I Corinthians Sermon Notes


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 21 (2/24/19)

I Corinthians 16:1-24

Intro: “Southern Good-byes”

This is the “goodbye” portion of Paul’s letter. After the attention given to many issues and the presentation of much correction, he closes with some encouraging reminders:

Read verses 1-24

I. Keep the Right Perspective (V.1-4, v.17-21)

It’s been said, we should “value people and use money”, but often times we “value money and use people”. Paul had a few thoughts about that:

A. A systematic giving plan (v.2)

  • Personal
  • Pre-planned (first fruit)
  • On-going
  • Considered an investment

B. An appreciation for the larger mission

For the church at Corinth, the congregation of Jerusalem was the beneficiary of their mission giving.

For us at FireLight:

  • Co-operative giving through the Southern Baptist Convention (National and International missions of various kinds)
  • Samaritan’s Purse ministries (benevolent relief, evangelism)
  • Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (global evangelism, discipleship)

C. A heart for people

  • Refreshment (v.18)
  • Acknowledgement

II. Keep the Right Focus

Re-read 13-14

A. Be watchful

B. Be anchored (stand fast, in faith)

C. Be brave

D. Be strong

E. Be loving (the glue, pegs and nails)

III. Keep the Right Expectations

Re-read 22-24

A. Let go of what you can’t control

  • Accursed gr. “anathema” – “condemned”
  • If there is hostility or rejection of Christ, “let them be”

B. Maintain an environment of grace (v.23) – general attitude toward each other

C. Remember, love in Christ is our eternal bond (the forever glue)

IV. Conclusion


  • What is your perspective on stewardship?
  • What is your focus? Is there diligence in the right things?
  • What are your expectations? Control? Grace? Love?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 20 (2/17/19)

I Corinthians 15:20-58

Intro: Short recap of previous week…

  • If there is no resurrection-futility
  • Illustration of the lock and keys
  • If there is a resurrection-the gospel is powerful
  • If false-we’re the most pitiable
  • It true-HE IS RISEN!

Read verses 20-28

I. The Substance of Victory

There is much to be excited about!

A. Identity of the real enemy (death v.21)

B. The process of defeating the enemy (v.45)

The timeline:

  • Adam (no sin)
  • Adam (sin)
  • Adam (death)
  • Jesus (no sin)
  • Jesus (death)
  • Jesus (risen)
  • Jesus (ascended)
  • Jesus (rapture)
  • Jesus (return)
  • Jesus (final victory – Revelation 20:13-15)

C. The finality of defeat

  • All will submit to His authority
  • There will be no possibility of a return of the enemy

II. The Attitude of Victory

Read 29-49

  • This business of baptism for the dead
  • Basically, two options – on someone’s behalf or to celebrate/memorialize someone
  • Paul endorsed neither or the practice itself (illustration to support his point)

A. If denying the resurrection, why do forward-looking things? (v.29-30)

B. If there’s no future then “party on” (v.32)

C. Christ is risen

  • Don’t be deceived!
  • Awake to righteousness!

III. The Results of Victory

Read 50-59

A. The current body (for us) and old body (for those passed away) ceases to be (v.36)

B. The new body is the order of Christ (v.48-49)

C. There is uniqueness to our glorified bodies (recognizable like Christ)

D. There is confidence in victory (v.58)

IV. Conclusion

Question: Are you living in a way that reflects preparation for the resurrection?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 19 (2/10/19)

I Corinthians 15:1-19

Intro: Paul finishes his presentation concerning gifts and then connects the preference of prophecy (teaching for effect) to the substance of what should be taught, “The True Gospel”.

– Illustration of a padlock and key, the lock represents a person’s life and the key represents the one true gospel that can unlock the person’s life from sin’s imprisonment.

Read verses 1-11

I. The Truth of the Gospel

“Gospel” – “good news or an official heralding of a good announcement”

Note – the words “first of all” means “of first importance”, (primary information, the bottom line)

In our illustration of the lock, there were four specific things Jesus had to do to make the proper cuts in the key for it to “turn the tumblers” of the “lock” holding people captive to sin

A. According to the scriptures “first cut” (v.3-4)

  • The existing scriptures/Law had to be fulfilled (what we now call the Old Testament)
  • Beware of anyone discounting the Old Testament – it is equally important and profitable for teaching
  • The early church evangelized the world with them!

