadblock the Bible says that he passed through the area of Ania and the area of Galatia and the Holy Spirit forbade him to preach the word of the Lord in Asia so he went to my SIA and the Holy Spirit closed the door there and he ends up in a place called TRO when he has a vision of a man from Macedonia. who said come to Macedonian help us then he goes to Macedonia ends in Philip I after Philip I goes down to Thessalonica after Thessalonica goes down to Berea after Berea goes to Athens until now so well he gets into a lot of trouble but the The word of the Lord It is spreading everywhere except Athens, there he shares the gospel, the philosophers are present, he is not very well received, at least the Scriptures indicate so, so he goes forty-five miles southwest to the place of Corinth and this.
He's probably thinking why I'm going here. I won't stay here long because nothing is really going to happen, but while he is there, the Lord speaks to him in a vision. Paul, don't be afraid, don't be silent, speak, no one is going to hurt you because I have a lot of people in this city. He is speaking prophetically. God wanted to do a work with the people in Corinth, so he stayed and while he stayed, he did what he always did. Did he go first to the synagogue of the Jews? Things got heated, they kicked him out of the synagogue and he ended up in a private house, but in that private house the seeds of a great work were beginning, people began to receive the message and being converted and loving each other and Crispus, Gaius and Stephen, the people who were mentioned in this book come to know the Lord and Paul was baptized like them, so now work begins on First Corinthians.
I'm going to put a little wrinkle on this for you. actually second Corinthians and second Corinthians is actually third Corinthians, you say, oh, that's heresy, how can you say that just because in first Corinthians it refers to a letter that he already wrote to them and it says in chapter five verse nine I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people and then explain what I meant by it was this not the sexually immoral people of this world the people who call themselves believers and she sexually immoral then Paul had written that already Now he clarifies it in the second letter and then there will be second Corinthians, which will probably be third Corinthians.
We don't have that first letter. Some think it is wrapped up in first and second Corinthians. The ones we have are the ones that the Holy Spirit wanted to have in the text. It could have just been a simple note he wrote to them earlier and now here is the full letter, so what is this book about? Well, there is a family in Corinth called Chloe's house, we don't know much about her or them. and they are telling Paul about the problems that are happening in Corinth and he hears that there are divisions in the church and there is immorality among believers and there is rampant divorce and there is this whole issue of personal freedom.
I can do anything I want. If I want to be free in Christ, then there is the problem of public worship, the use of spiritual gifts in the church and they are in an incorrect way, in an unedifying way, then there are doctrinal problems about the resurrection and essentially the entire book of 1 Corinthians, although there is some doctrine and is not really a doctrinal book, is a practical book about how to solve problems within the church. In fact, a few years ago I did a Sunday morning series using First Corinthians called problem solving within the church and Paul goes from one problem to another. to another problem, the whole book is Paul writing about problems that already existed in this new church, that doesn't encourage you, I hope so, I hope it really encourages you to hear that because if you ever think, oh, the New Testament church It was like the perfect Church and I hear people say that we have to go back to the New Testament church.
Hey, Corinth was a first century Church, it was an early church, it was not perfect and you read that every church in the New Testament had some defects. some problems I take it as a comforting truth, you've heard it before, you will never find a perfect Church, if you don't join it you will ruin it because the church, the body of Christ, is full of us people. Saved sinners, all with our problems, chapters 1 and 2 are the first problem and I'm not going to give you all the little divisions of the verses, but I'm just going to summarize it in the chapters, chapters 1 and 2 deal with the problem. of disunity, disunity already, even though Paul had spent 18 months there when he left and wrote this letter and he wrote it from Ephesus, there was a problem with people who made appointments with different teachers who were in that assembly or had been in that assembly. assembly. not in unity do you know if you know anything about Jesus' prayers do you know that at the top of his list is that he prayed for the unity of his future Church in John chapter 17 the shadow of the Cross fell on him and yet he is thinking about the church that he has come to establish and then he prays and says father, I not only pray for these who are these disciples, but I pray for all those who will believe in me because of his word, it is us, it is the future churches. writing about and here is this prayer request that they may be one as you Father are in me and I am in you so that they may be one in us so that the world may know that you have sent me so he wanted and prayed for unity and Paul writes In this regard, there is something here that was not being achieved in Corinth, which is why in chapter 1 verse 10 I beg you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in the same mind. and in the same judgment because those of Chloe's house have told me about you, my brothers, that there are strife among you this is more than a disagreement this is a strife or a dissension it is a division the church now this I say or now I say this that each of you say I am from calling or I am from palace or I am from cefas or I am from Christ for people are mentioned for great leaders none of who created the problem none of whom came together and said: Hello, come here , let's start our own small group, split off from the others and start a top elite clique.
