1 Corinthians 1-4

The House in Order

As we studied previously in Acts 15-18:11, “Led Part 2”, Paul not only started the church in Corinth but it was also a turning point in his life. One of the tendencies of believers is that we want to take charge of the ministry and direct the Lord to respond to the things we think we need. When we do this we have our relationship with God backwards. God is God and we are to respond to Him. Paul had to learn this the hard way and so did I. Apparentl,y the Church in Corinth needed to learn this lesson as well.

Paul stayed in Corinth for two years before he moved on. Others came and ministered there after he left and people became polarized around them. The Greek culture was also coming into the Church and it was having a negative influence on them. So they sent a letter to Paul with several questions regarding conduct and belief. The focus of the congregation was on the issues they were facing and they were losing sight of the Lord and their relationship with Him.  We read in Revelation 2 :1-11 the same thing happened to the church in Ephesus.  

There is much for us to learn from this book but we must view what he is teaching from a right perspective. It is the tendency of man to exult self or others. When we do this we are building our house on shifting sand and the ways of the world and may not even know it.

Years ago, I worked for a company that built machinery that was used in the sheet metal stamping industry. The majority of our machines went to companies that contracted with the auto manufactures to stamp out sheet metal parts such as doors, fenders, and other parts. After assembling the machines for several years I was sent out to service the machines and trouble shoot problems the customers were having with the machines. At first this was very difficult for me because even though I knew how to build the machine and what it was supposed to do I didn’t know how it was to do it. Finally, I asked the chief engineer how the machine worked. Once I knew how the machine was to work I soon found that the majority of the problems with the machines were because the operators and the maintenance men had made so many adjustments that the machines were totally out of adjustment and could not function properly. From that point on the first thing I did was to completely readjust the machine to the way it was supposed to be and all of a sudden the problems were gone. The second thing I did was to train the operators and maintenance men how to properly adjust the machine. That is what Paul does in Chapter 1:4-9. These verses are the foundation to every issue Paul addresses in this letter.

In verses 3&4, we read it was the grace of God given them in Christ Jesus that was the foundation of the Church not the various people they were following. It was God’s grace that enriched them in knowledge and speech, not clever wisdom. Verse 5& Chapters 1&2

In verse 7, Paul tells them they are not lacking any gifts. Yet it is clear from Chapters 12-14 that they felt they were lacking those gifts. Could it be that they were not using their gifts or were misusing them? Chapter 13 would indicate misuse was the case.

God is faithful, we are told in verses 8&9. When things are out of order in the Church we need to readjust. That is what Jesus told the church in Ephesus. God told them to remember how things were going in the beginning when they first gave their lives to the Lord. He told them to turn back and do what they were doing in the beginning. That is what Paul is saying in this letter. The church had made adjustments and things are not going well. Paul is helping them to readjust their focus back on Jesus.

I can’t write this without wondering if the Church today doesn’t need a readjustment. I remember back to the days of the Jesus Movement and the revival that was taking place. Many churches thought it was because of the contemporary music and worship wars were waged in many churches over what kind of worship music the church should use to reach the lost. Now a large percentage of the churches have contemporary worship music but the pews are just as empty. In fact, the church in America seems to be in decline. Could it be that the Church, by focusing on these types of issues, has lost its focus on the Lord Jesus and has hindered Him from working because of a lack of faith? I think so.

The Church is neither a building nor denomination. It is people who have given their life to Jesus and are seeking to hear from Him and follow Him. We are told in the Song of Songs 2:15, that it is the small foxes that ruin the vineyard. Don’t let issues consume your time and energy that keep you from relating to the Lord Jesus. Keep the main thing the main thing.

Stay focused on the Lord, and if you need to, refocus. Once the focus is put in order the fruit of the Spirit can flow to and through you.

Don’t let the small foxes ruin the vineyard.

Pastor Dave