Sermon preached on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at Garden Valley Chapel during our morning worship service based on 1 Corinthians 11:18-22.
Turn in your Bible, if you will, to the eleventh chapter of the book of 1 Corinthians - 1 Corinthians eleven where we continue our study on the Lord´s Table.
I invite you to stand in the reading of God´s Word. Read 1 Cor 11:17-22.
It is no secret that the church of Corinth had problems. It does not take long in a personal reading of 1 Corinthians to discover the many problems the church faced.
But you must transport yourself back to the 1st century in considering these problems, in considering this letter.
When news of the problems reached the Apostle Paul, he could not return to Corinth immediately, so he addressed those problems from a distance through a series of letters - 4 in total, 2 that are in the Canon of Scripture.
Paul loved the church in Corinth with his whole heart.
We read in 1 Cor 4:15 -
15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
But a series of mishaps had come to the work in Corinth. One disaster had followed another till Paul feared the very worst.
As A.T. Robertson points out -
"Few sadder experiences come to the preacher than to see the work of his heart crumble away after he has left it."
No church pressed upon Paul´s heart quite so heavily as did that in Corinth. It was a richly endowed church with great spiritual gifts and blessings, but they had become the occasion of envy and faction.
Right out of the gate, does Paul lovingly rebuke the Corinthians in 1 Cor 1:10-12 -
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe´s people, that there are quarrels among you.
12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."
Evidently what was taking place in the church at Corinth is that the people were beginning to polarize behind their favorite teacher.
They isolated the "grandeur" of their preferred teacher & began to brag about them. They elevated them to the point that they saw themselves as superior to the rest by sheer association.
Elsewhere the Apostle Paul left these instructions to both the people and the leadership in Phil 1:27 -
27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
In Paul´s absence, the church at Corinth was not standing firm in one spirit, nor was it striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Instead the church was divided and there were quarrels. The spirit of division and conflict was harming the unity of the church, driven by envy, strife, and carnality.