Cecil Hutson Sermon Archive
October 12, 2003 PM
1 CORINTHIANS: A CHURCH DIVIDED
1 COR 1:10-15
INTRO: The New Testament book of 1 Corinthians is not what I would call a happy book. Page after page we are reading of trouble and division. If there is a happy message here it is simply this. If a church with all of these problems can still be considered the Lords church, God is truly gracious! But, and this is an important but, those problems could not be allowed to continue. Things had to be corrected ... and decisively. Here was a church which had apparently not grown past babyhood - carnality had continued to battle spirituality (3:1). And the manifestation of this was in envying, and strife, and divisions (3:3). There is so much to learn from this letter. But what sorts of things were dividing these brethren?
I. DIVIDED OVER PERSONALITIES (Chapters 1-4)
A. 1 Cor 1:11 - ...there are contentions among you
1. and the contentions had to do with loyalties to preachers/teachers
2. they had lost sight of the fact that it was Christ Who had died for them
B. 1 Cor 3:4 - ...I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos....
1. what must never be forgotten is noted at 3:7
2. neither Paul nor Apollos sought the applause of men - it was the members at Corinth who had divided over/about preachers!
II. DIVIDED BY TOLERANCE OF SIN (Chapter 5)
A. 1 Cor 5:1,2 - ...there is fornication among you ... ye are puffed up...
1. perhaps not so divided among themselves - but divided from truth
2. they need to come together in dealing with this (5:4) - a church matter!
B. 1 Cor 5:13b - ...put away from among yourselves that wicked person
1. the language in this chapter is very firm and uncompromising
2. why? well, Paul says it clearly, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump
III. DIVIDED BY APPEALS TO THE WORLDS METHODS (Chapter 6)
A. 1 Cor 6:1,2 - dare any ... go to law before the unjust...
1. obviously, we deal here with disputes, not with crime
2. the whole idea of Christian at law with a Christian was beyond the pale of acceptable Christian behavior - note, then, 6:5 (resolve among Christians!)
B. 1 Cor 6:7 - Why do ye not rather take wrong?
1. this was the larger issue addressed - is it not better to suffer an injustice than it is to lose a brother ... or to cause disharmony and division?
2. 1 Pet 4:8 - there is a principle here which desperately needs attention!
IV. DIVIDED BY MORAL/MARRIAGE ISSUES (Chapter 7)
A. 1 Cor 7:1,2 - Nevertheless, to avoid fornication...
1. apparently, the church had written to Paul of concerns about this
2. he does suggest that the present distress (7:26) was a situation in which remaining unmarried could be advantageous - but the natural desires of men and women are to be fulfilled in marriage
B. 1 Cor 7:33,34 - how he/she may please...wife/husband
1. while not central to the discussion, here is a key to happiness in marriage
2. oh, we must not lose sight of how he may please the Lord - but husband and wife must give proper attention to one another
V. DIVIDED BY MATTERS RELATING TO IDOLATRY (Chapters 8-10)
A. 1 Cor 8:4 - As concerning...the eating of those things ...offered in sacrifice...
1. here was the difficultly of blending Jewish & Gentile cultures
2. the great truth? - ...an idol is nothing in the world....
B. 1 Cor 10:23,24 - ...all things are not expedient ... let no man seek his own...
1. these three chapters are filled with concern for each other - building up
2. the expressions demanding my rights vs. demanding my privileges come to mind as I read - is 10:31 forgotten in selfish demands?
VI. DIVIDED BY ECONOMIC, SOCIAL STATUS (Chapter 11)
A. 1 Cor 11:8,9 - For the man is not of the woman....I
1. fact: there were even gender problems in the first century church
2. there is an inequality recognized by God in terms of role and order - but from reading further it is clear there is an equality in spiritual blessing (11:11,12)
B. 1 Cor 11:20-22 - For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper..
1. there was clearly a haves and have nots issue which clouded the feast
2. that issue made it impossible for them to truly commune - so, 11:33
VII DIVIDED BY MIRACULOUS GIFTS (Chapters 12-14)
A. 1 Cor 12:27-30 - Are all apostles?
1. evident in chapter 12 is a division in the body ... over the miraculous gifts
2. 12:25 - members having the same care one for another
B. 1 Cor 12:31b - yet shew I unto you a more excellent way
1. the miraculous gifts belonged to the infancy of the church - 13:8-11
2. but love would be the great virtue which would endure
VIII DIVIDED BY RESURRECTION QUESTIONS (Chapter 15)
A. 1 Cor 15:12 - how say some among you that there is no resurrection...
1. is there? Or isnt there a resurrection of the dead?
2. Paul made clear the fact that Jesus resurrection was assurance that there will be a resurrection of the dead!
B. 1 Cor 15:55-58 - Here is the great Christian hope!!!
CLOSE: Divided and troubled ... but there was a great overarching answer - 1 Cor 16:14.
Cecil A. Hutson
12 October 2003
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)