The church is more than a holding tank for Christians; it is a family portrait of God’s people. Created and sustained by the gospel, God’s local church, when it abides in the word of Christ, reflects God’s unity, holiness, and love. Yet, such Spirit-empowered characteristics do not come automatically. They must learned from Scripture and taught by the Spirit.
This Sunday’s message attempted to capture these truths from an overview of 1 Corinthians 1–10. Last week we considered the relationship between the universal and local church, and how the latter is designed to frame the family of God in any one locale. This week we turned to the life of the church, which does not earn salvation but which does reflect the Savior when spiritual unity, holiness, and love are present.
- What are the three main sections of 1 Corinthians 1–10? What three key words might we associate with each section?
- Do you see any common elements in chapters 1–10 for why Paul had to address the Corinthians? Are Paul’s solutions pragmatic? Biblical? Theological? Practical? Or some combination? How and why does the gospel seem to show up in every chapter?
- Offer feedback to someone who is pressing for greater unity in the church through more organized programs and activities to foster relationships. What is right about this? What might be wrong? Why don’t activities ultimately create unity?
- Read 1 Corinthians 6:9–11. What does it say about righteousness? Is holiness a necessity for salvation? If so, how? (Hint: salvation is not earned by our righteousness; but righteousness evidences the reality of our salvation).
- What is the greatest challenge to loving others in church? How does the gospel free you to love others? What must you do to foster more love in your heart? (Hint: read Luke 7:47; 1 Corinthians 4:10–13; 9:15–23).
- What has been the most eye-opening truth(s) in 1 Corinthians 1–10? What are some areas of growth to apply from 1 Corinthians? Who do you know who needs to hear the message of 1 Corinthians? What can you do to share that good news with them?
For Further Study
God’s people study the works of the Lord because we delight in him (cf. Psalm 111:2). Here are few resources to dig deeper into Sunday’s sermon.
The Church as ‘Gospel Theater’
- Let’s Increase the Drama: Kevin Vanhoozer on the Church as Gospel Theater
- Dramatizing the Gospel: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
On Gospel Unity
- Life in Community: ‘The Roses and Lilies’ of the Christian Life
- Beware in Your Search for Perfect Peace
- What Does It Mean to be One with Christ? by Tony Reinke and Sinclair Ferguson — We can’t be unified to one another without being unified to Christ, but likewise, horizontal unity depends on our vertical awareness and experience of oneness with Christ. This article will help.
- The Law and the Gospel: What God Has Joined together Let No Man Separate
- Has Authenticity Trumped Holiness? by Brett McCracken
- Transgender by Vaughn Roberts — His chapter on self-expression and authenticity powerfully captures the challenge of authenticity vs. holiness.
- True Holiness Befriends Sinners by David Mathis — This article reminds us that true holiness is loving; it does not isolate itself from sinners, but instead reaches out to the lost.
- One Anothering: How the Church Does Life Together
- God is the Gospel by John Piper — A book which highlights the main feature of the gospel being God himself.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds