August 2, 2022 6:00 am
We can get too caught up in worldly matters that we lose sight of eternity. In this message, Skip shares why you must keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and on eternity.
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Chloe's household told Paul that there were some divisions going on in the church, that people were rallying around different spiritual teachers. Some were saying that they were of the school of Paul, others of Apollos, others of Peter, Cephas.
And the problem was it was ruining their unity. So they had their eyes on the servants of the Lord rather than having their eyes on the Lord of those servants. The apostle Paul had a stern warning for the Corinthian church when they became preoccupied with worldly matters. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzing, Skip shares why it's so important for you to focus on Christ instead of people and things of the world. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will encourage you to trust the good plans that God has for you. Forbes.com recently published an article with 22 tips for how to completely change your life in one year.
Sounds complicated. The Bible tells a different story about how to change your life. The Bible says, repent and return to God, and it reminds us we need to always insert but God into every situation.
Here's Skip Heitzig. But God is a phrase that appears 45 times in scripture. It's a game-changing phrase. It means that no matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter how you may have failed, the truth is God can make things different for you from now on. But God. Discover the power of but God in scripture and why it's a game changer for your own life with the But God teaching series from Pastor Skip Heitzig. Our thanks when you give $35 or more to help keep this Bible teaching ministry on the air. Get your CD collection today.
Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now we're in 1 Corinthians chapter 4 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message. We left off in chapter 4. We kind of finished that with a hurried pace because we didn't have the time which is always the problem that I face whenever I teach chapters of the Bible. So I'm going to go over just a few verses in chapter 4 as we get into chapter 5 and I'm going to give you a little bit of background again since we may forget where we are with the book of Corinthians. The Corinthian church was a new church in a worldly city. That's why it's so relevant because we are God's people in a worldly environment and so 1 Corinthians always and ever is a contemporary book.
I often refer to 1 Corinthians as 1st Californians because there are many similarities between the state of California, my home state, and this ancient city of Corinth. But the Corinthian church, God's people, were facing many problems. They were a growing church but they weren't a glowing church. They were more of a slowing church. They were sort of being dragged down and slowed down in their pace, in their witness, in their testimony by the value system of the city of Corinth and by the Greek culture.
And we gave a little bit of that introduction in the very first chapter when we began. We also told you that Paul spent a fairly long time in the city of Corinth, at least by Pauline standards it was a long time. He spent 18 months in the city of Corinth plowing the ground, sharing the gospel, teaching the believers, discipling them, 18 months. That's long for Paul. He usually did not spend long in a city.
He'd establish a church after a few weeks, he'd book it, he'd leave. But he spent a year and a half in Corinth and that is the second longest place he stayed. The first longest was a three-year stint in the city of Ephesus which we believe when Paul wrote this book he was in the city of Ephesus and getting reports about Corinth while he was living in that city.
But he had spent 18 months there then he moved on to the city of Ephesus. We also mentioned to you that Corinth was on the crossroads of very important trade routes and they were just a few miles from a very important geographical place. We told you if you remember and you could certainly look at the map in the back of your Bible for a reference but the city of Corinth was located on a piece of land that was more or less an island to itself. Now it wasn't really an island but it was almost an island and when something is a large peninsula that is almost an island but still connected by a little piece of land we call that in geography an isthmus or a peninsula. And this peninsula was called the Peloponnesian peninsula and the Peloponnesian peninsula on one side had a body of water called the Adriatic Sea and on the other side an entirely different body of water called the Aegean Sea.
That little piece of land that connected the mainland of Greece with that peninsula the Peloponnesus was only three and a half miles in diameter. So boats would go to one side lift the boat if it was small enough on wheels and take it over land to the other port and continue sailing. Your alternative was to go 200 miles by sea around the Cape of Melilla. The Cape of Melilla was not an easy feat. The cross winds and the tides was very dangerous for sailors.
