When Paul brought up the topic of wisdom in 1 Corinthians 2:16-3:4, he was not introducing a new topic. Chapter 1 has told us much about God’s wisdom which is found in the preaching of Christ crucified. The sad case was, that at Corinth, the church had opted for earthly wisdom and this had begun to show itself in the disorder and division that Paul has been addressing.
After telling the Corinthians that they could not boast in men, nor in their position in the world before God called them, and that the gospel message was ‘weak and foolish’ in the eyes of the world, in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul went on to write that he too was ‘weak and foolish’. His preaching at Corinth was not a demonstration of his skill or wisdom, but of the power of God who saves ‘foolish’ people through the ‘foolish’ message of the cross.
The Church at Corinth was in crisis. Divisions over personalities were fuelled by the cult of pride. While some distance away from them when we wrote his letter, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 reflects just how close Paul was to these wayward believers. Having established that being united to Christ should mean the death of all divisions, Paul now explains what the world calls ‘foolish’ (that is the preaching of the cross) is nothing but the express wisdom of God.
The text of 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 tells of the report that the Apostle Paul heard from ‘Chloe’s people’ about the state of the church at Corinth. They were a church divided. The issue was playing favourites with people. Some preferred Paul, others Apollos, others Peter and still others – Jesus! At the root of this problem of division was pride and at the centre of the solution Paul outlined was the principle – that when we look to Jesus and Him crucified, there is no room for pride and boasting, for in Christ and Him alone, their is true unity.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, it was no small rural backwater but a bustling cosmopolitan city of about 650,000. Paul had brought the gospel to Corinth and the church had begun – by the grace of God – amidst much persecution. Nobody knew the church at Corinth better than Paul and in the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, it is evident that God was doing something among His people, the Church at Corinth, because He is a faithful God.
Message #2 from Rev Dr Peter Adam at the Gospel Coalition combined churches of Bendigo event.
Message #1 from Rev Dr Peter Adam at the Gospel Coalition combined churches of Bendigo event.
In this message, Ryan Smith explores the vital question of ‘What is the Gospel?’ from 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
When Vasco da Gama first rounded what was known then as the ‘Cape of Storms’, he went where no man had ever been and became the first to live to tell of what he found far out in the East. When Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again, he also came back to tell us what lays beyond the veil of death. Yet some in the church at Corinth were having significant doubts about the resurrection, and this led Paul to write to them in 1 Corinthians 15:1-34 about the facts of the resurrection and by doing so, remind these believers that the resurrection is vital to the Christian faith. Abandoning belief in the resurrection was to deny the very tenets of the faith and miss out on all that Jesus came to do for the salvation of God’s people.
In this message Rev Philip Burns preaches from 1 Corinthians 3 and highlights some of the problems caused by party spirit in the church at Corinth. There is a great danger in over-estimating the importance of the worker compared to the gospel. Believers must also rightly estimate the materials we are using to build on the foundation of the gospel. We must also not underestimate that all that we build must pass the test of God’s final fiery judgement.