2020-08-02 – 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 – Called Into Fellowship
Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Corinthians | 2020-08-02 – 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 – Called Into Fellowship
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us.
We are starting a new journey together in scripture through the book of First Corinthians. The books of First and Second Corinthians are actually letters from the Apostle Paul to the church he started in in the city of Corinth. Last week we looked back to when the Corinthian church was started by the Apostle Paul as written about in Acts 18. In summary: Paul partnered with fellow tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla to preach and teach in the city of Corinth. In that effort, they were persecuted by the Jews, but Paul was comforted by God and told “do not fear. Many soles were saved, but that event also set the stage for our understanding that Corinth was pack full of opposition and sinful behaviors. The take away from last Sunday was that as a Christian, we all have a ministry of some kind, and ministry is tough, but God is with you. Your Christian friends and family are also here to support you and serve along side you. Like Paul, we should continue to look for opportunities to partner up with each other in this Christian journey. And in that godly work, we need to have faith not fear, Amen?
Today we will hear the introduction of the First Corinthian letter. The Apostle Paul first planted that church in Corinth towards the end of his second missionary journey. When he wrote this letter, Paul is now believed to be in Ephesus, on his third and last missionary journey. [Map]
Please turn now to 1 Corinthians 1:1, page 1011 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
I thought it would be fun for us to hear this Fist Corinthian letter in the original Koine Greek for which it was first written. We will only listen to a few verses, but keep in mind as you hear the word “Paublos” it means Paul, “Esu” is Jesus and “Christu” is Christ as you listen.
Many folks take for granted that everything we have in this Bible is a translation. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and most all of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek. So we are reading an English translation. Most every Bible version that we Americans read is in English, the KJV, NIV, NASB, NLV, ESV, HCSB, and our pew bibles CSB or Christian Standard Version are all translations. I am going to endeavor to learn some more Greek in the years to come so I might better understand the original meaning, but fortunately we have wonderful Bible Concordances that break down the words for us, so that we might more effectively wrestle with God’s Word, its meanings and application.
In regards to First Corinthians, the man we know of as the Apostle Paul who wrote this letter, was raised as a Jew under the name of Saul of Tarsus which is now part of Turkey. In Jerusalem, he was training up to be a Jewish priest when Jesus got ahold of him and appointed him an Apostle. Now Paul was spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ when he came first to the city Corinth. The Corinth people spoke Greek. Paul spoke both Hebrew and Greek so he was the perfect ambassador for Jesus in that area. You see when God calls us, He also gives us a purpose. That purpose isn’t always clear, but God desires for you, like Paul, to make a difference for Him. And that takes us to our first verses today.
1 Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosthenes our brother: 2 To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours. 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul begins this letter, as he does with all his nine letter/books we have in the New Testament with a customary greeting that would be expected of the first-century letter writings. First give the name of the writer, then the name of those receiving the letter, and then a greeting. In America we generally don’t have such formalities any longer, however in my travels I find that most other countries have this dynamic of speech and writing still today. When I was in Saudi Arabia I remember the long diatribe that folks was expected to engage in just to open up a telephone conversation with somebody. Grace and Peace to you your mother your father your family and God’s blessing be upon you and on and on. Then you finally the intended message, “your dog is in the road” or something like that.
Then right that greeting, Paul wrote that he was “called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will”. That word “Called” is the focus of our message today, and thus the title of this message being “Called Into Fellowship”.
There are many meanings for that Greek word for called. [Read from Vines Dictionary]. In our verses today, Paul uses the Greek word “kletos” which means appointed; Paul is telling the Corinthians in this introduction that he was appointed as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will. If you ever want to read about Paul’s unique conversion and appointment, that account is written by Dr. Luke in his book of Acts 9, and it is most worthy of your time and attention.
Paul makes note that he is with man named Sosthenes who he refers to as his brother in Christ. Many would suggest that this Sosthenes is the same Sosthenes mentioned in Paul’s first encounter with the Corinthians that we talked about last Sunday. That Sosthenes was a Jewish leader in the synagogue that accepted Jesus as Messiah, then later the crowd there turned on him and beat him in front of the proconsul. Sosthenes was persecuted for his new found faith, and we should expect the same as we are now living for Christ. He survived that attack and he was still serving alongside Paul now in Ephesus.
