We embark on our new and exciting study of the first letter to the Corinthian Church, 16 chapters long. All right. Generations of churches have utilized the treasures of this letter, and many have pondered its mysteries as well. And we’re going to go after all of it, and I hope you’re ready for that. First Corinthians will teach us, really a diversity of topics.
These are just some of them. Marriage and the single life. That’s in there. Sexual immorality and its consequences. How to use our talents in the church. First Corinthians covers that. Unity and division. Also, the role of women in our public gatherings. All of that’s in there that we’re going to have plenty of time to dissect.
I hope you’re looking forward to that. We’ll also cover two of my personal favorites from this letter to the Corinthian church. Number one, the inspiring breakdown and description of our Christian resurrection. That’s what we live for, right? That’s what we want to talk about.
That’s what this is all about. Jesus has risen, and we will too. And Paul goes to great lengths to explain that in First Corinthians 15. I’m looking forward to that. And, of course, there’s the timeless definition of love that we find in First Corinthians 13.
So not only will we study that, but I think it’s going to be informative and enhancing of our Bible study to see how 1 Corinthians 13, this scripture that we pull off many times and use in different circumstances, well, how does it fit in context to this letter? How does it fit? Why is Paul taking the time? How do we have this definition of love? I mean, it didn’t come out of nowhere.It came in the context of this specific letter, and that’s very important to understand. So I’m ready for first corinthians. Are you ready? Ready or not, here it comes. All right.
Turn your Bibles to First Corinthians, chapter one. We’ll read the first nine verses today. But first, I want to tell you in advance here’s the rock solid conviction I believe First Corinthians desires to build in you. We must work together. We must work together to build this church and advance the gospel in East Orlando.
We do this together. We must work together, and we must trust one another on many different levels. And if you’re new to our church, if you’re visiting today, you’re just checking us out, maybe for the first or second time. I’ll tell you what, don’t tune out. You probably have exactly what we need to build this church.
You could be one of the missing pieces. So stick around. Don’t tune out. We’re glad you’re here. We need your help.
But here’s why you need to know this. This, what we have up here on the screen, this rock solid conviction that First Corinthians hopes to build in us, this is much easier said than done. I mean, it sounds great, like, amen, whatever, but it’s hard. It’s hard.
And as we will see, the inability to work together nearly destroyed the church in Corinth. So as we begin our study here today, let’s commit ourselves to humbly learn from their mistakes. Because, truth be told, in our church here in Orlando, we face many of the same threats that they did in Corinth 2000 years ago.
Now, in a reversal of our typical order, here’s your living water challenges for the week. We haven’t even read the scripture yet, but I’m going to throw this out there for you. Number one, like we did with Hebrews, I appeal to you to read 1 Corinthians all the way through, if possible, in one sitting. Not little itty bitty verses, the whole letter. Now, it may take you two sittings, I get it.
But it’d be great if you could just take the time to read it to soak it in all in one shot. Read it as one letter because that’s what it is.
If you need two sittings, I get it, that’s fine. But please study it first as a complete document. Read it how it was originally received by the church. I think it’ll enhance your Bible study. Number two, I think it’s very, very helpful for background material to make sure you’re familiar and read Acts chapter 18.
That’s your resource on how the Corinthian church began. This all works together and we’ll refer to Acts Chapter 18 from time to time. But that’s going to give you the background information, the back story that you need as we study out 1 Corinthians. So with that being said, let’s now dive into this letter. First Corinthians, one verse one. Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus and our brother Sosthones to 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, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. So there’s the greeting. Paul and Sosthones, they are the senders of this epistle. Verse one, Paul immediately identifies himself. He tells us he’s an apostle of Jesus.
He is one who has been sent by the Lord himself. So what this does in part, it clarifies Paul’s authority to go on and say the difficult things he’s about to say to the church. But let’s be clear. This is not a power play by Paul. He’s not flexing his muscles just for the sake of doing this.
God called him to be an apostle. And if you know Paul’s story, he ran away from this, all right? God called him to be an apostle. And if you know what we’re about to read in the coming months in this letter, Paul would never presume to write in the fashion that he does to them unless God gave him this task because he’s about to say a lot of intense things that are very uncomfortable. So God gave him this task.
Verse two, very subtle but important. Paul is writing to the Church of God that is in Corinth. This is very important in setting up this letter, these few words, this phrase, the Church of God, that is in Corinth. Paul states from the get go, this church belongs to God.
