Introducing the Corinthian Church

Faith Church August 24, 2002 1 Corinthians 1:1-10

Introduction
- well, today is a new day in our abf because we're beginning a brand new study this morning.
- this fall we want to focus on Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts.
- of course this fits into the overall theme we've had this year church-wide on Joyfully Serving God Together…
- in order to do that well, a person needs to know what the Scripture says about the matter of spiritual gifts, then has applied that material to their spiritual life.

- now, there are a number of different ways to study this topic…
- we could immediately begin to survey the 4-5 passages in the Scripture that especially deal with this subject and try to summarize them.
- that is not a bad way to study---especially for some subjects---we would call that a topical study…
- another way to do it is to begin by studying verse by verse the section of Scripture that gives us the most information about the subject, and then going to other passages to add to what that primary passage teaches…
- that would be called an expository study…a verse-by-verse exposition of what is emphasized in the text itself….

- now there is a place for both approaches [in fact you may recall that we actually used both methods in our study of the book of Proverbs---does anyone recall why?…because the material lent itself to that kind of study---the first ten chapters were organized in a verse by verse fashion while the last 20 chapters were organized topically]….
- so there is a place for both, but I think it has probably become apparent to you that we prefer, primarily, to do expository studies…
- INPUT - Any thoughts as to why that might be?
- [it helps us avoid hobbyhorses, or reading our ideas into Scripture…develop]

- so our plan for this study is to begin in the book that discusses this topic most thoroughly, I Corinthians, and then bring in material from the other key passages in the NT.
- because that's the case, today we want to introduce the study by thinking about the Corinthian church itself.

- please open your Bible to I Corinthians chapter 1, and we'll read the first few verses to get a flavor of what this church was like:
- READ I Corinthians 1:1-10
- [especially emphasize verse 7]
- several authors have pointed out that 1st century Corinth was much like 21st century America….
1) a real thirst for intellectualism
- they loved knowledge and the pride that came from having it….
2)  permissiveness to moral standards
- the word corinthianize actually was adopted into the Greek language as a word meaning living in an immoral fashion…
- we'll see geographically why that was the case in a moment…
3)  fascination with the spectacular…
- Corinthians loved to see a show….just like Americans love to see a show…

- Solomon's words that there is nothing new under the sun come to mind as you think about the characteristics of the Corinthian culture, and the culture in which you and I live…
- sadly, the Corinthian church was in many ways like American "Christianity" today…
- INPUT - From what you know about the books of I-II Corinthians, what words come to mind to describe this church?
1)  Pride
2)  Division
3)  Affluence
4)  Giftedness
5)  Unaddressed/unsolved problems
6)  Ineffective

- while that's true, I'd also like us to see that…


I.  The Corinthian Church Was Poised for Strategic Ministry


- in other words, God had placed them in a great position for accomplishing much for Him if they would capitalize on it….

A.  Geographically
- in your notes we've given you a map showing the location of the city of Corinth.
- it was well known at that point in history that traveling by ship around the tip of Greece [Achaia] was very dangerous.
- Mariners used to say, "A sailor never takes a journey around Malea without first writing his will"
1) As a result, they actually built a portage, where captains of larger ships would stop, unload their cargo, have the cargo carried to the other side of the Isthmus, and sail around empty.
- that way if the ship wrecked, at least they didn't lose the cargo…
2) For smaller ships, they actually had a system of tracks, where the ships would be pulled up out of the water and drug across the land…
- that’s why this area became known as "dailcos" - which means, "the place of dragging across"
- the city of Corinth was located right in the middle of all of this…so the cosmopolitan flavor that would come with so many people traveling in and out was part of their life…it was a busy and exciting place…
- by the way, if you're thinking, why didn't they build a canal?….that was actually discussed as early back as the 6th century bc, started during the time of Nero, but wasn't completed until the 19th century.

- they were also in a strategic position….
B.  Athletically
- in that day, there were two great athletic festivals…the Olympics and the Isthmian games
- Corinth hosted the Isthmian games, named after the Isthmus of Corinth…

- so all of the traffic and commerce and excitement associated with such an event came to their city every year…
- when you put these two ideas together, you don't have to think hard about the great opportunities for ministry that would exist here…
- so many people who had not heard about Christ literally descending on this location all the time….

C.  Spiritually
- like many Greek cities, Corinth had a high place…an acropolis that rose 2000 feet in the air…
- it was known as the acroCorinth…
- it was actually large enough that the entire population of the city could be brought there during time of siege…
- it was also the location of the famous [or infamous[ temple to Apaphrodite, the Greek goddess of love…
- history tells us that this temple housed over 1000 prostitutes….and when you put the ideas of maritime commerce, and athletics, and this kind of sensual religion together…a picture begins to emerge of what this city must have been like…

- the overall point is, God had strategically positioned them for great ministry…
- the need for Christ could not have been more pronounced, and the opportunities to live for Him and proclaim His message were literally everywhere…

- now let me ask you this…is that also true of us?
- INPUT - What are some ways that God has also given us a very strategic location?
1) Proximity to Purdue….
- discuss various ministries….
- college night tonight….
2)  Culture that emphasizes athletics….
- discuss Joe Keck's Monday ministry
- discuss future plans
3)  New housing developments
- hit project Jerusalem --- Pastor Brown/Jim Schenke
4)  9/11 ministry opportunity

- now, specifically from our verses in chapter 1, we see that….


II.  The Corinthian Church had been Blessed by God in Many Ways

- INPUT - What are some of the specific blessings that are mentioned in verses 1-10?

A.  Sanctified in Christ Jesus - v. 2

B.  Saints by calling - v. 2

C.  Recipients of the grace of God - v. 3-4

D.  Enriched in Him in everything - v. 5

E.  Not lacking in any gift - v. 7


III.  The Corinthian Church Needed to Decide if They Would Capitalize on their Position and Blessing

 

Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Introducing the Corinthian Church


Introduction
I.  The Corinthian Church Was _____________ for _________________ Ministry.
A.  _____________________

 

 

B.  _____________________
C.  _____________________
II.  The Corinthian Church Had Been _______________ in Many Ways.
A.  ________________ in Christ Jesus - v. 2
B.  ______________ by calling - v. 2
C.  ________________ of the grace of God - vv. 3-4
D.  _________________ in Him in everything - v. 5
E.  Not _______________ in any gift - v. 7
III.  The Corinthian Church Needed to Decide if They Would Capitalize on Their _________________ and _________________.


Adult Bible Fellowship
Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Introducing the Corinthian Church

Introduction
I.  The Corinthian Church Was Poised for Strategic Ministry.
A.  Geographically
B.  Athletically
C.  Spiritually
II.  The Corinthian Church Had Been Blessed by God in Many Ways.
A.  Sanctified in Christ Jesus - v. 2
B.  Saints by calling - v. 2
C.  Recipients of the grace of God - v. 3-4
D.  Enriched in Him in everything - v. 5
E.  Not lacking in any gift - v. 7
III.  The Corinthian Church Needed to Decide if They Would Capitalize on Their Position and Blessing.

Faith Church