The Church At Corinth

glory in the lord joy
Hope for Today (English)
The Church At Corinth
1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Corinth was an important commercial city in the days of the apostle Paul. It was a wicked city, having several pagan temples.

The Acropolis, the highest point of the city, was where the central government was located, as was the temple of the licentious goddess Aphrodite, with her 1000 temple prostitutes. Immorality was a central part of pagan worship.

Paul came to Corinth from the sophisticated town of Athens, the home of the revered ancient philosophers. Paul confronted them on Mars Hill (see Acts 17:16-34). On the other end of the social scale, the prostitutes lived in Corinth. Both groups desperately needed the Gospel.

Most Bible scholars believe the letter was addressed to the Corinthians to correct abuses in public worship. But I must disagree with that. Some say it is a unique provincial letter to the church in Corinth. Again I say no, that is not true, because in six places in the epistle the apostle Paul says what he teaches in Corinth he teaches everywhere (see 1 Corinthians 1:2; 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33; 16:1).

Now while there may have been some abuses in public worship, not all of this letter has to do with such abuses. Paul was a church planter. He spent one and a half years in Corinth. Later he wrote two letters to further instruct the Corinthian believers. He was concerned about the church in Corinth and its testimony.

In Acts 18:1-17, we learn how the Corinthian church began. Paul joined Aquila and Priscilla as tent makers when he came from Athens to Corinth. He reasoned in the Jewish synagogue Sabbath after Sabbath until the Jews were unwilling to listen. Then he withdrew to the house of Justus next door to the synagogue. The Jews brought Paul to the judgment seat of Gallio, the deputy of Achaia, to accuse him of being a rabble-rouser, but Gallio dismissed the case.

Although the church of Corinth had a rather tempestuous beginning, it was dear to the heart of the apostle Paul. He earnestly desired to minister to the Corinthian believers both while he was there and while he was absent, as by this letter.

This study of the letter to the Corinthians opens with a message entitled THE CHURCH AT CORINTH. The Scripture is I Corinthians 1:1-9.

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

This church had several intimate RELATIONSHIPS with Christ, as every church should.

The first relationship is:


2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus

Sanctification is a part of conversion. A person cannot be converted without being sanctified. I know there are people who say this is a subsequent experience, that you are converted first and then later you are sanctified. But the Scripture makes it quite clear that sanctification is a part of conversion.

To be “sanctified” means to be set apart, and when a person is converted, he is set apart. He has changed direction and association. The sinner who trusts in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour becomes a child of God. Before conversion, he was a child of the devil. Jesus said so in John 8:44. Sinners are children of the devil. So when a person becomes converted, when he becomes a born-again Christian, he is a child of God. Paul affirmed that in Romans 8:16: “We are children of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.” So sanctification is a part of conversion.

In Old Testament worship, separation was emphasized considerably. Take, for example, the t tabernacle Moses was instructed to build in the Sinai Desert. There were three compartments in that tabernacle. There was the Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. This order helped the Israelites realize that God is holy.

Mrs. Yoder and I have traveled in a number of countries, and one time when we were in Nigeria at a certain church, I had a lay brother with me, a very fine Christian brother. He came with me on the platform with the ministers of the Gospel. One brother asked me whether my friend was ordained. I said, “No, he is not.” And he said, “He should not be sitting up here on the platform.” Sanctified to these Nigerian brothers the platform was reserved for those who had a special calling from God.

On another occasion, when Sister Yoder and I were in India, the Indian brother ministers removed their shoes when we went to the platform for the morning service. And when Sister Yoder and I were in Ghana, we could not enter one church without taking off our shoes. It was a holy place. That’s what I am saying. To be sanctified is to be set apart, called to be holy; it is a sacred and high calling.

So the first relationship one has with Jesus Christ is to be sanctified, sanctified in Christ and to Christ.

The second relationship is:


5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge

Ah, dwell your mind on the super-abounding grace of God, a bestowal from God. The apostle Paul writing in Romans 5:20 says that where sin abounded grace did much more abound, the superabounding grace of God, reaching out across the world, touching lives in many different lands. The grace of God is given from God through Jesus.

Well, what is the grace of God anyway? It is God’s unearned favor. There is nothing you can do, there is nothing I can do to require God to bestow His grace upon us. The reason is that the human heart is evil. The prophet Jeremiah saw it. He said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:19). God saw it right after Noah came out of the ark, when He said, “The imagination of man’s heart is only evil continually” (Genesis 8:21). So the nature of the human heart requires grace. Outside of Christ, we are all beggars. In Christ, we are enriched!

We have no lack. Oh, pay special attention to verse 7: “So that ye come behind in no gift.” All is within reach. Yes, we can appropriate whatever God has for us. So may the Lord help us to reach out, not to be behind in any gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who will confirm us. Amen. And we look for the return of Christ, a motivating factor for all Christians. That forms Paul’s central purpose. What a blessing it is to be enriched in Christ!

The third relationship is:


9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Corinthian believers were called from the fellowship of evil to the fellowship of Christ by the faithfulness of God. Once they were slaves to sin, now liberated they have come into the fellowship of Christ to experience completeness, to view the world like Jesus did, to endure the conflict like He did, to live in anticipation like He did, and to receive the final inheritance like He did. That’s what it means to share the fellowship of Christ.

Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father, “Glorify Thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). My friend, try to evaluate, try to appropriate the fellowship of Christ. Know that you can walk with Him every day. You can live in His presence. You can be with Him no matter what your situation may be. He is there to bless you. He is there to help you. He is there to sustain you. He is there to guide you in the fellowship of Christ.

The church at Corinth had great potential, as every true church has. These relationships should be experienced in every church everywhere, and every member of the body of Christ should experience maybe I should say does experience these relationships.


To enjoy these relationships, the first step is to receive Jesus as your own personal Saviour. There is no substitute for that. So I call to you now. Receive Him. Invite Him into your life and heart.

Receive Weekly Encouragement

Sign-up to get a sermon straight to your inbox on a weekly basis!