They didn't do that, but people began to rally around the teachers. Some said me. I am shocked now that Paul was the founder of the church, he is the guy who started it, his work, his sweat and he was a contemporary preacher, he preached the grace of Jesus Christ, he obviously took a break from Judaism, he showed that Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures, but only for his In each message, he was a little more avant-garde, he was willing to break with Jewish tradition and many people love that nonconformist spirit in him. Others said I am from Apollo.
Now Paulus was the second pastor to come to Corinth after Paul left the Bible. It says in Acts chapter 18 that he was eloquent in the Scriptures, he was an educated man, he had a golden tongue and a way of expressing the truth and there was a group of people who thought I liked that 'polished, you know, Paul, it's great, but it's kind of too direct, but when Apollo speaks I feel comforted because he just lets it roll off his tongue. A third group said: I am a Cephas, which would be Peter. Now there's no record of Peter coming, but they gravitated toward Peter's teaching, and here's my thought, Peter was, he was a fisherman, he was a little more earthly, he was a laborer, he was one of us, you know, clumsy, Clumsy, Peter.
I liked that guy they identified with. There was a fourth group, they were the worst. They were all elitist, they said something like this well, I don't need to follow any human leader, I'm of Christ, it sounds really cool right, a real spiritual group of snobs, they were, they were like the non-denominational denomination, we don't follow any leaders. . now we follow only Jesus Christ, what happened in Corinth still happens today people gather around their favorite radio teacher and everything in life is measured by do you agree with this person who teaches this well so and so on the radio teaches thatSo what does the Bible say?
Not only am I saying that, but we are a non-denominational Church, we can be proud of our non-denominational ISM and that is dangerous. You're saying I don't really want to join anything or anyone because what you're special about, I mean, us. Were all people called to something but that? detachment, I'm afraid that has been the call of many parachurch organizations. I've heard it before. Something like this. Well, the church has not done its job in this area, so God raised us up to do that work. Great, now integrated into the church and helping the church do that and I think every parrot church organization should be out of a job.
Its success is when the local body of Christ takes up the mantle and does the work that seemed to be Paul's philosophy anyway, well, one of the cures. for that disunity go down to verse 26 one of the cures is this, let's look inside God's toolbox, let's look at the type of people that God has historically chosen and even in Corinth, to see his called brothers, there are not many wise men According to the flesh, not many powerful, not many noble, those who are called, but God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong and the vile things of the world and the things that They are despised God has chosen them and the things that are not to undo the things that are and here is why no flesh should glory in his presence here is the beginning God uses common men with an uncommon message I mean men generically men humanity , men and women, ordinary men and women with the uncommon message of the gospel to do their work, look at the 12 apostles who would want to hire them in any corporate environment today, you have a group of fishermen, or you have a group of Galileans.
Hicks, you have a tax collector, you have a fanatic who hate each other. I want to kill each other all the time. They are always arguing. Jesus chose them and understand this. He chose them after a night of prayer. He really he made the right decision. God's preference to choose the common, the foolish, not the high, not the mighty, so you get Paul's point, let's not divide because we are all just vessels used by God, the foolish things of this world. Now, here is another truth. I want you to walk. far away with Almighty God in heaven who is almighty can do everything has chosen to limit himself to using imperfect human beings to pastor churches evangelize exhort to do the work of the imperfect ministry defective and in my opinion imperfection adds to the mystery it does not take away anything, it increases the mystery because when you see a defective glass in yourself you see God powerfully using that glass.