The church does not belong to its leaders. Leaders come and go. The church does not belong to a certain group over here, or the church doesn’t belong to its culture, nor does the church belong to a specific city. The church belongs to God.
And it is God and God alone that brought into existence this church in Corinth. And then continuing in verse two, paul addresses those who are sanctified, another word for being made holy in Jesus, those called to be saints. Now, we’ve lifted up this word saints to something that it doesn’t mean these days. Saints here, when you see it in the Bible, it’s just another word for disciple of Jesus or a Christian.
It’s still completely awesome, all right? But it’s not like a higher level Christian, all right, but they’re called to be saints. But look what he does next. He wants to make it clear right away in his greeting that they’re not the only ones. It’s not just them.
Paul wants them to see a bigger picture beyond Corinth. He wants them to look beyond their group. He tells them they are Christians together. See that word? It’s there again.
They’re in this together. They’re Christians together with all who call on Jesus as their Lord. And then he concludes that thought by saying both their Lord and ours. Seems like extra words, but I think they were very, very important. He’s making a point here again, both their Lord and ours.
In other words, no Christian, no group of Christians, no charismatic leader, no family group, no region, no house church in Corinth, nor Orlando, nor any city. No one has a monopoly on God’s spirit and God’s power. We’re in this together. We’re all together in this work for God.
Verse three. Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. And so that’s the very rich greeting. Paul is the sender. The recipient is the church of God in Corinth.
All right, so here you’ll see a map of the Roman Empire during the time of Paul’s second missionary journey. I’ll try to get these slides out to you so you can see this up close and personal. But if you look in your Bible, most Bibles have them, and it’s worth looking at. These are real places. This is real history.
And you can see where these people that we read about in the Bible, where they were going, what they were doing, it makes it come alive for me. And these are real places you can visit today. All right? And so this is the map of the Roman Empire during Paul’s second missionary journey. Down in the southeast, which would be the bottom right of the screen, that’s Jerusalem, all right?
And then way up in the left hand corner in the northwest, that’s Italy. And you would see the capital city there is Rome. And then somewhat in the middle, you would see what’s called the province of Asia. And that’s referred to in Paul’s writings quite a bit. And you’ll see that in Acts as well, the province of Asia. This is where you’ll find the seven churches of Revelation, including Ephesus is all right there. And then if you cross the province of Asia and you go across the Aegean Sea to the west, this is Greece. And there you find Athens. Everyone’s heard of Athens, of course, and there’s Corinth. All right, so let’s take a closer look at Corinth.
I think you may be able to see this better to focus on the city of Corinth geographically. It was incredibly unique. It’s situated on this narrow neck of land in Greece and it had a harbor on each side of it. All right, so here you have Corinth, and it’s situated in between two harbors. And this is significant because Corinth stands at the crossroads of all international trade at that time.
East, west, north, south. You had to go through Corinth. So remember that, okay? Geographically and also symbolically, Corinth in the world at that time is an indispensable centerpiece. In the picture, you’ll also see and I put the words up on the screen as well,Dialcos. And you can see this if you visited Corinth today. And this is a limestone road that was in existence long before Paul’s writing here. It was a limestone road. And this was very, very important because it linked the two harbors. They didn’t have a canal yet or any way to get through.
So literally what they would do is ships would come through and they had rollers set up and hired crews to put the ships on rollers and then roll it across to get to the other harbor. Because what you did not want to do, really at the risk of your life would be to sail your ship all the way south and go down at the bottom of the screen there to the Cape. Because the gale force winds were very intense. They had a saying, your one trip to the Cape will probably be your last. All right, so everything went through Corinth.
Sailors, traders, they were willing to put all their stuff on these wheels and get it across so they can get through. All right, so this is a modern day picture, obviously. This canal was eventually built to connect the two harbors roughly 100 years ago. It’s more of a tourist attraction these days, but that gives you an idea. If you went and visited this today, you could see the canal, but then the old coast would be right alongside it and you can see the limestone road that was used for centuries. During Paul’s time, Corinth was this bustling, cosmopolitan city of business. Really, in comparison to Athens, and that’s where Paul had just come from. Athens had kind of become this sleepy university town. It was much more famous during the Greek Empire. Corinth was now the place to be in Greece during this time.
