01 Wisdom from God – 1 Cor 1-21 Corinthians: Called to Be Saints
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “1 Corinthians – Called to Be Saints.” Here is my video presentation introducing 1 Corinthians – https://youtu.be/MiaMXIyVrRU. All other video presentations in this series will be posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI-t5t25Ptg&list=PL7JRppjEn33bJCwx5j1l6O8BE3ozid-JB. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, send a message via the “Contact” button.
So many church problems existed in Corinth! Issues included cliques, immorality, lawsuits, marriage and gender confusion, worship disruptions, abuse of the Lord’s Supper, denial of the resurrection, and more. The solution? Think, speak, and act as those called to be saints, obeying the Lord Jesus Christ! Notice how many times Christ is mentioned, just in the first nine verses of this letter, and then throughout these first two chapters.
Identify – 1:1-9
- With What God has Called You – 1:1-3
1 Co 1:1 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The church of God (ownership)
Sanctified in Christ (allegiance)
Called by the Lord (vocation)
Calling upon the Lord (dependence)
With others everywhere (brotherhood)
Under Jesus’ lordship (surrender)
Implication: Become what God says you are!
- With What God has Given You – 1:4-7a
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift …
His grace in Christ – life, forgiveness, freedom
His wealth – in speech, knowledge, everything
His firm testimony – solid, unshakeable truth
Implication: Count your blessings! Stop competing and bickering!
- With What God has Promised You – 1:7b-9
… awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
He will reveal Jesus Christ.
He will confirm you until then.
He will regard you as blameless.
Why? Because He is faithful.
Implication: Live this day for that day!
Unify – 1:10-17
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.
12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”
13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
Clarify – 1:18-2:5
The cross’ message is foolish to the lost but mighty to the saved.
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
God’s wisdom nullifies the world’s wisdom, exposing it as truly foolish.
19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
Epicureans (cf. Acts 17:18.)
Followers of Epicurus, 340-270 BC
“If any gods exist, they are not interested or involved.”
“Life’s highest aim is a pleasant and smooth life.”
“Avoid excess, stress, fear of death, and pain.”
“Seek tranquility and love mankind.”
“Eat, drink, and be merry.” (cf. 1 Cor 15:32; Isa. 22:13; 56:12; Luke 12:19)
Met at the “stoa” (portico or covered porch)
Followers of Zeno (c. 340-265 BC)
“Live consistently with nature.”
“Man is highly rational and self-sufficient.”
Pantheism (all is “god”). “Purpose” directing history.
Goal: accept both tragedy and triumph.
Results: pride and self-sufficiency.
Man’s wisdom cannot reach God, but God’s wisdom can reach man.
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
What Jews and Greeks seek can only be found in Christ crucified.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
God saves the “least,” shaming the proud and removing human boasting.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.
He saved you in Christ! Look what He became to us! Boast only in Him!
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Paul – unskilled, weak, afraid, and trembling – was a prime example.
1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
Certify – 2:6-16
2:6-12 The Word of God: Its Origin
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
2:13 The Word of God: Its Transmission
13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
2:14-16 The Word of God: Its Reception
14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
“CROSS-EYED” PEOPLE …
Treasure the “cross-word” that saves.
Redefine words like power and weakness, wisdom and folly, rich and poor, failure and success.
Live among others: who ridicule us as foolish, who seek “signs” or “wisdom,” who are perishing without Christ.
Do not follow the “experts” of this age. Isa 29:14
— The wise man. The scribe. The debater.
— Epicureans and Stoics, then and now. Acts 17:18
Know how God saves.
Therefore proclaim Christ crucified.
Because God is wiser, stronger … and just plain right!
Know they are the called, in spite of worldly status.
Know they are the chosen, aware of the gospel’s irony.
Dare not boast in self, but only in the Lord.
Admit their inadequacy. “Weakness, fear, trembling.”
Help others see what they see.