Magnificent Mess – Week 1
Church can be messy! I know because I’ve been a part of it for most of my life. No perfect church exists because every church is made up of imperfect people who are all at different steps of their walk of faith. We’re not meant to be perfect, but we are works in progress. And the process is messy. And it was messy in Corinthian Fellowship Church in the New Testament too.
The book of 1 Corinthians is all about how God wants to and can make a difference in and through your life! It really shows the weaknesses of Christians. Some of the areas Paul deals with include: How do you live as a Christian in a sex-crazed society? When is divorce justified? Can Christians sue other Christians? Along the way, you’ll also discover how the church must live in unity as we learn to love one another—with all of our flaws. And in the process, you’ll see how the church can impact today’s world.
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Paul wrote this letter to encourage and strengthen the believers in the city of Corinth. He wanted to tell us how to live for Jesus in the middle of a messed up, morally bankrupt culture. That applies to us today just as much as then?
Paul wrote this letter during his third missionary journey while he was in Ephesus.
Corinth might have been the most important, large city in Paul’s day. The people there were very immoral. In fact, participating in sinful activities was called “corinthianizing.” Corinth had a large population of 700,000, second only in size to Rome. Its smart citizens showcased new “Corinthian” architecture and prided themselves on having a sophisticated worldview.
For their religion, the wild Corinthians honored Aphrodite, the goddess of love. A temple built in her honor employed more than 1,000 prostitutes.
So many people came through there, it was a great place for a church, but the last place you would think people would come to Christ.
We read about Paul’s experiences for 18 months starting the church in Corinth in Acts 18:1-17. It became a large church, but they started getting confused and drifting from holy living.
Then, Paul got some bad news from Chloe informing him about divisions in the church in Corinth where they were setting up tribes according to Apollos, Paul, and even Jesus.
Imagine sitting with Paul and getting to ask him questions about the Bible. He talks about three major areas in 1 Corinthians:
- Connecting with other Christians.
- Connecting with God through worship.
- What is heaven like? (Chapter 15)
4 Gifts God Gives You
4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
God freely gives his grace to you. It’s not something you can earn. With God’s grace, you get His acceptance and His Favor!
Grace has been described as: God’s riches at Christ’s Expense. Because of God’s grace, we get what we don’t deserve.
Paul wasn’t saying that one day God will bless us; he was saying God has already blessed us. Imagine that your friend gives you a birthday gift. You ask, “What are you giving me for my birthday?”
“Well,” your friend says, motioning to the gift, “go ahead and open it and you’ll see”
“Just tell me what you got me.”
“What’s wrong with you? Just open up the box!”
As Christians, sometimes, we ask for things that God has already given us.
We ask Him, “God, when are you going to give me this?”
Meanwhile, God is saying, “McFly! You already have it! Just use what I gave you.”
We may ask God for more love. Paul writes in Romans 5:5, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). Don’t pray to feel it; just start showing it.
You need to be more loving. Do something out of your comfort zone. Act more loving and the feelings will follow.
That’s especially true in marriage. Sometimes the things that once drew a couple together, now drive them crazy. because opposites attract, then they attack! But a strong and happy marriage happens when we follow God and His Word. For a marriage to be good, and fulfilling, it takes effort from both partners involved.
Another thing you might ask God for is peace. But you already have it, because Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Or, you might pray for joy. But Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11 NLT).
We might ask God to give us strength, and He reminds us that “[We] can do everything through Christ, who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT).
The Bible promises us that “by his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 NLT).
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have all the peace, all the love, and all the power that we need. So open up your gifts and start using them today.
You have great potential because God has gifted you with a spiritual gift.
You don’t have to earn a gift; but you do have to refine and develop it. And God can give whenever He wants, whenever He wants to.
None of the believers had all the gifts. They needed each other. We are better together. God gives them all in the church so each of us work together.
One of the best ways to discover your spiritual gift is to volunteer and serve. Discover by doing. For example, let’s say that you decide to help out in Konnection Kidz. And let’s just say that it doesn’t go so well. So you decided to help out somewhere else. Then one day, you find your sweet spot. You think, “This is what God has gifted me to do.”
Pray about what your gift may be.
You have great potential to do far more than you can imagine. Given by God!
God promises to: “Keep you firm til the end.” That gives you the gift of hope for your future.
All of these gifts are meant to be shared with other believers. None of us has everything, but together, we all have everything we need.