1 Corinthians 1-4

1:1-2:5 – Paul preached the Gospel, ‘not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (17; 2:4). He preached ‘Christ crucified’ with a determination ‘to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified’(23; 2:2). This is the message of our salvation – ‘Christ crucified… Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (23-24). All the glory belongs to God. We have no right to steal away any of the glory for ourselves: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’ (26-31). Our faith is ‘not based on human wisdom but on God’s power’ (2:5). ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’ (Mission Praise, 712). Christ is our full salvation. ‘Let us rejoice and be glad’ in Him’ (30; Psalm 118:24).

2:6-3:23 – We come to know God when ‘the Spirit’ leads us to ‘Jesus Christ’ (2:10-13; 3:11; John 16:14). We must not attach too much importance to the preachers – ‘What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants …’. When we make too much of the servant, we draw attention away from the Saviour. There is a very important lesson here – ‘Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth’ (3:5-7). We are not members of a ‘mutual appreciation society’ – ‘You pat my back, and I’ll pat yours’! We must learn to point to Jesus, saying, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:30). Let ‘Jesus take the highest honour’. Let His Name be ‘the Name high over all’. ‘’Tis all my business… to cry Behold the Lamb!’ (Mission Praise, 378,385) – Let’s say it and mean it!

4:1-21 – As ‘servants of Christ’, we must concern ourselves with one thing – being ‘found faithful’. This is not a matter of pleasing people – ‘it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you…’. Pleasing God – this is the most important thing (1-4). Serving Christ is not easy. There are always those who are quick to pass judgment on the Lord’s servants. What does God say about this? – ‘Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes’ (9-13,5). Being ‘found faithful’ is not just a matter of ‘saying the right words’. We must be the right people. This is what Paul means when he says, ‘The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power’ (20). ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses’ (Acts 1:8; Romans 12:11).

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