We'll be right back. We're going to read verse one down to verse number seven, but I forewarn you, we're not going to get through all seven verses tonight, so there's a lot to introduce here.
Yeah, shocker. Good to get through the first two verses. So, verse one, the Bible says, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God and Timothy, our brother unto the church of God, which is at Corinth with all the saints, which are in all KI. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort who comforted us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ, and whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer, or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation, and our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the suffering, so shall ye be also of the consolation. Father, your word is like a treasure.
It is so valuable. If we were offered silver and gold tonight, your word would be so much more precious than such things. And Lord, we come into your house tonight with joy because we know you as our Lord and Savior in a world that has chosen to blaspheme and mock and ridicule and call evil good and good evil. Lord, we here tonight only by your grace have been saved, but we confess you as Lord.
We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross and rose again. We confess our love and devotion to you, Lord, and I know our love is not what it always should be, but Lord, we do love you. Help us to love you more, and we confess Christ as Lord, and we want to live for you, and let your word dwell richly in our hearts. Give us a mind to understand that which is only discerned through the Spirit of God.
Give us wisdom. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see. Open our eyes to behold the wondrous things from your law. And tonight, if anyone doesn't know Christ, that today would be the day of salvation. We rejoice in the seven souls who called out to Christ over the weekend and trusted in you. We praise you for that. We pray you continue to do great and marvelous things and all this for your glory.
We ask it in Jesus' name. And God's people said, man, you may be at the feet of one of the greatest teachers of the Jewish people. His name was Gamaliel. He was a celebrated doctor of the law. He gave prudent worldly advice, if you remember, to the Sanhedrin when they were dealing with the followers of Jesus in the Book of Acts. Paul was a Jew.
He was born to the notable tribe of Benjamin. He also had two names that he went by. He went by the name Saul and also by the name Paul. Many believe that after his conversion, his name would change from Saul to Paul, but that, in fact, is not the case. His name is actually Saul and Paul.
Saul is the Hebrew name. Paul is the Greek name. Paul, as in many people in his day, had two names.
They were, you think about Thomas, his name was Didymus. Levi was also called Matthew. Peter was called Cephas as well. Acts 13, 9 says, then Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. He was saved in Acts chapter 9, but he's still being referred to as Saul in Acts 13. Jesus never changed his name. So basically, he had two names. The Hebrew name was Saul, which his mother probably named him after Israel's first king, who was King Saul.
And King Saul was also from the tribe of Benjamin, as Saul the apostle was. His Roman name was Paul, and very likely the reason that he transitioned to the name Paul was because he was not an apostle to the Jews. He was an apostle to the who?
The Gentiles. And so he transitioned his name from being one who was ministering to the Jews in his Pharisee days to one ministering to the Gentiles in his Christian days. Romans 11, 3, he says, For I speak to you Gentiles, and as much as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, he said, I magnify mine office. And so Paul's name transitioned in use from Saul to Paul on his first missionary journey when he was on the island of Cyprus. What's interesting is while he was there, there was a Roman pro-counsel on the island that gets saved. In Acts 13, verse 12, it says this, Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
It's interesting that the deputy ends up getting saved there, the pro-counsel that gets saved. His name was Sergius Paulus. His name was basically Sergius Paul. So Paul had the same name as this guy, and some have hypothesized that he took this man's name, being the first main convert that he has there, as a reminder of the grace of God upon those that are Gentiles and that are lost. Paul went on to become a very great rabbi and Pharisee before he became a Christian.
He was well trained, again, in the school of Gamaliel. Paul was a man who knew the philosophies of the day. He knew the Old Testament. He was a great leader, a teacher, a member of the ruling body of the Jewish people known as the Sanhedrin. He became the most devout anti-Christian leader in the Jewish community. He hated Christians.
He went after them with all of his might. You find in Acts 7 and 8 where he was persecuting Christians and stoning, having them stoned to death. Even Stephen was stoned to death, the Bible tells us, at the charge of Paul. In Acts 9, he was on his way to get some Christians in Damascus when the Lord stopped him, and his tracks opened his eyes up to what he was doing and saved him, and he became a preacher of the gospel.
From there, he went into the Arabian desert where the Lord taught him for three years, according to Galatians 1.15. Let me just read that passage. It says, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, is that interesting to you? God separated Paul from his mother's womb and called him by his grace to reveal his son in me? So this guy is a killer of Christians who God separated from the womb to reveal God's purposes. God's timing is not always our timing, is it?
But you see where sovereignty meets human responsibility. Aren't you thankful that God's in control? And he did in Paul what Paul never would have done in himself. He said that I preached among the heathen.
Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me. But I went into Arabia and returned again into Damascus. Then after three years, I went to Jerusalem. And so we see where God, our Lord Jesus Christ, spent three years with the 12 apostles, 12 disciples who became apostles.
And seemingly here he also spent three years training Paul. Paul then went to the city of Antioch to minister. After faithfully serving there, the Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabas.
He separated them after they were found faithful. Never expect God to use you in other ways until you learn to be faithful in your church. God called them out of the church after they were faithful. The vehicle through which God ministers to the world is through the local church, isn't it?
And you have supported that with your attendance, with your serving, with your abilities, with your resources. And when we were able to support missions groups and just seeing God advance his cause is such a blessing. But Paul was faithful there.
He served there. And the Bible tells us in the book of Acts chapter 13, he said, Separate me, Paul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have called them. And they went out from that church and they began to go on really the greatest missionary enterprise that the church has ever seen in history. They brought the gospel throughout the Gentile world in that day. He went from being a Christian persecutor to a Christian preacher.
It's just incredible. And what is an apostle? He says in verse one, Paul, an apostle, apostolos, of Jesus Christ. The word apostle means an ambassador or messenger who represents and carries out the orders of one sending him. An apostle, according to the Bible, had to have seen the resurrected Christ. Ever been somewhere when somebody says, I am apostle so and so? And you say, have you ever seen the resurrected Jesus Christ?
And if they say yes, you need to walk away quickly. They also had to be one chosen and called by God. And so he says here in verse one, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God. And this is really the foundation of Paul saying, listen, God put me in this position. God has called me. And they needed to understand that they should listen to Paul because Paul was there on the behalf of Christ as an apostle, one sent by God.
And so we see the author. Secondly, let's look at the church, the city of Corinth. A few things about it. It was a very wealthy city. It was a commercial city located about 45 miles west from Athens in southern Greece. It was a crossroads for travel. It was on an Isthmus, which was about a four mile wide neck between two bodies of water, Peloponnesians in Greece.
And this picture that was just shown, we'll keep this one up here for a moment. But here's Corinth and you see the serenity of the Gulf of Corinth. And so Corinth was was located right there. And so they in the first century, they actually tried to cut a canal through there where they could bring boats across through water. But they just didn't. That failed ultimately for several reasons. So they ended up creating a four mile long log system where they would take boats and literally cross that four mile area, neck of land with a pulley system with wood.
And just the way they could engineer that would be very fascinating. But they had a toll system, so Corinth was able to gain a lot of money. You have a lot of shipping, a lot of product coming through there. This was a hub of the world. This was just the busy place.
It's like going inside of some big market area where just the hustle and bustle. This was a busy, busy area. And so if they didn't cross that four mile long stretch of land, they had to travel 250 miles around that body to get there. And in 1881 through 1889, they actually cut a four mile long trench through there. So we have a couple of those pictures of that Corinthian Canal, which today you can see presently what they did.
They cut that all the way through. So now boats are able to traverse through that. Corinth was also the place where one of the most famous athletic venues of the day were held. The Ithsmian Games brought a great amount of revenue.
They had their own Olympics back then as we would have now. And so when Paul came to Corinth in 51 AD, this was a thriving metropolises area. It was very successful, very rich. It was also a wicked city. The population produced a lot of sinfulness. And when you look across the landscape of the world, you see where is the most sin produced? It's in the cities. You know why there's more sin in the cities? It's because there's more people. You just get a bunch of us together and it's going to increase in sin, right?
And so that's what typically happens. Corinth was sexually wicked. They intertwined their faith with sexual lewdness, even drunkenness. They had what they called Bacchanalian feasts where you would get drunk and then you could commune with the gods. Even at Ephesus, they had a temple to their goddess there. Diana, here they had an acropolis that was a couple thousand feet up where they had a temple built to Aphrodite.
This is a picture of that. And they would have a thousand prostitutes, female prostitutes in this temple. And at night, they would come down to the city's nightlife and if you slept with the prostitute, you slept with the god. And so this was their system.
The next picture actually shows the present day what's there. And so, you know, today we live in a nation that has called good evil and evil good, hasn't it? The Bible tells us that iniquity would abound. Things would get worse and worse and we've seen that come to pass. And sometimes we feel like things have never been this bad. People get worried. People get fearful. But I think it's important to know that the world has been worse than it is even now.
