Supporting The Church

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The Problem Of Inadequate Support

1 Corinthians 9:1-10:15

The lesson today deals with supporting those who are called of God to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Christians we are obligated to not only support the Church and the ministries of the Church, we are to support those that preach the “Gospel”!

Some things to consider are these things:

1) Every preacher called of God should be supported in his ministry according to the limits of the ability of the church he serves!

2) No preacher should be supported unless he is willing to preach without that support!

3) Every preacher must be above suspicion, preaching is not a job, it is a calling!

*****1Co 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
1Co 9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
1Co 9:3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,
1Co 9:4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?
1Co 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
1Co 9:6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

There were many in that day and even some today who questioned the apostleship of Paul.

If Paul was not called of Christ then his words might have no real meaning at all!

Not everyone who saw Jesus became an apostle, but no one became an apostle who had not seen the Lord and who had not been commissioned by Him!

There can be no apostles today for these reasons!

Paul had seen the Lord on the road to Damascus!

Jesus had spoken to Paul with His actual voice!

Paul had been commissioned, even with a special commission, to reach out to the Gentiles!

Paul was called of God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Paul had not chosen this thing himself, he was just obeying the Lord and the Lord gave Paul the same authority as He had done to the other eleven!

Paul had the same “Christian Liberty” as all brothers and sisters in Christ have!

The truth is, this church in Corinth was just one of the places that proved the results of Paul’s labor and his God given ability to lead the lost to Christ for salvation.

Paul had taught that because of the conditions of that day, it may be better to remain celibate and devote a life full time to the Lord’s service but Paul also recognized that it was also good to be married.

In fact Paul taught that one was no more holy than the other!

Paul insisted that even the Apostles had that same right if they so chose.

There is no biblical requirement for the clergy to be celibate!

We know that Peter had a wife, and we are sure some of the others did also.

Paul was just as much biblically free to take a wife if he so chose to do so!

The Bible clearly teaches the support of the ministry and Paul and Barnabas could have expected this church in Corinth to help in that support but Paul chose not to do this for his own reasons!

The truth is, that the greatest work that anyone can do is to lead a lost soul to the Lord for salvation!

No other work on this planet is greater than this work that Christ Jesus has given us all to do!

In fact Paul was saying to these Corinthians that if anyone deserved to be supported by this church then he should be at the top of the list.

And Paul begins to explain:

*****1Co 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

**The armies of this world are supported at the expense of the public.

Preachers called of God are the good soldiers of Jesus Christ, they are engaged in a warfare state in fighting the good fight of faith against all the enemies of the church!

It is only reasonable that they be supported by God’s children!

**The church is the vineyard of God, those called to preach are the planters, the vine-dressers, and the laborers in God’s vineyard and they should be able to partake of the vineyard!

**The church is the flock of sheep that belong to God.

It is the job of God’s preachers to be that shepherd of those sheep until the true Shepherd appears to take us home.

He that feeds the flock should eat of the milk that is produced!

Is this not what the Bible teaches says Paul?

*****1Co 9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
1Co 9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
1Co 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

Paul knows that many in the church will question these things.

If God’s man can produce what the people need, then he should profit from that production but on the other hand those who will not work, neither should they eat!

Those that would muzzle an ox while he is doing such work, would find that ox would get weak and production would suffer.

1Ti 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

God’s laborers are certainly worthy of their reward!

Every preacher who plows and threshes in the house of God in hope of spiritual things, should also be a partaker of this hope!

The preacher should be supported by those he preaches to!

If one labors in the carnal world they live by the fruit of their labor, how much more should not one who sows “spiritual things” reap of the “carnal things” of those to whom he ministers!

*****1Co 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

The Apostle Paul abilities were great. He knew the Old Testament from cover to cover. He had been trained at the feet of Gamaliel and finished in the top of his class. He had been trained to work with his own hands and he had been called of God and had all the powers of the Apostles but Paul did not allow any of these things to hinder his moral obligation to God’s people!

After his salvation, Paul was more like Jesus than most all other men because he knew the mind of Christ toward all nations!

Paul willingly gave up his right to church support, that he might have the pleasure of saying he was a willing volunteer in the work of the Lord much like Isaiah.

Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? “Then said I, Here am I; send me”.

Paul had nothing to prove to these Corinthians, Paul just cherished the fact that he could serve the Lord!

Paul said do you not know the Word of God?

*****1Co 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

What is the truth?

The priests and the Levites lived off of the offerings and the sacrifices that were brought to the Temple and before that to the Tabernacle.

Num 18:7 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
Num 18:8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
Num 18:9 This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.

This teaching is very clear: The Old Testament ministers of the Word of God under the Law and the House of God, were supported by the people to whom they ministered to!

Should not God’s ministers who were now under “Grace” also be supported?

What had Jesus taught the Apostles?

