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The Church the World Needs | To Corinth, with Love

September 12, 2021
1 Corinthians 1:1-9

1Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—7so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth that at the time was growing and wrestling with what it meant to be faithful followers of Jesus in a metropolitan city. Corinth, a port city located along a major trade route, was a financial, cultural, and political hub of its time. Because of this, people with different political, ethnic and religious backgrounds converged to this city and the church reflected this diversity. It was this dynamic that provided unique challenges and opportunities for the church to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Paul’s letter addressed many of the specific issues Corinth faced, and his letter has been deeply relevant for the church through the centuries and remains vitally important for the church in our time as well.

Purpose

To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst

To cultivate mutually encouraging-relationships

To participate in God’s mission to the world

Opening Prayer

Gracious God, make each of us an instrument of your grace. Weave us into a community showing forth your power and tenderness. Bless us and our differences and under gird our courage to stand together. We call on you today to gather us in your love. Lead us to better know you and glorify you on each step of the journey of our lives. Amen.

Responsive Prayer—Psalm 96

1Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 

2Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 

3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 

4For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. 

5For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 

6Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 

7Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! 

8Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 

9Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! 

10Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” 

11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 

12let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 

13before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness

Discussion Questions

1. Looking at the Bible: What does the text say?

2. Looking at Jesus: What is Paul asking us to believe about God, Jesus, humanity and the world around us?

Application Question: What would it look like this week to put your faith in the God Paul describes here, active, faithful, and generous? How might you see and experience God’s generosity this week?

3. Looking at our Hearts: How does Paul want us to live given what we are to believe?

Application question: How does the reality that we are not lacking any gift and that our God is generous shape our life together? 

4. Looking at our World: What does Paul want us to hope for?

Application question: Reflect on some of the things or events you are most hoping for in your immediate future. How might v.7-8 shape or refine or redirect your immediate hopes? 

  • View Study Guide Notes

    Leader Notes

    1. Looking at the Bible: What does the text say?

    • Invite your group to read carefully and slowly while paying attention to what Paul says and how he says it. 
    • Are there turns of phrase or metaphors that jump out to you? 
    • Does this passage remind you of another part of Scripture? Why? 
    • How might it help us understand this passage better?

     

    2. Looking at Jesus: What is Paul asking us to believe about God, Jesus, humanity and the world around us?

    • For Paul, Jesus is actively at work in the lives of the church in Corinth. Paul believes he is called by God and so is everyone in the church. v.2: called to be saints together…
    • Paul wants us to believe in a generous God. v.7: so that you are not lacking in any gift…
    • Paul wants us to believe God is faithful. v.9: God is faithful, by whom you were called…

     

    Application Question: What would it look like this week to put your faith in the God Paul describes here, active, faithful, and generous? How might you see and experience God’s generosity this week?

     

    3. Looking at our Hearts: How does Paul want us to live given what we are to believe?

    • As we get further into Paul’s letter, we will read about the deep divisions that were taking place within the church, but as he begins his letter how does referring to the church as those sanctified in Christ and saints together in v. 2 shape how they are to live as a community? 

     

    Application question: How does the reality that we are not lacking any gift and that our God is generous shape our life together? 

    • If God is generous and we are not lacking any gift then we need not be competitive or jealous about what God is doing in one another’s lives. We can celebrate the good news of others knowing God is also at work in us. 

     

    4. Looking at our World: What does Paul want us to hope for?

    • The Corinthian church was facing an uncertain future as the religious, political, and economic world was changing rapidly. How would Paul’s opening remarks in this letter give them hope for their future?  
    • v.7-8: Paul acknowledges that we are waiting for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, he will sustain us to the end.

     

    Application question: Reflect on some of the things or events you are most hoping for in your immediate future. How might v.7-8 shape or refine or redirect your immediate hopes?