There's been places in the world that have been worse than what even America is. And Paul launches a church in the city of Corinth where the religion in the city taught you need to sleep with the prostitutes to commune with the gods. The most religious of us are the ones sleeping with the prostitutes.
What kind of city would that be? That's not happening in Zinn your day right now, is it? Now, I know there's people that can be so corrupt, they can believe things and do whatever, but this was what was promoted and accepted. Actually, to Corinthianize someone meant to go to bed with a prostitute, that's what it meant, to Corinthianize, to Corinthicize somebody. But even in that wicked city, God still brought salvation to many souls. The gospel still was victorious.
The gates of hell did not prevail against the church. We don't have to huddle down in fear for the future. We can stand boldly and preach the word of God, right? Isaiah 46 verse 9 and 10 says, Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is none else. I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning of ancient times, the things that are not done, saying, My counsel shall stand, I will do all my pleasure. Anybody thankful that Christ wins, amen?
So, we don't have to be scared and huddled down and fearful to say anything. And so, you just need to know that this church was launched in the midst of one of the most wicked cities that ever existed. So, let's look at the church at Corinth in verse number 1. It says, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God and Timothy, our brother, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth.
That statement is monumental, isn't it? I mean, you'd have been like, oh, there's a church at Corinth? They got a church there?
They do. Now, it does have some problems, I would forewarn you, but they do have a church there. That's good news. Acts 18, 1, we find how this church started and got going. You can flip with me, actually, over to the book of Acts.
Turn left in your Bibles, Acts chapter number 18. Paul started this church on his second missionary journey. He had three missionary journeys. And on his second missionary journey, he goes to the city of Corinth in Acts 18, verse 1. It says, After these things, Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth.
He had a custom in that day. They had what they called the openness of the synagogue. So if you were a rabbi, a teacher, they let you speak. They would give you a platform and say, oh, we got a visiting rabbi here.
Would you like to speak and share some things? And Paul was a known rabbi, a known teacher, learned, set at the feet of Gamaliel. And people have been like, oh, you said at Gamaliel, you know, share with us. And so he used that opportunity everywhere he went. And so he would preach in these Jewish synagogues. He had joined up that time with two Jewish believers, Aquila and his wife Priscilla. They were also tent makers.
So all three of them were companions in that labor of making tents and making a livelihood off of that trade. Look at verse number four of Acts 18. It says, And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
So you see there is a mixture of both Jew and Gentile there. It says, And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit and testified to the Jews that Jesus was. Now, the Jewish word for this would be Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah, the Messiah. We use the Greek word Christos where we get the word Christ. So when you have Jesus Christ, it just means Jesus, the Messiah, the anointed one of God. And when they opposed himself and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, said in them, Your blood be upon your own heads.
I am clean from henceforth. I will go into the Gentiles. They rejected Christ as the Messiah. And so he left them and he goes to the who?
Gentiles. Verse seven, And he departed thence and entered into a certain man's house. His name was Justice, one that worshiped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord. So the ruler of the synagogue became a believer with all his house.
And many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized. So you see that one door closed, didn't it? His preaching the gospel in the synagogue, that door closed. He says, I'm going to go to the Gentiles.
Well, the door opened to go and stay with the man named Justice in his house, whose house was close to like right next door to the synagogue. Well, God threw that because the gospel is unstoppable, right? We heard about that a few weeks ago, and the gospel penetrates still.
And I think it's important to know that if people don't hear the first time, you don't stop. These souls were being saved. Multitudes of people began being saved because he transitioned from the synagogue to just an individual's house. That guy's a believer, the ruler of the synagogue gets saved, his whole house family gets saved, and then people start flooding in there. And the gospel continues to go forth. What an encouragement.
But what if Paul quit? What if he said, you know, I tried in this city. I tried to get things going.
I was rejected in the synagogue. So you know what? I'm just going to go to the next town. That's not what he does. And I think sometimes we, especially in this culture, you know, the thing in America, the level of hypocrisy I find in our nation just... I find my heart beating better when I don't watch the news. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
I feel much healthier. Balloons flying over the nation anymore, and all these crazy things happening, and it's just... Don't let me go down that rabbit trail. Josh, stop where you're at right now. Stay the course. Stay the course. And I forget what I'm even talking about. They did shoot it down after it crossed the nation.
