An overview of the book of 1 Corinthians
Christians Should Mature and Grow in Grace
AUTHOR: The Apostle Paul leaving Antioch on his second missionary journey, Paul passed through Phrygia and Galatia and came to Ephesus, where he remained more than two years. This was a much longer time than he had spent in any city on these journeys. It was during this time that reports reached Paul concerning the moral and spiritual state of things in the Corinthian Church. This was the occasion of the writing of this letter.
1 Corinthians 16:7‑8 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.
8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
There were many things at work to hinder the power and progress of the Gospel in Corinth. As indicated before, this letter was written from Ephesus. Paul had come to Corinth from Athens and had remained there 18 months. He began by preaching in the synagogue, but he was driven out of it and was compelled to give his instructions in the home of a man called Justus. During this stay he founded the church of Corinth and wrote the epistles to the Thessalonians which were his first epistles. When you read Acts 18 you find out several things about Paul while he was in Corinth. Paul met Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth. Silas and Timothy joined to help Paul in Corinth. The ruler of synagogue was saved at Corinth. The people of Corinth were a “lower-income class” of society.
THEME: Christians ought to Mature and Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
KEY WORD: SPIRITUAL 16x CARNAL 5x DIVISIONS 3x CONTENTIONS 1x
DATE: 56 A.D.
THE CITY OF CORINTH:
This church was very carnal because it was full of spiritual babies (3:1-3). The word carnal is kin to carnage, carnival, and carnivorous. Marks of carnality are divisions, envy, and strife. The divisions of the church of Corinth were caused by heresies (11:18-19). The people did not have one final authority for their absolute standard of truth. No church can be of one mind when multiple Bibles are used as sources of beliefs (John 12:48; Eph. 4:4-7; Phil. 2:2-3). The Bible is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice. Spiritual unity can only be accomplished one every person of an assembly humbly submits to the one final authority (Ps. 133:1; Eph. 4:1-16).
The Corinthian church wrote Paul about four major problems. The four chapters that begin with the word Now answers the four issues in the church of Corinth (7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1).
The two chapters that begin with the word Moreover provide additional information (10:1; 15:1). The fifteenth chapter is the great Resurrection chapter. Paul bawled out the carnal Christians about their contentions, divisions, jealousy, fornication, self-centeredness, strife, and worldly wisdom for six chapters before he answered their questions. The issues were questions about divorce and remarriage (7:1), eating meat that was offered on the idols (8:1), spiritual gifts (12:1), and giving (16:1).
A simple division of the book could be:
CHAPTERS 1-6 Correction to the Carnal Church (Collectively)
CHAPTERS 7-16 Answering 4 Specific Problems in the Church (Individually)
Another division could be
III. RELIGION OF MAN vs. HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (ch. 10-16)
Every chapter in the Book of I Corinthians is a rebuke on a specific issue.
Chapter 1 ‑ Rebuke for strife and division
Chapter 2 ‑ Depending on human wisdom
Chapter 3 ‑ For carnality
Chapter 4 ‑ For pride
Chapter 5 ‑ For corruption of morals
Chapter 6 ‑ Going to law against one another
Chapter 7 ‑ Homes being out of order
Chapter 8 ‑ For idolatry
Chapter 9 ‑ For not taking proper care of God’s man
Chapter 10 ‑ For lustfulness, murmuring, and compromise with demonic forces.
Chapter 11 ‑ For abusing the Lord’s Table
Chapter 12 ‑ For abuse of spiritual gifts
Chapter 13 ‑ For immaturity and lack of love
Chapter 14 ‑ For glorying in tongue speaking
Chapter 15 ‑ For heretical teaching on the resurrection
Chapter 16 ‑ For unfaithfulness and inconsistency in giving tithes and offerings.
