The Church Called

1 Corinthians: The Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Why 1 Corinthians?
— It’s relevant to the issues we face today:
divisions in the church
preference over people
sexual purity
importance of doctrine for our faith
how to interact with yet live differently from the culture around us.
— It speaks to real churches facing real problems
the members of the Corinthian church were “snobbish and divisive, they took each other to court., and they couldn’t give up their addiction to prostitutes. They were loose on doctrine and loose on moral behavior. They focused on minor points of theology while missing love. They happily accepted divorce, and they got drunk during the Lord’s Supper. They were shot through with cliques and fighting. They even rejected Paul himself.” (Gospel Coalition article)
1 Corinthians:
Letter written by Paul to the church in Corinth.
Paul founded the Corinthian church around AD 50
Acts 18
Spent 18 months in Corinth
Actually wrote four letters to Corinthians:
1 - “previous letter” (1 Cor 5:9)
2 - 1 Corinthians
3 - “severe letter”
4 - 2 Corinthians
Ethnic melting pot - Greek city of Corinth destroyed by Romans in 146 BC founded again by Romans in 44 BC. Colonized with Egyptians, Syrian, and Jewish slaves
Wealthy and renown - center of trade and commerce, Isthmian Games
Haven of Idolatry - mix of Greek deities and cults - had many gods and lords
Many temple prostitutes
Decadent lifestyle
Status meant everything
Church claimed
Paul is explaining status before he gives instruction. Because the Corinthians were living out of a different status
1 Corinthians 1:1–3 (ESV)
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 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: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
Think of someone you think would never step foot in a church. Think of someone you could never see becoming a Christian.

No one is beyond the call of God.

(Change my mind)
Acts 7:54-8:1
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Saul Ravages the Church
And Saul approved of his execution.
Isaiah 59:1 (ESV)
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
Who are you praying for?

God has a holy purpose for (all of) you.

You have a holy role to play.
You are called out and called to.
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, . . . To the church of God that is in Corinth. . . 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:
1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV)
9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:22–24 (ESV)
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
There are several ways in which we are called:
Are you called? — YES!
God has called you to a vocation to be used for his glory.
It is not as though the clergy is a ‘holy’ calling while ‘secular’ vocations are unholy.
In fact, I could be outside God’s calling if I chose to be a pastor if God was instead calling me to work as an accountant, a lawyer, a mechanic.
God has designed you with gifts and abilities to fulfill a holy purpose, unique to you and indispensable for the Kingdom of God.
The problem is, we often hear other voices calling, trying to use our God-given gifts and abilities for other glories — usually for our own glory.
— Voice of wealth and financial independence
— Voice of status and title
— Voice of comparison
— Voice of other people — You should, etc.
What if God is calling yo to full-time ministry? What if God is calling you to overseas missions?
What if God called you today to quit your job, change your major, go back to school, come out of retirement, etc.
If the thought is impossible perhaps we are answering the call of another voice.
Do you think Paul had some questions? Do you think Paul might have been ridiculed?
God is not looking for a big check from you, he is looking for a blank check.
Let him be the one to decide who benefits from the gifts he gave you to steward.
> Are you living out God’s calling on your life or are you following another voice?
> Have you ever even asked the question?

We are God’s church.

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth
Paul is making a point to the Corinthians.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 (ESV)
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
The church is supernatural, it is not a natural thing.
We are God’s church in Granger.
We are God’s church in the Missionary Church denomination.
We are God’s church that has some knucklehead as a pastor.
Shortly after I was called as Lead Pastor, we paid off the remaining debt on this building. It was in many ways an amazing work of God.
But we must always remember that we only bought the building, God has bought the church.
Acts 20:28 (ESV)
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
We need to stop using first-person pronouns when we speak of church.
>What does God want with his church in Granger?
What if he wants us to get smaller?
What if he wants us tp sell our building?
How would we know?
It is not my job to direct this church. It is my job to lead us to seek God’s direction for His church.

Live like a saint. . . because you are.

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together
With all their issues he calls them saints. This is because their status is not dependent on them. They are “called” to be saints. (Lit., “called saints” - we just supply the state of being to be) The same as Paul is called to be an apostle - He didn’t earn it. In fact, when he was called (an apostle) he had moments before been acting the opposite of one sent by Jesus to build his church).
“You don’t know me, what I’ve done.” You’re right and it doesn’t matter. Jesus made you a saint.
The word is “holy.” They are called to be holy. Our status before God in Christ is HOLY. He took our status as sinner and gave us his status as holy.
You don’t do good things and fight to earn the status of holy. You rid your life of sin and things not like Jesus so you can live out your current status as holy.
If “saints” indicates our status as holy through Jesus, then sanctification is the process by which we live out that holiness with Jesus.
Sanctified = set apart
Ex. 27:3
You shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and fire pans. You shall make all its utensils of bronze.
Even the mundane is made special because God said it was. Notice it didn’t change what it was (still a shovel). It didn’t even change what it was useful for, but it did change it’s purpose. It was not going to shovel for God’s glory!
Num 7:1-2
On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils, 2
Ex 30:37-38
37 And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord. 38 Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.”

We are called out together.

, 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: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Local church
The church at Corinth was a divided church. The diversity gave way to division as the members focused more on personalities, preferences, and status than they did on people.
Division is certainly not foreign in churches today; however, I think it is abated in many churches today when you can simply find another church to suit your preference.
In a world of mobility and options tolerance becomes a disappearing virtue.
So much of Paul’s instructions in his letters are actually unable to be carried out without being together and even at times irritating one another.
Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Church is neither a solo sport nor is it a spectator sport.
Not a solo
Well, there is not really anyone here who is further along in their discipleship.
1. Unless you’re Jesus, you have more to go become like Jesus.
2. Even the virtuoso soloist needs the symphony to fully realize the beauty of all the composer intends.
Global church
The church is larger than the seats right around you.
What is the true church?
vs 2 - all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
Romans 10:13 (ESV)
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Calling on the name of Jesus to save means you are not calling on anything else to save you.
Not only must we remember that the church is larger than the seats right around you, we must remember there are empty seats right around you.
Romans 10:14–15 (ESV)
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
One of the mandates of the church is to remember those who are yet to be a part of the church.
Sometimes we think of ‘our church’ as only those within these four walls.
God has called us out of the world and called us together in the world so that we might together call the world to Christ.
>What if we could be a different church? (from most)
What if we would be unified? No divisions based on personalities,
1 Corinthians 2:1–5 (ESV)
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
What if we were a church with a visible “demonstration of the Spirit and of power?”
It’s not only possible, it is what we are CALLED to.
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