This study is the, “The Journey in Christ,” from the life of the Corinthians church. Our previous study was from the life of the Thessalonian Church. You can read that article by clicking this link: Journey in Christ – Thessalonians.
In the Corinthians church, we have people that express themselves as a local church. This first letter to the Corinthians church reveals the church as the many-membered Body of Christ, with Christ being her head. The church is called to be a testimony – a witness to the mind of God.
The desire of Christ, with all His disciples, in all places, is to display an increasing manifestation of Christ. This is so that all who are not in the faith, will acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and God. This must become an existing reality in us too.
Once His presence is experienced, knowing that the Lord is dwelling in them, the ones who are not in the faith will declare,
1 Corinthians 14:25 – And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest, and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
STRUGGLES AND CHALLENGES
The struggles and challenges among the church in Corinth were that they missed the purpose for their existence as a local fellowship. Everything was made manifest by their immaturity and carnality.
1 Corinthians 3:1 – So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
The church was called out of darkness to be a mature son, manifesting Christ. Paul was expecting this church to be seasoned in the understanding of the kingdom, righteousness and peace but to his surprise, this was not so. They were babies in Christ and this was evident in their carnal nature, envy and jealousy.
I repeat this again, the purpose of the church is to grow in Christ manifesting Himself in all creation. God desires the outflow of the Spirit from within us, however, we find churches, presently walking in the same issues of carnality as the Corinthians church. Christ is to be exalted through our lives, ministries, families and assemblies. This will happen when we yield to the Spirit and the Word of God.
SETTING THINGS IN ORDER
1 Corinthians 11:34
“…And the rest I will put in order when I come.”
Paul, in his letter, gives instructions and directions to set things in order which were out of order. There was disorder at the Lord’s table, in between husbands and wives, in church gatherings, a disorder in people not being under their God-ordained covering, envy, jealousy, carnality, immaturity, etc.
All of this resulted in stunted growth and hence they were not able to mature and fulfill their calling in Christ completely. If we don’t walk according to the Lord’s direction and if He is not known, and His word lived by, there will be a hindrance to our spiritual growth. So, setting things in order is crucial to the formation of Christ in us, and achieving the purpose of our mission in this world.
UNITY AND INTERDEPENDENCE
1 Corinthians 11:20 – Now when you come together at the same place, you are not really eating the Lord’s Supper.
1 Corinthians 14:26 – What is it then, brothers? Whenever you come together, each of you has a song, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
What happens when we come together? Each one has a song, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, and an interpretation. This shows the interdependence of all the members on each other in the Body of Christ. God has placed all of us in the body as it pleased Him.
1 Corinthians 12:18 – But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
One member does not sum up as the whole body, and neither can a member say to another, I have no need of you. Each one is there to do his part, fulfill his calling and purpose to which he is called. We must do all these things in relation to the rest of the church.
This is also similar when it comes to suffering. If one suffers, all the others suffer. When each and every part of the body is working, and doing what its called to do, and that brings increase and growth in the body.
If any believer lives without any communion with other believers, then that person has knowingly or unknowingly hampered the growth of the whole church. Just as the human body needs every part to properly function so that the whole body is healthy, even so every part in the body of Christ must complete the assignment given so that the whole universal church is perfected in Christ.
The duty of every Christian is to make a significant contribution in the body of Christ, however small it may seem. Do not assume that attending a church on Sundays or listening to sermons, is Christian life. No, it is not. You may hear a preaching every day but unless you do what is taught and you live by the power of the spirit, there will always be defeat. A true Christian life is in unity, love and interdependence, putting others before us.
Preaching and teaching have its place in the church and do contribute to knowledge and instruction, but unless you come together with the Lord’s people and do your part to share, participate and contribute in the formation of Christ in people, there cannot be growth.
DISTRACTIONS OF THE ENEMY
The enemy distracts people from fulfilling their part and uses fear, inferiority, guilt or all of these, and they decide never to participate in the assembly. The first time I taught the word of God, I was extremely nervous and made a few mistakes, because of which I was hesitant to teach again.
If you have had similar experiences in your calling or gifting, you must know that the Lord is compassionate and raises us up by His spirit. He helps us grow through our brothers and sisters in Christ just as I was helped to overcome my fears.
This is what Paul said, “Each one of you has…” We have to build one another using the gifts that God has given us. It is essential to your spiritual maturity, and it is necessary to the witness of Christ. My journey has been of a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ, a slow and steady revealing of His will, person, grace, power, love, comfort, rebuke, etc.
REBUKE AND EXHORTATION
The Lord’s word to the church in Corinth is fundamentally distinct from the Thessalonian church. There it is compassion and reassurance, but in Corinth, it is a warning, rebuke and exhortation.
LOVE OF GOD
Paul gave the perfect description and exposition of the love of God In all the Bible. There is nothing that can be compared to this aspect of God in Christ. This is not your love, not my love but this is the love of God.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.
It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.
It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside.
This is the standard of His love and Jesus Christ is the epitome of this love. We cannot attain it in our own strength and wisdom. No human being can match up to that completely. This love is the love of God towards us in Christ and this love never fails, nor does it ever give up on us. This love triumphed on the Cross giving us new life and making us the sons of God.