It was bustling, it was cosmopolitan, it was a banking center. Lots of money and goods going in and out of those harbors all the time. Corinth knows that they are at the top of the food chain economically. It’s the capital of Greece and the Roman Empire at this time. Population 100,000 people.
That was a lot back then. You had people from all nations, all different walks of life. It really was the land of opportunity. You could go to Corinth and you had a chance, if you were wheeling and dealing, to climb the ladder and build a fortune really, really quick. Now the reverse is true as well. You could lose all your money in a second. Every two years in Corinth, they hosted the Ispian Games. These games were second at that time only to the Olympics. They were very, very popular. Chariot races, track and field, numerous athletic competitions for men and women. By the way, playmakers is next weekend.
If you don’t know what that is, be praying for our men’s and women’s teams from our church. We’ll be heading over to Tampa next weekend and competing against a whole bunch of other people from around the state. And, North Carolina. South Carolina, Georgia. People come from all over the place.
Nate Overstreet, my son and I are on the men’s team this year. All right. I think they brought me on just to say the prayers. It’s really going to be up to Coach Ortiz and Coach Anderson whether I get some playing time. But Nate’s going to play a lot.
But it should be a lot of fun. But do you think about playmakers? And it’s large, like, people are coming from all over the place. It’s a drop in the bucket. That would just be one small event at these Games.
All right. Think Olympics. Think World Cup. Think Super Bowl. All corners of the empire would descend upon Corinth to compete, to be spectators.
And really, most importantly, it was a networking time for business. Very similar today, right? The Olympics and the World Cup, Super Bowl. There’s so much more competition going on off the field than there is on it. And all these corporate sponsorships, and there’s just a lot of money to be made.
Same thing. Tons of money to be made in Corinth during the Isthmian Games. And you could walk into the city and you’d see all the booths set up, you’d see the street hawkers, lots of wheeling and dealing. It’s very likely, Paul, as a tent maker, visiting and staying for a time in Corinth, he probably set up his own shop, making tents, selling leather goods at the games. And we’ll talk about the reasons for this later on, but he was able to provide for himself. He didn’t take a salary from the church. All right, because Corinth really, he had the ability to make some money and to do business there. All right, so speaking of Paul, there’s our map again of his second missionary journey.
Paul spearheads the planning of the church in Corinth in 50 Ad. This is at the tail end of his second missionary journey, he had just come from Athens. To give you an idea of this period of time to connect the dots for us, this was less than 20 years after the ministry of Jesus. Acts 18, again, a great firsthand resource of that church planting. And we read in Acts 18 that in fact, while in Corinth, Paul needed encouragement to stay there and do the work, it wasn’t always an easy mission field.
Jesus appears to Paul on a vision and he says, do not be afraid, Paul, but go on speaking. And remember that word, speaking, that’s going to be a key speech. We’ll talk more about that. He’s like, you need to keep speaking, Paul. You can do this, for I am with you, for I have many people in this city who are my people.
So Paul spends about a year and a half, roughly two years in Corinth converting Jews first from the synagogue and then, as was his custom, he’d go out to the gentiles. I’m sure he’s meeting people at his tent, making booth as well and going into social settings and reaching out. They are able to convert, from what we see, a very diverse social spectrum that represented the population of Corinth. God was really working. They converted synagogue rulers, they converted office holders, prominent people in the city.
They were able to convert very rich people, they converted the poor and they converted slaves. There was a slave population there. So again, you can imagine Paul sharing the Gospel. He had a lot of opportunities there, but God had to tell him, you need to keep on speaking, keep on speaking. Among those first church members, Priscilla and Aquila, Jews and tentmakers, just like Paul. They probably left entrepreneurs as well, needing to leave Rome because of the persecution there. Coming over, they hook up with Paul. Priscilla and Aquila would soon become some of the best friends of Paul and trusted partners in the Gospel. So that gives you some of the backstory. It’s crystal clear, though, that Paul has very fond memories of his time in Corinth. And we can read that and see that here in verse four.
He says, I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him. How in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, that you are not lacking in any gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end. Guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now, you want to learn how to share about someone in a public setting, a template for sharing about someone, perhaps in our culture at a baptism or a birthday or a wedding.
Here you go. This is it. We can learn a lot from Paul here. Paul first gives thanks for the Corinthians. He thanks them.
And that’s a typical part. When we share about someone we love, we want to encourage them. He gives thanks for the Corinthians. But here’s the key, it’s not self involved here in the sense of he’s not thanking them for the personal benefits he’s getting from the relationship. Now he’ll get to some of the things in their relationship.