The glory of God is more obvious, true, than any flesh, he says with glory in his presence and the analogy to which I always referred. If you put a doctor in a modern operating room with all the latest devices for that doctor to perform a successful operation well, you would expect that, in fact, if they didn't, you would probably sue most people and our culture seems to do that, but you take that same doctor out of a modern operating room, put him in a jungle and give him a swiss army knife or his swiss army knife and do the same operation on him with limited tools, thread and a swiss army knife if they were able to achieve that, which attests that they are amazing even greater, so glory shines when instruments are limited, but no flesh was glory in this president, so Paul says enough, we are a bunch of defective instruments that God has chosen chapters two. three and four address the second problem in the book it's called immaturity or I'll give it another title stunted spiritual growth now I was born normal notice I said I mean the past tense I was born relatively normal size maybe on the lower end of normal, around seven pounds.
I didn't lose seven pounds, as you can see, can you imagine if at 15 I hadn't made much progress? If at 15 I went with my parents and I was a dad, dad, that would be it. It doesn't sound cute anymore like it did when I was 1 year old when I first said that mom and dad were all so excited that they took pictures and remembered the moment they were in that awesomeness, but when 15 years later you don't have any growth beyond That's no longer exciting, it's really sad and the same goes for those who are born again.
It's great to see that spiritual life happened. I love evangelism, but a pastor, a teacher loves to see growth and when Paul didn't see growth in the Corinthian church, the lack of maturity stunted the growth. it broke his heart chapter 2 verse 13 we also speak these things not with words taught by the wisdom of man taught by the Holy Spirit comparing spiritual things with spiritual things now in the next verses they will introduce you to three people the natural man the super the natural man and the unnatural man three types of people verse 14 but the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for him they are foolishness nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned this is the unbeliever you did not care about the things of the Spirit you do not care interested you tell him I don't want to hear that I don't care this is the natural man the Greek word suka cos soul governed by his own appetites and carnal desires this is how he or she lives exactly what I want when I want everything is about my pleasure my appetites full the impulse of air the impulse of water the impulse of food the sexual impulse is about fulfillment personal pleasure that is the natural person this is what happens with the natural man or the natural person who can be intelligent, well dressed, charming, even religious and unsaved, and where all those things, but still they are governed by the flesh, the appetites of the flesh, and so you are testifying to them and you think, can't you see this?
No, you don't understand, no, they can't, it's like asking a blind person, okay, you see that sunset or someone's death, isn't that a great concert? They lack the facilities to appreciate it, so it is with the unregenerate. natural man or woman do not care about the things of the spirit it is nonsense they cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned let's look at the second type of person but the one who is spiritual this is the supernatural man or woman judges all the things that he himself is not judged correctly by no one who has known the mind of the Lord to be able to instruct him but we have the mind of Christ this is the spiritual man or let's call him the supernatural the Greek word is pneumatic Oz inclined towards the things of the Spirit love God love spiritual truth love Jesus Christ love the bible loving fellowship loving the church now when a person goes from the natural to the supernatural you can see it it's a pretty obvious change it's pretty dramatic I remember the things when this happened in my life that I used to long that there were certain areas where I still had to fight and that I still do, there were many things that I really didn't feel like doing anymore, they lost their strength towards me, they lost their attraction and there were certain things that I swore I would never do or be like those born again Christians.
I would tell my friends that I will never do that. It's not attractive to me and I like that they carry their Bibles and give the one-way sign and smile all the time. time and say praise the Lord, isn't it amazing what salvation can do? You go from the natural to the supernatural and suddenly you start to have an appetite for new things and you notice that it says that he judges all things, it means that he discerns it. it penetrates beyond the visible carnal veil and we would say in our modern vernacular he gets it, he gets it, he is now enlightened and realizes how blind they were when you go from the natural to the supernatural or spiritual, you write songs like John Newton did Amazing Grace.
How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me I was once lost but now I found myself I was blind but now I see let's look at the third chapter 3 verse 1 and I brothers could not speak to you as spiritual people but as here is a third carnal like I fed you a child in Christ with milk and not with solid food because until now you could not receive it and even now you still cannot now this is the unnatural thing let me describe to you that the Greek word is circuit because those are the words here sukkah COS tire cos and the third Sarika Sark means the flesh here there is a person who is among the flesh in the spirit it is not natural the carnal nature that we all have had and still have and the spiritual nature that comes in the new birth is pulling and pulling and this person really has not landed it is between two realms between the flesh and the spirit the notice these are Christians because it says and I brothers calls them brothers in Christ they are brothers so they are born again they are simply not living spiritually inclined lives notice what their babies call them in Christ you have been born again but your growth has been stunted you here you are you are how you should grow I still say it, 15 years of a dead guy and that's sad.
