Hope you enjoy my notes on a Friday Bible study class taught 12/2/11. This was on the books of the Corinthians and Pastor Don gave us background on why these letters were written by Paul.
Happy first day of summer. Hope you have a great weekend.
Corinthians – Taught 12/2/11
Paul wrote two long letters to the Church at Corinth, one to the Romans, two to Thessalonica, and one to Colossians. To understand the letters to the Corinthians, Pastor Don said we needed to ask some questions.
Where is Corinth? It is in the southern part of Greece. There was a canal that went from Eastern Greece to Western Greece, a route of passage for traders.
It was a port city and the Greeks dedicated it to pagan gods. The Romans accepted the Greek gods and added their own to the mix. Many gods were worshipped with pagan rituals and human sacrifice. Corinth was populated by many rich and well-to-do people.
Just like in America, there was an attitude of, all our needs are met and we can assume that, because we’re prosperous, we are in the right.
We read Acts 18 to see more about Paul’s ministry to Corinth
Acts 18:1-17 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong doing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” And he drove them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.
Paul had the same problem we have here in spreading the Gospel message – the intellect. People wanted to debate and examine things from many points of view. Because many of the people were influenced by greed and commerce, they had no feeling of need for the truth and the true Gospel.
In America, many Southern churches (more so than those in the North East) have a prosperous, prideful sense that they have all the answers, and there is a propensity of Biblical conflicts over doctrine. It isn’t seen so much in the North East because up north it isn’t cultural to attend church. In the South you go to church as part of the culture.
So Paul had to deal with the Greco-Roman worldview, and that made it hard for the inhabitants of Corinth to accept the truth of the Gospel.
God and the spiritual side are in conflict with the world and our mindset. We have to weed out this error and misconception.
After 400AD the Church became corrupted and we have what we know as “church” today. What we teach and tolerate in the church today is an abomination to the First Century church.
In the first few chapters Paul battles egos and they way they receive him and Apollos. Paul teaches that he is an Apostle of the Lord.
Peter and James don’t challenge Paul. They say that Paul has revelation and his teachings line up with the Spirit of the Lord. The Spirit and the Word must agree.
Haven’t we thought at times that the law of the Lord says this, but I can’t partake of it?
Those in Rome were not totally against the Church at Corinth. Rome waited to see how the Jews would handle it. Judaism was at the root of the church at Corinth.
At Corinth the churches met in the homes. The early Christians went to the Temple and were not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus. The Jews did not believe Christ. The Greeks still worshipped idols. Those in the Temple were sometimes friendly, sometimes not.
If Paul came to the Hudson Valley, he would look not for denominations, but for where the Bible believing, Spirit-Filled, tongue-talking people gathered.
In Corinth the Jews worshiped on Saturday, and the Christian Jews then met on Sunday to worship. Everyone was happy.
This kind of house worship, will happen again in America when America changes and becomes subject to the antichrist. Some churches who are politically and socially correct will survive, the others won’t.
The Greek and Roman religions were trying to get into the church. Many of the Christians were tolerating things of the world.
Because of their locale, they Gifts of the Spirit were active in the church, to a fault. There was an overabundance of signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing wrong with these gifts, but Paul wanted them to be used in proper order. Love without responsibility is anarchy.
1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Sosthenes, respected and part of the community, backs Paul up. Also, Paul is an apostle through the will of God.
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
People who are calling on the Lord, the saints
1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul puts in order – Grace is empowerment, not just unmerited favor. Peace shall be on them. Jesus is our CEO.
1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
Grace is the empowerment of God given to us by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave us grace, gifts to men. It is our position and power IN CHRIST. It is a gift – what good is favor without power or ability to use it? Favor is what puts us in position to where we get the authority to do something about our situation.
1 Corinthians 1:5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
Enriched in EVERYTHING. If you have arthritic symptoms, believe and correct the circumstance so you can get out from that limitation. If Jesus is the one enriching us, we should feel good about ourselves. Jesus needs His End Time Army to happen, the battle field. We can’t be effective soldiers for the Lord if we are sick, miserable, and disgusted. We want to be effective for Him.