But China never got their information right. Yeah. Anyway, but Paul here is not... You know, we live in a country today that says, you know what? Freedom of speech, freedom of speech. Freedom of speech only works for people who have no boundaries.
If you have no biblical morality, you can say whatever you want. I am tired. It wearies me.
It wearies me. It saddens me to see a hockey player say, I don't want to wear a pride jersey. You know, if somebody wants to be LGBTQ, whatever he, her, she, whatever, that's them. That's whatever they want to do.
That's up to them. But don't tell me to promote it. I'm not asking the world to promote Jesus. Am I?
No. We promote Christ. They can promote Christlessness.
That's up to them. But don't tell me to promote godlessness and then call me some wicked person. Praise God for the very few that have backbones that stand up anymore. Praise God for the people who say, you know what? I'm not bowing down to that.
I'm not cowering underneath that. And if there's ever been a day when we need godly men and women to stand up with grace but in truth and say, you know what? As for me in my house, we're going to serve the Lord. We're not going to be defined by this culture. We're going to be defined by Christ. We need to do that. And you will be isolated.
You will be narrowed out. There's people here who said, Josh, when I go to work, they're having pride month and they're telling me I need to participate in this or I could be reprimanded. Hey, it's one thing to respect somebody's point of view and say, hey, if you want to believe that, that's up to you.
But don't tell me to promote your belief because I'm not telling you to promote my faith, am I? It's not Christian month. They tell us we can't even say Merry Christmas. That's how much silence they zipper over our mouths. Well, sorry if we offend somebody.
All right. We we still believe in saying the name Jesus Christ the Lord. Even if they you know, and I feel bad when I see bakers who lose their baking shops, but you know, people who honor the Lord, they will be blessed eternally for their faithfulness. The tribulations that we go through on this earth are but a bit of vapor.
They're very small. We got to make sure that we don't look at the trials here is always bad. We are partaking in the sufferings of Christ when you begin to go through tribulations and difficulties and and that heat will only turn up. Just understand, Paul is in the middle of a city that that they weren't believers in freedom of speech. They weren't believers in it, but the gospel still advanced.
And so as Christians, we cannot let the world define our message. Now, do you think Paul was ever worried and afraid at times? I mean, we look at him and we're like, man, this guy's got such courage.
He was like, totally fearless. No, Paul had some fear. Paul Paul even said at times the Church of Corinth, we were with you in fear and trembling. Paul, Paul felt that. And I think about the book of Ephesians Chapter six.
I remember reading this and like comprehending it for the first time years ago. But but Ephesians six, verse 18, he says this. He comes to the conclusion of Ephesians six or the book. He says, praying always with all prayer and supplication and spirit and watching there and to with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 19 and for me, he's asking them to pray for him that utterance may be given unto me that I may open my mouth. How boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds there and I may speak how as I ought to speak, pray for me. He says, please pray for me that I could speak boldly the gospel boldly as I ought to speak it.
And if Paul prayed that, do you think we need to be praying for boldness? Listen to what the Lord tells Paul in Acts 18. Look at verse nine on your in your scriptures. They're acts 18. Look at verse nine. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision. He says, be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace for I am with thee and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee for I have much people in this city.
That is so fantastic. I mean, in the midst of real danger. This isn't like, hey, you know, they might spray paint my house. This is real danger, strong opposition. And in a city that was that was opposed to righteousness, God says, Do not be silent, speak the word and don't have any fear of them. I appreciate Brother Scholz's message last Sunday or last Wednesday. Now, I didn't listen to a sermon till Thursday morning, but I got up last Sunday and I said, you know what?
This is more important than what you fear, what you worry about or any anxieties you have. And he preached on that last Wednesday. And then I listened to a sermon Thursday morning.
I was like, oh, no, I was hitting all over that. And then that was a great sermon. And we need to hear about that.
So important. But the Bible tells us in Proverbs twenty nine, verse twenty five, it says the fear of man bringeth a snare. The fear and you know what the truth is, all of us have been snared by the fear of man.
Anybody with me? You ever not said something, you know, you should have. You didn't share the gospel because you were worried what they would think. And I think that's the main reason we don't share the gospel at times.
We fear fear of how they may respond, fear of being asked something we don't know the answer to, fearing of what others may think of us. And the Lord tells Paul here, he says, speak the word and be not afraid. He says, you need to speak and don't be silenced. And I don't want you to have any fear like that's a command from Christ in a city that is opposing him. And why should he not be afraid? Well, verse ten, he says, for I am with thee. I know I've talked to Tom about this and others. It's always nice to have someone with you when you're sharing the gospel, isn't it?