Another Outline that may be helpful you as you read your Bible:
Ch 1 – There should be no divisions among you
Ch 2 – Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men
Be careful how you judge what is and isn’t spiritual
Ch 3 – You are CARNAL Christians and you must understand the Judgment Seat of Christ
Ch 4 – Don’t think of men above that which is written
Ch 5 – Fornication should not be allowed in the Membership of the Local NT Baptist Church
Ch 6 – Flee fornication because you are the temple of the Holy Ghost
Ch 7 – Questions about Divorce and Remarriage
Ch 8 – Questions about eating meat offered to idols
Ch 9 – Understanding God’s man and the work of the ministry
Ch 10 – The Old Testament is given to us to show us what God is and isn’t pleased with
Ch 11 – The Divine order of Leadership and properly administering the Lord’s Supper
Ch 12 – Questions about Spiritual Gifts
Ch 13 – Charity is the greatest gift
Ch 14 – Guidelines for the gift of tongues and its Scriptural practice
Ch 15 – What the Gospel is that we are supposed to preach
Understanding the resurrection and the Rapture
Ch 16 – Questions about proper giving in the Local New Testament Baptist Church
III. THE CHURCH WAS IMMORAL. There was a terrible sin of licentiousness and immorality in the church. Corinth was called the “eye of Greece.” It was the most important city in Greece. Nearly 150 years before Christ it was destroyed by the Romans. It was rebuilt by Julius Caesar and became a metropolis. The population was 500,000 and it was located on the trade route between East and West. Therefore, it was an important commercial center. In such centers the Apostle Paul planted the seeds of the Gospel so it could spread as the travelers went from Corinth to other areas. The sinfulness of this city was notorious. It was here that the social forces of the age met. All of the sin that had been the shame of other religious sects was found here. They worshiped the goddess of love – Venus.
RELIGION: THE GARDEN OF IDOLS
Roman religion Bacchus
Phonecian religion Baal
Israelite religion Golden Calf
Ammonites religion Moloch(Fire god)
Athenian religion Athenia
Egyptian religion Ra(Sun god)
Corinthian religion Venus(goddess of love)
Impurity was indulged as a religious service. One thousand consecrated prostitutes were found in the name of religion. It was much like the situation found in America.
INDIVIDUAL TRUTHS FROM 1 CORINTHIANS
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
It is the duty of the Christian to labor for the Lord Jesus. The most practical doctrine for the Christian is the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10-11). The works of the believer or tried by fire at this judgment, but the flames do not touch the person as Noah was saved by water yet the water did not touch Noah (1 Peter 3:20). The criteria of the work is its quality, not quantity (1 Cor. 13:1-3; 1 Thess. 1:3; Heb. 6:10). Works of gold represent proper worship of God because the furnishings of the tabernacle were overlaid with gold (John 4:24). Gold is laid up in heaven when God is given first place (Matt. 6:19-21). Silver represents the word of God and the price of redemption (Lev. 5:15-18; Ps. 12:6-7). Redemption money is backed by silver and Judas Iscariot betrayed the Redeemer for 30 pieces of silver (Num. 3:47-49; Zech. 11:12-13). Silver is laid up in heaven when a soul winner witnesses for the Redeemer. The precious stones are people (Prov. 31:10; Mal. 3:17; 1 Peter 2:4-5). People who are saved become jewels in the sole winner’s crown (Zech. 9:16; 1 Thess. 2:19-20). The babies in Christ should not be given to false prophets (Matt. 7:6). There is also a possibility of seven crowns being awarded at this vital judgment (Job 31:35-36; Prov. 17:6; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 1 Thess. 2:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Rev. 2:10). There is a chance of losing crowns and rewards also (2 John 7-8; Rev. 3:11). Cooperating with religious liberals forfeits the rewards (2 Peter 2:15).
Lot pictures a believer who will receive everlasting life in heaven with no rewards because all of his works were consumed in the flames (2 Peter 2:6-8). Wood, hay, and stubble picture the dead works of the flesh (Heb. 9:14).