God/Jesus enriches us in all speaking and knowledge.
1 Corinthians 1:6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
The testimony we give is by demonstration of spiritual gifts. People will see that everything Jesus said we will have, we have.
1 Corinthians 1:7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
This verse is important, we are not to be short in ANY gift.
What are the gifts?
1 Corinthians 12:1-2 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: you know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
Before Christ, we worshipped dumb idols
1 Corinthians 12:3-4 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
There are diverse/different gifts, but they are from the same spirit
1 Corinthians 12:5-6 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
It is the same God who works in all the gifts. God has different ways of working in situations. Today in the church, there are some ways God works that we “approve” and others that we don’t. The Holy Spirit works in ways that may affect our “sensibilities.”
Jesus spat on a person’s tongue to bring about a healing. Jesus ALWAYS obeyed the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit needs unbridled obedience for God to use us to work a miracle.
We don’t need to know why the Holy Spirit directs us to do something, we just need to obey.
Pastor Don said that one day he woke up in the middle of the night and felt the Holy Spirit to direct him to drive down Route 28 toward Kingston. He obeyed and Sylvia was on that road with her car broken down. Sylvia had prayed to God that Pastor Don would come to help her in her situation, and his obedience to God, was the answer to Sylvia’s prayer.
God knows what we need before we ask.
We want to practice obeying God. God needs to know that He can trust us to do what He says and that we won’t take His Glory. We are not called to figure out what He is doing in a situation, just to obey Him.
1 Corinthians 12:8 -10 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
The gifts are listed. The faith mentioned in this list is not your simple, ordinary, everyday faith, but a Spirit of Faith.
Pastor Don spoke about a woman who was small in stature who went to get her tires rotated. The car slipped off the jack and crushed the mechanic. With her supernatural faith, this woman lifted the car off the mechanic, and prayed. She was able to lift a car and the man was able to get out without being hurt. Her faith gave her power beyond her natural ability.
Moses used the Spirit of Faith to part the Red Sea. All Moses had to do was obey God and lift up his rod, and he was able to see the salvation of the Lord. Because of that faith, millions of people were able to cross on Dry land.
The healing mentioned here is not healing in the natural, but a supernatural healing.
The discerning of spirits, to determine if they are Godly or not.
The gifts of tongues, prophecy, and tongues with interpretation, are all spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
These gifts are to be used as God wills. And God will put a gift on us at the right time if we are obedient, but we may not operate in these gifts all the time.
We can get a word of knowledge – information we may not know in the natural, and then a word of wisdom that gives us the information of how to deal with the word of knowledge.
The gifts are faith, healings, prophecy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, healings, miracles, discerning spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
The same Spirit, the Holy Spirit, works through all the gifts, but we use these gifts as God wills.
The Word of Knowledge helps us know if what is manifested is from the devil or an angel. Pastor Don says our church has angels that do the Will of the Holy Spirit. In corporate worship, there is a corporate experience of angels. When we worship in one accord, God can move.
Within a group of believers, God wants a collection of believers to manifest the nine gifts. One may have gifts of healings, another tongues, another interpretation of tongues, etc. God distributes the gifts as He wills for the benefit of all.
Sadly, man draws lines that artificially divide the Body of Christ. There are churches were the members earn forty to sixty thousand dollars, some churches which are considered poor. Walls based on socio-economic standards are built. And some pastors give deference to those with greater finances.
God wants pastors to minister to ALL, and those less fortunate can be trained to improve their circumstances by applying the principles of the Bible.
We tend to define church by a building or denominations. God calls the Church a collection of believers in a given area of the planet.
The Gifts of the Spirit exist.
A lot of pastors are good people, but some have too much ego. They don’t ask another pastor to preach about an area they need teaching about.
Paul says to the Church in Corinth that they have it all, every gift, ministry, and office. Paul came to them as an apostle, in the authority from the head of the Church in Jerusalem.
Paul is writing a letter to them to make sure God’s will is fulfilled. The gifts will be used as the Spirit wills, but because you are used in a gift one time does not make it your ministry.
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
God is faithful. We can get excited and still have stuff wrong. Paul first had to correct the Corinthians on the authority question.