They went out two by two in the New Testament. It's always nice if you and a friend are talking to a friend and saying, hey, you know, just because there's some support there, some encouragement there, it's just a little bit more of a confidence and help. But you know what is so helpful is even when you're all alone, you're not alone. The Lord says, I am with you. What confidence would you have to share with your coworker, with your neighbor, with your friend when you know Jesus is literally right there with you saying, don't be afraid. Don't hold your peace. I'm with you. Tell him.
Share it. And he says in verse number ten, he says, and no man shall set hurt on thee. God affirms Paul that he will not be hurt. Don't be afraid of physical attack. You know, Paul faced a lot of physical attack. I mean, if there's somebody that's like, you know what, I just really don't want to get whipped again. I mean, I don't really want to get beat up again. I don't want to get stoned again. I mean, second Corinthians eleven twenty four.
Just listen to this. He said of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one thirty nine stripes five different times. I could not even imagine the scar tissue on his back. You ever seen someone with scar tissue, you hit that scar tissue, they bleed immediately.
I bet that first time he got hit on his fifth lashing, it would have just been horrific. He says in verse twenty five thrice I was beaten with rods once I was stoned thrice I suffered shipwreck a night in the day I've been in the deep. You know, when we went to the Bahamas for twenty getaway twenty year getaway and always want to go snorkeling and got there and this guy let me use his Hawaiian it's called a Hawaiian sling. Anybody know what a Hawaiian sling is?
Raise your hand. So this thing is like a bow and arrow underwater and it's like looking through jello. I mean so clear so you just shoot shoot these fish and my wife is like she's so good out of water but get her in water and she's she's she can swim but she's it's just not her comfort zone. She's just she's just and it's just not not her where her her athletic ability shines the greatest is not in water everything else she can dominate me and but the water I can still beat her even with a skinny leg. So I'm like let's go swimming baby let's go swimming but shooting all these fish having a good time and then a big old four-foot barracuda comes up and I'm like eh I don't know if I should tell her about that she's in the boat once I told her about that she never got back in the water you know she's done she's done may have been the other sharks and stuff we saw as well I don't know but but Paul spent he says here nights where he three different times he suffered shipwreck a night in the day spent in the deep I mean for some people I know my oldest daughter that that would she would she would die like her greatest fear is being in like deep dark ocean water it just anybody else have that fear just you know something's gonna bite you at any moment and so Paul you know you're like just get it over with you know you're splashing just go ahead and take me now you know make it quick but but Paul Paul is somebody who faced a lot of pain and suffering and what encouragement you know the Lord didn't have to tell him you're not going to be hurt but but the Lord wanted him to know that he says you know what I want I want to give you some peace Paul you're not going to be hurt here you know there's a lot of people that have hurt you they're not going to hurt you here and he put his hands around Paul and nothing happened him in that city what what a what a peace that would give you right I mean he may have been healing up from some wounds and he's like well I just really don't want to get beat up again there could have been some hesitation the Lord gave him what he needed and then in Acts chapter 18 verse 10 this is this is a tremendous statement look what the Lord says here it's one of the most unique statements he says hold not your peace nobody's gonna sit hurt on you he says for I have much people in this city you know what he's saying there these people are not yet saved in the city but there's a lot of people that are going to get saved in their mind your your evangelism is going to be successful because God will bring them to salvation this is sovereign work joined with human responsibility the gospel will win I mean I mean just think of the boldness you would have knowing it will be productive if I preach the gospel I'm not gonna die and get beat up and it will be productive there's God has many souls in this city that are going to be saved they're not saved yet but they're going to be saved and I must tell them and if I don't tell them God's gonna send somebody because he's bringing them to the salvation I've much I think God has much people in Xenia I think God has much people in Fairborn and Kettering and Enon or wherever else the 20-some cities that folks drive in from Paul preaches it Corinth for a year and a half acts 18 11 and he continued there a year and six months teaching the Word of God among them and according to acts 18 through acts 18 12 through 16 the Jews accused Paul to a guy named Galio the pro-counsel and judge of that Roman proverb province but he didn't care about the Jewish disputes over religious things and so notice in Acts chapter number 18 verse number 12 it says and when Galio was the deputy of Akai Akai the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat saying this fellow persuaded them into worship God contrary to the law when Paul was now about to open his mouth Galio said unto the Jews if it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness so you Jews reason would be that I would bear with you but if it be a question of