Luk 10:8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
Luk 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Mat 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Supporting the ministers called of God is a fundamental principle that the Church should not neglect for it is a needed part of carrying the Gospel throughout this world!

As this is also needed teaching to the New Testament Church every preacher is to teach these things!

The Apostle Paul had his own reasons for not accepting support from these Corinthians which he went on to explain.

*****1Co 9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

The Apostle Paul clearly understood the evils that could result from “a paid ministry”!

We can see these things even more often in the modern day Church where those who support the minister then make demands of that minister, which he will comply with in order to keep his position.

This is not the intent of supporting the ministry!

Men who devote their lives to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ deserve the support of the Church!

Those that just tickle the ears of the flock of God need to be run out of the ministry but that is what we see behind many pulpits today!

2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

It is not charity to support the true man called of God, it is deserved!

The true minister of God must be first a man, then a Christian, and then a messenger of Jesus Christ!

The Apostle Paul decided to relinquish any support from these Corinthians rather than give them another occasion to offer their reproach.

Many of them already questioned his apostleship!

It is easy to see as we follow these Scriptures that this church required a special touch from God’s Apostle!

*****1Co 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
1Co 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

The Apostle Paul, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, and every true man called of God already know that they could not keep the Word of God to themselves and they also understand the results of preaching the “Gospel”.

Jeremiah said:

Jer 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”.

Paul had only one goal and that was to gain other souls to the Lord!

Paul was willing to forgo comfort, profit, rest and any earthly prize in his goal of that “crown of rejoicing”!

1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
1Th 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy.

The Apostle Paul lived in dread of becoming a castaway.

Paul had no fear of being rejected of God but he did fear reaching a point when he was of no use to God and was cast aside in favor of someone more unselfish, more compliant, and more willing to give of themselves!

The life of the Apostle Paul will put us all to shame, who think we are serving the Lord, but God does not think on these terms, God only expects our reasonable service!

What reward was Paul seeking?

*****1Co 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
1Co 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

The Apostle Paul is saying that there is not enough money in this world that could replace the happiness he got from preaching the Gospel without cost to any!

It was of utmost importance to Paul for Christians to see that the rewards for serving the Lord are far more greater than any wage or reward that could be gotten from this world!

If this seemed to be boasting then in truth it is because it is the truth. The wages of the servant of God go far beyond salvation and eternal life, which should be enough if that was all we received.

The Bible says:

Isa 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Paul had powers given to him by the Lord but he refused to abuse any of those powers so he could concentrate on the pure “love of God”!

Paul had made this covenant with himself, at the beginning of his ministry and he stuck to it throughout his ministry!

Paul did not demand support for himself even though he taught the full Word of God which called for the supporting of those men God called into the ministry.

Every house of God should strive to support the man God has given them along with the maintenance of a place of worship and the proper outreach which should concentrate on discipleship and evangelism!

*****1Co 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
1Co 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
1Co 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1Co 9:23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

It is a fact that in any race there can be but one winner!

If we refuse to even enter into that race, we will never have an opportunity to be a winner!

The prize to Paul was the “high calling of Jesus Christ”!

The Word of God gives each of us the rules for running in the race for sanctification and then glorification.

The course we are to run on is this world on which we live!

Unless we accept the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as the truth then we can never be a part of this race!

Jesus Christ ran His race and won and is now sitting at rest on His throne in Heaven until it is time to return to gather all His winners!

The encouragement to run is the “Grace of God”, God’s Riches At Christ Expense!

We can begin this race by running to Christ and our race will end when Christ runs back to get His children!

Running is moving forward and as Christians it must be our goal to continue to move forward all the days that God will give us. Standing still is still losing ground!

*****1Co 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
1Co 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Racing, is normally a competition with a group. To strive, is that battle we face within our own selves and is an even more severe contest than the foot race!

The Apostle Paul exercised self-denial even abstaining from many things that would have made his own life more pleasant in order to gain the reward promised by the Lord!

Those that race for the glory of this world, can only win a crown that will fade away!

Those that race for the Glory of God, will obtain a reward that will never fade away and will be waiting on them when they get home to Heaven.

When we run the Christian race, and answer the call of God, we must take clear aim at the goals of Christ and cast away anything that hinders us, be indifferent to what bystanders may say, and consider that even a stumble can be a means of encouragement!

A boxer may shadow box to prepare for his opponent but we must never forget our opponent is Satan and he has been at this for more than 6000 years and he is a real adversary!

We must first win that battle with our own flesh before we can be a servant who will slave for the Lord or just be cast aside while God chooses someone else.

This was Paul’s goal and our goals should be similar!

There are things we should remember in the Word of God!

Our God is powerful!

*****1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
1Co 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Co 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
1Co 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Remember this Church at Corinth was full of people who thought they had reached their peak in Bible Knowledge and needed no further instructions.

Many today refuse to go to the house of God because they feel they are saved and have no further need of instruction and they are just as wrong as these Corinthians!

