Pitfalls Of An Imperfect Church
34 - The Excellency Of Love (Part 3)
January 16, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 Corinthians 13:8–13
In 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, Paul proves that, because of its enduring, eternal quality, love is God’s greatest gift, His gift above all gifts. There is no greater gift. All other spiritual gifts, to include speaking in tongues, miracle-working, and prophesying, are temporary gifts at best (reserved primarily for the apostles in the first century). Moreover, because love is eternal (and the sign gifts are not) love is to be sought after and emphasized. All others gifts that God grants to His people will one day become extinct (for lack of necessity). But love will last forever.
01 - Introduction: Pitfalls Of An Imperfect Church
January 31, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
The one theme that drives everything Paul writes in 1 CORINTHIANS is the gospel. One way to define the gospel is that Jesus lived, died, and rose again for sinners and that, through Jesus Christ, God saves those who come to Him in repentance and faith. That's the gospel. That's the good news. And it permeates the entire letter. Christ crucified. Christ risen. Sinners forgiven. The gospel solves every issue Paul addresses in 1 CORINTHIANS.
02 - The Sainthood Of Believers
February 7, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
As Christians, we are no longer condemned by God as sinners but are declared holy by God as saints. And since our new nature in Christ is holy, Scripture teaches, our living should be also be holy. That Paul referred to the carnal believers at Corinth as saints gives us hope (since they were anything but saintly in their conduct). It tells us that the title saint has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s spiritual maturity or deeds. Paul called them saints because that’s who the Corinthians were (as well as all believers) by calling and position.
03 - A Church Divided
February 14, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 Corinthians 1:10–17
The apostle Paul longed to see the practical outworking of Christian unity and spiritual oneness in the Corinthian church--a church plagued by division and dissention. Short of the salvation of all men, unity among the saints was his chief desire for all churches in all ages. We are to be of the same opinion with regards to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, our standards as a local church, and our principles for Christian living. Short of that, petty fights and various disagreements are bound to occur from time-to-time, even among those with whom we are most united.
04 - The Foolishness Of God (Part 1)
February 21, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
Sinful men are especially talented at using intellectual thought and reason to legitimize their ungodly beliefs and behaviors. Every unbeliever, at their core, is an unredeemed philosopher who, when rejecting the gospel, philosophize, rationalize, and psychologize their way right out of the kingdom of God. And because fallen man’s philosophy so cavalierly dismisses the truth of God as foolishness, Paul tackles the issue head-on in 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5.
05 - The Foolishness Of God (Part 2)
February 28, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
A person might be financially poor, according to the world’s standards, but if they know the Lord they are counted as spiritually rich, according to God’s standards. A person might be dismissed as a 'nobody,' in the eyes of the world, but if they know the Lord then they are counted as a 'somebody' in the eyes of God. God is most glorified when uses the world’s 'nobodies' as His 'somebodies' to tell everybody about somebody named Jesus Christ.
06 - The Wisdom Of God
March 7, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, the apostle Paul continues to deal with the problem of disunity among the Corinthians and, in particular, their allegiance to human philosophies and certain leaders who (may have) contributed to that disunity. Human wisdom was retarding their understanding of divine’s wisdom, thereby retarding their spiritual growth and unity. Paul therefore expounded about God's wisdom, describing it as imperceptible to the leaders of the world, illuminating to believers, and incomprehensible to unbelievers.
07 - Carnal Christians
March 14, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
From 1 Corinthians 1:18 to Chapter 2:16, Paul points out that the Corinthians were divided because of worldliness; primarily because they had an insatiable appetite for worldly thinking. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, the apostle Paul shows the Corinthians that they also were divided because of their carnality, as it was evident that they were ruled by, and subject to, and under the influence of, fleshly passions, sensual appetites, and worldly desires. Our ultimate triumph over carnality and the world is certain, but our continue struggle with both in this life is also certain. We will win the ultimate battle, but we can and often do lose a lot of skirmishes along the way.
08 - The Judgment Of Christians
March 21, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
Every Christian will one day stand by before "Judge Jesus" in what the Bible calls "The Judgment Seat of Christ." Our works will be tested by God in the crucible of judgement to see if they were made of the right stuff or not—that is, if they were done with the right motive and for the right purpose. And whether our works are commended or condemned by God, whether they prove to be made out of gold, silver, and precious stone, or are just wood, hay, and straw, the security of our salvation is not in play. Therefore, "let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Gal. 6:9).
09 - The Wise Christian
March 28, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
The Corinthians were not to be deceived about how they viewed themselves, says Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:18-23, or how they perceived others, how they regarded their possessions, and about what they understood about Christ. In other words, if the Corinthians would simply exchange their human wisdom for godly wisdom, they would come to view themselves and each other from a biblical perspective rather than a carnal one. And when that happens, much of the division and disunity that plagued them (or any church for that matter) will fall by the wayside.
10 - Judging The Judgmental
April 18, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
In keeping with the idea of judging others and being judged by others, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 sets forth the guidelines and standards by which true ministers are to be judged by the congregation (and even how the minister is to judge himself). And as Paul implies, popularity, personality, degrees, and the size of the pastor’s church has no bearing on how God judges His ministers, and so those things should not play a role in how we judge our pastors. But how we are to judge, why we are to judge, and who we are to judge must be interpreted properly.
11 - Corinthian Hubris vs. Christian Humility
April 25, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
The Corinthians had not learned the virtue of humility—from neither the example of Moses (Numbers 12:3), Paul (Acts 20:19), or even Jesus Christ himself (Matthew 11:29). On the contrary, the Corinthians were prideful and arrogant and seemingly self-righteous. So, the apostle Paul confront them on their attitude once again in 1 Corinthians 4:6-13, sarcastically juxtaposing Corinthian hubris with Christian humility.
12 - Spiritual Fathership
May 2, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
In 1 Corinthians 4:14-21, the apostle Paul used a term of endearment to refer to his relationship with the Corinthians. In the first 3 chapters of the epistle, Paul had described himself, in particular, and all spiritual leaders in general, as a servant/table-waiter (3:5), a farmer (3:6), a builder (3:10), a servant/galley slave (4:1), and a steward (4:1). Now, in vv. 14-21, Paul adds the title of "father" to the list. And like a natural parent with a natural child, Paul (and all those who raise and disciple others) lovingly admonished, parentally tutored, and lovingly disciplined his spiritual progeny.
13 - Church Discipline
May 9, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
Church discipline is never easy. It's never fun. But it's often necessary. Whenever sin is found in the camp of God--among God's people--the Lord expects that it be dealt with it, either severely by way of divine judgment (on His part) or summarily by way of church discipline (on ours). As it relates to the Corinthians, the same was true for them. They had sin in their camp, and it was God's expectation—through the writings of the apostle Paul—that they do something about it.
14 - Suing Saints
May 16, 2021 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann
When Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18 how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, the Lord replied, “seventy times seven” (vv.21-22), a figure that represented and unlimited amount. Then, to illustrate the principle, Jesus told the parable of the unmerciful servant. The point is self-evident. Because God in Christ has forgiven each of us for ours sins (for which restitution on our part was unpayable), no Christian has he right to be unforgiving, especially of fellow Christians. Even when we are clearly in the legal right, we do not have the moral and spiritual right to insist on our legal right in a public court against another believer. If the brother has wronged us in any way, our response should be to forgive him (seventy times seven) and leave the outcome of the matter to royal court in heaven.