words and names of your law look ye to it fry will be no judge of such things and he drained them from the judgment seat now what happens next is extremely interesting look at verse number 17 then all the Greeks took Soson he's the chief ruler of the synagogue and beat him before the judgment seat and Galio cared for none of those things what's interesting is Soson he's is the guy who brought the who presented the case against Paul he presented the case against Paul to the judge the case doesn't go through and they turn on Sostenes so what happens when you're against Paul against the Christians but then your own people turn on you beat you you know the next time you hear the name Sostenes come up is in 1st Corinthians chapter 1 verse 1 it says Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through love God and Sostenes our brother and that's something now it doesn't take a whole lot to read through the lines you would just have to consider that this guy gets rejected by his own people he accuses Paul he's getting beaten none of the people beatings going to take him in and take care of him physically after that right so guess who must have come along Paul must have come along said hey once you come back stay with justice in us we'll take you in Paul says I know how to clean wounds I've had many wounds cleaned took him back home cared for the same guy who was trying to condemn him this is a persecutor who knew what it meant to be on the other side right a preacher who knew what to be on the other side as a persecutor we can we never we should never forget the place we came from it weren't for grace so go I right as it said and we see people who sometimes you know sometimes the world makes us upset anybody get upset with the world sometimes he's just if I ring that guy name then the Lord says that used to be you like oh you ever get touched on the shoulder like that or in the heart by the Lord he says hey and so sometimes we can lose our grace and I think sometimes that's why the Lord allows us to struggle you ever wonder why you still struggle anybody thought you'd be past where you are now why I thought I'd never struggle with my tongue anymore I never thought I'd struggle with these emotions I never thought I'd struggle with these temptations I never thought I'd struggle with oh you're still struggling I think one of the reason you still struggle and I still struggle with our humanity is it keeps us in a humble place doesn't it we hear the Lord saying he that is without sin cast the yeah it's helpful isn't it and so God uses Paul to reach this city to reach sustenance who's now a brother so we see how the church started let me highlight a few of the problems Paul deals with in the book of 1st Corinthians as I said there was a lot of sin on the outside of the church and the community when you see a bunch of sinners get saved guess what they bring in through the church it ain't gonna be perfect is it the problems Paul confronted in the book of 1st Corinthians started in chapter 1 with fighting over who baptized you who was better based on who baptized you that's 1st Corinthians 1 chapter 3 he says you guys are babes in Christ that need to grow up who is Paul and who's a policy said we're just ministers your faith is in Christ he's the one who brought the fruit in 1st Corinthians 5 he had to deal with the man who's sleeping with his mother-in-law or his stepmom I'm sorry and they're allowing it in the church and he says you got to confront this 1st Corinthians 5 is all about that in chapter 6 of 1st Corinthians they were suing one another in the church and he says Paul says hey I got a remedy for you he says why don't you take the least esteemed person in your church and set him up as a judge who can dispute such things you're going to the unsaved for guidance on this why don't you set the lowest Christian in your church up they would be better than that he said don't you know one day we'll judge angels they had questions about purity marriage and celibacy in chapter 7 chapter 8 through 10 he had to deal with him abusing their Christian liberty some were like well we're allowed to do this and they were using their Christian liberty as a license while other Christians were being crushed under the weight of their liberality chapter 12 through 14 you know the one church that was abusing spiritual gifts church of Corinth they were they were the speaking in tongues healings disrupting the service with people shouting out things that was the church of Corinth and Paul said let everything be done decently in an order and I'd rather speak five words in a known language than 10,000 in an unknown tongue false teachings concerning the resurrection in chapter 15 of 1st Corinthians they were somewhere denying the resurrection is even possible he's like if there is no resurrection there is no risen Savior and if if you want to know how sinful Corinth was just read Romans chapter 1 verse 18 through 32 because Paul wrote Romans while in Corinth and he could have easily looked out the window and just begin to describe all the wickedness that he saw there so let's look at Paul's letter and its purpose last couple things that makes you feel better when I say things like that it doesn't you're like preacher we're past that by now means nothing it's like it's like a guest comes on Sunday I'm like it in conclusion the guys like what's that mean you're like it doesn't mean anything really doesn't mean anything I don't know what it means preachers ever been dishonest is when he says in conclusion I'm not quite sure he's telling the truth there a words have different meanings to different people okay a little fluidity there that wasn't one of the fears that were pronounced I was glad I was afraid somebody say when pastor says in