The people of Israel had witnessed with their own eyes the miracle at the Red Sea.

The people of Israel had seen the “Cloud by day” and the “Fire by night” that had remained with them day and night for 40 years.

The people of Israel had eaten of the manna that came down from Heaven and sustained them for 40 years.

The people of Israel had witnessed and drank of the water that had gushed from the Rock and that Rock was in “TYPE” Christ Himself, the true Living Water!

The people of Israel were eye-witnesses to how it could be only Jehovah God who could do all these things and yet they failed in their “Faith” and God was not pleased with many of them and they never entered into the Promised Land of God and they were over thrown in the wilderness!

These things are all examples for the Church to learn and understand!

*****1Co 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Typology is used as a method of interpreting the Old Testament as it relates to the main theme of the Bible, which is “salvation” and out Christian walk after salvation!

Paul is saying that all these things are examples or “types” for our comparison!

The experiences of the Jewish people in their Exodus from Egypt are a great lesson for every believer.

All the Jewish people were a part of this Exodus and all were free from the “bondage of Egypt” but God was not pleased with most of them and they died unable to enter into the Promised land!

The Lord Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s Cross and paid the sin debt for all human beings, but God is not pleased with all those that reject the Lord and the work that He did for all our salvation and they will never enter into the Promised Heavenly home!

Christians are not to lust after the things of this world.

Christians are not to murmur and complain because of persecution.

Christians are to set the example as the true children of God!

Even the “Grace” of God has it’s limits!

*****1Co 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Some of these Israelite deliberately sat down, rejecting the Word of God, and worshipped an idol.

As Christians we must realize that anything that comes between us and our Lord is idol worship!

*****1Co 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

If we remember Balaam from the Old Testament, we know that he was unable to put a curse on the children of Israel because God simply would not allow it.

Though Balaam could not curse them, he did make a suggestion to King Balak of a way to cause Israel to sin.

Jesus Christ reminds the “Church Age” of the doctrine of Balaam in that day.

Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Temptation was the downfall of many a Christians in the day of Paul and it is so much the more today!

These Corinthians were surrounded by temples of worship to false deities and prostitution was used in most all of them to entice the worshipper.

So long as we are in this world we will be exposed to temptations and we need always to be on our watch against them!

*****1Co 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

To “tempt” is to “try to the uttermost” to see if God is as good as His Word says!

Every Word that God has given us is true!

We must praise Him for His “Grace”.

We must trust by “faith” in His salvation!

We must also believe that those that reject the Lord will certainly see the wrath of God!

God is certainly everything His Word says He is!

*****1Co 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

If there be any doubt in your mind we can be sure that God hates a bunch of complaining people!

The fruit of the Spirit is joy!

It is our faith which will bring with it that joy!

1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

*****1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1Co 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
1Co 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

If there be any doubt that we should study the Old Testament Scriptures, then these words should put that to rest.

The Old Testament is given to us for our admonition!

Admonition means, for our attention, for our instruction in duties, for our direction, and for our caution and warning!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

There is never a time until we reach Heaven that we do not need to be studying the Word of God!

God is “faithful”!

God will never allow us to be tempted beyond our own strength without making a way of escape!

These words are just as true as the words of salvation!

To flee, is to run away as fast as you possibly can from all these things God has warned us about.

Remember God does not warn us for the punishment, God warns us because He loves us so much!

The Apostle Paul was a Christian who set very high standards for himself after he was saved and even Paul failed from time to time.

Who are we to think that this sinful, evil world cannot touch us!

We are all just sinners, who are saved only by the “GRACE” of God and held together only by OUR OWN FAITH”!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Problem Of Church Criticism

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The Problem Of Judgmental Criticism

1 Corinthians 4

Criticism is the art of scrutiny and scrutiny means a critical examination!

A critic is one who has exalted himself to the position of “a judge” of others!

In the church many times there are those who seek to find the faults of others without considering their own faults.

We actually have only one Judge and He is also our Creator!

Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right”?

Paul will use two words that we must consider in these Scriptures.

**Ministers: The Greek word used for minister in this verse is “huperetes”.

This Greek word has the meaning of an “under oarsman”.

In the time of the Apostle Paul the “oarsman” were in the belly of the ship and they had only one job and that was to row on command.

They did not see in what direction the ship was sailing, their job was only to move the ship along in the direction that the Captain chose and at the speed that He chose.

In many ways the Church is like a mighty ship sailing through the Church Age and it the Ministers job to keep the ship moving while Captain, Jesus, chooses the direction and the speed of the Church.

**Stewards: A steward on the other hand was employed by a master to manage the daily affairs of that master, including in many cases the financial accounts but also the provisions for that family.

The truth is, that the Lord calls out certain individuals to be the ministers and the stewards of the Church.

He has many names but here we call this man the Pastor or the Preacher or the Evangelist!