B. Christ died (according to the scriptures) “second cut” (v.3)

  • The sacrifice had to be worthy (only Jesus was)
  • The sacrifice had to literally die
  • Sin had to be atoned for (couldn’t simply be set aside and forgotten about)

C. Christ rose from the dead (according to the scriptures) “third cut” (v.4)

  • He was proven to be dead by the spear to the side (from one of the experts in crucifixion, whose job was to be efficient and thorough)
  • The original word-picture is of reanimating a corpse (not coming out of a coma or deep sleep)

D. Verified by many witness “fourth cut” (v.6-8)

  • In the ancient Hebrew world, it took the testimony of two credible witnesses to be considered legally true, and there were hundreds of witnesses (most still alive at the time and available to tell their story)
  • With the witnesses it became a completed, verified event

II. The Rejection of the Gospel

Read 12-19

A. Buffet style belief

  • Some (not all) rejected the literal resurrection (small portion perhaps, but present in the church)
  • The reason was that Greek culture was offended at the idea of the body being reanimated (the body to them represented something vile to be cast off in the transition to liberating freedom)
  • The concept of a glorified body didn’t resonate well with them (however glorious)

B. An incomplete gospel is a false gospel (v.15)

  • Many teach the goodness of Jesus without the full divinity-false
  • Many teach a blend of works and faith

C. A false gospel is a key that doesn’t work

  • It may look like the real thing (illustrated by a similar key)
  • However, with only one cut wrong, it doesn’t turn the tumblers
  • Many teach something close (sometimes very close and enticing) but still wrong

III. The Results of the Gospel

A. A changed life

  • Many of the Corinthians themselves were a testimony of radically changed lives (v.1-2)
  • Paul was an example of a radically changed life (v.9-10)

B. Preaching is full of power (unlike the example of v.14)

C. Faith is full of power (unlike the example)

Which means:

D. The future is full of hope

  • Following an incomplete gospel is tragic and pitiable (v.19)
  • Following a complete gospel is filled with the richness of the glory of God (Colossians 1:27 & 2:8-9)

IV. Conclusion

Question: Are you trusting in the truth of the gospel?

Don’t settle for the tragedy of something close, the right key unlocks true, liberating life in Christ!


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 18 (2/3/19)

I Corinthians 14:1-40

Intro: The chapter may seem like a minefield of controversy but when put into context gives applicable points for today.

(Personal story of an encryption device and the principle of verification)

Within the overall subject of “gifts” chapter 14 focuses on the “speaking gifts” (tongues (or languages) and prophecy)

I. Speaking Gifts are Powerful

Read verses 1-19

A. The real thing comes from the Holy Spirit (a spiritual thing v.2)

B. The context of the early church (2 subjects

  • Tongues (or languages) were “known” in the world, not a mysterious unknown form of speech nobody no human spoke before
  • The miracle was when a non-speaker of a particular language (Latin for example) was empowered to speak fluent Latin, a speaker of Latin hears/interprets, and the message was then authenticated as from God.
  • Prophecy is not necessarily about future events, but teaching/instruction/challenge/direction given through the empowering of the Holy Spirt. After the completion of the scriptures, it became teaching/preaching etc. based on the revealed and completed Word.

C. Impact of the words

  • Affects how a person thinks and processes spiritual things (v.3)
  • Affects where their attention is directed
  • Affects their view of God and the Bible

II. Speaking Gifts are Subject to Examination

Read 20-33

A. We have a completed scripture (canon)

  • Not then, but we do now
  • Verification and authentication are still important (we should verify what we hear/read by comparing to the Word)

B. There is a settled orthodoxy (the essentials)

C. Peace is found in the truth (v.33) (God is the Author of peace)

III. Speaking Gifts are for God’s Purposes

Read 34-40

(v.34 is in light of 11:5 and referring to the message giving and authentication/verification process)

A. In pursuit of love (v.1)

B. For the benefit of others (not self)

C. For practical application (not for impressive rhetoric but real life)

D. For overall decency and order (the church is the place for decency and respect)

IV. Conclusion

Think about the value of words…

Question: What can they accomplish? Good? Bad? Unlocking potential?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 17 (1/27/19)

I Corinthians 13:1-13 “Genuine Love”

Intro: Today we’re looking at the third portion of Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts. He transitions with a statement about the “more excellent way” (which we refer as chapter 13).


