Faithlife Sermons

The God Of 1 Corinthians - 1:1

1 Corinthians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:41
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One of the most important things for us to remember is that we are not called because of our skill, merit, or worthiness. As we go through the rest of the book we learn that God chooses to use the unqualified for His purpose and glory. We are chosen as the foolish, weak, base, and despised. Why? Because the incredible power of God makes us useful. He has a plan and purpose for our lives.



Last week we discussed the need for unity. We examined the entire book of 1 Corinthians noting how proper beliefs drive proper behavior.
Today we will learn the foundational belief that we must have.
What we believe about God is the bedrock of all theology.
The word God appears 94 times in the book of 1 Corinthians.
What we want to do this morning is examine some of those appearances to see what this book teaches us about our God.
In our world today, what people believe about God is very confused.
In 2018 Ligonier ministries along with lifeway research released data about what self-identified evangelicals believe on various topics.
Here are just a few things they learned.
46% said that God accepts the worship of all religions (S).
42% said Jesus was created by God (S).
34% said the Holy Spirit was a force, not a personal being (S).
36% said God will always reward true faith with material blessings in this life (S).
44% claim that God is unconcerned with day-to-day decisions (S).
There is more we could look at.
The bottom line is this.
Even among those who claim to be followers of Jesus, there is much confusion about who God is.
Paul starts off his letter to the Corinthian church with an immediate discussion of the will of God.
As I examined this book I came to the conclusion that Paul deals with three areas in relation to God.
What God Does
What God Has
Who God is
These will be the three areas we deal with this morning.
Our goal in learning about our God is to be motivated to serve Him.
Only when we truly understand who God is can we do what He requires.
Therefore, knowing God is the first priority of the Christian life.
Because Paul opens his letter by stating that he is in his position by the will of God, we will begin this morning with a discussion of what God does.

1. What God Does

This is no going to be an exhaustive list.
We could speak about the glory and majesty of our God without end and never even do more than scratch the surface.
With that in mind, we will address three actions God takes.
Action #1…

a. The calling of God

Look at 1:1
God calls the child of God according to His will.
This means that we do not choose how we serve. We serve at His direction.
God calls you. He has a plan for you.
He has a place for you to serve.
We are only able to serve as we submit ourselves to his will and follow his calling.
One of the most important things for us to remember is that we are not called because of our skill, merit, or worthiness. As we go through the rest of the book we learn that God chooses to use the unqualified for His purpose and glory. Look at 1:26-29.
We are chosen as foolish, weak, base, and despised. Why? Because the incredible power of God makes us useful.
He has a plan and purpose for our lives. Look at 7:7. The context is marriage but the principle applies broadly.
We all have our own gift, our own calling, from God.
7:15 reveals that God has called us to peace. 7:17 calls us to to serve where God has placed us.
God doesn’t make mistakes!
This point is repeated in chapter 12 as Paul discusses the gifts given to the body of Christ (12:18, 24, 28).
All believers are part of the body. We are placed according to God’s will, given the gift he wants us to have, and called to serve Him.
What does this mean?
He placed you where you are with the gifts and talents you have. Serve Him.
Be who God has called you to be (7:24).
The calling of God is not about external beauty or ability.
God doesn’t look on the outward appearance.
God cares about our hearts (8:8)!
Look at 10:31.
When we are called by God, our responsibility is to live for His glory.
When we live for His glory, we experience the second thing we want to discuss this morning.
The second action…

b. The blessing of God

Look at 1:5
This is a powerful verse. We are enriched in everything by Him!
11:12 says that all things are from God.
Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ!
We lack nothing in the blessing department.
But the truly in credible thing is that we will receive even more blessing in eternity.
Look at 2:9-12.
Jesus told His disciples He was going to prepare a place. That place is more glorious than we can imagine.
We have been given the Holy Spirit of God, we learn that in 6:19 and 7:40 among others.
One of the services the Holy Spirit performs is to enable our understanding of Scripture.
He reveals to us all the things we have been given by God.
Just a couple of examples.
According to 11:7 we are the image and glory of God.
12:3 reveals that we are able to speak by the Holy Spirit.
14:2 declares that He hears us no matter language we speak.
He is the source of every spiritual gift (14:18).
God calls us and He blesses us beyond comprehension.
This is what God does.
He doesn’t ask our permission. He simply does it.
There are more things we could talk about here.
We could talk about God taking pleasure in saving those who believe.
We could talk about how the simplicity of the gospel message is a joy to our Sovereign God.
As we make our way through 1 Corinthians in the months ahead, we will talk about how we plant and water but God gives the increase.
We will discuss how God raised up Christ and will raise us one day.
We will learn how believers are put on display for the sake of Christ.
How God is concerned for those who serve Him, cares that we walk in obedience, receives our prayers, and works through our Spiritual gifts.
But for sake of time this morning, we will look at one more thing God does.
We need to examine action #3…