Paul continues in Chapter 4

*****1Co 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

If we remember this Church at Corinth was a divided church and one of the things that they were divided about was the men who had come to preach to the church.

Some insisted Paul was the best and others Apollos, and others Peter and yet others who only considered Jesus Christ to be just another prophet and just a man.

Paul had already shown them the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul now was teaching that it was not so important who the messenger was that was sent of God.

Of most importance, were they indeed “faithful” to teach the “Gospel”, were they “faithful” to the God they served and to His entire Word!

Christian stewards are to be stewards of the mysteries of God!

The mysteries of God are all those things of Jesus Christ, that were hidden in the Old Testament that are revealed in the New Testament!

Christians are also to be stewards of the manifold “Grace Of God”!

1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

God expects all those called to be Preachers, Pastors and Evangelist or wherever God calls each of us, to be faithful to His “Grace” and to share the literal biblical explanations of the mysteries of God!

These men are subject to God for their message and for their faithfulness to their calling but only God can give the increase to the Church!

It is the job of the Church to listen to the message that comes from the Word of God and not to judge the messenger who is sent of God!

We are only to compare that message to the actual written Word of God to know if it is a true message!

We are all accountable to God, who is our sure Judge, during our life time and in the end, when we will face God in judgment either at the “Judgment seat of Christ” or the “White Throne Judgment”!

If we are to be stewards of the Word of God then we must be faithful to the truth of the Scriptures!

*****1Co 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
1Co 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

The judgment of all humans lies in the hands of God. Mankind is not capable of judging each other!

We may or may not despise the judgment by others but in reality it amounts to almost nothing as compared to the judgment of God!

We live now in man’s day and will continue to do so “until the Day of the Lord”!

Paul is saying that even though he has been found faithful in delivering the mysteries of God, he does not need man’s approval and he continues by saying that he did not even assume the right of judging himself.

It is only the judgment of the Lord that has any real importance!

It is still a fact that we as humans live only on average around 70 years. This is certainly not enough time to gain enough wisdom to judge other human beings!

For most of us, it is only after our death that we will be remembered or judged for the things we accomplished in our lifetime and that usually only by our own families.

But one thing is sure and it is that if we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior in this life time we have now, then we can be judged and justified by the Lord even before our death!

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The heart of all humans is much to full of deceit to be an accurate judge of any other human being but only by their actions toward the Word of God!

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jer 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

*****1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

In reality, we of the Church have no right to judge the messengers that are called into the work of the Lord.

If that Messenger is conveying the actual Word of God, “rightly divided”, and in context, then our one thing is to listen to that message that is sent from God and concentrate on being obedient ourselves!

You see it is only the Lord that can see into our hearts and expose those “hidden things of darkness”!

Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

All things of our heart are naked and open to the eyes of the One who has called us out of the bondage of Satan!

If our own heart is the seat of our intellect and emotions, and it is, then only God can know what goes on in the mind of each of us!

The praise of God is so infinitely precious to all those called of God that it reduces to nothingness the value of human praise or of human blame!

Every child of God simply wants to hear these certain words in the end!

Mat 25:23 His lord said unto him, “Well done, good and faithful servant”; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: “enter thou into the joy of thy lord”.

If our hope is not in the joy of the Lord then we need to question our salvation!

When we do not look forward to entering into the “joy of the Lord”, then we will only become judges in this world and suffer loss because of it!

*****1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Paul continues to show his love for these, his brothers and sisters in Christ, the Brethren. Paul also does not point out those that chose to follow the teaching of Apollos and those that have said that followed his own teaching because Paul knew they both taught the same message of the “Gospel”.

Paul also did not mention Peter who at this time had not preached the “Gospel” in Corinth and may not have ever but was well followed in Jerusalem.

The message of Paul was that all the messengers called of God are laborers in the building up of God’s Kingdom. No one more important than any other!

One would simply be the planter and the other the waterer because only God can give the increase!

To exalt one above the other would also be to depreciate one below the other!

When church members get puffed up, one against the other, it’s like trying to build the House of God with a balloon rather than on the truth of God, which are to be the building blocks of every church!

These Corinthians were still full of emptiness rather than accepting that the gifts of God may differ in each individual, but the Word of God must remain the same in all of us!

God distributes gifts to His children according to their need and their abilities to perform the work that He has called on them to do and these things will never change until He returns!

*****1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Even when we believe that one speaker or one preacher presents the “Gospel” in a better way we must realize any gift that they have came from the Living God!

God’s gifts are not for bragging!

God’s gifts are for using!

While bragging on or choosing one above the other we should also consider our own gifts from God “that we are not even using” for the work that God has called us all to do!

The truth is that God has given each of us gifts to use to carry the “Gospel” to the lost!

1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

We are arrogant to believe that God exalts His workers one above another!

We are not superior one above the other!

We absolutely have no right to sit in “judgment” one above any other!