  • A man inherited his grandfather’s farm (which included a farmhouse, barns, and pastures)
  • As a kid he would spend time there
  • He and his cousins enjoyed discussing an old rumor of buried treasure on the property that nobody ever found evidence for
  • There were such good memories of the house that he couldn’t bear the thought of it being torn down, so he decided to remodel it
  • When they were removing kitchen cabinetry, an envelope fell from behind a cabinet that contained a hand-drawn map of a treasure location
  • On the map, two trees were the reference points for the steps to be counted off (which were not still standing)
  • After much research, he determined where the trees were located and counted off the paces according to the map
  • Afterwards, he rented digging equipment and dug up a section of pasture
  • A metal box was soon discovered and opened
  • In the box there were stacks of pristine, uncirculated $100 bills (1,000 of them to be exact, totally $100,000)
  • However, it was all Confederate notes, and basically worthless
  • All the work, expense, and high expectations ended with disappointment because the true value was very little

I. The Profits from Gifts are Measured in Eternal Currency

Read verses 1-3

A. The examples

  • Exaggerated word-pictures
  • If he could speak ALL languages including angels without love…obnoxious noise
  • If he was a giant in intellect, faith, and generosity without love…nothing

B. The reality of nothing

The picture of nothing is “bankruptcy”…once having something with hope, then nothing

II. The Nature of Love is Defined by God

Read 4-8a

A. The real thing is of Him (I John 4:7-11)

B. It involves people:

The practical nature of genuine love based on chapter 13:

With the anxious one, it’s patient,

With the selfish one, it’s kind,

With the popular one, it’s not envious,

With the distracted one, it doesn’t yell,

With the simple one, it isn’t arrogant,

With the quiet, it isn’t rude,

With the busy one, it doesn’t compete,

With the grumpy one, it isn’t provoked,

With the repentant one, it remembers no wrong,

With the unrepentant one, it doesn’t enable,

With the truthful one, it rejoices,

And it steadily looks forward with a hopeful,

encouraging and unfailing expectation.


III. The Exercise of Gifts is Temporary

Read 8b-10

A. The “workings” of church life will cease

B. “Perfect” (v.10) will give 20/20 hindsight

IV. The Strategy of Love is a Long-Term Investment

Read v.11-13

A. Maturity and motive go hand-in-hand

B. Love truly is the more excellent way! (12:31)

V. Conclusion

Question: What “currency” are you dealing in? The eternal one…love? Or one less than eternal?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 16 (1/13/19)

I Corinthians 12:12-31 “Building a Structure”

Intro: The body is God’s design. Examples, two eyes give us depth perception, opposing thumbs give us dexterity, toes give us balance, muscle positioning give us range of movement and mobility, facial muscles give expression, we laugh, we cry, we sing. Why? Because that’s the way God designed us. It’s an insult to His creative genius to suggest that a random process developed the amazing human body. The diversity is immense, but all comes together to make you!

Today we’re going to be looking at Paul’s description of the church as the Body of Christ.

Read I Corinthians 12:12-31

5 truths about the Body (and those of us in it)

I. We Can’t all be the Same (v.15-20)

Some features are easily seen and get compliments (hair, eyes, etc.) but by contrast there are many other parts of our body not visible or complimented. In the Body of Christ, we can’t all be a visible part nor should we want to be. Just like the heart isn’t seen, many roles in the church aren’t either, but we obviously can’t live without a heart or the hidden roles.

II. We Can’t Feel Self-Sufficient (v.21)

Although we have a “core” that can live without some extremities, no organ can stand alone. The heart can’t live by itself, or lungs, liver, etc. They need each other and work in daily dependence of the other’s function.

III. We Can’t be Prideful (v.22-25)

A. Pride because of visibility or function

B. By contrast, we aren’t to feel insecure because of lack of visibility or function

IV. We are Designed to Experience Life as One (v.26)

Just like a body that makes one person:

A. We’re healthy together as one

B. We suffer together as one

C. We win together as one

D. We lose together as one

V. We Each Have a Part to Play

Re-read v.27-31

A. We are all part of the Body

B. You can know what you’re gifting is

VI. Conclusion

Question: “Do you know what your part is? If so, will you use your gifting and role to honor Christ in your “everyday” life this week? If not, will you commit to finding out?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 15 (1/6/19)

I Corinthians 12:1-11 “Building a Structure”

Intro: Example of a popular party game with small wooden pieces that stack up to form a tower. When pieces are stacked up in a single column, it’s unstable and easily toppled. When they are alternated back and forth, it gives stability and is not easily toppled (even when a few pieces are removed). Spiritual gifts are much the same way.

