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Sermons

Dividing Over Church Teachers (Pt.1)

July 25, 2021 Speaker: John Bell Series: 1 Corinthians

Passage: 1 Corinthians 1:10–1:17

The THEOLOGICAL MESSAGE of 1 Corinthians is that the gospel requires God’s holy people to mature in purity and unity. The church in Corinth has many problems, but the gospel solves them all.

The BIG PICTURE of our text today: the gospel requires the church to be unified, not divided over its teachers (1:10–17).

Problem #1: (1 Corinthians 1:10-4:21) Some Corinthian Christians are dividing over church teachers. They embrace the values of their Roman society, which divides over ethnicity (e.g., Jews vs. Gentiles) and social rank (wise vs. foolish, powerful vs. weak, noble birth vs. low and despised). Roman culture values polished rhetoric and regards the message of a crucified Messiah as folly. Caught up in rivalries, the Corinthian church boast about their own possession of wisdom and rhetorical eloquence, or that of their favorite leaders. A point of contention with Paul is his failure to display this status-enhancing rhetoric expected of a “wise” and cultured person worthy of their allegiance.

Gospel Solution: “Christ crucified” is the power and wisdom of God (and confounds Roman values). God uses church teachers to plant and water the church, but God alone gives the growth. So do not boast in particular church teachers, because they are merely servants of Christ. Boast in the Lord.

The Ten Issues Paul Addresses in Corinth:
1. Dividing over church teachers (1:10–4:21)
2. Tolerating incest (5:1–13)
3. Bringing lawsuits against one another (6:1–11)
4. Excusing sexual immorality (6:12–20)
5. Having sex in marriage, staying single, getting divorced, and getting married (7:1–40)
6. Eating food offered to idols (8:1–11:1)
7. Wearing head coverings (11:2–16)
8. Abusing the Lord’s Supper (11:17–34)
9. Desiring and using spiritual gifts (12:1–14:40)
10. Denying that God will resurrect believers (15:1–58)

*This outline is indebted to Andrew Naselli’s “1 Corinthians”