Building Community part 2 August 2007 pm
Building Community part 2
I Corinthians 1:1-13
Russell Christoff is likely not a familiar name. He is a very unknown actor and model. His only body of work that you might recognize was a small picture found years back on cans of Taster’s Choice instant coffee. He was the guy smelling the aroma. Do you remember that picture?
In 1986, when he took those photos, he was given $250. He was promised that if the photos were used they would pay him $2,500. For 15 years his face sold their product and the odd thing is – he never recognized himself! For 15 years he never realized it was his picture that graced the front of that can. He didn’t drink instant coffee! I guess no one in his family did.
One day, as he walked down the aisle, he looked and there he was! Once he recognized himself he did what any true American would do – he called his lawyer. And in 2002, Tasters Choice settled with him for a sum of $15.6 million dollars.
It pays to recognize yourself!
The excitement in living the Christian life comes from realizing our full identity.
We are perfect in Christ!
We are a work in progress.
God is not impressed by our words, instead He applauds our action.
He is looking for evidence.
That is why the church exists.
It is a physical, tangible place where your commitment to Christ becomes evident.
It is a place where faith becomes visible and we live out what we say we believe.
As a result, the church should be unique. It should stand out in the world.
That is what Paul says in verse 2, “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.””saints”
3. The church is a UNIQUE community.
As we said before, the church is called the Bride of Christ.
How do you look at your bride?
When she is coming down the aisle, what do you see?
Do you focus in on the one hair that is out of place or the one area of makeup that is uneven?
No, you don’t see her imperfections – you see all the reasons why you fell in love! You see her beauty.
When God looks at the church, He doesn’t see her flaws.
---He sees all the reasons He fell in love, ------He sees a perfect reflection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Do you know that God looks at you the same way He looks at the church?
When God looks at you…
He sees His Son,
He sees Jesus Christ.
Gal. 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Circle the words – IN ME…
That is where Christ is, right now! He is in you.
When God looks at you, He sees His Son.
When Jesus’ died for your sins, His character covered you.
Under Niagara’s Waters
At Niagara, the American Falls takes its dizzy leap over a precipice of 160 feet. Between the face of that precipice and the great overleaping sheet of water, which forms the falls, there is a vacant space called the Cave of the Winds. The guides robe you from head to feet in rubber garments and go before you to lead the way. You follow slowly and cautiously as they make their way literally under the falls. Finally you reach your stopping point. There, as you stand, thousands of tons of water are rushing over that precipice, with a thunderous roar and blinding splash of spray and mist.
If you were down there where it falls you would be crushed to death in an instant by its savage impact. But though you stand in a spot of great seeming peril, you are perfectly safe; for this great veil of watery death passes over you and spends its fury on the jagged rocks beneath. You are safe because you are a passed-over man. It is a picture of the redemption which is in Christ for us.
Your life is hidden in Christ.
As a result we have been “sanctified,” or made holy in the eyes of God.
That is a one time event. It happened the day you trusted in Christ.
God set you apart. Since that day God no longer sees the mistakes you have made, instead when He looks at you He sees Jesus. Your life is hidden in His life.
The SECOND way God sees you is built of the first.
…When God sees you, He sees a work in progress.
Just as my wife sees me! She does not focus on my mistakes though she is not content with them. If I stayed the same way I was when we got married our marriage would have been in trouble.
I had some rough edges that needed to be worked out, I was immature. I grew because her love looked past my flaws.
God sees us the same way we are a work in progress.
We have to live out what God has worked in.
As Paul says, we are “called to be holy.” We must reflect on the outside what God has done on the inside. Our task is to remember who’s we are! We share a unique identity.
The church is UNIQUE; it is unlike anything the world can offer.
The last idea is found at the end of verse 2, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ-- their Lord and ours:
4. The church is a UNIVERSAL community.
Though the church is local (it has an address), it’s also universal.
To be universal means it includes all believers, at all times and in all places.
The church is inclusive, no one can be excluded.
There only one thing that can exclude someone from membership in the church and that is unbelief.
The only thing God can’t work with is a lack of faith.
If you have faith, God can work with you! No matter what you have done, who you are or where you come from. If you have faith, God can make something out of your life.
The writer of Hebrews says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists…” (11:6)
Faith in Jesus Christ, and faithfulness, are the only standards that can divide. Everything else that separates us was destroyed on the cross.
Jesus came and knocked down the man made walls of self-promoting division.
Instead the Bible says, in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28).
Circle the word – ALL ONE
2Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
God is impressed by only one thing, faith. But to get there we need each other.
The number one complaint of the average American is loneness.
Despite all the advances in communication people still feel the pain of isolation.
God says the church is the answer. Don’t go it alone.
Sosthenes — safe in strength, the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, who was seized and beaten by the mob in the presence of Gallio, the Roman governor, when he refused to proceed against Paul at the instigation of the Jews (Acts 18:12–17). The motives of this assault against Sosthenes are not recorded, nor is it mentioned whether it was made by Greeks or Romans. Some identify him, but without sufficient grounds, with one whom Paul calls “Sosthenes our brother,” a convert to the faith (1 Cor. 1:1).
1:10 The apostle is now ready to take up the problem of divisions in the church (1:10–4:21). He begins with a loving exhortation to unity. Instead of commanding with the authority of an apostle, he pleads with the tenderness of a brother. The appeal for unity is based on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and since the name stands for the Person, it is based on all that the Lord Jesus is and has done. The Corinthians were exalting the name of men; that could only lead to divisions. Paul will exalt the name of the Lord Jesus, knowing that only in this way will unity be produced among the people of God. To speak the same thing means to be of the same mind and of one accord. It means to be united as to loyalty and allegiance. This unity is produced when Christians have the mind of Christ, and in the verses to follow, Paul will tell them in a practical manner how they can think Christ’s thoughts after Him.
1:11 News concerning the contentions in Corinth had come to Paul from Chloe’s household. In naming his informers, Paul lays down an important principle of Christian conduct. We should not pass on news about our fellow believers unless we are willing to be quoted in the matter.
If this example were followed today, it would prevent most of the idle gossip which now plagues the church.