v12: Today in the church it is 43 thousand times worse, for Christians aren’t just saying, “I like this person better” or “I like that person better”: those who like one person have built denominational walls to keep out the believers who like another person.
V26: Today in the institutional church it is all about knowledge. Christians love the scholarly pastor who has as many degrees as a thermometer.
It is also all about influence. There are thousands of pastors gunning to be the next Billy Graham, Rick Warren or John Piper. They use their small town church pulpits as stepping stones to bigger and bigger congregations till they make the right connections to get them national and international attention.
It is all about rank, too. Whether the “Fathers” of the Catholic church or the Reverends, Pastors, Senior Pastors, Pastors For Preaching, etc. of the other denominations, it’s all the same: people having a fancy title by which they expect to be addressed.
Worldly wisdom is particularly evident in the mainline Protestant denominations, such as the Presbyterian, Anglican and United churches. Rather than preaching Christ and Him crucified, these church’s oftentimes take things from the world that sound good and preach those things instead.
The majority of the preaching emanating from these denominations centres on man pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, that is, making himself pleasing to God on his own strength. They teach “Jesus was a wise teacher who taught some very prudent principles. Follow these principles and you will be saved.”
Others teach Jesus was a good example. They say, “Jesus’ life provided us with a model for how to live, so learn to act according to that model and you will be saved.”
Still others teach, “Jesus was a perfect human being and by living by his principles and living our lives after the way he acted we can become perfect, too.”
However, it is by no means the majority of mainline Protestant ministers who are guilty of replacing the cross with worldly wisdom. In evangelical circles, we’ve seen things such as Dr. Laura on “Focus on the Family” and conservative talk shows elevated to the same level as Christian teaching. The thinking in these cases goes that if man can be made more moral by returning to good old-fashioned values, that will make him more acceptable to God.
Similarly, while I’m all for apologetics, including information on things such as creation and how Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled in current events, an identical attitude persists in these areas as it does in the area of morality. If we can just get people to see that God created the world or that the events described in Revelation are about to be fulfilled before the world’s very eyes, the thinking goes, that will make people get saved. Such head knowledge won’t get people saved unless it is accompanied by the preaching of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for man’s sin or unless the unbeliever has already heard about the events surrounding the cross at some time in their lives.
v15: If a minister of the Gospel who is genuinely saved preaches doctrines which are not heretical but are nevertheless incorrect, his preaching won’t be counted to him as good works on Judgment Day and he will not get rewarded, though he will still get into Heaven.
V16: However, if a minister of the Gospel brings a teaching the nature of which will destroy the church, that is, God’s people, he will be sent to Hell.
In the Catholic church it is all about things being holy, such as water, amulets, statues, and so forth. In the other institutional churches, it is quite similar. Things such as manmade organizations, positions and titles are made holy and the focus on the people themselves becoming holy before God is lost.
V21-23: Contrary to what the prosperity preachers say, the reason God blesses us with all these things is because we are in Christ. We are in Christ because He did the will of the Father by going to the cross which also put us in God.
v4: Paul didn’t condemn himself, beating himself up for everything he did wrong, simply because he couldn’t see the end yet. Christians need to adopt a similar attitude. While plenty of Christians seem to think they’re already perfect, other Christians are constantly down on themselves for every little thing, real or perceived, they’ve done recently that didn’t or might not have been pleasing to God. If you feel this way, think of how you were before you got saved, think of how you were at various points in the early part of your walk with the Lord, then think about where you are now. Remember, just like Paul, you can’t see the end yet. Just know that you, as a blood-bought saint, are going on toward that perfection in Christ Jesus.
v11:In Chapter 5 Paul is essentially saying as follows:
“Meanwhile, while you’re spending all this time over whether Appolos is a better speaker or whether so and so seems wiser as far as worldly wisdom is concerned, there is a guy in the body of believers there who is having sex with his stepmother. Additionally,” as I think we can infer from Paul’s list of sins here, “there are people doing other horrible things. Why don’t you concentrate on removing the fornicators, railers, drunkards, extortioners, etc. from your midst rather than on who’s the more appealing speaker.
Chapter 6 can be summed up as follows:
“Not only do you argue over who the better speaker is while ignoring the fornicators and other such sinners among you, you are caught up in taking your (probably mostly petty) disputes before the pagan courts and suing each other. You’re supposed to be the blood-bought saints of God who will one day judge angels, yet your minds are only on your petty sleights. If it’s a petty matter where no one really was injured, just let yourselves be “defrauded. If it’s a serious matter, God gave us laws for dealing with it. As I’ve just spent the first few pages of this letter going into in great detail, God’s wisdom is superior to man’s wisdom. Therefore, why are you going before the unbelievers and letting man’s wisdom settle your disputes for you? You are supposed to be the righteous i.e. those who live right i.e. those who live according to God’s way He designed for man. Yet, in this matter, you are not living the way God designed for man. People who don’t live rightly won’t get into Heaven. You’ve been washed, sanctified and justified, so live like it.
“Meanwhile, while you’re busy suing each other over mostly petty things, people in Corinth who call themselves Christians are using prostitutes. They reason (much like I’ve heard from some quarters of the world today) that since food benefits the body and we all need food to survive, then we should all seek out sex because that benefits the body as well. Your freedom in Christ isn’t freedom to do whatever you like. Your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit dwells.”
v16:Here we have God’s law concerning prostitution; anyone who sleeps with a prostitute has to marry her. That would decimate the sex trade pretty darn quick.
Of course this passage also applies to spiritual fornication.
Based on 1 Corinthians by Geoffrey B. Wilson. London: Banner of Truth, 1971.