Read I Corinthians 12:1-11

The term rendered “diversity or “variety” is “diaresis” which are constructive factions as opposed to a related term “hairesis” which are destructive factions-strength not division.

Today, we are looking at “One Spirit”:

I. Gifts are about Him and Not us (v.3-6)

A. It’s a spiritual understanding– Gifts can be observed and recognized without necessarily being spiritually understood

B. By contrast, the Holy Spirt is living and active (v.3)– He’s engaged in us and around us

C. Perfect unity of the Trinity is present in the process (v.4, 5, 6)

II. Gifts are about His Investment (v.7)

A. They’re very different from each other

B. They’re most often not high profile

C. They’re to complement one another – which is a common source of conflict

III. Gifts are about His Choices (v.11)

A. We can claim no credit for them

B. The list is not exhaustive – for example, singing and worship leading

C. The list is not static – modern example is a Tim Tebow or a Francine Rivers

IV. Conclusion

Question: “How best can you use your gifts to honor Christ?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 14 (11/11/18)

I Corinthians 11:17-34 “Worthy Gatherings”

Intro: Organizations and company Christmas parties – on paper, it’s planned to be a time where everyone mingles and has a great time, but in reality, most folks simply stay close to those they know (or prefer).

Today, I want to talk about “worthy gatherings”. In the early church, the fellowship would eat meals together on a regular basis. There was a mix of people in the congregation and “on paper” it should have been a strong part of their gatherings, but it wasn’t. There was division, separation, prejudice, injustice and malicious intent.

Read I Corinthians 17-22

I. A Worthy Purpose

A. It was meant for their betterment (v.17) – It should have created strength over time by building diverse relationships but instead had eroded trust and weakened the fellowship.

B. It was meant to create unity (v.18) – but it had only reinforced separation (divisions as mentioned in the beginning of the letter)

C. It was meant to be a time of remembrance (v.20) – The “Lord’s Supper” was altered beyond recognition and was an abomination

II. A Worthy Substance

Read v.23-26

A. It’s a sacred table

  • A connection to the Old Covenant (elements of the original Passover in Egypt)
  • A celebration of the New Covenant (elements representing Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross)

B. It’s an atmosphere of humility– Jesus modeled it when He washed the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper (John 13:4-5)

III. A Worthy Expectation

Read 27-34

A. The wrong attitude is a reproach to the Lord and His Body (the Church) (John 13:4-5)

B. The Lord considers it a serious time (v.30)

C. Honest inventory is what’s asked for, not perfection – worthy manner not worthy

D. The chastening is to remove the hypocritical witness

IV. Conclusion

Question: “When we gather, what is your preparation and approach?”

It should be a built-in time of “reset” and unity.


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 13 (11/4/18)

I Corinthians 11:1-16 “Reflecting Glory”

Intro: At the end of Chapter 10, Paul reinforces what was discussed in Chapter 8. There is much tied to appearances and what it communicates. He turns to three other subjects. The first being head coverings. When I was young, hats were very common among men and women in church settings. Some people I always remember with a hat on in my mental image.

In the first century, there was much etiquette and symbolism tied to head coverings etc. Paul jumps in to address some issues regarding it.

Read I Corinthians 11:1-16 (explain)

First the set-up:

I. The Principle of a Selfless Environment

Read 10:24 & 32

Read Philippians 2:1-8

A. Personal Humility (Phil. 2:8) – Chosen not forced

B. Genuine Love (Phil. 2:2) – An agape type of love

C. An “others first” mindset (10:24 & 32)

II. The Reality of the Created Order

A. A literal creation (v.7-9) – important and makes a difference regarding who defines roles, etc.

B. Gender Roles (v.11-12) – boys becoming men and girls becoming women

III. Reflecting Glory Through Both

A. The natural tendency of the fallen world is toward rebellion – (pride and resistance)

B. We are a contrast to that tendency – (much of how we live will be unlike the world around us)

IV. Conclusion

Question: “How does your life reflect God’s glory? In other words, how is your life a contrast to the fallen world around you? Language? Habits? Attitude?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 12 (10/28/18)

I Corinthians 10:1-22 “The Boundaries of Fellowship”

Intro: I want to start by considering a word often used within church circles that carries a significant meaning. The word is “fellowship”. Webster lists three definitions:

