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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


The Second Sunday After Epiphany

Option #1: "A Letter to the Church of God"
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

A friend of mine is in Florida. He is going to umpire school. He hopes to work in the major leagues someday. If he does, he'll be making a lot of calls. You might say that Paul is doing the same thing. He reminds us that God's people are:

I. Called out of darkness--2 Cor 4:6, 1 Pet 2:9-10 

II. Called to be holy--1 Cor 1:30, John 17:17-19, Acts 26:18, Eph 5:26-27 

III. Called to be enriched--text, v5; note word ploutizoo, as in "plutocrat"--cf 2 Cor 6:10-11 

IV. Called to be blameless at the Judgment--text, vv7-8; also see 1 Thess 3:13, Eph 5:27, Phil 2:15, Col 1:22-23, 1 Thess 3:13, 5:23; Jude 24-25 

V. Called into eternal fellowship with God--v9; John 17:21, Eph 2:20-22, 1 John 1:3-4 & 7, 3 John 4 

John MacArthur writes:

As Christians we are not condemned but are declared holy. Our sins are forgiven, set aside forever. And since our new nature in Christ is holy, our living should also be holy. "Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry," Paul teaches (Col 3:5). In other words, our orientation to the world, our sinful and fleshly desires, are to be done away with and considered as no longer existing--because we "have died and [our] life is hidden with Christ in God" (3:3). A few verses later the apostle explains that the reason lying should be forsaken is that "the old self with its evil practices" has been laid aside and we have "put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (3:9-10).

Because we have come into a unique relationship with God through Christ, those things have no legitimate part in our lives. Unholy things have no place in a holy life. The new person is conformed to the image of Christ. Because He is holy, we are holy, we are saints. That is the foundation of Christian living. In 1:4-9 Paul summarizes the benefits of believing in Christ, of being a saint. The benefits have three dimensions. Some are past, from the time we became Christ's own. Others are present, worked out as we live our lives in Him. Still others are future, to be experienced only when we go to be with Him in heaven. In the past there is grace, in the present there are gifts, and for the future there are guarantees. Our past is already taken care of, our present is provided for, and our future is assured.

+  +  +

Option #2: "Confirmed By, In and For Christ"
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Rev. Kelly Bedard


(I am indebted to Quentin Wesselschmidt for this outline)

A. The Word of God is the primary source for counsel on mending broken relationships and standards of moral conduct

B. Jesus Christ has justified and the Holy Spirit is sanctifying both those who have remained faithful and those who have lapsed

C. Attention must be focused not on the past and the sources of difficulties but on the goal of Christian faith and life, namely, God's gracious and free gift of eternal life

Notes

1. ploutizo (v5): enrich, make rich; of spiritual riches; to be richly furnished 

2. gnosis (v 5): knowledge, science; knowledge signified in general intelligence, understanding; the general knowledge of Christian religion; the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced; especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians; moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living

3. Situation at Corinth: 1) development of factions in the congregation; 2) increasing moral laxity; 3) spiritual immaturity; 4) litigations in secular courts; 5) abuse of/drunkenness at the Lord's Supper; 6) false teaching regarding the resurrection. (Wesselschmidt)

4. Difficulties in dealing with factious parties or spiritually offending individuals within a congregation or other social unit: a) we are more interested in victory than restoration or recovery of the offending individuals; b) we view those on the other side of the conflict as having placed themselves outside of the congregation or Christian social circle; c) we no longer see them as recipients of God's redeeming grace and love. (Wesselschmidt)

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