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Stewards are entrusted with seven major mysteries of God (Rom. 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; Eph. 5:32; Col. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rev. 17:5). A Mistry is difficult to explain because it is mysterious, but it is to be taught and believed. The seven major mysteries are the blindness of Israel, the Rapture, the new birth and the body of Christ, the indwelling of Christ in the body of the Saint, the growth of worldwide iniquity and the antichrist, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and the pagan religions of Romanism and Islam. When these mysteries are not faithfully proclaimed, false doctrines will be taught in their stead. They heresies that rise in opposition to the mysterious truths are British Israelism or anti-Semitism, the church in the tribulation or a split-Rapture, no eternal security for the believer, self-asceticism or sinless perfection, evolution, Arianism, and global ecumenicism.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
Fornication is defined in its entirety in Leviticus 18. Fornication includes, without restriction, sodomy, incest, beastiality, and adultery (Jude 6-7). This sexual perversion is called the doings of Egypt (Lev. 18:3; Ezek. 16:26) Pornography stimulates perverted and erotic passions by pictures that can never be fulfilled lawfully (Num. 33:52). The word pictures is changed in the new bibles. Pictures and images provide the wicked heart with visions of sin (Ezek. 8:7-12; Rom. 13:14). The moving pictures of television and videos are more deadly in promoting fornication and perversion than still pictures because they appear more lifelike (Ps. 101:3; 2 Peter 2:14) Serial murderers and Satanic ritualistic abusers feast on perversion, pornography, and sodomy. Fornication and lust are the driving forces behind the religions of sun worship (Gen. 10:9). Fornication invites evil spirits into the body for enslavement and evil (1 Cor. 6:18).
1 Corinthians 6:15-20 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Fornication is a sin against the body, soul and spirit. When a man knows and harlot, he joins with her. Unclean spirits freely flow between the parties; therefore, one party can be infested with the evil spirits of the other party. Transmitted diseases affect the physical body and the evil spirits affect the spiritual body. Herbs and holiness may heal the natural body, but the blood of Jesus Christ will heal the spiritual body (Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7).
1 Corinthians 9:11-15 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
It is the duty of the people to meet the physical needs of the ministers, but when it is possible wise ministers joyfully serve without monetary pay. The temptation for the ministers who receive all of their funds from the ministry is to compromise in order to not offend the wealthy. Since Paul provided for his own physical needs, he had liberty to preach the truth without any fear of losing financial support (Acts 20:33-34; 1 Cor. 10:33).
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The incorruptible Crown will be awarded at the judgment seat of Christ to the soldier who controlled the fleshly appetites of the body (1 Cor. 10:31). A professional athlete is temperate in all things, except the sport he seeks to master. A New Testament soldier is temperate in all things, but he is a fanatic of the word of God (Job 23:12; Ps. 119:11; Jer. 15:16; Luke 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:15). The incorruptible Crown will be awarded to the ones who take care of their physical body. They eat healthy foods and drink pure water. They exercise regularly, but true godliness and spiritual work are not neglected for the physical body (1 Tim. 4:8).
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The castaway does not lose his salvation; he loses his influence and ministry. The greatest cause of castaways of the ministry is the flesh being allowed to control the desires and the dishonest professor of higher learning (1 Kings 13).
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
God has given the believer several tools to overcome temptation. This promise provides a way to escape from temptation (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22). The greatest tool is the holy Bible (Ps. 119:11). Other tools our prayer, fasting, the blood of the Lord Jesus, and rec and yourself dead to sin (Mark 9:29; Rom. 6:11; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 6:10; Heb. 9:14; James 4:7; Rev. 12:11).
1 Corinthians 11:3-5 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
Paul records the divine order of leadership in a home, a local church, and government. The Son voluntarily subjected Himself to God the Father (Luke 22:42) and man should voluntarily submit to the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:15-18). Since Eve was made for Adam, the woman helps and submits to the man. The man gives her love and protection (Eph. 5:25-28).