When we glory, then we must glory in the Lord who has placed us where He wants us to be and has given us the tools we need, whether they be spiritual gifts or carnal gifts.

All we have belongs to the Lord!

Even John the Baptist was well aware of these things!

Joh 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

*****1Co 4:8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

As “Babes in Christ” it is easy to have the opinion that you are saved and you need nothing else.

These Corinthians were full but they were not full of Christ, they were full of themselves!

In their own still fleshy minds, they believed they had already reached perfection in the eyes of God and really had no further need of any instructor in the Word of God.

They certainly felt they had no need to pick up their own cross and follow the Lord Jesus.

They forgot that before the “Kingdom of God” could come that they would also suffer.

They forgot that before there was a fullness of joy, there would be persecution.

They forgot that before the marriage supper of the Lamb, they must eat the meat of ridicule in this world.

They became self-complacent and self-sufficient and felt they had no sin and no need of anything else of God!

We should remember the Age we live in now, which is the last of the Church Ages!

Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

These Corinthians were still blind to the complete truth of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

They had one foot in the Church and still had one foot in the carnal world!

*****1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

It was obvious to these Corinthians the way the world was treating the Apostles of Jesus Christ.

It was obvious to these Corinthians that persecution followed the Christian where ever they were.

Many of this church had actually come from Jerusalem because of the persecution of Christians!

It should be sobering to us all that Christians, especially those Christian leaders such as the Apostle Paul are actually on a stage being carefully watched by the audience of the world, to point out every mistake of the Church and it’s followers, ready to persecute and humiliate everyone in an attempt to stop the message of God!

These things are not going to change and to correctly understand these words of the Apostle Paul, we can see that for more than one reason, even the Angels of God also keep a close eye on each believer.

1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; “which things the angels desire to look into”.

*****1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
1Co 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
1Co 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
1Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

What is the difference between a true Christian and a counterfeit so-called Christian or even a carnal Christian?

The counterfeit is so full of themselves, rather than Divine Knowledge, that he thinks he needs no further instruction.

The counterfeit is so rich in his own grace, that he exalts himself above those who are spiritually poor.

The counterfeit is so confident in his confession of himself, that he would try to rule others who he believes are of a lower class of Christian than he.

The true Christian regards himself as the least of all Saints.

The true Christian submits willingly to suffering for Christ sake.

The true Christian repays all evil with good!

The Apostle Paul left the schools of higher learning, which would have led to untold riches, and devoted the remaining days of his life to the work of Christ, totally understanding that his only riches would come from his “faith” and the “Grace” of God!

Paul said in the eyes of the world, he was certainly a foolish man!

The model for the Apostle Paul was Jesus Christ Himself, who left the riches and glory of Heaven, to give his life in order that we might live!

How did Jesus respond to such people?

Luk 9:57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
Luk 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
Luk 9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Luk 9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
Luk 9:61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
Luk 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

The Bible teaches us that because of our loyalty to Jesus Christ,the world will despise us and consider us all mad and ignorant.

These Corinthians sought ways to make the teaching of the “Gospel” a means of becoming a celebrity and these “type” are still around today!

Christianity brings with it sacrifice, sometimes shame, many times suffering, and certainly a true work ethic.

But Christianity brings companionship in the greatest family of all, the “Grace “of God, and rewards that cannot be known of in this world!

The Christian must be a humble, and a meek, and a patient child of God!

The signs of the Christian are these:

1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Paul said to these Corinthians, “you simply need to know the truth”.

Who is the most important example for the Christian to follow?

1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”:

*****1Co 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
1Co 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

We can be sure that the Apostle Paul did not write these books to the these Corinthians, nor to the Church, for the purpose of causing them shame and embarrassment!

The truth is that, the liberal church cannot survive and function for the good of God!

There is a great danger to the “Body of Christ” if the majority remain “Babes in Christ”!

This is what we see in the Church of the modern day and the Church no longer has the Holy Ghost power it once had!

It was the Apostle Paul who had caused the beginning of this church at Corinth, and to Paul these were his spiritual children and there are no spiritual grandchildren!

Paul, by example, followed the life of Christ as close as he could after his salvation and this should also be our goal!

Paul is simply saying that beyond the Lord Jesus Christ, no one cared as much for the Church at Corinth as much as he did!

Paul was simply rebuking this church much like a loving father would rebuke their own children!

I see this same thing here at Gethsemane, where through the years we have had many tutors who have come through to teach us the great depths of the Word of God, but it is our Pastor who teaches us as a loving father does his own children!

And Paul further more states, that no church can have a father who is not following the Lord Jesus Christ!

Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

We must never forget the One from which the New Testament Church had it’s beginnings and that One is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, “but my Father which is in heaven”.

The Church at Corinth was begotten through the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” and it is on Jesus Christ that the Church must stand!

Paul said he was just filling in, until the Lord returned to fulfill His own “Gospel”!