  • Companionship
  • A mutual interest
  • A group of people with the same interest

One of Paul’s themes throughout the letter to the Corinthians was issues within the fellowship. Let’s look:

Read I Corinthians 10:1-4

I. The Fathers Experienced God’s Deliverance

A. They passed through the sea

B. They were baptized (identified) into Moses

C. They received food and water

D. They followed the fire and cloud

II. They Chose Fellowship with Evil

Read v.5-11

A. They lusted (v.6)

B. They denied God to idols (v.7)

C. They chose immorality (v.8)

D. They Tested Christ (v.9)

E. God judged their sin (v.5)

III. Remember God’s Faithfulness

Read v.12-13

A. Take heed (a sober assessment) (v.12)

B. Temptations are common – the world is full of distractions (v.13)

C. God is faithful (He does not forget, ignore or abandon us even if it feels like it)

D. He will make a way to endure and escape the enemy’s traps

III. Maintain Undivided Fellowship with the Lord

Read 14-22

A. We have experienced God’s deliverance

B. We are baptized into Christ (identified in baptism and communion)

C. We are not to fellowship with evil (Ephesians 5:8-14)

  • No companionship with it
  • No mutual interest with it
  • No part of a group with common evil interests

D. We must remember our weaknesses (v.22)

IV. Conclusion

Question: “Where are the boundaries of your fellowship?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 11 (10/21/18)

(Note: this sermon was for an abbreviated time slot)

I Corinthians 9:24-27

Intro: Imagine football without field markings or rules (chaos) or a race without course boundaries or finish line (chaos). Paul reminds us that we’re in a race. In the first part of the chapter, he describes setting aside apostolic privilege and liberty for a greater gain (reaching people). He then summarizes it all in verses 24-27 with a word-picture of the struggle of living the Christian life in a secular world.

Read I Corinthians 9:24-27

Today, three elements of the struggle:

I. The Race (v.1)

A. We are in a competition (whether we want to be or not)

  • With the worldly system
  • With ourselves (the flesh)

B. Success requires discipline (v.25 & 27)

  • The rules of the game may seem unfair (qualified – disqualified)
  • It’s up to me to choose discipline
  • It’s not really for me

C. Achievable goals are good

  • Set your sights on a nearby goal (like a 1st down mark, not necessarily the endzone)
  • With kids, set realistic goals for them, but keep them moving forward

D. Remember the witnesses (Hebrews 12)

  • We are not alone in this
  • You are not alone in this

II. The Prize

A. Perishable Prizes

  • Paul’s example (wreath that turns brown)
  • Modern day examples (titles and stuff that are not eternal)

B. Imperishable Prizes

  • From the Lord
  • Other people

III. Conclusion


  • “What prizes are you seeking?”
  • “How are you running the race?”
  • “Are you running the dace with purpose?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 10 (10/7/18)

I Corinthians 8:1-13

Intro: “Liberty represents freedom but must be viewed as something to be stewarded.”

Two personal examples of liberty…

Today we’re looking at being good stewards of our liberty in Christ.

Read I Corinthians 8:1-13

  • Eating meat in Corinth was mostly associated with meat prepared for, then removed from altars in the pagan temple. It was a routine economic reality that purchasing meat involved acquiring something that had once been considered sacred in a pagan ceremony
  • The question to Paul was the appropriateness and boundaries of such meat sources
  • The key verse that sets up the teaching is verse 1 and the importance of “Godly love”

I. Godly Love Builds Up (v.1)

A. Knowledge can liberate

B. Knowledge can inflate

C. Knowledge can strengthen

Read verses 10-16

II. Godly Love Sacrifices (v.9)

Re-read verse 9

A. Not everyone is at the same point of growth and maturity (v.7)

B. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should

Re-read verses 9-10 and re-visit 6:12

Practical examples are movies, music, places, etc.

III. Godly Love Commits

A. Developing ‘brethren” are impressionable (v.12)

B. Mature believers are to commit to a “no harm” attitude (v.1 and v.13)

IV. Conclusion

Questions: “How do you represent Christ to those who are seeking answers about faith, young in the faith, or even simply young?”