Satan reverses the roles of the men and women for confusion, deception, and destruction (Isa. 3:12; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:9-15). The two offices in a local church are to be occupied by men (1 Tim. 3:1). The order of leadership is symbolized by the covering of the head. If a man prays with long hair or a hat on his head or a woman prays with short hair and no covering, commonsense discerns something isn’t right. Long hair covers the ears, the back of the neck, and part of the four head. Long hair or in head covering pictures humble submission to a marriage coverture (Ruth 3:7).
1 Corinthians 11:14-15 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
Angels and spirits interpret long hair on men and shorthair on women as rebellion to their authority; therefore, the person is available for a relationship (Gen. 6:1-4; 2 Peter 2:10-14).
Jewish men under the law had different rules about hair than Christian men (Lev. 19:27).
1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Worldly Christians and the world usually talk about love, but the recipient of the love is themselves (Isa. 29:13; Ezek. 33:31; Mark 7:6). People who boast of their love for God are either trying to convince themselves or others because their actions and attitude betray them. True love for God suffers patiently for the Lord and does not boast of its service for God.
1 Corinthians 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Love for others is manifested by yielding your preferences and rights (Rom. 12:10). Love for others is not easily provoked by hypersensitivity and offenses (Ps. 119:165). God patiently endured our foolishness; therefore, servants of god patiently endure the foolishness of others.
1 Corinthians 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
The gift of prophecy is greater than tongues, but a deceived charismatic will boast of her humility to exercise the least gift. The charismatic movement is an effeminate and emotional movement designed to overthrow the words of God through personal experiences. The word charisma means gifted; therefore, these carnal clones boast of their gifts (Prov. 25:14).
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
The great mystery of the Rapture is not to be ignored by believers (1 Thess. 4:13-18). This great event for born-again believers will occur just prior to the Tribulation. The tribulation is called Jacob’s Trouble, not the Church’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7). The rapture experience of John is recorded in Revelation 4-5 before the seal judgments of the Tribulation. This mystery was not revealed until Paul, but the promise of a post-tribulation resurrection was clearly promised to the nation of Israel (Ps. 50:4-5; Isa. 26:16-21; Ezek. 37). The word rapture stems from the Latin word rapere, which means to seize by force (1 Thess. 5:2). The Lord Jesus will shout, “Come up hither,” and seize His possessions from the world (Rev. 4:1). The dead in Christ will rise. Then living Christians will mysteriously be transformed and transported into heaven as Enoch was translated before the flood (Heb. 11:5). This is a miraculous victory over death and the grave. The unsaved will hear the trumps like thunder that warn of a coming storm (Job 37:1-5; John 12:29). Elijah and the sons of the profits knew of Elijah’s departure (2 Kings 2:1-12) and faithful believers know of their departure (1 Thess. 5:1-6; 2 Tim. 4:6).
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
The final issue of the church of Corinth was the manner of contributions to the work of the Lord. Abraham tithed before the law (Gen. 14:20); therefore, the minimum for the believer is the tithe. The tithe and offerings support the work of the ministry and poor saints (Gal. 2:10).
CONCLUSION: There were many other sins in the church at Corinth–the sin of the misuse of tongues, the sin of immorality, the sin of not having enough love, etc. However, the lesson for this week should be characterized by the desire for Christians to grow to the fullest of stature. God wants us to grow in grace. (NOTE TO TEACHER: Talk with the pupils about retarded children and the tragedy of children being retarded. Talk about the heartache of their parents and the consequent heartache God must feel when we as Christians do not develop as we should. Talk with the pupils about the things that will help them mature–the Word of God, prayer, Bible study, faithfulness to church, proper fellowship with other Christians, running with the right crowd, etc.)
OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF I CORINTHIANS
THERE WERE DIVISIONS!
They were divided over human leaders. (1 Cor. 1:10-17)
These people were divided into 4 basic groups, based upon their
favorite preacher. (1 Cor. 1:11-12) – For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which &e of the house of Chloe, that there &e contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith’ I am of Paul; and I of ApoUos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
“I am of Paul.” Since Paul founded the church, many of the charter members were reminding the current pastor about the “good old days” – when Paul was their preacher.