He sees how unnatural it is. This type of person has enough spirit to be saved, but enough world to be miserable while they are saved. I'm really not completely enthusiastic about the Holy Spirit, completely committed to Christ, or even completely pagan to the world. They are losing the battle as they move forward now, like I said I would love to see evangelism. I love when people come to Christ, but if you said omit what your greatest joy is. I don't know if I would say when a person walks forward to receive Christ, so that ranks pretty high.
I would choose what the apostle John says. who was also a pastor said I have no greater joy than knowing that my children are walking in the truth seeing someone go from being born again to maturity is the reward because the mantle has passed and they become pastors and they become evangelists and they They become lay leaders and lead their families and piety and in truth now one of the characteristics of this unnatural person or what he calls carnal is his diet what he eats he says I gave you milk and not solid food because you were not capable of receive it, the Corinthians, a lot of them were still on baby food, which is kind of basic, easily digestible doctrines, you move on to anything other than just the basics, it's like, oh man, you lost me, you know, they just want to be exhorted. , encouraged. have a pep rally but never get into the nitty-gritty of the word and the solid truths of it.
You can tell them by your diet. You can also tell them by their activity. Verse 4 onwards talks about their division. I am shocked and will Paulus Paul. your carnal says because your activity is not well said and that is why your activities are very divisive let's look at the third problem mentioned in 1 Corinthians the first is disunity the second is immaturity the third problem addressed in chapter five and six is the problem of impurity impurity now you can understand that Corinth was the Las Vegas of the ancient world and it was corrupt and what happens in Corinth stays in Corinth and that is what the Corinthians thought and that was a very sexually permissive city and look at verse one, what do they see? how bad it was in the church chapter five verse one it is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles here is that a man has his father's wife it is a case of a certain type of incest where there is a man who goes to the church assembly living with his stepmother cohabiting with her having relations with her and Paul says, you know what the pagans don't even do that and you know that in his day he was there it was a Roman law Cicero said that the great orator and historian Cicero said that it is illegal for any Roman citizen to participate in this type of activity, sometimes it is punishable by death, so you see what Paul is saying, look at the pagans they don't even do this. and you in the church are tolerating it and it's funny how the whole tolerance thing is like virtue above all other virtues.
If you ask people today what the most important virtue is today, more than 90 percent will say tolerance, in other words, let anyone can do whatever they want whenever they want because it's really up to you, it's the whole idea of Pythagoras, man is the measure of all things, that's ancient Greece and we can't judge them, so Paul says, you know, I'm not even in Corinth. I'm an Ephesus in chapters five and six and I've already judged that they kicked him out of the church now get him out a little leaven will leaven the whole dough church discipline must be enacted they were tolerating it so verse two and you're swollen. above you are proud of this and you have not rather lamented that the one who has done this deed is taken away from you and then look at chapter 6 verse 18 as a summary verse that tells them flee, flee from sexual immorality. every sin that man commits outside the body but the one he commits pornea is the word sexual immorality pornea is any type of illicit sexual conduct adultery sex before marriage homosexuality bestiality anything that is illicit outside of what God ordained is under the category biblically talking about pornea and it is translated here with two words in English: sexual immorality says: flee from it, he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body, so that was a real problem in Corinth and here is a book.
The city of Corinth, which has2,000 years old, it really no longer existed. You go there and say, how could this document have anything to do with us today? Boy, it's contemporary, isn't it? I think this is a problem even today within the church, people are confused when it comes to moral issues, even though the Bible is clear and basically here is the biblical command that would take us to chapter five, six and seven here. It's going to be very out of context for this culture. Stay pure until you are married and stay married until you are dead.