Paul as a “faithful steward” of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” said “you can follow me because I am following the Lord”!

It is a fact that good spiritual leaders will light the way for their followers to follow!

What is the job of the Pastor?

1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Paul was a church planter, who totally understood his calling by the Lord Jesus Christ!

Paul was not being arrogant nor was he conceited.

Paul explained himself to the Ephesians with these words:

Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Many false teachers had come to the church at Corinth, just as happens today in most all places of worship!

We know that the Lord Jesus Christ cannot actually be seen with the eye but only with the heart until He returns, but the true man of God, such as Paul, would be more like Jesus than any false teacher could ever be!

The truth of the Church is not what we look like inside the Church, it is how we appear outside the Church!

We would be wise to follow the example of the Apostle Paul rather than the example of some false so-called man of God, who might speak great words but their lives tell a different story!

Paul had a another spiritual child of God who was following the Lord Jesus Christ by the example showed to him also by the Apostle Paul and his name was Timothy.

*****1Co 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

No doubt that it Paul who had led Timothy to the Lord!

No doubt that Timothy was already on his way to Corinth as Paul was writing this letter and the letter had arrived before Timothy had gotten there.

It was Timothy’s job to bring this church back to the teachings of the Apostle Paul!

Timothy was also a faithful steward of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

Paul was telling these Corinthians that Timothy would not only teach sound doctrine, but he would also put these people in remembrance of Paul’s ways!

They could see with their own eyes, whether the child’s walk was like those of his spiritual father and also in Jesus Christ!

It is a fact that a Man of God who generates in another the character of Jesus Christ, has done a greater work than any teaching that this world does!

But Paul also knew that not all in the church would be satisfied with Timothy but expected Paul to return himself.

Here again we see that Paul knew many in Corinth cared more for the speaker, than for the message, which is still the failure in many houses of worship today!

*****1Co 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
1Co 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.

Those that still allowed their own pride to interfere with right judgment would still be puffed up.

There were many at Corinth that believed Paul feared to return to Corinth, which was certainly not true.

We should be very clear that the Apostle Paul had the same powers that Jesus had granted to all the other Apostles!

Most of that power was the fact that if an Apostle asked anything of the Lord, then it would certainly take place as Jesus told to the Apostles.

Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

*****1Co 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
1Co 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Paul informed those that rejected this letter from him, that he could come with the rod just as easy as he could come in love.

It would be their own choice!

God gave us the freedom to choose but we must certainly know that there are consequences to every choice we make!

What is God’s promise?

Isa 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

We may not understand that “rod of the mouth” but it is very clear what God will do when He says He will slay the wicked!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Causes Of Church Divisions

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The Problem Of Church Divisions

1 Corinthians 1

The Church at Corinth was established on the second of the three missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul.

Paul had traveled as far as Macedonia and Greece.

Paul had made successful visits to Philippi and Thessalonica and then he had a not so pleasant encounter with those of Athens.

After these things Paul had finally made it to the city of Corinth.

Corinth was an important commercial center and was already populated by more than 600,000 people.

Corinth was heavily Grecian in character and was famous as a center for sports in those days.

Corinth was also a very immoral city and sin was rampant, and there was also had a temple to the false goddess Aphrodite.

It is said that there were 1000 female prostitutes who served as priestesses in that place.

Temptation was everywhere and Corinth was “sin city” in that day!

It was at the city of Corinth where Paul met Aquila and Priscilla.

Luke the physician and of the Book of Luke, was also with the Apostle Paul at this time.

Corinth had been founded by Julius Caesar and also had a heavy military presence.

Corinth was also the capitol city of Achai and the residence of the Roman proconsul who administered the city according to the Roman Emperor.

Because of it’s location at the isthmus of Corinth commercialism fueled the sin of this city and this city also had a very mixed population from many nations.

Corinth was a city of wealth but that wealth was distributed unevenly and the gap between the rich and the poor grew ever wider as time passed.

Corinth was as famous for sexual immorality as it was for all these other things!

The Greek word for Corinth is “korinthos”.

BUT, The people who lived there would simply say “korinthiazethai” which means “to fornicate”.

The Apostle Paul remained in Corinth for a good while before he returned to Antioch in Syria.

Let’s begin:

*****1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

The word apostle means “one sent” and many question the apostleship of Paul but we should not!

If none of the other Apostles questioned it then neither should we!

The Apostle Paul was certainly God’s messenger to the Gentiles!

Gal 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

The Bible says that it was the Holy Ghost that separated Paul and paired him with Barnabas just as the other Apostles were paired and sent out!

Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Paul was personally called just as the others were called!

Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Paul was an eyewitness to the resurrection of Christ Jesus!

1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Paul received the same three years of training as had the others!

Gal 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Gal 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Paul was given the same “so called” powers of the Apostles as was the others!