“I of Apollos” – Others were enjoying their beloved pastor and were wanting to see the church quit living in the past and start moving forward.
“I of Cephas” – This bunch got bored with both of their pastors and got excited when Peter would come to town and preach a great sermon. They wouldn’t come to the regular services but were on the front pew “amening” the evangelist!
“I of Christ” – This group tried to use a spiritual sounding title for themselves and probably excused themselves from giving any loyalty to any preacher.
Paul wrote to shame them into realizing that if they were really followers of Christ, there would be NO DIVISIONS! (1 Cor. 1:13) – Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
They were divided over “wisdom.” (1 Cor. 1:18-2:13)
God’s wisdom is greatly misunderstood by earthly wisdom.
(1 Cor.1:18) – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
God’s wisdom has chosen to use preaching as the method of spreading His gospel. But to the world, it looks like foolishness. (1 Cor. 1:21) – It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
God has given the key of understanding to the believers who can understand His divine wisdom through the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:14) -“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Paul is here reminding them that this division is the result of their not being able to understand God in their own wisdom.
They were divided because of their worldliness.
These people saw themselves as spiritual giants, whereas Paul points to their divisions as proof that they are spiritual babies!
(1 Cor. 3:10) – And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
The proof of our spiritual maturity is not measured by how much Bible we know but how much Bible we live!
They were divided over pride.
They had no business comparing themselves with other Christians and seeing themselves as superior. (1 Cor. 4:7) – For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive, now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Rather, they were to look at the lives of the apostles and learn how to be humble. (1 Cor. 4:16) – Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
Paul then warns them that he will deal very harshly with this one particular matter of pride. (1 Cor. 4:21) – What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
THERE WAS A LACK OF DISCIPLINE!
Paul rebuked the church for being tolerant of an on-going sinful relationship of a faithful church member. (1 Cor. 5:1-2) – It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
Paul then instructs the church to remove the fornicator from their presence.
They were to spiritually turn him over to the Lord for chastening or perhaps even death. (1 Cor. 5:5) – “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
They were to physically remove him from their presence in the church. (1 Cor. 5:13) – But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
There were 3 valid reasons why this church needed to remove this person from their presence.
To help the man repent. In (II Cor. 2:6-8) we find this man did get a broken heart and Paul then encouraged them to receive him back again.
To keep sin from spreading. (1 Cor. 5:6) – Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
To keep a pure testimony before the world for not tolerating sin in the church.
II THERE WAS STRIFE!
Concerning law suits. (1 Cor. 6:1) – Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before tile saints?
These members had gotten in the practice of taking fellow members to court and suing them over minor matters.
Paul is not condemning the court system, since he also personally used it in appealing to appear before Caesar. (Acts 25:10-11)
Paul is telling this church that they should not go to the heathen to settle their differences, but should rather go to their spiritual leaders for a decision.
Concerning personal conduct. (1 Cor. 6:12) – All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Some church members were involved in some “gray” activities which may not have been expressly forbidden in Scripture; but Paul here explains that though not forbidden, these things may not be a wise choice.
He goes on to harshly rebuke “black” areas absolutely forbidden, such as fornication. (1 Cor. 6:18) – Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Paul concludes with the primary reason why these Christians were to be concerned about their conduct at all times; because they no longer had a say-so about what they did – and neither do we.
(1 Cor. 6:19-20) – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Prior to salvation, we could do as we pleased because we were going to voluntarily pay our own sin-debt. But now, Christ has not only paid our sin-debt for us, but has actually purchased US! We belong to Him!
SECTION ON DIVORCE
In such a controversial subject as divorce and remarriage, we need to be reminded that the Bible is the only point of reference that ought to be considered. Where the Bible speaks, we should listen; where the Bible is silent, we ought to be silent.
In the matter of divorce and remarriage, there are 2 extremes which could be avoided by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.