Well, that's basically it. the biblical command to remain pure until you are married to stay married until you are dead now I realize that there are certain circumstances that mitigate that ideal and it is not always possible that you can have a spouse who commits adultery and the marriage breaks down, so I you are left without that spouse, without that relationship, one spouse could leave another, just as an unbelieving spouse could leave the believing spouse, but the true trend today is worrying and widespread. unbridled is cohabitation is living together before the mayor is the I don't want to really commit yet because I don't know, but I want to test the model I want to kick the tires I want to drive the car a little and then maybe see if that's the one for me, while the biblical command is that you make a commitment before God and you commit to each other and that commitment, by the grace of God, will carry you through, say, oh, that's so old-fashioned, let's find people.
We have been living together for years and it works very well. It says here. I'm going to read to you what two sociologists said at a recent study appointment. People who live together first before marriage are more likely to fail in their marriage, as are couples who move in together. After you've said your vows, an article I found said that dating studies show, based on fifty years of data, that couples who live together before marriage are 50% more likely to divorce than those who don't. I wonder if that explains the high divorce rate today; those who cohabit also have less satisfying and more unstable marriages; why researchers have found that those who had lived together later regretted living together later regretted having raped. their moral standards and felt a loss of personal freedom to go out through the back door.
In addition, and in accordance with the theme of the marital bond, they have stolen a level of intimacy that was not justified at that moment nor has it been validated by the degree of mutual commitment. I thought it was an interesting phrase that they have stolen a level of intimacy that should be provided after commitment, a fifty percent greater chance of not having a relationship that lasts, so when Pablo writes these problems and deals with immorality, he He does it because he loves the Corinthians, knows what God's standards are, and wants their lives. be satisfactory and that is why he gives good advice in chapters five and six.
Now chapter seven is the fourth problem that it attacks, it is the problem of marital fidelity and it addresses here both the single and the married and a series of long and complicated directives, but look at chapter seven verse eight I say to the single And for the widows, how good it would be for them if they stayed like this, as I am single, but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them get married because it is better to get married than to burn with passion. This is what Paul is saying. We live in a time where there is a lot of persecution. a lot of instability in the Roman government, we don't know the future of this, many of our brothers are already being killed, so if you get married, your freedoms are going to be restricted, there will be a lot of pain if you are arrested or killed, so yes you can stay like me, but if you can't, I understand that God has made us that way and we long to be together and even to be sexually satisfied God also invented that so it is better to get married and be together than to burn with lust or passion chapters 8 at 10 it is the fifth problem that attacks and it is the problem of personal freedom now let me explain to you and I think we will understand why this is contemporary.
The problem of personal freedom. There are certain gray areas where we could really call them out. In reality, they are not really black. They are not really white. But there are certain gray areas where we have to take principles and run with them. endure so that we know what we are supposed to do, okay, so that we know, for example, that we are no longer under human law, we are no longer under human regulations and that we have been liberated and we have a freedom in Christ and we live under grace It's a completely different paradigm than Old Testament law under Judaism doesn't mean it's immortal though, that might be very moral but it's a very different motivation, but what do you do with a hamburger cooked in a pagan temple?
I am contemporary. a problem that actually happened in corinth: they offered the animals and the pagan temples around corinth the meat that they themselves could not sell, they would sell in the market with or without the information of what the animal was doing before it was killed and sold as such. It could have been offered in a pagan temple and so what Paul says is look when it comes to eating with brothers and sisters in Christ don't raise the flag of I can do what I want and eat what I want and drink what I want because I'm a Christian.
I have freedom Paul says do what you want at home you want to eat meat sacrificed to an idol that BBQ meat there was bought at the temple of Apollo great you do it at home but don't do it at the assembly or at a love festival because people with a weak conscience they are going to be offended there is a law of love that is at stake and at issue here I just want to briefly talk a little about gray issues and gray areas, it is obvious that Today we face certain problems Paul was not okay going to the cinema and , if so, what movies and how far you take it and when you stop, what you allow yourself to see or hear, what about listening to music.
You know, Paul didn't have radio stations, CDs or mp3 players back then. He may have passed by and heard some music. I don't know what he made of it, but we deal with different things and each of us will develop certain standards. of good and evil that must be if we are healthy governed by certain biblical principles what is right and what is wrong and sometimes it gets sticky it's fascinating A hundred years ago there was a guy you heard me quote Charles Haddon Spurgeon he fellowshipped with another preacher in London named JW Packer they spoke in each other's pulpits they loved each other until Spurgeon discovered that Tacker went to the theater and entertained himself with the works of the world and considered him carnal and not spiritual they had no fellowship with him after that, which is really interesting.
