The Call to Unity, 1 Corinthians 1:1-17

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Facts and History:

  • The Romans destroyed the city in 146 B.C.  Julius Caesar rebuilt it one hundred years later.
  • It became the capital of the province of Achaia (Athens being the other major city).
  • Corinth had two seaports and thus became a major commercial center.
  • The city was filled with shrines and temples, the most prominent of which was the Temple of Aphrodite, situated on top of an 1800-foot fortified wall that extended into the harbor called the Acrocorinthus.
  • The city thrived on commerce, entertainment, vice and corruption.  People looking to have a break from morality would travel to Corinth.
  • Approximately 700,000 people lived in Corinth, over two thirds of them slaves.

QUESTION:  Has God ever worked through you in ways you found surprising?  How so?

1.  God does absolutely incredible things through regular people who completely submit themselves to Him.  1 Cor 1:1, 2 Chron 16:9, Acts 9,  Acts 18)

A.  Each of us has been called to be holy.  1 Cor 1:2   QUESTION:  What does this mean?
B.  God wants to give us His grace and His peace. 1 Cor 1:3                                             
QUESTION:  What is God’s grace?  What does His peace look like?

2.  The Lord is determined to bless and empower His people.  1 Cor 1:4

        A.  The Lord is generous with His gifts. 1 Cor 1: 4-7
        B.  The Lord has gifts for each of us as well as for the corporate body. 1 Cor 1:4-7 
             QUESTION:  How has God gifted you?  What gifts of His do you see in the others here tonight?
        C.  His purpose is to keep us strong and free from sin. 1 Cor 1:8
        D.  We can count on God to see us through as He perfects His character in us.  1 Cor 1:9

3.  As God pours out gifts to His people, His hope is to work through a people who are united. 1 Cor 1:10-17

        A.  Unity requires that we let go of all petty arguments and divisions.  1 Cor 1:10
          QUESTION: What arguments/issues tend to divide people in the Church? Why are they petty? What do we do with “big arguments?”

  • The people of God must have the same mind, the same motives, and the same purpose.  1 Cor 1:10
  • Divisions in the church take place when we hold on to agendas, ambitions and preferences more than we hold on to relationships, submission and service.
  • Most arguments will disappear when we choose to die to self.

        B. We, the Church, must remember that we are called to be both immoveable and yet completely flexible.

  • Who we are called to be never changes.  Q: Who are we called to be?
  • What we are called to do in general never changes.  Q: What are we called to do?
  • What we are called to do in specific can change regularly.  Q: What are the specific callings in your life right now?
  • How things are done must change according to the direction and timing of the Holy Spirit.  Q: How does the Holy Spirit speak to us?  What is He saying in this season?

        C.  Keeping our eyes fixed on personalities or procedures will always lead to disagreement and sin.  1 Cor 1:11-16
          Problems in the Corinthian Church included:

  • Improper comparisons to one another.
  • Focusing on knowledge, power and ego instead of love and service.
  • Inventing lines of division instead of finding ways to embrace one another.

    D.  We must remember to keep the main thing the main thing.  1 Cor 1:17 

QUESTION:  What is the main thing?  How are you doing with the main thing?  What might your next step need to look like?

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