How would you like to go to a church that:
- Was founded by a famous evangelist with an amazing theology? (1 Cor 1:1)
- Had a gifted leadership that emphasized doctrine? (1 Cor 1:5)
- Had a great testimony of being followers of God? (1 Cor 1:6)
- Was abounding in all kinds of spiritual gifts? (1 Cor 1:7)
Sounds like my dream church! Sign me up, right?
Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have a modern church in mind. If you hadn’t guessed already from the verse references, I actually stole Paul’s description of the church of Corinth from the first chapter of 1 Corinthians. In this passage, he thanks God for the amazing gifts that God has given this church - before he addresses the myriad, deep-seated things that were terribly wrong with the church at Corinth.
It’s clear from Paul’s prayer of thanks that the church of Corinth was incredibly blessed. If I was church shopping and I visited Corinth Non-Denominational Christian Church, I might leave with a sense of awe! This place is awesome! These people are so holy! The teaching is so good!
Have you ever had a group of friends that seemed really cool, and then turned out to be really not cool? Ends up the church of Corinth was sort of like that.
In spite of their huge advantage of being a church founded by the apostle Paul himself and their being the recipients of huge blessings from God, they still allowed the pagan culture around them and their sin natures to drag them down, and Paul’s prayer of thanks rings hollow because in the next verses he begins to address their issues: the actual reason for his writing.
A few things we can pull away from the mistakes of Corinth:
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the most beautiful people are the most screwed up.
- Don’t take your advantages for granted. These come from God.
- Don’t blame your mistakes on your environment. The Corinthians lived in a messed-up city, but God still holds everyone accountable for their actions.
- Rely on God.
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. - 1 Cor 1:7-9