Act 14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:
Act 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
Act 14:10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Act 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
Act 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
Act 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

Act 20:9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
Act 20:10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

That Paul was a Christ chosen Apostle, is a sure thing and we should accept him as an Apostle of Jesus Christ!

Paul identifies this Sosthenes as his Christian brother. It is possible that this was the same Sosthenes that ruled the synagogue at Corinth who was unjustly beaten by a mob.

Act 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

The truth of Scripture is this:

Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

No one can know God until they are called!

*****1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

The word Church comes from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means a called out assembly.

The word “sanctified” comes from the Greek word “hagiazo” which means purified or consecrated to God or those that have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Sanctified means all those that are separated or set apart for God’s use and at that time “living or dead” become a Saint simply because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Each individual believer is then the “House of God” and when two or three or more are gathered together they form the Church!

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Paul addressed this epistle to the Church at Corinth but also to all Saints in every place that call on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!

There is only one Church and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ no matter where we live as long as we recognize the Lord Jesus as our Savior!

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

*****1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The two things the Apostle Paul knew for sure was, that he was not worthy to called an Apostle and we are also not worthy to be saved.

Salvation is all about the “Grace of God”!

To be called of God is to then to be more like God in the way we live “as best we can”!

It is only by the “Grace” of God that we can be at peace with God!

Those that build on anything but “Grace” will never know the “peace of God”!

Peace with God comes to only those that know the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal Savior!

The “Grace” of God comes only by the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ!

If this church at Corinth was to survive then they would have to come together in the Lord Jesus Christ!

*****1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

The purpose of this epistle was to address the divisions in this church so Paul first commends the good things of the church.

The glory of the church must be in the Lord and not in some human of the church!

We must be thankful for the “Grace of God”!

Grace is the unmerited favor of God and comes only by Jesus Christ!

A church is not a church, unless it is enriched by Jesus Christ!

To be “in Christ” is to be a member of the church!

It is the church that is the “Body of Christ”!

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

All divine powers and all qualities of character which belong to Jesus Christ, are passed on to the members of each Christian assembly, so that we all can share in the the utterance and the knowledge of God!

It is the testimony of Christ in each believer that confirms us all before God!

*****1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can see that all believers stand on level ground at the cross of Jesus!

No Christian is inferior to any other Christian!

AND, even in the beginnings of the New Testament church, we can see that they knew that the Lord could come back at any time to get His Church!

Most all prophesy concern the restoration of Israel and not the Church!

The process of being made holy in the eyes of God consist of:

1) Salvation: Repenting of sin and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

2) Sanctification: Christ saving work involves the completed, the on-going and the future saving activity of each individual saint of God.

We are saved, we are being saved, we are saved daily and we will be saved eternally!

3) Glorification: The completed work of salvation and sanctification!

Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

When we see Jesus on the “day of Jesus Christ we will be like Him”!

1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jn 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

So Paul, after bragging about the truths of the church, it was now time to address the issues of the church.

*****1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

What was the first problem of the Church at Corinth?

The congregation was split into separate groups!

Now it is not possible for every Christian to agree on every detail in the Word of God but it is extremely important that we all agree on the doctrine of the Word of God and the doctrine of Salvation!

In reality and in content, the Bible stands distinct from all other religious writings!

For example, the Koran was written by by one man under the guidance of Mohammed’s father in law. Later a group of Arab scholars produced a unified version and destroyed as many variant copies as they could find trying to preserve the unity of the Koran.

The Bible on the other hand was written by at least 40 different writers from diverse vocations and across separate periods of time and each writer had very little knowledge of what previous writers had written but in the end the Bible is a completely unified book!

There are no contradictions or inconsistencies within the pages of the Bible!

This is true because the Holy Spirit caused the writings of the Word of God!

2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

In unity, within these 66 Books of the Bible, they teach of the “Triunity of God”, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!

In unity these books teach the “Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ”!

In unity these books teach of the “Personality of the Holy Spirit”!

In unity these books teach of the “fall of and the depravity of mankind”!

And in unity these books teach of the “Salvation by the Grace of God”!

Is is apparent to anyone who takes a serious look at the Word of God, that no human being or beings could have orchestrated the harmony of the teachings of these divine Scriptures!

Had God not revealed Himself in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Bible would be as useless as the other so called religious writings such as the Koran!

Luk 2:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luk 2:31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luk 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

There is no excuse for any Church to be divided over the consistent Word of God!

There is no excuse for the many denominations to be so divided over the consistent Word of God!

There is only one Word of God and there is only ONE CHURCH of the Living God!

Our God is ALIVE!

SO, why was this Church in Corinth so divided?

*****1Co 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

Contentions from strife or struggles in an effort to obtain something that no one else has!

There is only One God and there is only one means of Salvation and the Word of God is specific!

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

To dispute this fact of the Word of God will bring contention to all Bible Doctrine!

