November 29, 2007
I Corinthians 1-4
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Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
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:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
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And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
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And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
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Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
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Thought for the day:
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The church at Corinth was filled with problems, both moral and theological. One of the overriding themes of the epistle is the carnality of the congregation, and one of the reasons given for it is that they were filled with divisions. Chapter 1 verse 10 begins Paul's rebuke concerning this, and he picks it up again in chapter 3. He opens the chapter by informing them that he had to treat them like spiritual babies because their lack of spirituality forbade him from teaching them with any depth. Verse 3 gives a detailed explanation,
"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
The definition of carnality is given at the end of the verse. They are walking as men, which means that they are behaving like unsaved people. I believe that there is a great deal of this going on in our churches today. People claim to be saved, yet their speech, lifestyle, and priorities would more readily identify them with the lost. Paul also reveals some specific evidences of carnality in this verse: envy, strife, and division. The root problem here is that all three of these issues are created by a lack of Biblical love. You don't envy those that you love - you rejoice with them. You don't have strife with those that you love - you work with them, try to help them, and sometimes simply allow yourself to be wronged (I Corinthians 6:7). People who love the Lord and each other are unified in doctrine and practice, for this is God's stated goal for the local church (Romans 15:6, Ephesians 4:13). Paul concludes this section by reminding the people that they are to be working together to fulfill the commission of Christ. While all are necessary, it is ultimately God Who provides the increase, so no man has any cause to receive glory from others or attempt to glorify himself.
This leads Paul into a discussion of the proper method to build upon the foundation of salvation. In doing so he gives some insight into the events that will take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The judgment is for believers only, and Paul makes that clear by stating in verse 11 that there is no other foundation than Jesus Christ. Thus, only those who have built the "house" of their lives upon the foundation of salvation by grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ will be at this judgment. The issues for these Christians will be what they did with their lives after salvation. This is illustrated by the building materials used to construct the "house". Cheap materials can be used, such as wood, hay, and stubble, or valuable materials can be used, such as gold, silver, and precious stones. The earthly materials correspond to the priorities of the world, which would be the priorities of the carnal Christians as well. These would be things that do not draw men closer to God and do not serve any purpose in advancing the kingdom of God or fulfilling the Great Commission. They are not necessarily evil; they simply do not have much spiritual or eternal value. The precious materials would be those that do make a spiritual impact. These would include our personal relationship with the Lord, i.e. Bible reading, study, and prayer. They would include our attempts to evangelize and disciple others. They would include our faithfulness to the local church and its ministries, and our faithfulness to maintain a Biblical family. They would also include a holy lifestyle.
Verse 13 tells us that every man's work will be made manifest. In other words, that which we have tried to cover up will be revealed for all to see. The fire of judgment will fall upon the "house" that we have built. If we built it with the right materials, then it will stand, and we will have something to show for our Christian lives. If it burns up, then we will have nothing to present to our Lord, and our lives on earth will have been wasted. The man whose house burns up does not have to go to Hell, for he did build on the correct foundation. He is still saved, but he has nothing of eternal value to show for his life.
All Christians will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. We will give an account of what we have done with our lives. The question is, what will I have left to present to my Savior after the fire of judgment falls? The decisions and choices I make today will determine what happens that day.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery