Securing The Insecure

1 Corinthians: "Life Under Grace"   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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†CALL TO WORSHIP based on Psalm 108:1-4
Minister: Our hearts are ready, O Lord, our hearts are ready!
Congregation: We will sing and make melody! We will awaken the dawn!
Minister: We will give thanks to you, O Lord, we will sing praises to you among the nations.
Congregation: For your steadfast love is great above the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds
O Lord our God, who art worthy to be praised and to be had in reverence of all those who are before you; Grant unto us, as we come to you in worship, the gift of thy Holy Spirit, that being cleansed and sanctified we may serve thee with gladness, and find our joy in worshipping thy glory
“Let All Things Now Living”
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:15–17, ESV)
based upon Isaiah 64:1-9
Minister: O that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.
Congregation: Restore us, we pray, through the coming of our Lord Jesus, in whom we place our hope and trust. Amen.
Minister: Sing aloud, O people of God, rejoice and exult with all your heart! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies.
Congregation: The Lord our God is in our midst. A warrior who gives victory! He will rejoice over us with gladness. He will renew us in his love. He will exult over us with singing.
Minister: Know that your sins are forgiven and be at peace.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Romans 15:22-16:16
Steven Hoffer, Elder
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
“The Lord’s My Shepherd”
SERMON 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 “Securing The Insecure” – Pastor Austin Prince
O Lord, as we open now your word, we pray that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened, so that we may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
1 Corinthians 3:16–23 (ESV) — 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
The Lord bless to us the reading of His holy word, and to His name be glory and praise.
Where are we?
Paul had to treat the Corinthians as infants–as little babies who needed milk to drink. They were immature, but they didn’t think so. Paul calls them out on their boasting. What has their wisdom produced? Among them was factionalism, and jealousy, and self-reliance. In the past few weeks we have seen how he rebuked them for this.
The gospel that they received from Paul is the wisdom and power of God: to liberate them from their sins, to unite them to God through Christ, to reconcile the questions of life and death and eternity, and to establish among the church a bond of peace. They were to mature in this, building upon Jesus’ foundation with materials that accord with that foundation.
There were not to take this gospel and dilute it with the wisdom of the age. In particular, the Corinthian temptation was to take the Greek perspective, with its devotion to sages and gurus, and set up for themselves Christians who followed Paul or Apollos or Peter. This type of thinking is immature. They were to build with things that accord with the foundation
It was an attempt to build upon the foundation of Christ with wood, hay, and stubble – disposable and combustable schlock.
Paul reaches the pinnacle of his argument in this section, pausing his rebuke and encouraging the Corinthians - to give them milk again because they need to eat.
Theme for the morning: “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21)
I want to suggest something else at play here. What’s the motive for this factionalism? I think we pick up here on the motive by the way that Paul addresses them.
What’s the motive?
If you step back, it seems that below the surface, what’s causing this immaturity is the Corinthian boasting (he has mentioned several times that they are “puffed up” by pride). And pride here can work in two ways:
1) Boasting: You are charmed by earthly strength, what seems grand and stable, isolating it and idolizing it for stability (Paul, Apollos, etc.)
2) Insecurity: You aren’t so stable or sure. This world and our faith is scary, so you latch on to what seems immediate, tangible or steady.
Both dynamics might pay homage to Christ, but ultimately look to something else for security.
So I think that God gives us through Paul here two main ideas to humble the boastful and to give security to the insecure. He reminds them of Who They Are, and Whose They Are.
Who You Are? (vv.16-21)
Whose You are? (vv.21-23)

Who You Are?

1 Corinthians 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
The temple is the dwelling place of God’s Spirit.
Corporate nature, not quite individual like in ch. 6
The temple was to be holy. In the OT, there was an order of operations to enter into the temple–its holiness required cleanliness and careful attention
The temple was the presence of God on earth. But now that temple is made up of the members within the church, and it serves the purpose of demonstrating God in this world. But if it is operating in the flesh and not in the Spirit, then it compromises the message of the gospel
In Jesus words’ “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?” (Matthew 23:15–17, ESV)
Woe to you, Corinthians, which is greater, Paul the messenger and servant of the gospel, or the Christ whom the gospel proclaims?
God cares about His temple
Deceiving Yourselves (Job 5 & Ps. 94 References)
1 Corinthians 3:18–21 (ESV) — 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men.
Deceiving yourself: You are both telling the lie and believing it. How does that work?
Wisdom of this age is folly.
To the Corinthians, fracturing the congregations over their favorite teachers was folly
To the Galatians, making converts become Jews first by circumcision, having begun by the spirit but trying to become perfect in the flesh, was folly
To denominations that follow men headlong into a distrust of the bible and an acceptance of the world’s view of sexuality, or envy, or wisdom, it is folly
To Andy Stanley down the street, unhitching from the Old Testament is folly
Self-deception says, “this is good, right? Aren’t more people coming to Christ because we have cloaked this difficult and embarrassing cross with the wisdom of this world?”
God catches the wise in their craftiness
The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Rank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively on the long haul. Building the church with superficial "conversions" and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it. Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembly of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God. Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism-all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church. And to do so is dangerous: "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple" (1 Cor. 3:17). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
These kinds of truths the factionalists of Corinth ignored. And these truths are all too frequently ignored by their modern coun-terparts. This calls for thoughtful self-examination and quiet repentance.” -- Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry, 83-84
Who are you? You are God’s temple. What a delightful thought - that God would take up residence among such a people. But He is a holy God. And we must put this wine in new wineskins and not be mixed with false stability of man’s wisdom. If we are to boast, we are to boast in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31).

Whose You Are?

1 Corinthians 3:21–23 (ESV) — 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
Paul, Apollos, Cephas:
The World:
Every section in the library is the christian section
To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil 1:21)
What is your only comfort in life and in death? A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
"Death, I have often trembled at you! In midnight hours, I have thought it must be terrible to die, and I have shaken at your pale apparition. O Death! your ghastly appearance has sometimes frightened me, I have striven to run away from you, but you are my slave now, and I will not tremble at you any more. Death, you are mine! I write you down among my goods and chattels, a part of my property. Take heed how you try to make your master tremble, you are not my master, Death, I am yours! Come here, give me your hand, O Death! Be it mine to talk with myself every day, and to talk with you too."— Spurgeon
The Present:
The Future:
You are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s
Why would we boast in men, or cling to men, when Christ is not only enough; He is everything.
“This Is My Father’s World”
The Ministry of the Lord’s Supper
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord.
Minister: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Congregation: It is right for us to give thanks and praise!
Confession of Faith
Apostles’ Creed p. 851
Invitation to the Lord’s Table
The Lord has prepared this table for all who love him and trust in him alone for their salvation. It is for those who belong to Christ through repentance, faith, baptism, and continuing union with his Church.
“O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.”
Distribution of the Elements
The Israelites in the Passover ate the unblemished, firstborn, male lamb with wine and unleavened bread. By this they were not only celebrating how God delivered them from the 10th plague in Egypt, they were having held out to them the greater substitution that was yet to come. Instead of sacrificing a lamb and putting its blood on the doorposts, God himself would offer up the blood of his own son to save them.
That meal provided the pattern for the one between Jesus and his disciples. Matthew records in his gospel:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
All of this is the background for the meal set before us this morning. At the table our Lord sets we are united by faith with him by the Holy Spirit. In this mysterious working we receive, by faith, the same body that was born of Mary. The real Spiritual presence of Christ is present in the sacrament inasmuch as the Holy Spirit is able to unite us to Christ. It is therefore not a mere memorial or a pledge of our fidelity but is first and foremost a means of grace and a pledge of God’s faithfulness.
Scripture teaches that such a supernatural supper is a thing that cannot be taken lightly. We are commanded to examine ourselves, individually and corporately, and to be certain that we believe and that we have discerned the body of our Lord rightly. This examination is good and right so long as we do not make the requirements for admission to this table any more stringent than did our Lord. Some have used Scripture’s exhortation to self-examination in a manner that actually undermines the very point of the sacrament, as if communion were a reward, and withholding a punishment, rather than each a means of grace.
This cup that we receive is a cup of forgiveness. In it we find the blood of Christ, which was shed for the remission of sins. By definition therefore it cannot be for anyone but sinners. “Jesus said that those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” The forgiveness of God is the medicine for poor, sick souls.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
This cup is the new covenant in the blood of Christ, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink of it, all who believe.
[motion to partake]
Tune: The God of Abraham Praise
The whole triumphant host gives thanks to God on high;
“Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!” they ever cry.
Hail, Abraham’s God and mine! I join the heav’nly lays;
all might and majesty are thine, and endless praise.
May the grace of Christ, which daily renews us, and the love of God, which enables us to love all, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, which unites us in one body, make us eager to obey the will of God until we meet again through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grace Notes Reflection:
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