Sermon Notes

“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 6 (9/2/18)

I Corinthians 5:1-13 – “Healthy Church Discipline”

Intro: Have you ever seen a large ship? It’s amazing how a large vessel can be steered by a relatively small rudder. Without it, the ship only goes in circles and is subject to outside forces setting its course. In life, discipline is the “rudder” that keeps us on course (which is a common theme in Proverbs) because a life without discipline is like a ship without a rudder. Even in the life of a church, discipline is part of God’s plan to keep things on track.

Let’s consider what healthy church discipline looks like:

Read I Corinthians 5:1-13

I. Healthy Discipline Honors the Lord

A. Known, on-going sin is an offense to God (v.1) and Romans 6:1-2

B. We should grieve sin not justify it (v.2)

  • No “puffed-up”
  • No “sophia” style approach
  • Is sin!

C. We function under Jesus’ authority – more than by-laws and agreements (v.4)

II. Healthy Discipline Benefits the One Sinning (v.5)

A. Draws attention to the sin – Denials and excuses are to be expected

B. It forces a decision

  • When the process begins, it’s like a rudder turning into the water (there will be force against which is why it works)
  • It must be followed through with
  • It’s the follow-through that’s tough (like parenting)

C. It has forgiveness, correction, and restoration as its goals

III. Healthy Discipline Protects the Fellowship (v.6-13)

A. Teaches the principle of leaven (sin) (v.6)

B. Preempts further damage – could spread and get worse

C. It builds a reputation of integrity – faithfulness to the Word

IV. Conclusion

Questions: How is the rudder on your “ship”?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 5 (8/26/18)

I Corinthians 4:1-21 – “The Visual Image of Light Bearing”

(abbreviated sermon due to planned prayer event)

Intro: Concerning church leadership, there are many books, videos, podcasts, etc. about method, style, and models. Each involves its own “vision casting” and in a loosely similar way, Paul was a “vision-caster”. However, if he’d had a conference breakout session, the room wouldn’t exactly have been packed, with his talk of becoming “the filth of the world” and so on.

Let’s consider some of his “vision casting” points:

I. The Right Measurement

Read I Corinthians 4:1-5

A. The goal is faithfulness (v.2) – the secret of goal-setting in the Christian life is Colossians 3:23

B. Eternity renders the opinion

  • We must avoid “fleshly” (ch.3) opinions of spiritual leadership (both pro and con)
  • The complete biblical standard and model is what we should look to (more than just a generic concept of Acts 2 & 4, but including the details of the epistles)

II. The Right Attitude

Read I Corinthians 4:6-13

A. Humility is a choice (Philippians 2:5-8)

B. “Status” is a design/value of the world (v.11-13)

III. The Right Model

Read I Corinthians 4:14-21

A. Seek the better influence (v.16)

B. Seek the better teaching (v.20)

IV. Conclusion

Questions: What vision are you following? In life? In your ideas of church?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 4 (8/19/18)

I Corinthians 3:1-23 – “Choosing the Spiritual”


Previously we looked at Paul’s comparison of a spiritual person versus a natural person (“Natural” as not knowing Christ and the “spiritual” as redeemed and led by the Holy Spirit). Next, he says that he wishes he could write to them as spiritual but he cannot because they are “carnal” (fleshly and not following the Holy Spirit).

Illustration: (Personal story of a church conflict and deacons meeting where a person is lobbying with a fleshly motive).

Today, we’re looking at “Choosing the Spiritual”:

A. Defining the Spiritual

Read I Corinthians 3:1-4

To defined as spiritual:

A. There is maturity (v.1) – growth beyond basic needs

B. There is an advanced diet (v.2)

  • More substantial food items
  • No longer satisfied with Bible “stories” only, but wanting the meat of the Word

C. There is growth beyond childish interests (v.4)

II. Identifying the Spiritual

Read I Corinthians 2:5-17

A. An attitude of co-laboring (v.9)

  • There was cooperation and no interest in getting the credit for it
  • Quote: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

B. Submission to God’s authority (v.6,9,11)

C. The willingness to pursue the better (v.12) – the work of mining gold, silver and precious stones

III. Measuring the Spiritual

Read I Corinthians 2:18-23

A. Willingness to measure (v.18a) – “don’t be deceived”

B. Willingness to be different (v.18b) – chances are you will be viewed as odd (ch.2)

C. Willingness to submit (v.23) – follow Christ’s example

IV. Conclusion

Paul describes three people:

#1 The Natural – not in the family of God

#2 The Spiritual – in the family of God and following the Holy Spirit

#3 The Carnal – in the family of God but following the flesh

Question: “Which describes you?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 3 (8/12/18)

I Corinthians 2:1-16 – “Sharing the Light”

Intro: (Personal story of being mocked for having a southern accent).