And I think that’s important because you got to keep in mind here, there are some things on Paul’s heart and mind right now and the reason he’s writing this letter, he is deeply disturbed about some things going on with these people. All right? But he comes at it this way. He gives thanks to the Corinthians, not for the personal benefits to him and the relationship, but he gives thanks for what God has done.
God is the focus here, what God has freely given to these people. And as we’ll see, like I said, Paul, he’s got some emotions going here. There’s some drama that’s happening, there’s tension in the relationship. But here’s the key. Because God’s grace is at work in Paul’s heart, he’s then able to freely give away grace genuinely to these people and be thankful to them.
That’s hard to do. That’s a level of spirituality I want to get to, all right? When you’re at odds with someone, but you’re able to really be thankful to them and give away grace to them, right? We can only give away what we have. And Paul had it. In verse five, he gets specific.
The two grace gifts Paul highlights in the Corinthian church are their God given talents of speech and knowledge. This is going to be a recurring theme as we read Corinthians. They’re gifts of speech and knowledge. I think it’s a connection of why Jesus came personally to Paul and said, keep on speaking. Early on in the letter, if you know the context of what he’s about to write, for him to point out that he’s thankful for their speech and knowledge, this is a surprise.
This is dripping with irony because Paul is thanking God for the very gifts that were really causing the greatest problems in the church. It was like there were times, I mean, if you study this church out, it’s like boy, I wish they didn’t have these gifts because there were divisions. There was competition, inflated egos, disillusion of self sufficiency. Much of it was rooted in the speech and the knowledge that they had. But right away, what Paul does is he draws attention to these renowned gifts of speech and knowledge. In fact, he thanks God for it.
And the reason he’s able to do this is because Paul’s problem is not with the gifts themselves, but it’s rather the way they’re misusing their gifts and how it’s hurting the community of God. So that’s a hard thing, you know, like, have you ever felt like, I don’t know if I want to encourage this person on this, this and this, it’s just going to inflate their ego? Well, you know what? You always do the right thing. It’s really on the other person to respond to that stuff in the right way, you know what I’m saying?
But I have been hesitant to encourage people sometimes because this very gift is what they’re going to do later to hurt me. You know what I’m saying? But Paul’s better than that because of the grace of God upon him, right? But you think about Corinth here. How could this be happening to such a great church?
How and why does a talented church like Corinth begin to divide and fall apart? How are they not even self aware? And I call it Corinthian cultural conformity. Let’s learn a little bit about Corinth, the city. And I feel for them. I feel for this church. They were probably four years old as a church when this letter happened from Paul. And there was just an incredible amount of pressure on the church in Corinth to conform to its culture. The pressure was intense. And from what we know, they did give in to these pressures to conform.
In fact, what happened and what Paul is going to go on and try to correct, is they had formed their own Corinthian brand of Christianity, all right? They were creating a church and a Christianity they felt was better and it would fit better and look better and sound better with their progressive culture.
You also get the sense here that the church actually prided itself on being this advanced version of a church. So here’s what I mean. If you lived in Corinth, this would be the air you breathe. And again, I feel for them. I hesitate to be too hard on them. First of all, as I said, geographically, Corinth is the center of the universe at this time.
Naturally, this breeds self-importance. Everything goes through Corinth. Everyone looks to us, we’re indispensable. And as we start sharing these things, think about how this would work or not work with the message of the cross and humility in Jesus and the gospel. Right?
Competition, we talked about the Isthiian games. This was a very athletically, competitive culture, but not just in athletics. Competition for success permeated that culture. It was business. It was trade. It was all about climbing the social ladder. Getting ahead is the name of the game. It’s the land of opportunity.
And Corinth, and we didn’t invent this in the last ten years in America. In Corinth, everyone desired their own identity, okay? They did their own thing, and they had every right to, in their own minds, right? Self sufficient, doing life as you see fit. You figured this out. We’re Corinthians. Of course we have.
They were above depending on others. I’m good. I’m a Corinthian. I don’t need you, and I don’t need you.
I know it obviously sounds obnoxious, but I think they really believe that, right? These freedoms of autonomy were of very high value to them, to be autonomous as a church, as people, as groups, or whatever leader they were following or getting behind. Here’s another key point, Corinth, and again, this goes back to the speech and God telling Paul, you got to keep on speaking. Corinth was a city filled with professional orators. It was all over the place.