c. The judgment of God

We are examining this topic because our goal today is to understand who God is and how seriously He takes our commitment to Him.
The God we serve, the God revealed in Scripture, is not some benevolent being in the sky.
He is not a cosmic vending machine where you say or do the correct combination of things and out pops your desired result.
That is a god of imagination, not the God of revelation.
The God revealed in Scripture is benevolent and does bless us, but He is also just, holy, and pure.
These attributes of God demand that He judge sin.
Look at 3:17.
The word translated destroy is used twice. If we destroy our temple, meaning our body, through sin, God allows us to feel the full effects of that sin.
Because He is holy, God must judge sin.
Paul makes this point again later when he is discussing how God punished the Israelites for disobedience (10:5).
When we disobey, God disciplines us.
Later in chapter 3 we learn that God views the wisdom of this world as foolishness.
That’s in 3:19.
5:13 tells us that He judges unbelievers
We serve an awesome God.
He calls us and blesses us. And we praise and thank Him for it.
But we must also understand that He is a God of justice, righteousness, and holiness.
Who God is demands that He discipline His children and deal with sin.
This is going to come up several times in 1 Corinthians.
It is not okay for the child of God to live a deliberate life of sin.
We have been called to glorify God. We have been called to holiness. We have been called serve Him.
As we do, we will find the blessing and joy He has promised.
We move now from a discussion of what God does to an examination of what God has.

2. What God Has

As we go through 1 Corinthians we are going to notice that there are things mentioned as belonging to God.
These are often represented by an “of” statement.
Things like “church of God,” or “power of God.”
As we seek to have a proper view of Him, these statements help us to grasp His power.
These statements break out into at least three categories.
Category #1…

a. The possessions of God

Look at 1:20.
Paul begins the epistle by mentioning the church of God.
In Acts 20:28 when Paul is talking with the Ephesian elders he reminds them that Jesus Christ purchased the church with His own blood.
We are purchased possessions. We belong to God.
This means we do not have autonomy. We do not get to choose our own way.
We move at God’s direction.
We act according to His will.
We speak only the Words He gives.
We have been bought at a price (6:20), therefore, we are called to glorify God in the body and spirit He has purchased.
This idea of the church being his is also mentioned in 10:32; 11:16, 22.
Paul repeatedly refers to believers as belonging to God.
There is a corporate sense as well as an individual sense in which we belong to God.
The interesting thing about these references is that while it is made clear we belong to God, Paul uses different terms to refer to believers.
Turn to 3:9.
What does it mean to be a fellow worker with God?
This reference, and the one to people being God’s field make me think of Matthew 9:37-38 (S).
Matthew 9:37-38
Matthew 9:37–38 NKJV
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
A fellow worker is a believer who goes out into the harvest.
The field is those who need to hear about Christ.
The building is the body of Christ.
The body is being built and grows as more people are led to Christ.
We belong to Christ. We have a job to do.
As Paul goes on in ch. 3 he also describes the believer as a temple.
Look at 3:16-17.
We are the temple of God. The temple is where God dwells.
When the we trust in Christ the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside of us thus making us the temple.
Just a note of clarification, this building behind you is not a temple. God does not dwell there. It is just a building.
Believer, you are the temple of God!
The temple of God is to be holy. It is set apart, dedicated to God.
Dedicated for His purpose and glory!
You are not your own!
Glorify God in your body and Spirit. They are His.
How I live and behave matters to God.
One of the things that is seen repeatedly in Scripture is that God has a kingdom.
This mentioned several places in 1 Corinthians.
In 4:20 we learn that God’s kingdom isn’t about words, it is about power.
It is about our activity as we serve the Lord.
The kingdom of God isn’t about talking a good game! It is about working for Christ.
In 6:9-10 Paul details who will be able to inherit the kingdom of God.
The idea is that only those who are purified and sanctified will have an inheritance in the kingdom (15:50).
This emphasizes that God’s kingdom is a place of purity and holiness.
This is vital for an understanding of who God is.
He is absolutely holy. Only holy things are allowed into His presence.
Scripture reveals that no one is righteous (Rom. 3:23), and that our righteous deeds are filthy rags (Is. 64:6),
Therefore, we cannot enter God’s presence.
We need righteousness.
Righteousness only comes through faith in Christ (Rom. 3:22)!
The idea that those apart from Christ can somehow attain acceptance into heaven is preposterous!
Only the righteous can enter heaven. Works cannot make you righteous. Only faith in Christ can.
We belong to God. We are His temple. He has a kingdom. There is more we could mention, but I want to move on.
Our goal this morning is to gain a better understanding of who God is.
To do that we will examine category #2…

