Wednesday Blog - Sermon Series in 1 Corinthians (1:1-3)
Why I’m Excited for the Sermon Series on 1 Corinthians
Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Corinthians 1:1–3
Pastor Dave has preached his first sermon on the book of 1 Corinthians—and it promises to be a sweet series. As he preached and as I have been reading the book over and over, I wanted to share three reasons I’m thrilled that our church will be sitting under 1 Corinthians together.
1) Its Place in the Bible
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians. That’s where we’re at. Which means, after the four Gospels (which summarize the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ), Acts (which summarizes what Jesus continued to do through the early church), and Romans (which summarizes the message of the gospel of Christ), we have 1 Corinthians—which applies the message of the gospel to the local church.
As Jim Hamilton writes, “Romans is generally recognized as the most “systematic” presentation of Paul’s gospel. As the letters are now ordered in the New Testament, the reader moves from the very full presentation of the gospel in Romans to the applications of that gospel to a myriad of life issues in 1 Corinthians” (God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, p. 457). If you want to see the way God intends for us to apply the gospel to our personal lives as individuals and to our corporate life as a church, study 1 Corinthians.
2) Its Teaching to the Church Body ABOUT the Church Body
While many of Paul’s letters are obviously written to local churches (for example, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians), 1 Corinthians is unique in that it is also written primarily about the local church. In other words, 1 Corinthians is well known for Paul’s responses to numerous issues which came up within the congregation itself. There are many practical applications of the gospel in the context of when believers gather together for a worship service. There are also many practical applications of the gospel in the context of interpersonal relationships. Paul addresses many practical church issues, and they continue to instruct and guide our church today.
3) Its Explicit Connection to Us Today
Finally, Paul explicitly addresses Christians today in the opening of his letter. After acknowledging that he is the letter’s author in verse 1, he makes clear who the letter’s recipients are in verse 2: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” That’s you and me! In a very real way, we are just as much recipients of this letter in Paul’s mind as the church in Corinth was. That truth shapes how we should process the various issues we’ll encounter throughout this letter!
These first three verses make me excited for the rest of the book. Verse 1 describes the letter’s author, verse 2 describes the letter’s recipients, and verse 3 describes the letter’s aim. Notice the language of “calling” in the first two verses: God calls Paul to be an apostle to instruct the people God calls to be saints so that they can call on Him rightly. There is so much to see in God’s Word!
I encourage you to join those of us who are memorizing this book by keeping up with the verses Pastor Dave preaches on each week. Which means, for this week, memorize 1 Corinthians 1:1–3 by this Sunday. And let’s pray that God meets us in power through the preaching and reading of His Word so that we might devote all of our lives to His purposes for us!
Bryan DeWire is a member and small group leader at Sojourners.