1 Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
How many times as parents have we said to our kids, “You must get along with each other. Take turns. Figure out a way to play nicely. Stop hurting each other. We all live in the same house and will for a long time, so let’s figure out a way to get along with each other!” I know I have preached this message in various forms all of my parenting (and teaching) life!
Then I think, what example did we set? What legacy are we leaving behind for them? When do they start to “get it” and live it for themselves and begin to teach their children? Well, I have lived long enough to see it happen! I watch our kids teach their kids in much the same way. I have even heard the exact words come from their lips, “You must get along with each other!”
Churches need help from time to time with the same message. Paul writes lovingly but with careful sternness to the “church gone wild” at Corinth. Society it seems as had more affect on the church than the church on society. Mm. Is that happening today? According to George Barna, in his survey of the American church, the answer is a resounding yes! So let’s study this letter of loving care and correction and see if there is some work that needs to be done by us as God’s church.
1 Corinthians 1, The Message
The Cross: The Irony of God’s Wisdom
10 I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.
11-12 I bring this up because some from Chloe’s family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.”
13-16 I ask you, “Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul’s name?” I was not involved with any of your baptisms—except for Crispus and Gaius—and on getting this report, I’m sure glad I wasn’t. At least no one can go around saying he was baptized in my name. (Come to think of it, I also baptized Stephanas’s family, but as far as I can recall, that’s it.)
17 God didn’t send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn’t send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.
18-21 The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,
I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.
22-25 While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”
26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
What do we learn in lesson one of Paul’s letter?
–PREACH JESUS! “Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in One.”
–God does not send anyone (pastor, church leader, elder, deacon, worship leader, small group leader, children’s director, janitor, parking attendant and church secretary) out to get a following for themselves. Preach Jesus and the Message of what He has done. Help others find and follow HIM. Jesus Christ is the One and Only Savior and Lord.
–Preach the way of salvation. Preach Jesus!
–Don’t pick sides. Choose only Jesus!
–EVERYTHING we have, right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start, comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. Behave like we say we believe!
–He is God and we are not.
–Listen the the trumpet of Jesus! Blow the trumpet of Jesus!
–Get along with each other! Love each other well…in the most excellent way.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Your Word still teaches us how to believe and behave today! Help us to love you more and more with our behavior. Help us to see your way and follow it. Transform me. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing…
I listen to the Trumpet of Jesus
While the world hears a different sound
I march to the drumbeat of God Almighty
While the others just wander around
I’m a member of the Holy Ghost traveling band
We’re moving on up to a better land
I hear the voice of the Supernatural singing
Like only those who know Him can
One sweet sound makes
A whole world of difference
When the world seems indifferent to you
His Melody of love calls you to be great
When marking time was all you thought you could do
So if you’ve been playing all your days by ear
Never knowing what your song was to be
Then pull up a chair, let down your hair
And take a few lessons from me
A spiritual fanfare has a sound all it’s own
At the birth of a lasting song
It’s been two thousand years since Jesus was born
And still the celebration goes on
If you feel the need to get your life in tune
‘Cause you’re tired of the derdge every day
Then turn yourself around,
Put your feet on the ground
And just hear what I have to say
(Written by Russ Taff)