Casper John was an avid cigar smoker. He didn't see anything wrong with smoke and cigars, but he saw something wrong with going to the theater. Well, here's another story from back then. Charles Spurgeon and Dwight L Moody Dwight L Moody couldn't wait. to meet Charles Spurgeon he lived in Chicago he took a boat to London to see Spurgeon knocked on the door Spurgeon opened the door the big cigar and Dwight L Moody his face fell he didn't know this he couldn't believe that a man of God, a preacher that he smoked a cigar, because in Chicago, in the United States, that was so unpleasant and ungodly, well, Moody was a little, let's say, completely overweight, he was a fat man, so we knocked on the door and he looked at Charles Spurgeon smoking . a cigar and Moody said how can you as a man of God do that and Spurgeon came over and patted him on the belly and said the same way you as a man of God can do that in that interesting Moody would say that smoking is wrong but it is gluttony.
There is nothing wrong with that and that is why we have established culturally what is sometimes mundane and spiritual and that has to fall under a set of biblical principles as well as the highest principle which is love, so look at chapter eight a couple of verses together and in chapter 10. verse chapter 8 verse 9 but be careful that this freedom of yours does not become a stumbling block for the weak because if anyone sees you, who have knowledge, eating in a temple of idols, You will understand that you have knowledge, you know that an idol is false, it is not a real God, they don't even really exist, there is only one true God who cares about animal sacrifice.
Oh, now I have the knowledge. There is only one piece of meat that looks very good to eat right now. I said, if you have knowledge. By eating in a temple of idols the conscience of the weak will be encouraged to eat the things offered to idols verse 11 and because of your knowledge the weak brother for whom Christ died will perish now go to chapter 10 and here are the principles to follow in verses 23 and 24 everything is lawful for me but not everything is useful to me everything is lawful for me but not everything edifies now please understand the principle I am free in Christ I have knowledge of what is right and what is wrong and I fulfill the sacrifice of idols whatever but there are limitations to my freedom the first limitation let's call it utility the second let's call it charity look at the first utility all things are lawful for me but not all of them are useful or beneficial or would you translate it not everything I could choose will help me reach my goal faster that is the idea of convenient or useful or beneficial it will not speed up my progress towards my goal okay let's say I want to go from here to New York I can walk or I can get on my bike because that will be more useful to get there faster, that is my goal or I can take a car or I can take a plane the plane is more beneficial or useful, it is convenient that it takes me towards the goal, so when you say I can I do this, I can do that, ask, ask yourself, do I have the freedom smoking, drinking, whatever this helps me achieve my goal as a believer to be like Christ and become more like Christ, glorify his name and spread the gospel that is something to keep as one of the filters one of the mile markers the second is charity look at it all things are lawful for me but not all things build up if I do this that's going to hurt others it's going to tear others down come on Just as an example, let's say I have the freedom to drink alcohol, which, by the way, I don't do, but let's say I can do whatever I want.
I'm a Christian, so let's say I go to the local bar and sit at the bar. I take one cold, two or three. I'm sitting there and you walk in and see the pastor
skipa cold one. I'll tell you what many are going to think. I don't know what to think about that, so it's not like that. Freedom is worth having if I know that it's going to be a reaction, so my choice is to say that I never want to touch these things. Someone asked me. Skip asked me about the drink. Tell me about drinking and alcohol.
How about you? I said I drink all that. I want to but I don't want to drink any of this because of the law of love because of the law of charity it will not accelerate me in my goal it may hinder others it may cause other believers to stumble let's take another example a young couple and they decide to live together and we take them to therapy because we say that you should not live together, we are not doing anything wrong, it is just for economic reasons, okay, I understand that the economy is down a lot of times.
That happens, however, the Bible also says we are to avoid the appearance of evil and just the fact that you pull into the same driveway and are not married and together has the appearance of evil and can cause others to stumble. Let them see where it is not. I don't understand economics, aren't you thankful that God is big enough to handle you if you decide to take a step of faith to honor him and his people? Yes, I believe that when you take a step in obedience, God honors it, so there are a lot of gray areas meat sacrificed to idols movies music anything you can apply these two principles utility charity does it accelerate me and my goal and harm others or does it help them?
