The Corinthian Correspondence
This Sunday we will beginning a series of sermons based on the Corinthian Correspondence of Paul. The majority of the sermons will be coming from 1 Corinthians. If you haven’t seen the graphic on Facebook, you can check our page there to see the sermon titles with the passages we will be going through.
The world renowned New Testament Scholar Richard Hays compares reading 1 Corinthians to reading someone else’s emails. He asks the question, “What are we do to with the information?” Noting “Paul… was not aiming to write timeless truth or even a general theological treatise; rather, he was giving direct pastoral instruction for one community that faced a specific set of problems in the middle of the first century.”
Knowing this we will listen in on Paul’s instructions seeing how they can guide us as a church today. I will be preaching from chapter 12 on Sunday where we will see what Paul says about Spiritual gifts.
Before we get to that chapter, however, I thought I would share some thoughts from the first chapter. In 1:2 Paul says, “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people.” This letter isn’t written to any one individual. It is written to a church which is understood as a holy people, a group of people. Therefore when we read Paul using the word “you” typically he is using a plural you. These are instructions for the whole church.
As we continue reading we see that this church was full of people who argued. Hard to believe that a church would have people who don’t see eye to eye, right? Despite their bickering and division, Paul calls them to unity. In 1:10 he says, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
I pray that we too may be united in mind and thought. I pray that we as a church might be united in purpose as well. Our Mission as a church is to love people so that they might become disciples of Christ. We do this best when we also love each other.
I am reminded of what Alan Kreider wrote in The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: “The Christians’ focus was not on ‘saving’ people or recruiting them; it was on living faithfully in the belief that when people’s lives are rehabilitated in the way of Jesus. Others will want to join.” May we be faithful to our Lord as we seek together to embody the coming Kingdom of God.
Strength, Courage, and Faith,