  • Corinth was a city culture that valued “sophia” (clever logic and arguments which we get modern words like “sophisticated” and “sophistry”)
  • Paul entered that context to “share the light” of the Gospel as an unknown foreigner with a Hebrew accent
  • The natural temptation would have been to mimic their style and method, but he didn’t
  • Paul’s desire was to faithfully deliver the message as God had instructed him to

I. The Approach

Read I Corinthians 2:1-5

A. Ambassador versus Salesman (v.1-2)

B. Demonstration versus Persuasion (v.4)

C. Faith versus “fanfare” (v.5)

II. The Revealed Mystery

Read I Corinthians 2:6-10

A. Redemption was God’s plan

B. The Enemy couldn’t see it (v.8)

  • The “rulers of this age”
  • Spiritual ones (demonic)
  • Physical ones (civil)

C. We are the recipients of the plan (v.10)

III. The Results

Read I Corinthians 2:11-13

(Illustration of the World War II German “Enigma” machine versus the Navajo “Code Talkers”, one just a mechanical code versus a living language that represented a culture)

A. The Holy Spirit knows (v.11)

B. The Holy Spirit teaches (v.13)

C. The Holy Spirit clarifies (v.13)

IV. The Reaction

Read I Corinthians 2:14-16

A. The “Natural Man” doesn’t understand the spiritual or the “Spiritual Man”

B. The “Spiritual Man” understands the natural and the “Natural Man”

C. Conflict often exist in the misunderstanding of what we’re saying or doing

V. Conclusion

Question: “What are your goals when “Sharing the Light”? Your motives?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 2 (8/5/18)

Intro: (Personal story of buying a 1,000 piece puzzle for our family).

The puzzle picture is a cabin by a lake with an old pickup truck, trees, a dock, a rowboat, ducks and many reflections on the water. The first step I learned years ago is to start by identifying the border pieces and constructing the “frame”.

As Paul moves beyond the introduction of I Corinthians, he urges unity by constructing the “frame” of Christianity, the Cross; because the cross frames everything.

I. The Cross Frames our Identity

Read I Corinthians 1:10-17

A. Unity not uniformity – (the puzzle pieces fit together, but aren’t the same shape and color v.10 “joined together”)

B. We have the same pedigree – (“redeemed” is our label, not “of ____________”)

  • “of Paul” meant they were there from the beginning “founding members”
  • “of Apollos” meant a more sophisticated approach and demeanor
  • “of Cephas” meant a more Jewish take on everything
  • “of Christ” meant there was no need to recognize ordained leadership

C. Baptism is a visual symbol/ordinance and not a fraternal initiation rite – (who did the baptizing isn’t as important as the why)

II. The Cross Frames our Message

Read I Corinthians 1:18-25

A. Reactions don’t change reality

  • “foolishness”
  • The pieces fit together whether we see it or not
  • We often need guidance to see (like the picture included to help with the puzzle)

B. The Cross was God’s idea

–       V.19 – context was regarding Israel’s enemies

–       Read Isaiah 55:8-9

C. Christ crucified and resurrected is the power of God – (our victory over sin, death, Hell, and the enemy)

III. The Cross Frames our Attitude

Read I Corinthians 1:26-31

A. No reason for pride in salvation – (v.26 and Romans 3:10 “there is none righteous”)

B. An act of grace – (Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”)

C. We must defer all glory to the Lord – (v.31 – read the original passage – Jeremiah 9:23-24)

IV. Conclusion

Closing Question: “How does the cross frame your life?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 1 (7/29/18) “Introduction”

Intro: (Personal story of a former student-worker with a promising future who succumbed to the influence of negative peers)

The church at Corinth was similar. It had so much gifting and potential but was greatly influenced by the world around them. Here’s a snapshot of Corinth:

  • Destroyed in 146 B.C. and rebuilt in 44 B.C.
  • Located on the tiny isthmus between northern and southern Greece
  • Busy trade route overland N/S and between shipping docks E/W
  • Location of bi-annual Isthmian Games with a large stadium, theater and other venues
  • Banking center
  • Judicial center
  • Various temple related activities
  • Affluence, diversity and freedmen populations
  • Paul visited on second missionary journey, met Aquilla, Priscilla, Crispus, Titius Justus, Sosthenes and others.
  • Established church and stayed for 18 months (Acts 18)

Read I Corinthians 1:1-9

I. We are Called to be Saints (v.2)

A. Saints at justification – (v.6 testimony and set-apart, Romans 3:20-26)

B. Saints in sanctification – (v.6 the process of learning to live set-apart)

C. Saints for glorification – (v.8, His glory)

II. We are Part of a Common Fellowship of Grace and Peace (v.3 & 9)

A. Grace to you – (from the Lord)

B. Grace among you – (to each other)

C. Peace to you – (from the Lord)

D. Peace among you – (to each other)

III. We are Enriched by Christ (v.5)

A. Wealthy in speech – (potential to articulate and give productive oratory)

B. Wealthy in knowledge – (they had 18 months of direct teaching from Paul and he knew firsthand of their intellect)

C. Wealthy in testimony – (their faith was confirmed by changed lives after trusting Christ)

D. No gift lacking – (God insured they had the building blocks for success)

IV. Conclusion

God is faithful (v.9 and Philippians 1:3-7)

  • He has the power to complete the work
  • We must be willing to follow
  • We are to bear light in a world growing more dim around us



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