One extreme which is common is best described as being extra-Biblical. This view has a tendency to add personal views and opinions to the Biblical view. Usually, this view sees a divorced person as being unable to do anything in the church except tithe.
The other extreme is best referred to as non-Scriptural. This view holds that divorce is alright and removes the plain and clear Scriptural teachings forbidding divorce or remarriage in certain instances.
The purpose of this lesson, therefore, is to treat the subject of divorce and remarriage in light of the Bible – to listen where the Bible speaks and to keep silent when it is silent.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT MARRIAGE?
When it is permissible.
Two Christians never before married are allowed to get married.
(Cor. 7:39) – The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
When it is questionable.
Can two lost people get married? The Bible is silent on giving them permission. There are ample instances where God recognized these marriages as existing, but there is no Scriptural permission given. For this reason, some preachers refuse to marry lost people, which is their choice.
When it is forbidden.
A Christian is expressly forbidden by the Bible from marrying a lost person.
(I Cor. 7:39) – The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
(II. Cor. 6:14) – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
For this reason many preachers should refuse to
perform mixed marriages (saved and lost people.)
Also, it would be wise for a Christian to not even date
an unsaved person, because you should not risk falling
in love with someone you are forbidden from marrying.
Homosexual or lesbian marriages are clearly forbidden by Scripture, since marriage was designed for a man and a woman, and because homosexuality is a perversion referred to as an abomination. (Lev. 18:22) – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT DIVORCE?
When it may be permissible.
Many people don’t want to admit the fact that divorce is allowed in Scripture feeling that it will encourage people to get a divorce. God’s permission for divorce is an allowance – not His desire!
The Bible mentions two and only two definite reasons or allowances for divorce.
Matthew 19:9 – And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
(Matthew 5:32) – But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall many her that is divorced committeth adultery.
3 The primary misunderstanding concerning this allowance for divorce is the lack of distinction between adultery and fornication.
4 Adultery is unfaithfulness to a marriage partner. A divorce because of adultery is not allowed!
5 Fornication is not a single act or incident but rather a lifestyle with no repentance. It includes all sexual sins (Prostitution, homosexuality, etc.)
Mixed marriage where the lost partner wants a divorce.
I Corinthians 7:15 – But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
If a Christian is married to a lost person, God’s desire is for
the marriage to remain. Why? Because the saved person becomes a tool of evangelism and blessing in the home. God will use them many times to win the lost spouse to Christ. (I Cor. 7:14) – For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
However, if the lost spouse wants to end the marriage, the
saved person is to allow them the freedom to end the marriage.
(I Cor. 7:15) – let him depart. Does this mean that God favors divorce? Of course not! It simply means that He has chosen to make an allowance.
At this point, some well-meaning Christians may argue that God would never tolerate a divorce. To take such a view is to ignore plain Scripture, as mentioned above as well as (Jer. 3:8) – And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
When it is forbidden. The number one cause for divorce is legally referred to as “incompatibility.” Its Biblical name is “sin.”
Just because 2 people don’t get along, there is NO Scriptural reason for a divorce and therefore, ANY reason other than the 2 previously mentioned allowances will result in an unscriptural and sinful divorce.
It is critical that a person recognize very openly and honestly this statement. Why? Because if they have committed a sin in divorcing their mate in violation of Scripture – they MUST confess it as sin, or they will suffer broken fellowship!
Does this mean that God expects a wife to allow a drunken husband to come home and beat on her? No, He expects her to seek counsel from her pastor!
III. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT REMARRIAGE?
When it is permissible.
Death of spouse. The death of the spouse frees the remaining partner to remarry. (‘Cor. 7:39) – “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
Reconciliation. When two Christians have divorced one another, they are allowed to remarry each other. (I Cor. 7:11) – “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”
If a divorce has occurred where one spouse is guilty of fornication (not adultery), the innocent spouse is not guilty of committing adultery if a remarriage does occur.
