To the Church of God in Corinth

2 Corinthians 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:

Paul visited Corinth on his second missionary journey and founded a church there. He later wrote several letters to the believers in Corinth, two of which are included in the Bible. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is lost, his second letter to them is the book of 1 Corinthians, his third letter is lost, and his fourth letter is the book of 2 Corinthians. Second Corinthians was written less than a year after 1 Corinthians.

To the Church of God in Corinth

Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to deal with divisions in the church. When his advice was not taken and their problems weren’t solved, Paul visited Corinth a second time. That visit was painful both for Paul and for the church. He then planned a third visit, but delayed it and wrote 2 Corinthians instead. After writing 2 Corinthians, Paul visited Corinth once more.

What the Bible Teaches About Worship

Worship is first and foremost an encounter with the living and holy God.

Exodus 3:5

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

God is our friend, but He is also our sovereign Lord. To approach Him frivolously shows a lack of respect and sincerity. When you come to God in worship, do you approach Him casually, or do you come as though you were an invited guest before a King?

Worship is only as real as the involvement of those participating.

Leviticus 7:38

38 which the LORD gave Moses at Mount Sinai in the Desert of Sinai on the day he commanded the Israelites to bring their offerings to the LORD.

All the rituals in Leviticus were meant to teach the people valuable lessons. But over time, the people became indifferent. When your church appears to be conducting dry, meaningless rituals, try rediscovering the meaning and purpose behind them. Your worship will be revitalized.

A true worship experience is often a direct result of preparation for worship.

Numbers 28:1-2

The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me.’

Following these rituals took time, and this gave the people the opportunity to prepare their hearts for worship. Unless your heart is ready, worship is meaningless. God is delighted when you are prepared to come before Him in a spirit of thankfulness.

Believers should take advantage of every opportunity and praise God.

Psalm 81:1-3

1
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
2
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.

3
Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;

Israel’s holidays reminded the nation of God’s great miracles. Remember the spiritual origin of the holidays you celebrate, and use them as opportunities to worship God for His goodness to you, your family, and your nation.

Worship and music go hand in hand.

1 Chronicles 25:1

David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service:

David instituted music for the temple worship services. Worship should involve the whole person, and music helps lift a person’s thoughts and emotions to God. Through music you can celebrate God’s greatness.

Worship is bringing the best believers have to Christ.

Matthew 2:11

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men brought gifts and worshiped Jesus for who He was. This is the essence of true worship—honoring Christ for who He is and being willing to give Him what is valuable to you. Worship God because He is worthy of the best you have to give.

Genuine worship results in submission and obedience to Jesus.

1 Corinthians 14:12

12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

Jesus is more than just a great leader. He is the Son of God. When you understand this profound truth, the only adequate response is worship. When you have a correct understanding of Christ, you will obey Him.

Everything done in corporate worship must be beneficial to the worshipers.

Matthew 17:5

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

This principle touches every aspect of worship. Those contributing to a worship service must speak useful words or participate in a way that will strengthen the faith of other believers.

In worship, everything must be done in harmony and with order.

1 Corinthians 14:40

40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Even when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are being exercised, there is no excuse for disorder. When there is chaos, the church is not allowing God to work among believers as He would like. Make sure that what you bring to worship is appropriate, but also make sure that you participate.

What the Bible Teaches About Worship

Unity and Diversity in the Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

The Parable of the Four Soils

Luke 8:4-15

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The Parable of the Four Soils

The Death of Jesus

Luke 23:44-47

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”

The Death of Jesus

A Kernel of Wheat

John 12:23-25

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

A Kernel of Wheat

This is a beautiful picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus. Unless a kernel of wheat is buried in the ground, it will not become a blade of wheat producing many more seeds. Jesus had to die to pay the penalty for our sin, but also to show His power over death. His resurrection proves He has eternal life. Because Jesus is God, Jesus can give this same eternal life to all who believe in Him.

Set an Example for Others

Throughout Scripture, setting an example is stressed as an important element of discipleship.

Set an Example for Others

Matthew 11:29

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus told His followers to learn from His example of gentleness and humility.

1 Corinthians 4:16

16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

Paul told the Corinthian believers to imitate him.

Philippians 3:17

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

Paul urged believers to follow his example of enthusiasm, perseverance, and maturity.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7

6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

The new Christians at Thessalonica received training in discipleship from Paul, and even in suffering, they expressed what they had learned.

1 Timothy 1:16

16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

Paul used his unworthiness to receive Christ as an example of grace so that no one would hold back from coming to Christ.

1 Peter 5:2-3

2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

Peter taught Christian leaders to lead by example, not by commands.

As the body of Christ, believers must show Christ to the world by being examples. Nonbelievers should be able to see Christ in believers and be so drawn to what they see that they seek Christ and His salvation. What kind of example are you?

The Mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:15-16

15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

The Mind of Christ

No one can comprehend God, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, believers have insight into some of God’s plans, thoughts, and actions—they, in fact, have the “mind of Christ.” Through the Holy Spirit, we can begin to know God’s thoughts, talk with Him, and expect His answers to our prayers. Are you spending enough time with Christ to have His very mind in you? An intimate relationship with Christ comes only from spending time consistently in His presence and in His Word.

One Body

Romans 12:4-8

4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

One Body

Paul uses the concept of the human body to teach how Christians should live and work together. Just as the parts of the body function under the direction of the brain, so Christians are to work together under the command and authority of Jesus Christ.

God gives us gifts so we can build up His church. In order to use them effectively, we must realize that all gifts and abilities come from God; understand that not everyone has the same gifts; know who we are and what we do best; dedicate our gifts to God’s service and not to our personal success; and be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God’s service. God’s gifts differ in nature, power, and effectiveness according to His wisdom and graciousness, not according to our faith. Our role is to be faithful and to seek ways to serve others with what Christ has given us.

When we identify our own gifts, we must ask ourselves how we can use them to build up God’s family. But at the same time, we must realize that our gifts can’t do the work of the church all alone. Be thankful for people whose gifts are completely different from yours. Let your strengths balance their weaknesses, and be grateful that their abilities make up for your deficiencies. Together we can build Christ’s church.