b. The attributes of God

At the very beginning of the book Paul points out that God is the source of peace.
Look at 1:3.
Peace begins when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.
That is how we have peace.
Once we have peace with God that comes through Jesus Christ, we are able to have the peace of God.
True peace comes only from God.
In the very next verse Paul mentions grace.
Look at 1:4.
Grace is when God gives us what we do not deserve.
Here in this verse Paul mentions the ultimate expression of God’s grace, Jesus Christ.
We deserve death and punishment. God gives us life and blessing.
This grace is only available in Christ.
We need grace for salvation as well as for daily life (3:10; 15:10).
God is a God of grace. He gives us what we do not deserve.
As Paul goes on we learn that God is also a God of wisdom.
Look at 1:21.
This passage discusses the wisdom of God and the foolishness of men.
In His infinite wisdom, God sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sin (1:24).
In His wisdom, God made the method of salvation simple.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!
What seems foolish to this world, is wisdom with God (1:25).
Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s wisdom (1:30).
There was nothing we could do to make us right with God. So God accomplished our salvation through Jesus Christ.
The plan of salvation demonstrates the matchless wisdom of God.
It also displays His power.
Look at 1:18.
Only an all powerful God can take those who are spiritually dead and make them alive (1:24)!
Only a God of infinite power can transform sinners into saints!
God alone is able to cause all who believe to be born again!
His power is unlimited, it is matchless, it is infinite!
Our faith does not rest in the words or wisdom of men.
Our faith rests in the power of God.
This is emphasized in 2:4-5.
Scripture reveals that the power of God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
That same power is at work in my life and in your life.
As we continue to consider what God has, we now turn our attention to category #3…

c. The message of God

Look at 2:1.
This word testimony could also be translated mystery.
Biblically speaking, a mystery is something previously concealed that is now made evident.
Paul continues in v. 2 to declare what this mystery is. Christ crucified.
This is the message, the testimony of God.
In 4:1 Paul declares that we are stewards of God’s mysteries.
It is to us that the gospel message has been entrusted. But we must never forget that it is God’s message!
Later in chapter 2 Paul refers to the gospel message as the deep things of God (2:10-11).
The gospel, while simple, is not always easy.
It is hard to learn you are a sinner.
It is harder still to understand that you are unable to save yourself.
Hardest of all is to cast your eternal fate into the hands of another.
The message of God is Christ crucified, buried, risen, and coming again.
We have been called by God to be witnesses of Christ (15:15).
We proclaim to all the message of salvation by grace through faith (15:34).
No one is to be excluded.
This is our God.
This is what He has, His possessions.
We are His. The kingdom is His.
He is full of peace, grace, wisdom, and power.
He has entrusted to us the message of Christ crucified.
Finally this morning, we need to discuss who God is.
We have seen what he does. We have seen what He has.
That is all great information, great knowledge, but until we know who He is, motivation can be lacking.

3. Who God Is

There is so much we could say about who God is. It is literally impossible for us to grasp everything Scripture reveals.
However, that doesn’t give us license to quit trying.
In Philippians 3 you will find my favorite verse. Verse 10.
Philippians 3:10
Philippians 3:10 NKJV
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Paul describes this as the driving passion of his life and ministry.
I want it to be mine as well.
We need to know who our God is.
Today we will examine only who 1 Corinthians reveals Him to be.
The statements we will look at are ones where we find the words “God is.”
The first thing we learn is that…

