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Lowell Brueckner

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1 Corinthians 6

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 Chapter 6

Not living up to spiritual potential

1.      When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?
2.      Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
3.      Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
4.      So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?
5.      I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
6.      But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?
7.      To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?
8.      But you yourselves wrong and defraud – even you own brothers!

Our time on earth is short… that is for sure! “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (Jm.4:14). Earthly life is a vapor, a gas, the most unstable of all forms of matter. You cannot grasp it; it is temporal and always changing.  Job made several statements about it (Job 7:6-7; 9:25-26; 14:1-2) and the Psalmist followed with still more verses on the theme. Here is one example: “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (Ps.39:5; study also Ps.89:47; 90:5-7; and 102:3). I was not yet two-years-old, when I was taught this verse in Peter: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls” (1 P.1:24). Jonathan Edwards wrote:

Where will all of our worldly enjoyments be, when we are laid in the silent grave?
Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, when I come to die.
Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, ten thousand ages hence.
Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!

1 Corinthians 5

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Chapter 5

1.      It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
2.      And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3.      For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
4.      When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5.      you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

We have come to a portion in this book, where Paul passes judgment against sexual immorality. I don’t think that I am telling you anything new, when I say that immorality is a huge problem in the church today and it has been the downfall of many pastors and other leaders. The fact is, it was also a problem in biblical times, beginning in the book of Genesis.

Sexual misconduct is different from unnatural addictions, which come from nicotine, alcohol, and numerous kinds of drugs and barbiturates, in that it is a natural appetite innate to the human body, as is hunger and thirst. One cannot expect deliverance from it, but must learn to control it, just as he must control his appetite for food. Sexuality is very basically a part of human nature, in order to insure the procreation of the race: therefore it is a good thing.

However, all sexual activity, biblically speaking, is limited strictly and exclusively to a man and his wife, after they have committed themselves publically to each other for life. Solomon shares his wisdom on the matter in Proverbs 5:18-20, if you would like to look it up, and the writer of Hebrews gives us a solid New Testament position: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (He.13:4).

1 Corinthians 4

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 Chapter 4

The importance of God’s judgment

1.      This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God
2.      Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
3.      But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4.      For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
5.      Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

How are we to look at those, who are called into the ministry? Paul gives the Corinthians the true guidelines, which can be trusted, as the correct view concerning leadership in the church today. A little later, he will define particularly the apostolic ministry, but in the first verse he puts two titles upon himself, along with all others, who have a specific ministry to the church. This is not a position in a local church, but in the church, in general. 

These are to be seen as 1) servants and 2) stewards. In the last chapter we saw that ministry is synonymous with servanthood, and that comparison still holds, as we begin this chapter. However, Paul has chosen another Greek term for servant now, huperetes. Its definition is, literally, a subordinate oarsman. There are some Greek words which are very interesting and important in this chapter. It describes the slaves, who rowed the Roman ships. It is quite the opposite extreme of expecting honor as a captain, which is the picture that the Corinthians had formed of their favorite leader. They are to be seen, Paul shows, as galley slaves, chained to the bench and subject totally to Christ. If we are to apply this term literally, they are the oarsmen, who move the church forward through the sea of life. Obviously, there is no justification for those who lord it over others, so Peter warned the elders as a fellow elder, “Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 P.5:3).

The other term, which Paul uses is that of a steward. Stewards were household managers to a well-to-do family, under the authority of the head of the house. They managed the purchasing and the distribution of the food. A steward to the church, in this context, must collect and distribute the mysteries of God. He does it under the direction of the Holy Spirit, who reveals these secrets to him, after which, the steward must distribute them for the benefit of the body of Christ. Once again, he is a servant to Christ and to the church.

1 Corinthians 3

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Chapter 3



Carnality versus spirituality



1.    But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

2.      I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

3.      for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

4.      For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?



The Corinthians were in a contradictory state. On the one hand they were certainly people, who were recipients of the grace of God. They were rich in Christian speech and wisdom, and were receiving and practicing spiritual gifts. Yet, Paul said that they were still in the flesh. He went to Corinth somewhere near 52 A.D. and this letter is written from Ephesus around 56 to 57 A.D., so they had been Christians for four or five years. They are still infants (1).



Fleshly-minded people follow men and put their trust in men and their ministries. Because different men and ministries have been presented to the Corinthians, there are different opinions about which one has been the most profitable to them (4). Therefore there is jealousy and strife between the different members of the church (3). In his second letter to them, Paul revealed his goal to betroth “you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Co.11:2). When this goal is reached in a practical, heart-felt sense, then Christians reach a spiritual state and the factions cease. 


1 Corinthians 2

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Chapter 2



Paul’s personal way of speaking



1.      And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.

2.      For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

3.      And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,

4.      and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

5.      so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.



In these first verses, Paul better describes his way of presenting the message of the cross. He began in chapter 1, verse 17 saying, “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” The manner of presenting the gospel must match the message. It is about a Man, bloody and beaten, dying on a rugged cross. To preach that with eloquent wisdom is a contradiction to the message and, in fact, subtracts from its power; worse yet, it takes away from the glory that should only go to God (1:31).  The power of the message comes from God and the human power of an eloquent orator is far less than adequate in portraying the message.



I quote verse 21 of chapter 1 from the Amplified Bible: “When the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believed.” The church makes a mistake by appealing to human desire for entertainment or by catering to man’s ego in its presentation of the gospel. The design of God’s plan for salvation from the onset is to make the individual uncomfortable. The message must be blunt, straightforward, plain and without psychological manipulation. It is a simple declaration. In Paul’s words it is without “lofty speech or wisdom.” Again in verse 4, he affirms, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom” (KJV).