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The Church in Corinth: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

March 21, 2021 Preacher: Bob DeWaay Series: 1 Corinthians

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

By Bob DeWaay

Because interpreting 1 Corinthians requires understanding issues that have to do particularly with Corinth itself, where Paul had spent a year and six months teaching, we include important background material in this first sermon on 1 Corinthians. This includes expounding some verses from Acts 18 that describe Paul’s ministry in Corinth. We also show how Rome had destroyed Corinth at one time and then brought it back nearly two centuries later as a Roman colony that would be culturally Roman rather than Greek. The city was known for polytheism, immorality, status consciousness, and wealth created by lucrative trade opportunities. Paul dealt with problems that arose from a church living in this immoral, polytheistic, and status conscious city. The sins of the culture tend to work their way into the church and Paul combated this.

This sermon lays out Paul’s apostolic calling and evidence for his status as the last apostle. Paul had been appointed by the resurrected Christ who appeared to him and taught him. We also expound the first three verses which address the church as consisting of those who have been sanctified in Christ. These are people who have been called by God out of the world. They “call on the name” of the Lord. This is shorthand for God in His glorious self revelation in Christ. The definition of the church is important and cannot be gained through the culture or so-called “Christendom.”