Advent 2020 begins this week. Every Christmas, the number one thing our kids want to know...maybe even us, is what presents am I getting? By sending Jesus into the world, God has blessed us as His children with gifts. What gift from God is found in 1 Corinthians 1:3-9?Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
**This is not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript
TO YOU FROM GOD
PART ONE: SUPPLY, TO YOU FROM GOD
Christmas is all about one thing. Presents. My kids have been much more vocal in Walmart, watching commercials, and looking at catalogs that come in the mail. They want to make sure that Nicole and I know which toys they are wanting. And to be honest, as parents are hope is that whatever gifts we find for our children that their little eyes will light up with happiness.
Jesus shares something especially important to us about gifts in Luke 11. He is teaching them about prayer when He says, “Which of you, if your child asks for a fish will give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, will give them a scorpion? If you, though you are evil, know how to give good gits to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!” (Luke 11:11-13, paraphrased) Just as you and I want to give good gifts, God only gives good gifts. At Christmas, we celebrate the best give He has ever given us, Jesus.
Through Advent, we will be examining the different gifts made available through the coming of Jesus. This week we are looking at 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, trying figure out what gift from God to us is found in the text.
1 Corinthians 1:3-9:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gifts as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (NIV)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
We are looking at 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, trying to answer what gift from God to us through Jesus is revealed in this text? Before we examine the text, I believe to understand that Paul is writing this letter to the church at Corinth. Corinth was a very troubled church; Paul was writing to them to correct the errors among the fellowship. Notice how Paul begins the letter.
VERSES 3-6 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because of our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. If you have a chance, spend some time reading what Paul goes onto write to this church. Paul confronts spiritual snobbery, abuse, fighting, and sexual misbehavior in this one letter to the Corinthians. This is not a church a pastor would be excited to pastor. But Paul begins his letter with a greeting and thanking God for them.
It was not that long before this letter, that Paul was sharing the message with the people in this city. They were not following Jesus yet, and without people surrendered to God there is no church. Yet now because of God’s grace, this fellowship existed. Because of God’s amazing grace, the Corinthians had been “enriched in every way…in all their speaking and knowledge.”
The very fact a church existed in the city of Corinth was proof that God was at work! Despite all this fellowship’s shortcomings and failures, they existed. This was a testimony to the apostle’s own faithfulness to share the message, and the power of God working through Paul’s obedience. Jesus saved Paul, and through Paul was able to do the same for the people at Corinth. And through this same Jesus the people of Corinth’s lives have been enriched in every way.
VERSES 7-9 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gifts as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. The early church and us are very different in how we think. You and I are focused on living our lives in manner that honors God, hoping to get through heaven’s gates. It is based on death. But Paul and the Corinthians believed Jesus would be back in their lifetimes. Their goal was to be found living a manner worth of the gospel when He arrived. As a side note, this is an error on our part because we have grown lax in our anticipation of Jesus’s second coming.
Paul and the Corinthians eagerly anticipated Jesus would be back. In the opening greeting of his letter to this struggling church, Paul reminds them they were “enriched in every way” because of their faith in Jesus. And because of their faith in Jesus, they were also “not lacking any spiritual gifts.” Meaning, the Corinthians had everything made available to them that was needed to live in their faith until Jesus returned.
In verse 8, Paul writes, “Jesus will keep you strong to the end.” The word the NIV translates “strong” is the same Greek word used in verse 6 but translated “confirmed.” It is a word in the Greek that means “to make firm, establish, or make secure.” (Vines Bible Dictionary) By their faith in Jesus, the Corinthians are made securely established in a life that will be found worthy when Jesus comes back. When Paul writes, “so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is saying they will be found living a life of holiness because their faith in Jesus who is faithful to provide all the supplies they will need to do so.
What gift from God to us is found in 1 Corinthians 1:3-9? The same hope Paul shared with the Corinthians, a struggling church, in his opening greeting. A reminder that through faith in Jesus they have everything they will ever need to for holy living. You and I have that same gift. God has gifted us all the supply we will need to get through this life by faith in Jesus.
God has supplied us with grace. What is grace? Nazarene theologian Donald Metz defined it as the “unmerited love of God in action.” We did not earn it, nor do we deserve it, but God moved to rescue us from sin because of His love for you and me. It is grace that led you to Jesus, the same grace leads you to choose Jesus over sin, and the same grace that will keep you until the very end. A jar that will never run empty.
Because grace has worked in a miracle in our hearts, assuring us that our sins are forgiven, we no longer carry guilt and shame. Guilt and shame abide in our hearts because of sin, but God’s perfect love will chase those away. Once they are gone, peace fills our hearts. Not only do we have peace because our sins are gone, but because our new life has meaning and purpose. There is a peace from knowing that our life’s purpose is to do God’s will, which is loving God and loving others.
Grace has assured us that our sins are gone, and we have peace because the guilt is gone, and we have found purpose in life. Those two things are found in the foundation, the cornerstone of our faith, Jesus. He is our faithful endless supply of grace and peace, with more than enough to get us through this life. This means no matter how dark it gets around us, the Light of the World will never be snuffed out from our hearts.
Adam Clarke writes, “God will continue to uphold and save you if you entrust your bodies and souls to Him. But can it be said that God will keep what is either not entrusted to Him or, after entrusted, is taken away?” God’s gift of endless supply of grace, peace, and hope through Jesus is available, but for you to possess that gift you must believe in Jesus. And to believe in Jesus is to recognize there is no one to accuse in your sin, so you are free to go sin no more.
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"