In verse two, Paul uses a word and title that we don’t hear much these days. He calls the Corinthian believers “sanctified” and he refers to them “saints”. Today, most times you hear about a person with the title of saint, they are associated with the Catholic denomination. However, if you read your Bible, like these verses here, all Christians are referred to as saints. Here again saint Paul wrote: “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord”. So you see it is very clear that everyone who calls Jesus Christ their “Lord”, are considered saints.
I recall the first time I was called a saint, it kind of knocked me silly, as I was anything but a saint at the time. A young soldier and friend of mine named Itsio Ognasanti who I had helped him and his wife move into their new apartment. Itsio said, in his heavy Sicilian accent, “you’re a saint Jerry, you’re a saint”. Frankly, I didn’t even know how to respond to that; I was taken aback. But now I understand that I am actually a saint. Not like saint perfect, or saint Michael, or Christopher, but I am effectively saint Jerry a Christ follower. And just like the saints of this Corinthian church, who we will see had many, many challenges and struggles, we too here in this church are saints, but only as a result of Christ who cleanses us with His blood and sacrificial righteousness. You are saints brothers and sisters, I hope you understand. Saint Jeremiah, Saint Adeline.. Amen?
Verse 4 continues: 4 I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in him in every way, in all speech and all knowledge. 6 In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, 7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord
As we see in these verses, it was Paul’s habit to encourage and praise those with whom he worked. Even though as we will see later in this letter/book, it mostly a letter of reproof and correction. Still Paul starts out with encouragement. You know the old saying by Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. That is what Paul was doing here. He is first showing that he does in-fact care about them and He honestly wants to encourage them. As Christian believers, we should consider doing likewise.
As a Pastor I try to be an encourager. I know I am not always successful in that endeavor, but please know that is my goal. Paul makes several statements of thanksgiving for what God had done for those Corinthian believers. Apparently grace and unmerited favor was evidenced in their character. Paul was insinuating that it was a confirmation of their faithful conversion. The fruit of their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We too should look for the fruit of our own conversion as well as in others that we associate with. Over time we should see the evidence of our conversion. We should be able to witness spiritual growth in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, & Self-Control. We should see also more contentment and growth and in the understanding of God’s will and purpose. That is what Paul is pointing out here for the Corinthians. So, looking back at your life do you see that type of growth?
However, the main reason Paul wrote this letter to his church family in Corinth, was that he heard about their struggles. Like them, we all will struggle in our faith walk at times. In the weeks to come we will see that Paul wrote this letter to address their problems, heal their divisions, and answer their questions. In the chapters ahead we will see that Paul confronts them with their sin and prescribes for them some corrective actions. Much like our world today, Corinth was a giant cultural melting-pot with a great diversity of religions and moral standards.
I believe this study of First Corinthians will be good for us to study as a growing church body, to maintain our momentum in serving God and this community. While at the same time pointing out for us, warning us about the threat and problem of our sin so that we might not stumble and stay the course.
The main understanding I wish you to take hold of today is that we are called and Sanctified, chosen and set apart by Christ for His service. We were brought into this fellowship for a purpose. Like Paul points out to the Corinthians, we have so much to be grateful for. Saint Paul’s words to the Corinthians are the same words I wish to give to you all here today. I want to re-read these last verses again, but this time consider them my words to each of you personally.
4 I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you [Orion, First Baptist Church] in Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in him in every way, in all speech and all knowledge. 6 In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, 7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Will you accept this charge here today? Will you accept that you were Called Into Fellowship with me for the distinct purpose and glory of serving Jesus Christ? I hope so. My prayer is that we together can make a significant and positive difference in this Orion community for the glory and purpose of our Savior.
I am excited to be able to bring to you this sermon study on First Corinthians. I pray it makes a difference in your lives and that you truly grasp this Christian walk that God now has you traveling. Would you please stand with me now, as we close with an invitation..
Lord’s Supper –
1 Corinthians 11:23-32 Paul Wrote:23 The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes
Pray over Pastor Jeremiah and Braden (Navy Seamen)
“A FRIENDLY CHURCH IN A FRIENDLY TOWN”