Matt. 19:9 – And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
When it is questionable. Can a Christian woman remarry if the unsaved husband sues for divorce, as is mentioned in (I Cor. 7:15)?
Some believe that she is allowed to remarry based on
(I Cor. 7:15). –But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. They believe that “not under bondage” refers to the bonds of marriage and feel that one experiences a Scriptural divorce is free to remarry.
Others, however, point to Matt. 5:32 as offering fornication as the only grounds for remarriage following any divorce – including mixed marriage where the lost husband desires and seeks a divorce.
I personally lean toward the view that the mixed marriage is not to remarry. Why? Because “not under bondage” (I Cor. 7:15) refers to a wife obeying her former husband – she no longer is required to submit herself to his authority, but I don’t see freedom granted to remarry in this verse.
When it is forbidden.
Two Christians who divorce are forbidden from remarrying someone else, in hopes of a reconciliation. (I Cor. 7:10-11) – And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
A person who divorces, remarries another spouse, and divorces again is forbidden from remarrying their original spouse. Deut. 24:1-4)
A person who is divorced for any reason other than for fornication is forbidden from remarrying. (Matt. 19:9)
What about a person who got a divorce while lost and then gets saved? What about a Christian who has been forgiven of an unscriptural divorce?
Salvation removes the penalty of our sins – not the consequences! A man may commit murder and be sentenced to the electric chair. While on death row, he may get saved, but that doesn’t remove the consequences (electric chair) for his crime.
WHAT SHOULD OUR ATTITUDES BE?
Realize that divorce can occur in any home – even yours!
Realize that divorce is not the unpardonable sin and can be forgiven just like gossip, gluttony, and pride!
Realize that every preacher will give an account of his ministry to the Lord. Because of this fact, I want to be 100% sure that I do the right thing concerning divorce and remarriage.
If asked to marry 2 lost people, I would try to win both to Christ.
If asked to give my consent for divorce on any grounds, I will not do so.
If asked to remarry a couple who claim their divorces were on grounds of fornication, I will not take their word for it. My refusal to remarry them is not a belief that their remarriage is forbidden by Scripture but is simply a statement that I am not 100% sure of the circumstances.
I will not marry a saved person and a lost person.
I will not marry any couple if I do not have absolute peace that they are God’s choice for one another.
I will not marry a young couple if parents are against the wedding.
WHAT SHOULD OUR ADVICE BE?
If single and never married, make sure that you are saved and your fiancé’ as well.
If single and divorced for any reason other than fornication, remain single until the death of your spouse.
If divorced for any reason other than fornication and remarried, confess your marriage as having been wrong.
Matthew 19:9 and then honor your most recent vows. David’s marriage to Bathsheba began as adultery but was later blessed by God because of confession!
If married and having marital problems – DO NOT SEEK A DIVORCE! Go to your pastor and get counsel.
The worst solution to a marital problem is separation!
WHAT ABOUT CHRISTIAN LIBERTY? (1 Cor. 8-10)
Is it wrong to eat meat sacrificed to idols?
(1 Corinthians 8:1) – Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
Corinth contained many heathen temples where animals were sacrificed daily. The meat was then taken to the market and sold at cheaper prices. Some Christians were buying their meat there while others were condemning them for buying idolatrous meat.
Paul’s solution was for a Christian to consider 3 things.
Consider your own attitude. (1 Cor. 8:1) Before dealing with specifics, Paul prepares the stronger Christians to beware of pride.
Consider your brother’s knowledge. (1 Cor. 8:4-8) A new Christian may not know better.
Some new converts in the Corinthian church were fearful of eating this meat believing it to be demon-possessed and sinful.
Paul’s reply? (1 Cor. 8:8) – “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” Paul is telling the church that a person is not spiritual because of what is eaten.
Consider your brother’s conscience. (1 Cor. 8:9-11)
In Paul’s day, there were many people who had been saved out of idolatry. They used to participate in the heathen sacrifices. To eat this sacrificed meat was to bring back some memories of a wicked past and caused them enormous guilt.
