Blessings to the Church of Corinth
1 Cor. 1:5-9
I mentioned a bit about the thanksgiving of Paul to God for the Corinthian Church last week. Paul does not give thanks for the sins and failures of these saints. Paul gives thanks to God for what He has done and for what He will finally do for them. The Lord gave so much blessings in this church despite of its shortcomings. The reality is, no church is perfect, no pastor is perfect, no church member is perfect, and no church is trouble free. However, Christ’s blessings are still there and the Holy Spirit is still actively moving and helping the church as a whole to grow and fulfil its mission till the day it would be taken away at the Lord’s Second Coming.
I. The Blessings (1 Cor. 1:5)
A. The Corinthian church were given so many Spiritual gifts. The term “enriched” here means plentifully and abundantly provided for by Christ, with all grace. In modern language, we can say that, they were made rich, extremely wealthy in terms of spiritual gifts. We will take a look in all of them one by one as we go on with our study. Here Paul mentions:
a. Utterance refers to proclaiming the Word of God. It refers to the revelatory
gifts of prophesying and tongues (1 Cor. 14:6).
b. It also refers to preaching and teaching in general.
a. Knowledge refers to understanding the Word of God. The Lord provides
believers all the knowledge they need in order to speak effectively for Him.
(Mat. 11:15, 2 Cor. 4:6, Col. 1:9-10).
B. At present, the believer has everything the Lord has to give and we have everything we need (1 Cor. 3:21, Eph. 1:3, Col. 2:10, 2 Pet. `1:3). According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
C. The Lord Jesus Christ enables one to speak spiritual things, like presenting the gospel to the lost and teaching God’s Word to present the truth to those who needs and wants to learn.
D. It is important to have both utterance and knowledge.
1. If one is capable in utterance but lacks knowledge, his words will be flawed,
half-truth, or even heretical. He will just be a blind leading another blind.
2. If one has knowledge but is incapable of uttering it, he will not be able to help anyone. Someone with knowledge must be able to impart and communicate what he knows.
3. It is not enough to know the things of God; we are accountable to speak the
truth to others, to be a light to this dark and needy world.
E. The way I see it, no gift was lacking in the Corinthian church. God had provided just the right gifts for the growth and maturity and ministry of the saints in Corinth.
F. If the church at Corinth was failing, it was not due to any failure on God ‘s part to provide for their needs, but rather a failure on their part to use it properly. Misuse of the spiritual gifts were a prominent problem to them.
Illustration 1: Knowledge
In a recent chapel on campus, Chuck Swindoll listed the following six reasons why it is important to pursue knowledge of the Scriptures:
1. Knowledge gives substance to faith.
2. Knowledge stabilizes us during times of testing.
3. Knowledge enables us to handle the Word of God accurately.
4. Knowledge equips us to detect and confront error.
5. Knowledge makes us confident and consistent in our walk with God.
6. Knowledge filters out our fears and superstitions. (Kindred Spirit, Vol. 22)
II. The Confirmation (1 Cor. 1:6)
A. These gifts were the evidence of their testimony (1 Cor. 1:6). Genuine salvation has an evidence. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). Faith that does not produce a changed life is not saving faith.
B. The testimony of Christ was established in the hearts and lives of the believers in Corinth. It was made clear and convincing to their minds. They have been established by the faithful preaching and teachings of Paul, Apollos, Aquila and Priscilla.
C. How about you, are you convinced in your heart and in your mind about what the
Lord Jesus Christ has done for you?
III. No gift was lacking (1 Cor. 1:7)
A. No gift was lacking in the church though they were sinful. They were abounding in
Spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
B. There were 19 Spiritual gifts and they have all of them. (I will tell them all in the following weeks as we continue our studies). It was given to the Corinthians regardless of their maturity or spirituality (1 Cor. 12:11-12).
C. These gifts from the Holy Spirit are categorized into to two groups. We have the permanent gifts or gifts that have continued, and the gifts that “ceased”. (As I have said earlier, we will deal with all of these as we go on with our studies).
D. They were waiting for the coming of Christ. The Corinthian Christians were waiting for the coming of the Lord. They were waiting for his imminent return and the end of this present age.
E. Looking for Christ’s return is an evidence of genuine faith (Heb. 9:28). Those who live carelessly without the awareness that Christ could return at any time are like the foolish virgins who slept (Matt. 25:1-13).
F. Looking for Christ’s return is a great motivator in the Christian life. It motivates the believer to be pure and zealous and ready to stand before his Lord (Tit. 2:12-13; 2 Pet. 3:11-12).
G. Are you waiting for the Lord’s coming? You should, Christ may come anytime.
Illustration 2: Research about Spiritual Gifts
29% of all adults – and 40% of Baby Buster adults – have never heard of spiritual gifts
69% have heard of spiritual gifts but do not know what their spiritual gift is
1% of adults and 9% of senior pastors claim they have the gift of evangelism
1% of adults and 6% of senior pastors claim they have the gift of leadership
The most common gift claimed by church-goers is the gift of teaching (5%)
The most common items mentioned as spiritual gifts which are not biblical gifts are love, kindness, relationships, singing, and listening
7% say they have spoken in tongues
13% have heard of the gift of tongues but say it is not operative today
Barna Research Group, Ltd., Oxnard, CA
IV. They had security in Christ (1 Cor. 1:8-9).
A. While these Corinthian saints may not consistently be faithful, God is faithful. It is through His faithfulness that each believer has been called to salvation.
B. Because it was God’s work, Paul had no question about the outcome. Because the Corinthian believers were justified by God’s grace, they would stand before Him blameless. Blameless here does not mean that they are perfect, it means they are “free from accusation” (Col. 1:22). Nothing could be laid to their account; they cannot be accused when Christ returns. Thus, they could eagerly wait in the return of Christ (Rom. 8:19,23,25; 1 Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5:5; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 9:28) for Him.
C. God has allowed us to come into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Illustration: Morris Mandel (on security)
When God made the oyster, he guaranteed his absolute economic and social security. He built the oyster a house, his shell, to shelter and protect him from his enemies. When hungry, the oyster simply opens his shell and food rushes in for him. He has freedom from want. But when God made the eagle he declared: “The blue sky is the limit—build your own house!” So, the eagle built on the highest mountain. Storms threaten him every day. For food he flies through miles of rain and snow and wind. But think of it, the eagle, not the oyster, is the emblem of America. (The Jewish Press).
The Lord Jesus Christ has given the Corinthian church so much spiritual gifts that they lack nothing. The believers there are imperfect just like us but still the Lord blessed them. The Lord has given you gifts too, the question is, will you be thankful to the Lord and use your gift for the glory of God? Are you thankful for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to your church?