a. God is trinity

Most of the references to God we have been looking at are about God the Father.
We must understand that God is a trinity. Three in one. Trinity in unity.
Co-essential. Co-equal. and Co-eternal.
There are references to God the Holy Spirit and God the Son all over 1 Corinthians.
I want to single out some that demonstrate the divinity of the entire Godhead.
First, 2:11.
If the Spirit is God’s and knows the things of God, He must be God.
READ 2:14; 3:16; 6:11.
Now consider 3:23.
We belong to God. And we belong to Christ. And Christ is God’s.
Christ must be God.
READ 11:3.
God is the head of Christ.
Look at 8:6.
There is one God manifest in three persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
That is who our God is.
We were created for him.
God is trinity. Trinity in unity (15:28).
As we examine more “God is” phrases we learn that…

b. God is with us

Look at 14:25.
The context of this verse is someone coming into the church and hearing the Word of God proclaimed.
The conviction of the Holy Spirit will come upon him and he will worship God acknowledging the presence of God among us.
God is with His people.
We learned earlier that He is with His people through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
It is vital for us to know that God is with us.
He is here in the midst of everything we are going through.
God is among us.
As God indwells us and moves among us, He brings peace.
Look at 14:33.
God is the author of peace.
When He is with us. When His Holy Spirit is filling us. There is peace.
This means that when we lack the peace of God it is because we are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
We fail to be filled with the Holy Spirit when we are filled with something else.
Anger. Jealousy. Unforgiveness. Fear. Doubt. Worry. Anxiety. Hatred. Lust. Bitterness. Envy.
When our hearts are full of these things, full of sin, we cannot be filled with the Spirit.
Some of us may need to make this our commitment this week.
To deal with the things preventing us from being filled with the Spirit.
God is with you in this trial. He is with you in your pain. He is with you every step of the way.
God has not abandoned His people in this time of turmoil.
That means that He has a purpose for all of this.
How do we know that?
Because of the last statement we will examine today.

c. God is faithful

Go back to the beginning with me.
Look at 1:9.
God is faithful.
In the immediate context Paul is reviewing with the Corinthians all the ways they have been blessed by God.
We have been given grace, the ability to speak, knowledge, Spiritual gifts, and the promise of being blameless in the presence of Christ!
God is faithful!
He has called us into fellowship.
He has placed us where we are to serve and glorify Him!
God is faithful!
He is at work in my life and in your life.
He is at work in Grace Church of Lockeford.
God is faithful.
Paul reveals a second way that we experience the faithfulness of God.
Look at 10:13.
God is faithful in blessing us.
God is faithful in maturing us through trials and testing.
He provides the way of escape.
It is up to us to take it.
God is faithful.
He desires that we grow and mature in Christ and so He uses trials and testings to strengthen us.
We are in a trial. We are in a test.
The temptation is to get distracted with all the politics of everything going on.
Beloved. Don’t be distracted.
God is faithful.
We too must be faithful.
We have been entrusted with the gospel message and we are arguing about masks!
We have been called to proclaim Christ and we are upset because our neighbor isn’t social distancing!
Our mission from God is to reach people for Christ!
People are open.
Are we reaching them?
God is faithful. May we be faithful too.


What do I believe about God?
How does my view of God affect my relationships?
Allow me to discuss just a little bit about how we will apply this message.
Personal: I need to understand how God views me. I am His. I am loved. I am accepted in the beloved. I am chosen. I also need to see God clearly. God is love and justice. God is grace and discipline. God is mercy and testing. A commitment here could look like finding Scripture verses that talk about who I am and who God is and reading one or two daily.
Friendships: God has placed me in the lives of others to make their life better. He has also given me people to strengthen and encourage me. There is to be a give and take. A commitment here could be actively striving to encourage others.
Parenting: What I believe about God will be seen in my children. If I believe God is indifferent to my church attendance or prayer life or bible reading, my kids will believe the same. For my children to put God first, I must put Him first. A commitment here could look like taking an attribute of God per night and discussing it with my children.
Marriage: God cares deeply about my marriage. As a picture of Christ and the church, marriage is a vital part of Christianity in our culture. A commitment here would be deciding to seek God together with my spouse. Or it could be treating my spouse how God wants me to regardless of their performance. Does my husband or wife see Christ in me?
COMMITMENT: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We have talk this morning about three things.
What God Does.
What God Has.
Who God Is.
There are a few things that I want us to walk away with this morning.
1 - God has called me and placed me exactly where He wants me.
2 - I belong to God.
3 - God is powerful and faithful.
4 - When I serve God I find true meaning and purpose.
5 - Serving God requires knowing Him.
And lastly.
6 - To know God I must be part of His Church, in His Word, and with His people.
I want us all to read through this six things this week.
Then, I want us to do them.
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