Chloe was a concerned Christian who she, and her household, had stayed in touch with the Apostle Paul but Paul had also gotten his information from other sources.

1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
1Co 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

The Church in Corinth were grouping themselves around various human leaders and this caused divisions in the Church.

The was a church where the people had remained “Babes in Christ”!

*****1Co 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

Whenever we try to group ourselves around other human beings we will automatically reject other leaders and their followers!

At this time in Corinth, Paul, Apollos, and Cephas (Peter) all preached the same sermon and had the same message.

It is true that the authority of Paul was being questioned by many because of false men of the Jews who were called the Judaizers.

It is true that Apollos was an eloquent speaker.

But there is no evidence that Peter had ever preached at this Church but we do know that many Christians had escape Jerusalem because of persecution and had heard Peter preach.

And it seems that there some who still considered Christ to be a mere man, which ignores the Word of God!

*****1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

What are the facts?

It is the Word of God that is to be the final authority in every congregation of believers!

No human leader, human teacher, Pastor or Preacher or Pope has the final nor the sole authority of the Word of God!

2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

We must accept a literal interpretation of the Scriptures!

Literal means that the words and sentences of the Scriptures are understood in their normal meaning,

Literal means that the words are to be understood in a normal communication or a normal conversation.

For instance Psalms 22 has been fulfilled literally.

Isaiah 53:1-12 has been fulfilled literally.

Micah 5:2 has been fulfilled literally!

There is only one truth of all the Scriptures literally!

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is not just necessary that we read the Scriptures, it is also important that we study the Scriptures!

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Because all Scripture comes from God!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Then Paul describes his personal calling.

*****1Co 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Paul “is not saying” it is not important to be Baptized.

Paul “is not saying” that he did not speak in the wisdom of the Scriptures.

Paul “is saying” the most important message of the Church is the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”!

Until salvation is secure, no Church ordinance has any real meaning!

Until salvation is secure there is no wisdom that can be gleaned from the Scriptures!

There is nothing that can become a substitute for the truth of the Cross!

What was the commandment given to Paul?

Act 26:17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, “that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me”.

Many of the Body of Christ have gotten away from this most important message to the lost, which is the “good news” of Jesus Christ!

1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

The preaching of the cross must return as the most important message in each and every Church!

*****1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Being saved is not an intellectual process!

Salvation only becomes the power of God when the Holy Spirit moves into the believer!

Those that regard Christianity as foolishness prove to others that are perishing in their own sin and on their way to Hell!

BUT, All mankind are fools until we meet Christ Jesus at the foot of His cross!

Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It is the preaching of the “Gospel” that brings salvation!

1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The most important message to the Church that is making disciples, is to keep the main thing, The Main Thing!

The Main Thing of the Church is Jesus Christ!

*****1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

The Apostle Paul was addressing the membership of those of Corinth.

Paul said to look at your own church, the ones God has called and blessed.

It is a fact that in most every church you will not find many that the world considers to be wise.

There are usually not many of nobility or families of the so-called “well to do”.

There are usually not many people of power that attend church.

BUT, God calls “whosoever will come” in spite of these things!

The Apostle Paul was once a self-righteous religious zealot, but he was called.

These Corinthians came from one of the most evil cities in the world of that day, but they were also called.

No one is too sinful, no one is too evil, no one is so out of touch with reality, that God will not save if they answer God’s call!

All the Apostles of Jesus Christ were considered to be unlearned and ignorant men by the religions of that day!

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

*****1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

God chose to begin His Church with these men, that the world considered to be unlearned and ignorant men!

The lost world may admire men of power, men of royalty, men of great knowledge, men of a high social status, and men of great riches, but none of these can ever guarantee eternal life!

As the world has found out, it is those that call on the Lord Jesus Christ that have obtained salvation and life eternal because God is no respecter of persons.

Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

God’s foolishness truly does confound all those that seek the wisdom of this world!

God does these things to erase the pride of life from all those that have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is the pride of this life that becomes the stumbling block to those that need to seek the Lord Jesus Christ the author of eternal life!

*****1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Justification before God can come only by “faith”!

Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

By using what this world considers to be nobodies, God shows that all wisdom and all power are entirely His own!

There will be no boasting of human greatness or human wisdom when we stand before God at the “judgment seat of Christ”.

The wisdom of the believer simply comes from Jesus Christ!

1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

*****1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”:

Jesus Christ is our wisdom!

Jesus Christ is our righteousness!

Jesus Christ is our sanctification!

Jesus Christ is our redemption!

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Humanism nor human philosophy can never bring these things to any person!

We are nothing in ourselves but we can find all we need in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

A Church that is bound up in Christ Jesus and the love of God will not have divisions!

But, because we are only humans there can never be a perfect church!

It is only by Jesus Christ that our relationship with God is restored and it is only by Jesus Christ that any rifts that come between believers can be restored!

Jesus is all we need!

Questions!

Let’s Pray!