This was a money making business, all right? And this kind of fed off some of the traditions of ancient Greece. But it was different in the sense that these professional orators this was very consumer driven. The goal of their speeches, of gathering people in auditoriums or speaking in the streets and having a profession out of this. The goal of these speeches was not truth.
It was to win admiration and to win applause and get the crowd and to get people following you. It wasn’t about truth. Truth could be manipulated and redefined, or you could just throw out truth in order to appeal to the community, to appeal to the masses. It was a speech competition for ratings, for followers and money. Does that sound familiar? Cable network news, social media influencers. I’m not saying it’s all bad, but where’s the truth? There’s a lot of money involved.
Also, like most seaports today, Corinth was known, as you could imagine, for its immorality. All right? I love these cities, these areas. But to maybe think New Orleans or Mardi Gras time at New Orleans or South Beach in Miami or Orlando. Sure.
But the key here was not only was sex of all kinds permissive in Corinth, okay? It wasn’t only just permissive in Corinth, it was actually a freedom that you were expected to explore. It was an expectation.
Does this sound familiar? Last but not least, like most cities in the Roman Empire, Corinth was not unique in this way, that they were very pluralistic, okay? This means there were hundreds of religions in the city, all right? This would have been very different than walking down the street currently in most towns in the United States, okay? There were idols everywhere, temples everywhere.
This was encouraged, and the impact of this was more, it would be nearly impossible to conduct business in Corinth without feeling the pressure to give honor to someone else’s God to get the deal done, right? And that was just normal. It was normal, accepted that everyone’s gods are fine, and you need to respect them and give honor to them. The more gods, the better.
So what I’m sharing with you is all of this was completely normal in Corinth. And sadly, in just a few short years, all of this was becoming way too normal in the church.
And that’s the context. That’s the occasion for the writing of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Now, keep in mind, Paul does not set the agenda for this Epistle. It’s not like, man, I’m angry with these people. They’re disrespecting me, which they have. I’m just going to go off and just have a series of rebukes. Everything that Paul writes as an apostle sent from God, it’s a response to help them. He was invited in. From what we know and the content of Paul’s letter, all of that response comes from three sources that we know, three sources that reached out to him.
Number one, Apollos. Apollos was likely the second minister to come through after Paul left and continued his missionary journey and went on to Ephesus. Apollos comes in, known to be an incredible speaker, by the way. He comes in and man kind of notices something’s up and probably visited Paul and Ephesus and voiced some grave concerns for the church. Then we know for sure from chapter one that Chloe’s family group spoke up. All right?
Chloe’s household has been informing Paul of some bad things that are happening, all right, like, hey, some from Chloe’s family group are coming around. There’s major concerns here in Corinth. We need to let you know about this. Paul, could you help us? And then last but not least, Paul receives a letter from the Corinthian church with specific matters of concern for him to address.
And you’ll see this as he goes through different issues. Paul will say, now, the matter concerning that you wrote, all right? So, key point here, with the exception of Apollos, it’s the church members who sound the alarm.
It’s the church members that take ownership. And this is not from a snitch tattletale perspective. They humbly ask for outside help with the local church. That’s courageous, that’s brave. I could think if one of you and your family group says, well, we need to deal with Marcus, and you call this other city, and I’m just being like, oh, but sometimes that needs to happen.
Think on that. We’re all in this together, right? We all have different roles to play. So as we dive into Paul’s response in this letter, you can take a snapshot of this if you like. These are the issues he’ll address, just some of them.
This is an outline of those issues and how they break down through the chapters. And really, on all of these issues, the church had gone off the rails to conform to their advanced culture. So OMG, right? Buckle your seatbelts.
It’s going to be all this and more. And next week, Eddie’s going to get us rolling on the issues of disunity and groups forming around different leaders that they preferred and different styles. And it’s terrible, but, boy, it hits close to home. So Eddie’s going to talk about that and we’ll get into that in the next couple of weeks. But thanks to this letter, the warning shots have been fired.
Thanks to this letter, we can learn so much to help us build our church here in Orlando in today’s culture, right? I’ll go back to the beginning. We must work together and come what may, you don’t really know until you hit that spot of what this exactly means. It just is what it is. Whatever happens, we work together, right?