Number six on our list is the problem in the worship community. The problem in the worship community is the sixth problem that Paul writes about and that is from chapters 11 to 14 11 12 13 and 14 okay, so chapter 11 is about gender, masculine and feminine issues, what is appropriate in the Assembly to cover the veil that was used in worship that was symbolic 2000 years ago what is appropriate in public worship also in chapter 11 strange behavior at the Lord's Supper 2000 years ago when they had communion it was what we would call a meal shared it was a festival of love people brought food together well, there were some people in the church who came early and ate all the good things and got drunk, so when it came time for communion there, every other visit, they were like was off the charts, weird, you know, Paul rebukes and corrects that chapter 12, 13 and 14 is the proper use of spiritual gifts in the public assembly mitigated by the law of love, so notice that chapter 12 talks about the spiritual gifts, then there is chapter 13 which is the chapter of love and then chapter 14 the use of prophecy and tongues in the public. assembly, so love dictates the proper use of the gifts in the public assembly and let me tell you about this we don't have time to get into it, by the way, we have spent 25 to 30 weeks just on the gifts of the Spirit in depth, so we have that material for you the key word when it comes to this isbalance balance I personally believe in the exercise of all the gifts of the Spirit.
I don't think some of them are from 2000 years ago, but they disappeared. I believe that all gifts continue in perpetuity for today, but they must be done decently in an order and I find that there are two extremes and I will tell you from experience that Pentecostals think I am too conservative and Baptists. think I'm too Pentecostal and you're also charismatic or fundamentalist. I like to say I'm bankrolling America. I believe in them, but I don't believe in the way they are misused by many Assemblies who say they believe in them and that the law of love is not present and really contributes to distraction and division.
I'm not a cessationist, I'm not a sensationalist, and so with both sides shooting at us, I think it's a good place to be right in the middle and Pablo talks about using them but not abusing them and how they should be regulated by leadership. so in chapter 12 verse 4 there are diversity of gifts but the same spirit differences of ministries but the same Lord diversity of activities but it is the same God who works everything in everyone except the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the benefit of all I love this about God he loves variety look around you look what he made you look outside it's flat in Albuquerque you look on that side there are big mountains you look on that side it's nice looking brown on that side it's very green you drive enough wet and there is ocean you drive in another direction it becomes thick for us God loves variety equal in the body of Christ not everyone in the church has the same gift how boring we would all be if we thought exactly the same and acted exactly the same and didn't have the freedom of exercising the variety of spiritual manifestation now the seventh and final problem this is the end now in first Corinthians the seventh problem that it addresses is the problem with doctrinal clarity and those are chapters 15 and 16 problems with doctrinal clarity if I were to do a list of the 10 most important chapters in the Bible, first Corinthians chapter 15 would have to be on that list, it is one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible, its theme is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the future resurrection of all believers that is what distinguishes Christianity there are three great credentials that Jesus has that distinguish him as a world religious leader from all others that is his impact on world history number one number two fulfilled prophecy and number three, the bodily resurrection of among the dead, okay in Corinth, these Christians didn't have a problem believing in the resurrection of Jesus, they had a problem believing in their own resurrection, how is that going to work?