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 9 (9/30/18)

I Corinthians 7:1-24 – “Choosing to be Content”

Intro: “The weapon of discontent”

  • The culture of Corinth preached indulgence
  • Our culture today preaches indulgence
  • According to chapter 7 verse 1 they had asked about solutions to the cultural reality that may have been “extreme”
  • Verse 26 mentions “the present distress” which gives a picture of urgency and increasing pressure on the fellowship
  • Instead of extreme measures, Paul offered well-balanced counsel
  • First, there is a principle that needs to be visited. Philippians 4:8-9,11-13 and Galatians 5:22 put together describe a mindset thinking on the right things and being fertile for good fruit

Read I Corinthians 7:1-9

I. Choose Selfless Affection

A. Appreciate the blessing of your spouse

B. Avoid “record-keeping” (1 Cor. 13:5)

C. Seek the other’s best interest (choosing contentment in the little things)

Read verses 10-16

II. Choose to Honor Vows

A. A vow is sacred (made to God)

B. Remain faithful

  • Don’t spiritualize or rationalize sin with reasons like “God wants me to be happy.”
  • God will never lead you to violate scripture…never

C. Let God work (patience)

Read verses 17-24

III. Choose God’s Direction

A. There is value in diversity

B. Unity is not uniformity

C. Seek God’s purpose (the grass is not always greener on the other side)

IV. Conclusion

Questions: “Are you content? Is there an area where sin is creeping in through discontentment? Confess it and pray for God’s purposes to be revealed.


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 8 (9/23/18)

I Corinthians 6:12-20 – “Profitable Lifestyles”

Intro: “The picture of two vines”

  • “Kudzu” is a vine that was first imported to North America in the 19th Century. During the “dust bowl” era it was promoted as a good plant for erosion control. What was first welcomed as a “good idea”, soon became a hard-to-control nuisance and destructive invader.
  • Grapevines (in contrast to Kudzu) are a food source and commercial crop. However, they require intentional planning, trellis systems, soil conditioning and patient care
  • Paul’s writing in verses 12-20 gives a picture of the difference between the “kudzu lifestyle” and the “grapevine lifestyle”

Read I Corinthians 6:12-20

I. Our Liberty is to be for God’s Glory (v.12)

A. Kudzu Approach (whatever comes naturally)

B. Grapevine Approach

  • Guided growth – gently supporting/anchoring the vines
  • Intentional pruning (although there is small “damage”, it soon heals and increases health and productivity

II. Our Bodies are to be for God’s Glory (v.13-18)

A. We have an eternal identity

  • Even physically
  • Future earthly kingdom

B. Our identity is joined with Christ (v.15)

  • There is no way to be separated
  • Christ is always “with us” whether its something pleasing to Him or not

C. We are to stay away from sinful activities

  • “Flee” is a proactive posture
  • Stay away from the dangerous edges (they are deceitfully surprising)
  • The “kudzu approach” can quickly get out of control

III. Our Passions are to be for God’s Glory (v.19-20)

A. We are His dwelling (the picture of the purposeful structure of the Temple)

B. We are His bondservants (purchased on the slave market of sin)

C. We are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) (everywhere)

IV. Conclusion

Questions: What lifestyle are you “cultivating”? Is it one like kudzu that’s running its own way, or one like a well-kept grapevine that is cared for, conditioned, worked and occasionally pruned?


“Bearing Light in a Dark World” – Part 7 (9/9/18)

I Corinthians 6:1-11 – “Healthy Disagreements”


  • The Greeks were known for their lawsuits
  • The context of chapter 6 is disagreements within the fellowship (as was discipline in chapter 5)
  • Important to note that it is within the family of God

Read I Corinthians 6:1-11

I. Disagreements are Part of Life

A. When you gather people, you gather thoughts, attitudes, ideas, and emotions

B. Acts chapter 6 as an example with widows (soon after chapter 2 & 4)

II. Carnal Solutions Render Carnal Results

A. Their approach was reflective of ch.3:1-3

B. Similar to the Jewish leadership with Jesus & Apostles

C. The goal was to win!

III. Spiritual Solutions Render Spiritual Results

A. The better approach reflects ch.2 (v.10 & 13)

B. The practical picture is Eph. 4:25-32 (the hard work of edification)

C. The goal is Galatians 5:25

  • To walk in the Spirit (His character)
  • To be led by the Spirit (His path)
  • Seeing v. 22-23 happening because of v.24

IV. The World Needs to See the Difference (v.11)

A. We are called to be different (sanctified, set-apart)

B. We must commit to an environment of truth and love

V. Conclusion

Questions: What is your normal way of dealing with disagreements? Within Christian circles? With those outside of the faith? Is there anything that needs to be improved?


“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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