There was even a saying that said before you sail the Cape of Melilla make sure that you fill out your will. So it was dangerous but because it had so much traffic north and south east and west it was it was the center of a lot of activity, a lot of ideas, a lot of religious ideas, a lot of pleasure because you have sailors and you have workmen going in and out and so it was a very loose wild kind of a riotous city and there Paul the Apostle ended up and spent 18 months after he had been in the city of Athens and a work of God was established. By the time Paul writes this letter from Ephesus, sometime later, by this time already this growing church is filled with all sorts of problems. By the way I'm always happy to report that. I'm happy to report that churches in the Bible were not perfect but filled with problems because every now and then I will meet an idealistic Christian who is looking for the perfect church stop looking and if you find one please don't join it you'll ruin it they don't exist and if they did exist you would ruin it because you're not perfect nor am I. I love the fact that first Corinthians and second Corinthians and Galatians and a number of other letters were written to churches that lacked that were growing that had issues had problems and one of the problems according to a family that lived in Corinth and reported back to Paul a household by the name of Chloe's household who Chloe was exactly we don't know but Chloe's household told Paul that there were some divisions going on in the church that people were rallying around a different spiritual teachers some were saying that they were of the school of Paul others of Apollos others of Peter school of Paul others of Apollos others of Peter Cephas and the problem was it was ruining their unity so they had their eyes on the servants of the Lord rather than having their eyes on the Lord of those servants when you have your eyes on the Lord of the servants you'll give servants a break when you have your eyes on the servants of the Lord you will begin comparing one servant to another servant and yet Paul will say who are you to judge another man's servant if you're the Lord's servant then let the Lord handle them so that was one of the problems another was just a number of issues that they had written Paul the apostle questions about including the resurrection including marriage including divorce including a number of issues that essentially are all answered by this pretty lengthy letter of Paul called first Corinthians now we call it first Corinthians but in tonight's message Lord willing if we actually get to the chapter before us Paul will mention that he had written to them previously he said in the letter that I wrote to you before now when we read that we go wait a minute this says first Corinthians so if in first Corinthians he said I wrote you a letter before that must make the first letter first Corinthians and first Corinthians must be second Corinthians which would make second Corinthians third Corinthians exactly we don't have that first letter we only have a reference to it but in terms of division the first chapter first Corinthians chapter one and chapter two are about congregational disunity that's the first problem Paul writes about congregational disunity that's chapters one and two chapters three and four are about spiritual immaturity I'm of Paul I'm of Apollos I'm of Cephas Paul said you're all immature you're all carnal now in chapters five and six we have yet another issue and that is sexual impurity it's the problem he deals with in these two chapters but before we do I want to get the flow of thought in chapter four if you recall if you don't you'll see a few verses Paul takes a tone with them a sarcastic kind of a tone he knows that some of them in the Corinthian church felt superior because they were Greek they had the wisdom of the Greeks they considered themselves very wise and very important and they had the right to sort of push Paul and his authority to the side so Paul writes in chapter four verse eight in sarcastic tone he says you are already full you are already rich you are already rich you have reigned as kings without us and indeed I could wish you did reign that we would also reign with you for I think that God has displayed us the apostles last as men condemned to death for we have been made a spectacle to the world both to angels and to men to men that's sarcasm in case you didn't know it it's irony it's biting irony and he's basically saying look you guys are acting as if you are already reigning in the millennial kingdom the thousand year reign of Christ on the earth that I told you about you act like we're already here and that you are reigning as kings you have all this incredible wisdom and incredible authority that's how you act he goes I wish you were because if you were then we would be also if you were in the millennium we'd be there with you but he said I'm not there I'm too busy preaching the gospel and getting beat up for it I'm sort of last in the procession and then he says verse 10 we are fools for Christ's sake but you are wise in Christ we are weak but you are strong you are distinguished but we are dishonored even to the present hour we both hunger and thirst we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless and we labor working with our own hands being reviled we bless being persecuted we endure it you know if you think about it by human standards by human standards by a purely human measurement Paul was a fool Paul gave up a lot in his career to follow Christ travel the world get thrown out of synagogues put in chains thrown in jail beaten up time and time again for him to leave what he left and the status and the position he left to follow this road to follow Christ by human standards it was dumb man it was stupid it was foolish if Paul the apostle would have stayed a rabbi if he would have stayed a religious legalistic zealot no problem he would not have gone through the persecution he went through in fact he was the persecutor he was the guy who was hunting Christians but something happened to Paul on the road to Damascus the Lord Jesus appeared to him and Paul asked two very important questions who are you Lord it's a question you must answer in your life who is Jesus Christ who is he to you Jesus said you're either for me or against me the second question once you get the first question answered and you realize Jesus is Lord the second question logically must follow and be answered Lord what do you want me to do what is your plan for my life and the Lord told Saul of Tarsus Paul the apostle through a man who was a Christian and he said to him Paul the apostle through a man by the name of Ananias a believing Jew in Damascus tell Paul tell Saul how many things he must suffer for my sake on that day when he relinquished the rights of his future to the Lord he stepped into ministry and whenever you relinquish your life to the Lord there are no guarantees of safety or it being well with your