United the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1-6)

“The Difference the Resurrection Makes”

Just as you can’t take apples out of apple pie and still have apple pie, you can’t take the resurrection out of the Christian faith and still have the Christian faith. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential to true Christian faith. Like modern liberal churches, some in the church of Corinth claimed that resurrection was impossible, even as they tried to hold to the Christian faith. Our passage today shows that the resurrection is an essential conviction of the faith, and it is something we must receive, embrace, and live in light of. Why does the resurrection matter?

“The Power of the Gospel”

If we are going to effectively solve our problems, we have to get to the source. Just bouncing from symptom to symptom will not solve problems; we need to get at the root. For the last 9 months, we have been looking at the problems in the church at Corinth. Today we start on the final problem: their misunderstandings of the gospel, particularly the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:12). What if this problem was behind all of the rest? Today we will see how the gospel is the power for living, and the power behind solving our problems. What is the gospel?

“The Power of Our Words”

Words have an enormous power to affect our lives. Negative or false words wound the spirit and mislead. Positive words of truth of love have the power to build in courage and love. Words matter. Our Christian walk and testimony must be built upon the Word of God. What happens when the use of words is replaced by experiences? This was happening in the church in Corinth as the ministry of intelligible words was being replaced by the unintelligible experience of speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1-2). In this passage, we learn how understandable words are necessary for making disciples and confronting the conscience.

“Love Is the Goal”

Who is the most loving person you know? What is it that makes them so loving? The church in Corinth was divided and disrupted by people who thought they had it all. They were missing something very important–love. Because God is love (1 John 4:8), our Christian faith is best demonstrated in the way we love. Love is the goal, not supernatural experiences, not our own comfort, or increasing our own glory. What is the value of
love?

“The Body of Christ”

We go to the doctor because our personal well-being depends on each part of our body being healthy. If just one part of our body is unhealthy, or missing, it affects everything else. It’s the same thing in the church. In fact, the church is described as a “body”, made up of many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Each one of us is a part of the whole, and we need to be concerned about the whole of the body, and not just our own life. As an interconnected body, we must care for each member as critical for the health of the whole. A healthy body needs the involvement of all the parts. Our passage can be compared to a doctor’s visit where the physician checks the health of our body. How do we have a healthy church?

“The Gift of the Holy Spirit”

One of the many conflicts in the church at Corinth was over spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are abilities the Holy Spirit gives believers when they believe in Jesus Christ. In this controversy, people who had certain gifts were treated as more spiritual than others and those without were treated like a spiritual underclass. Our passage today shows us that there is no spiritual underclass among God’s people, but God has poured out His grace by giving the Holy Spirit to every believing Christian in the church. Through this, He has made unspiritual people spiritual. Where do we see the Holy Spirit active in our lives?

“The Lord’s Supper: Eat Together, Stay Together”

The thing that was supposed to bring the Corinthian church together was splitting them apart – the Lord’s Supper. Instead of worship and care for each other, they were so absorbed in themselves people were starving around them and they didn’t seem to care! In fact, their practice was so contrary to Jesus’ intentions (John 13:2-5, 34-35), they couldn’t even truly call it the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20). The Lord’s Supper is a gift to the church to show that Jesus gave His life for His people and brings them into one united body. Because it is so precious a gift, we need to practice it rightly.

“The Other-Centeredness of Worship”

What is worship all about? If we listen to many churches and churchgoers, we might be led to think it is about “YOU”. Were you inspired? Were
you entertained? Did you have a good experience? Did you feel comfortable? With our culture of individualism, it is easy to forget that 1) God is
the audience of worship (not “you”) and 2) we worship together in community with others. This brings us to the issue of head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11. In a topic like this, we must separate timeless biblical principle from cultural artifact. While head coverings are not a universal and
timeless requirement, the practice of humility in worship (before God and
others) continues through eternity. This passage helps us set proper expectations in worship, properly prepare for it, and to actually worship in a
way that glorifies God and assists our neighbor.

“Christian Liberty”

If you believe in Jesus Christ, you have liberty in the decisions you make. There are two errors that can hurt us spiritually: legalism and licentiousness (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). Legalism adds to the commandments of God, making us judgmental and leaving outside many blessings of God in creation. License ignores the relational laws that help us walk in covenant faithfulness with our Heavenly Father. In our passage today, we want to see how Christian liberty helps us make decisions that honor God, help others, and allow us to enjoy the good things God has given in this life.