conclusion you know I'm really fearful how long it might still go so Paul's letter and its purpose is this Paul's second letter or is it his fourth letter to the church at Corinth though we refer to this as 2nd Corinthians it's actually his fourth letter that he writes them let me explain a few things here Paul had written two letters to the church at Corinth that are not preserved as scripture but he wrote two letters that the Holy Spirit did inspire that are preserved as scripture please don't let that be of any bother to you not everything that Peter wrote not everything that Jesus said is preserved in Scripture right so God chose to preserve in the canon of Scripture what he chose to preserve Paul launched the church at Corinth on a second missionary journey as acts 18 1 says that we shared around 5253 ad the church was started he stayed there about a year and a half then he went to Ephesus where he stayed for several weeks went to Jerusalem briefly back to Ephesus and while Paul was in Ephesus he wrote a letter according to 1st Corinthians chapter 5 verse 9 to Corinth that we do not have and it was to warn them about the fornication and sinful worldliness that was going on in the church in response to the Corinthians wrote him a letter with a lot of questions and specific questions about marriage divorce food sacrifice to idol spiritual gift collection for the Saints in Jerusalem and so 1st Corinthians is a response to that letter that the Corinthians wrote to Paul about all these issues the letter did not 1st Corinthians is a response there but it did not accomplish all that Paul wanted to to see accomplished through that lengthy 1st Corinthians letter and so they responded somewhat badly so Paul made a quick trip back to Corinth from Ephesus Paul refers to this and 2nd Corinthians chapter 2 verse 1 through 4 is a painful visit we don't know how long that visit was but Paul saw that there were still things that needed to be accomplished at Corinth and there was also a great deal of negative reaction from his letter and his coming so returning to Ephesus he sent another brief letter by Titus this was his third letter that again we don't have the third letter we have the second and fourth Titus was gone a long time and communication was slow in those days Paul got very anxious to hear from the church he became so troubled he actually left Ephesus went to Troas ended up going to Macedonia where he met Paul or met Titus who had sent the letter with probably at the church at Philippi Philippi was the church in Macedonia one of the churches there there Titus gave him a much more encouraging update about the church in response to that we have what's now 2nd Corinthians or Paul's fourth letter to this church so he most likely wrote this while in the city of Philippi and you hear him writing about the churches of Macedonia in chapter 8 9 he says I want to tell you about the churches of Macedonia how they were so generous in giving and one of those generous churches were it was a church at Philippi now the purpose of the letter was he wanted to explain to them why he was suffering you know the early Christians some of the some of them who grew up under that false Jewish teaching that bad things do not happen to good people according to God like if you had something bad happen to you then God's judgment was upon you remember when the the the the wall fell on those people they said you know what great sin did they have and they were Christ says they were sinners no different than anybody else and except you repent you'll all perish the man that was born blind they said who sinned this man or his father there was this there was this notion that you must have done something to incur the wrath of God to have these physical ailments and sometimes we even come to conclusions like that like oh what did I do wrong that God would do these physical things to me well sometimes they happen because there are sometimes spiritual attacks many times it's just living in a fallen world but sometimes God can allow things come in our life so that it can test grow us and allow us to be a witness many reasons many many reasons and so he wants to explain to them his sufferings in every time his sufferings produced good things he writes the church at Philippi he says the gospel has gone through the palace of the all through the palace because I'm a prisoner here secondly he wanted to tell them why he had to change his plans about returning to Corinth why he wasn't returning to Corinth and he does that in chapter 1 verse 12 through chapter 2 verse 4 he gives them instructions on how to deal with that offender that he dealt with in 1st Corinthians 5 he wants to share with them his joy the joy of their progress he gives them one of the greatest chapters in chapter 5 on the substitutionary death and atonement of Christ really the pinnacle verse in all scripture that defines in the most concise way the substitutionary death of Christ is 2nd Corinthians 5 21 that many of you have memorized which says for he hath made him or Christ to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him he also wanted to bring full reconciliation with himself in chapter 6 and 7 he encourages them to participate in the offering chapter 8 9 are really the two greatest chapters on dealing with giving in the New Testament chapter 11 he tells them how to distinguish a false prophet from a true teacher chapter 12 he deals with how to deal with the thorns of our lives of the burdens and trials and sufferings as Christians and then he establishes his authority as an apostle in chapter 10 through chapter 13 you need to understand that this church at Corinth there were some false apostles who constantly attacked his apostleship one of the reasons he writes 2nd