This is the rock solid conviction that first Corinthians hopes to build in you. Work together, work together to build the church, advance the gospel in east Orlando. And I think as we learn from Corinth or as some of us have learned from our own experience and our own sin in the church, this is much easier said than done. So you’re going to need to get a lot of grace from God so you can give it away to other people. All right, let’s imitate Paul in that he was probably the one that was hurt the most in so many different ways, and he pulls through to love his people. He was like a father to them and we can be that for one another, have that type of love.
So I want you to remember, if you’re here Wednesday night, if you missed it, get the recording. The family groups, the leaders of our family groups, and Chloe’s household. They all have audio recordings of this from Wednesday night, so you can catch up with what we did, but remember the questions we asked of ourselves and that we want you to think on for the next couple of weeks until our next midweek together. Is am I a worker for this church?
Am I praying for the workers? And what is my passion project? Fast, pray, get advice. Those things you say, why isn’t someone doing this? Then maybe that’s the spirit prompting you to get involved, to make something happen about that.
All right, so we’re asking that you come back at our next midweek altogether on January 18 and make your pledge for how you’re planning to help build the church this year. And I’m so excited. I had people coming up to me afterwards Wednesday night with all kinds of exciting, creative ideas and people coming to me like, whoa, yeah, I thought of that before and then I forgot about it. And I was like, oh, it’d be so great if someone did that. No, I want to do that.
I’m like, amen, thank you. Let’s get to work. We must work together. And here’s the good news in Jesus Christ, God has given you and me everything we need to build this church and to grow this church.
The words that Paul writes to the church in Corinth speak to us today. Here at the end of verse seven he says, it is our Lord Jesus Christ who will sustain you to the end. Amen.
Jesus is in it with us for the long game. He will sustain you to the end. Guiltless. This means you are legally blameless before the ultimate judge in the day of the return of Jesus, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Verse nine god is faithful. Great is thy faithfulness, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ, our Lord. This is good news, no matter, come what may, of what we work on to build together whatever conflict we may endure, whatever happens, this is our foundation. And that’s what Paul wanted the church in Corinth to hear right away before he got to the tough conversation, multiple tough conversations, he says, this is the foundation for our work. This is the foundation for all the repentance that’s about to take place.
Jesus will sustain you to the end, no matter your sin, past, present, future. The blood of Jesus makes you legally blameless. Great is thy faithfulness. And then God calls each one of us again together in the fellowship of his son, Christ Jesus, our Lord. As we prepare to take communion together, I want to point out this word here. It’s fellowship in your English texts in verse nine of chapter one. God calls each one of us into the fellowship of his son. And the Greek word here is koinonia.
God calls each one of us into the koinonia of his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Koinonia, when you see the word fellowship in the New Testament, it’s that Greek word, koinonia. And so I think in our church culture, fellowship, I don’t know, can mean a lot of different things, but it’s just, to me, at least, not that intense anymore. It kind of can float out there and be whatever. But I just want you to know that our fellowship in Christ means so much more than just a 1 minute fellowship break.
All right? I hope it was great for you, but that’s just half of a percent of what this is all about. Fellowship or koinonia, we sometimes think that fellowship is just Christians talking over a cup of coffee or meeting in small groups or coming to an event. You see the Corinthians hearing this word at the beginning of this letter, and it says they were called to it, from Paul’s perspective, in the Spirit’s perspective, they would hope that the Corinthians be convicted about their high calling in Christ.
Fellowship was a strong word, koinonia. It would be hoping that they would be convicted of what they shared with their fellow Christians. How significant it is. Koinonia is best defined for us and hopefully this helps give it some umph right. Is replace it when you see fellowship just to help you with covenant participation.
That’s a lot more intense, right? Welcome to the covenant participation of the Orlando Church of Christ.
Koinonia means you’re a shareholder. You’re a stakeholder in the church because of Jesus. Koinonia means you’re devoted to one another because of Jesus. Koinonia means we treasure time. We make time for one another because of our shared lordship in Jesus.
Koinonia means also communion. We do it every Sunday. You could interchange those two words. You think about community communion. Koinonia we celebrate the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus and that’s what we have in common. We do it together. And all of this is derived from our sonship, from our daughtership in our Lord Jesus Christ. Koinonia. You’re going to see more and more of that. And that’s what Paul really wanted to emphasize that was starting to drift and fade in the Corinthian church. And we don’t want that to happen here either. It’s a privilege. This koinonia that we have together.