Rather than causing a fellow Christian to feel guilty and possibly fall back into a wicked past, Paul stated his willingness to forfeit his right to eat such meats. (1 Cor. 8:13) -“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”
Clothing. Paul begins by reminding the church of God’s “chain-of command.” 1 Cor. 11:3 – But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
(1) They need to come to church wearing a veil or covering. Failure to do so was publicly flaunting their lack of submission to godly authority.
(2) They also need to wear their hair longer and distinctly different from men. Why? Because God created men and women different – on purpose! He wants there to be a marked difference in appearance.
The Person. (1 Cor. 11:23-25) – For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. It would seem the Lord personally instructed only Paul concerning the Lord’s Supper as an ordinance of the church. Paul reminds the church that the most important aspect of this ordinance is Jesus Christ.
The perversion. (1 Cor. 11:19-21) – For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. These members were placing themselves first and foremost and were guilty of gluttony and sinning against the poorer members of the church.
The purpose. (1 Cor. 11:26-28) – For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. The purpose of this ordinance is to cause every Christian to be reminded of the crucifixion, to examine themselves and to be looking for the return of Christ.
The prerequisites. Two types of individuals are forbidden from partaking of the Lord’s Supper. The lost person and the backslidden (unclean) Christian.
The penalty. (1 Cor. 11:29-30) – For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himseW, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. Paul here warns the people of the consequences of coming to the Lord’s Supper table with unconfessed sin – weakness, illness or even death!
III. WHAT ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS? (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
There are 2 types of gifts – temporary and permanent.
Temporary – These gifts were given during the first century and then phased out.
What were they? They were the gifts of apostleship, prophecy, healing, miracles, knowledge, tongues and interpretation of tongues.
Why were they given?
(1) To emphasize the authority of the apostles (healing and miracles.) 2 Cor. 12; 12 – Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
(2) To reveal new divine knowledge, prophecy, knowledge and tongues.)
(3) When the Bible was complete, however, there was no longer a need for these temporary gifts. (1Cor. 13:10) –But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Permanent – These gifts were given to remain on a permanent basis. These are wisdom, faith, discernment, helps, teaching, exhortation, giving, administration, mercy, and enablement for evangelism and pastoring.
One great concept needs to be realized when discussing spiritual gifts. They are useless if not used with compassion.
Most Christians are familiar with the resurrection, but have accepted some false beliefs as being Scriptural. The most common false belief is the observance of “Good Friday.”
12:40 – For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. This should be taken literally as meaning 72 hours (3 literal 24 hour days). For this to be true, the crucifixion of Christ must have occurred on WEDNESDAY not Friday.
“Good Friday” is a Catholic holiday which was held over by Protestant churches after the Reformation. It is not a Scriptural celebration, nor does it coincide with the Bible. If anything, it should be “Good Wednesday!”
There have also been numerous attempts to substitute the Biblical resurrection with other “theories.”
Fraud theory – the disciples invented the story of the resurrection.
Swoon theory – that Christ fainted on the cross and was later revived while in the tomb.
Vision theory – that the disciples hallucinated and thought or imagined that they saw Him.
Heart theory – that He was only resurrected in the hearts of His friends.
WHAT ABOUT AN OFFERING? (1 Cor. 16)
The churches were asked by Paul to take part in a special “love” offering for the poor Christians in Jerusalem.
Paul then gives 4 facts concerning offerings of the church.
Who was to give? (1 Cor. 16:2) – “let everyone of you.” The responsibility of giving rests with each individual.
When were they to give? (1 Cor. 16:2) – “The first day of the week” this being Sunday.
How much were they to give? (1 Cor. 16:2) – “As God hath prospered.” Notice there is no percentage amount given. This is not referring to the tithe (10%), but to a love offering.
Who was to receive the offering? (1 Cor. 16:3) – “Whosoever ye shall approve.” The church is responsible for selecting men to care for the offering (deacons.)