Corinthians is because they these false apostles were coming against him listen they accused him of being fickle of being an authoritarian not having proper credentials being fleshly being weak I mean these were some of the things they were saying about Paul 2nd Corinthians 10 10 listen to what they say about him they say for his letters say they are weighty and powerful but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible remember back in 1st Corinthians chapter 2 he says when I came to you I came not with excellency of speech he could have but he said I come to you with simple language because I don't want your faith to be based on me you're already fighting over who's the greatest based on who baptized you I don't want you to follow a man I want you to follow the man Jesus Christ the Lord of Lords and what he produces in humility they mock it's an incredible thing but Paul had some strong charges against them he told them they were corrupting the word in 2nd Corinthians 2 17 he said we are not as many which corrupt the word but of sincerity he called them hypocrites who were masquerading as apostles and ministers of Christ in 2nd Corinthians chapter 11 he says for such are false apostles deceitful workers transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ these are the kind of false teachers that Paul wept over in Acts chapter 20 and Philippians chapter 3 so we see that if you attended friends the church that Paul started at Corinth you would have attended a church dealing with a lot of problems you would have gone into that church and said man there's some real serious issues here one thing that is encourages them Paul never gave up on him Paul loves these Saints he doesn't quit you know what John 10 says in verse 11 Jesus said I'm the Good Shepherd the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep but he that is a hireling and not to shepherd whose own sheep own the sheep are not see at the wolf coming and leave at the sheep and fleeth and the wolf catches them and scattered the sheep the hireling fleeth because he's a hireling and careth not for the sheep I believe being faithful to a church is like being faithful to a family you know what you and I are never going to find a perfect family neither are we going to find a perfect church because when we show up perfection leaves right but when you love your family you work through those problems you learn what it means to forgive to be gracious love covers a multitude of sins the greatest joys that I see are not couples who jump from relationship to relationship and spouse to spouse to spouse to spouse trying to find some perfect person but couples who weather the storm through the ups and downs who 20 30 40 50 some 60 years say you know what it was worth it they know each other in ways that only people who've weathered those storms know each other I praise God that we're not in a perfect church I knew it wouldn't be perfect when I came to pastor it because I'm here we get a chance to forgive to love we get a chance to minister we can't we can't give up on a nation that is dying and going to hell we're living in Corinth but Jesus says it's going to be like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah it's going to be the days like lot living there but you know what the gospel still penetrates it still goes and sometimes one door closes but another door opens there's a lot we can learn they did a lot of things wrong they did a lot of things right next week we're gonna see the God who comforts this next section of Scripture is just tremendous and only we know we only got through the first couple verses but there's so much there I encourage you this week spend time reading through the book of 2nd Corinthians read verses 1 through 11 that's what we're going to be teaching on next week meditate on those and I guarantee you're going to glean more out of this get a book that you're only going to take notes on 2nd Corinthians you will gain so much out of read 2nd Corinthians try to once a month just soak it in and wouldn't it be great after six months or however many months maybe year whatever that when we get to the end of 2nd Corinthians you say man I really really know what the what the Lord was talking about in that book and so you carry that the rest of your life friends let us be faithful with what God's committed to our hands amen let's all stand tonight the altar is open if you have something on your heart that you just need to come and bring to the Lord tonight is a good opportunity to come to that God of comfort that God of grace heads bowed nice clothes you can come if you need to make a spiritual decision a spiritual commitment maybe something on your heart maybe somebody that you've had you shared the gospel with but they didn't get saved and maybe you just need to pray for boldness maybe you just need to come and say Lord can you give me some courage some boldness that I would share the gospel like I should maybe maybe some Christian that you're at odds with you need to seek reconciliation with Father we thank you for your word tonight what a joy it is to meditate on it thank you for the faithfulness of your people thank you for the crowd tonight that have come to hear your word bless them Lord may your word be like a seed planted in the soil of their heart that brings forth great fruit you're worthy of our time Lord you're worthy of our energies and our attention God bless your word as we leave here today may we find ourselves in obedience to this holy book bring us all back safely Sunday but between now and then let us be a light in this world if we love our nation if we love America may we love Christ to them in Jesus' name amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 08:24:46 / 2023-02-25 08:44:36 / 20