health or well with your relatives or well with your school or well with whatever but there's a guarantee it'll be well with your soul so he said Lord what do you want me to do a lot of times we are we are reluctant to ask the question and give God carte blanche Lord I want to surrender my life to you but first tell me what you have up your sleeve and if it sounds good enough to me then I'll surrender so if you are thinking the Lord is telling me Hawaii Maui Fiji yes Lord I hear your voice by your spirit I'm going if it's Albuquerque oh Lord me Lord it can't be you I bind that spirit Lord speak to my heart hey I had that conversation with the Lord I was walking near my home in Huntington beach and I was saying Lord whatever you want me to do just show me what it is I had no clue and I am so glad I surrendered to his will being in his will is better than being in Maui not in his will so Paul the apostle ended up in Corinth then ended up in Ephesus then ended up in Rome then ended up getting beheaded by the will of God for the glory of Christ and for the honor of his name so he was persecuted he said we endure it but now look at verse 14 I do not write these things to shame you but as my beloved children I warn you now all of this sarcasm is leading up to Paul kind of giving both barrels to another issue and the issue is the church of Corinth was very tolerant of certain kinds of behavior evil behavior and and instead of being ashamed over their tolerance of evil behavior and their myths they were actually proud of it and he mentions that verse 18 of chapter 4 now some are puffed up or proud puffed up as though I were not coming to you but I will come to you shortly if the Lord wills and I will know not the word of the Lord and I will know not the word of those who are puffed up again prideful but a power now that leads us to the third problem that he addresses in the book of first Corinthians and that's chapter five and six the problem of sexual immorality so look at verse one of chapter five now we begin the chapter I had prepared to cover a couple chapters tonight yeah right so this is short enough that we can cover one chapter he said it is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you you being the Christian church at Corinth and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles that a man has his father's wife and you are puffed up there it is again third time he uses it now he zeroes in on what made them so prideful he alluded to it in chapter four now he just spells it out you're proud about this you're puffed up and have not rather mourned that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you I told you in our introduction to first Corinthians that the city of Corinth was a very permissive city in moral terms anything goes any kind of sexuality any kind of homosexuality any kind of prostitution and almost anything at all it was so debauched that the reputation of the Corinthians was everywhere there was even a term coined in Greek by a single Greek word Corinthiad Zestai Corinthiad Zestai is a Greek word that means literally to play the Corinthian or to act like a Corinthian so if you really wanted to chop a person down to really cut him down to really slur him you go you man you act like a Corinthian that's like saying you're like a sodomite or you're from like Gomorrah I mean they just had such a a bad reputation and in the Greek plays when anybody played a Corinthian in a Greek play they always played a drunk so it had quite a reputation that that phrase could be coined and one of the problems was immorality that was part of a worship system one of the goddesses that was worship was the goddess of love called Aphrodite and there at Corinth just outside of the city was a little hill called the acro Corinth or this little monument hill on top was a walled enclosure a temple to the goddess of Aphrodite on top of that hill a thousand quote-unquote priestesses lived they were essentially prostitutes they would come down in the evening to the city when there was a new group of sailors coming through town new group of soldiers coming through town people selling their wares and their ships coming around and those women would ply their trade collect the money to support the goddess Aphrodite in her temple Corinth was famous for that and there was another saying that went around where people said not every man can afford a trip to Corinth because the prostitutes were you know were constantly they come every night and solicit you and these guys would pay for it so not everybody could afford that was was the going theme of that town evidently that kind of culture is influencing the church rather than the church being in that community to influence that community now indeed some of those people were influenced because they're Christians in that church and though there were Christians in that church who were indeed truly saved people after a while because the cultural was so strong you get used to it instead of being salt and light instead of being a strong witness you start it's just easier to go with the flow and to accommodate the thinking and the values of the world around you and if they smoke you smoke if they drink you drink if they cuss you cuss if they say this is okay you say that is okay so instead of exerting an influence in the culture the culture was exerting its influence in the church and it was becoming problematic but now not only is there immorality but it's next level immorality this is the case of incest a man is having sexual relations with his father's wife probably a reference to somebody's stepmother and the church is saying well you know you can't judge people we're not supposed to do that and you know we can't like be a policeman to everybody let them do what they want just love on them Paul said you should be ashamed of yourself you should be mourning that should drive you to tears he says you're proud about it you're you're you're puffed up now a couple things to notice incest was forbidden by the old testament I think that you know but did you know that even according to Roman law secular law it was outlawed to have your stepmother in a physical relationship like this according to Cicero who is a Greek philosopher statesman and lawyer it was against Roman law for this to happen so Paul is saying even pagan cultures don't allow this and you guys are allowing this to happen in your church you should be mourning this instead of being puffed out that wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series expound first Corinthians right now we want to let you know about a special opportunity you have to pursue biblical studies in a way that works with your schedule it's never too late to start taking classes in biblical studies here's calvary college student timothy calvary college was an answer to prayer for me I was at a point in my life where I longed for more of God and his word calvary college was the next step in that direction an 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