How will we look and many of the questions we will have? We have had in the last series we did it, so look at verse 12 chapter 15 now, if it is preached that Christ has risen from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection from the dead, but if not there is resurrection of the dead so Christ has not risen let's think about that if there is no resurrection then what number one if there is no resurrection number one Jesus is still dead he is dead we are only talking about what a dead man said 2,000 years ago point number two if there is no there is resurrection from the dead Jesus is a liar because he kept telling his disciples hey by the way they are going to kill me in Jerusalem and on the third day I will rise from the dead he said he would rise again number three if there is no resurrection from the dead then preaching the gospel is completely ridiculous because the heart of the gospel is the resurrection Jesus conquered death is the heart look at verse 14 if Christ has not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty and the number four and we see it in the next verses if there is no resurrection there is no forgiveness for us for if the dead are not resurrected then Christ was not resurrected if Christ was not resurrected then your faith is useless and you are still in your sins do you know why it says that because a dead Savior is not no Savior at all, a dead Savior does no good, only one who died for sins, conquering death and sin through a resurrection, can offer any hope, so there is no forgiveness, no atonement either. if there is no resurrection then then death ends there is no hope for the future verse 18 then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished now I want you to think about this when Paul wrote this there were already a significant number of martyrs who suffered were imprisoned, beaten and they died for their faith in Jesus Christ well, let's say there is no resurrection from the dead well, then all those people are dead and gone we will never see them again you will never get tired of knowing them never again it's all useless he sums it up verse 19 is in this life we only have hope in Christ we are of all men the most pitiful there is no resurrection so G Christianity is a big joke and we are all stupid to believe it and it is just a chimera it is a mirage, it is a paradise for fools and all the things that the world accuses us of are true if there is no resurrection from the dead and that is why I am happy to say that the resurrection of Christ is one of the most attested and demonstrable series of facts. evidence that exists today from ancient antiquity it is relatively simple to show even the most fervent unbeliever that Jesus rose from the dead, which gives us hope for the resurrection and here is the alternative verse 20, he is alive, but now Christ He has risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep remember firstfruits it was a first delivery every year that the Jews had the festival of firstfruits and they took a small sample of the harvest and offered it to the Lord now you know what the first fruits meant there is more to follow this is just the beginning but there is a whole harvest to be reaped out there these are just the first fruits Jesus rising from the dead is proof that there is more to follow your body and my body He will rise again that is what he talks about here verse 35 someone will say how the dead are raised with what body they return.
I will give you the quick answer that our body will be like Jesus' body, his resurrected body and our resurrected body will share many similarities. We did a series that we will continue about in chapter 16. Closing it out let me tell you what this chapter is about. It's just that he is finishing the letter. It's an interesting way to end the letter. Even though he's taking a collection, he's passing the hat. Yes, the apostle Paul, the great apostle, talked about money and he saw the need to give financially to the work of the Lord and he was giving to the work of the Lord in Jerusalem where it began.
They were suffering at that time and he wanted that work to continue. Go ahead and he wanted those workers to be supported, so he took an offering among the Gentile churches, so in verse 1 chapter 16 regarding the collection for the saints, I have given orders to the churches in Galatia, so they must do it everything on the first day of the week that is the day of the resurrection that is why the church meets on Sunday and not on Saturday but each one of you sets aside something to accumulate as you can prosper so that when I come there will be no collections, it is true.
You notice a lot about a person by examining their checkbook, if you look at the entries in a person's checkbook you can see the value system of any individual, even Jesus said that where a man's treasure is, there his heart will be. Martin Luther also used to say that three conversions are necessary. conversion of the heart conversion of the mind and conversion of the wallet and he said I found the third to be the most difficult conversion of all. Well, Paul was making sure that the Corinthians were well converted and that some of their funds were also in the Jerusalem verse. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed Oh Lord come there are two words I want to point out the word cursed and the words after that Oh Lord come the word cursed is a Greek word in Natha ma anata mo is a very, very strong word which means to devote oneself to destruction and then the words after that, oh lord come, it is one word, it is an Aramaic word, maranatha, so whoever does not love the lord, anathema, maranatha is how it reads in the text.
Maranatha is the lord is coming soon. oh lord come quickly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you my love be with you in Christ Jesus amen so this is what I want you to walk away with with this last couple of verses Paul wrote some strong words for this church. He solved or helped correct some of these problems that were happening, there were some strong instructions and exhortations, rebukes, but all with the heart of love that he could present, as he wrote to the Colossians, every perfect man, mature in Christ, just as John said, "I have." There is no greater joy than seeing my children walk in the truth.
I have to say that as a pastor it is one of the things I notice about this church: you walk in the truth, you take it in it, it changes you, you advance, you serve and you glorify it. Pray, Heavenly Father Corinth, a culture not unlike our own in Corinth had possibilities of making decisions for prosperity and moral laxity in a way that much of the ancient world did not allow our culture was becoming very Corinthian, very permissive and it is so easy and surrounded by a culture whose value system is so abjectly antithetical to your word, it's very easy to say: well, everyone does it this way, so I want to fit in rather than dare to be different, and just as Paul said, that's how some of you were. .
Pray that these things mention that our past marked lives would remain in the past and change us, transform us by renewing our mind in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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