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Lowell Brueckner

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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).


1 Corinthians 1

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Chapter 1



Greeting and opening statements



1.      Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

2.      To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

3.      Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.      I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

5.      that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge-

6.      even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you –

7.      so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

8.      who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9.      God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

If Paul is called of God to be an apostle, meaning a “sent one”, and of course he is, in this immensely vital mission, which concerns the dispensation of the eternal gospel, then this letter is of utmost importance to us. The writing is inspired of the Holy Spirit and infallible; it is true instruction, which is alive and ageless. Paul joins with Sosthenes in his greeting, a combined effort to counsel the church, because this Jew is well-known to the Corinthians. After Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was converted to Christianity, he was replaced by Sosthenes as the Jewish leader. When the Jews accused Paul before the Roman proconsul of Achaia, Gallio, he ignored their complaint and the Corinthian citizens took Sosthenes and beat him before the tribunal. Later, Sosthenes also became a Christian, the second important Jewish convert.

The letter is written to the church, meaning the “called-out ones” in Corinth. They are saints, because they have been sanctified in Christ Jesus. Saints are not an elite order of extraordinary Christians, who have done outstanding deeds, but are only called so, because of the work of Christ on their behalf. They join with this growing band of believers throughout the Middle East in the time of the apostles, and hundreds of thousands more have called on the name of the Lord, down through the centuries and throughout the world, up to modern times. He is our same Lord in the 21st Century (2).

Coming Up: First Corinthians

Some of you know that after I follow my regular daily reading plan, which leads me through the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once, I tend to give the remaining months of the year to a particular book of the Bible. I have been considering,  to which book I should give special attention over the last quarter of 2019. I trust that I have picked the right one, as I decide to take on 1 Corinthians. I have already written out an introduction, so I would like to put it before you at this time, to help you with a little background, before we face the actual text. Please consider joining me in this expositional study and, if you do, please pray that God will give, to you and to me, light from heaven so that we can really profit from it in our inner beings.
 
Introduction to 1 Corinthian

At the Corinthian isthmus with two Greeks and a Spaniard
As the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the Philippians, he refers to “these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Php.4:3). Clement of Rome was a church father, meaning a direct disciple of the apostles. He traveled with Paul and was an appointed elder of the church in Rome along with Linus and Cletus (plural eldership is always ordered and practiced by Paul). His writings from the first century are probably the earliest, after the apostles’ inspired Scripture. He most likely knew the church in Corinth first-hand, because he wrote a lengthy letter to it somewhere near the end of the First Century.


Daniel’s Life of Prayer

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Shelley and Dan
I am happy to be able to give you another message from our oldest son, Dan, something I haven’t done for quite some time.  Dan, Shelley and family were mission-aries in Macedonia, where Dan and others in his family still have many dear friends. They return to visit from time to time. Dan also ministers in other places in Europe.

Dan frequently shares exciting, sometimes astounding, testi-monies with us, of the clearly evident work of God in people’s lives. I chalk that up to the fact that the people in Swanton Christian Church are faithful to come together for prayer. Dan is pastor in Swanton, Vermont, only a few minutes from the Canadian border. He gave this message a few Sundays past on September 1, 2019. It is an encouraging and challenging word from the Lord, containing some very pithy statements.

Daniel’s background

One day, while Daniel was still living in his parents’ home, the Babylonians came and took him captive. Many think he was a young teenager. We don’t know if his parents were killed in the raid and we don’t have a clue, as to what this would be like. Three of his friends, whom we know better by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - I will just go with those names - were taken with him into Babylon. They were all of the nobility, but more importantly they were noble in character. Those were tough days; it was a long, hot journey and they were taken to a land, in which they couldn’t understand the language. They were forced to go to a school to learn the language. No one would choose to be treated this way. 

A Rest

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Our text today is taken from the book of Ruth and the words are spoken by a mother-in-law, Naomi, to her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?        Ruth 3:1

Ruth determined to follow Naomi back to her native land: “Where you go, I will go,” she said, “Your people shall be my people and your God my God.” In chapter 2, she begins to take part in the benefits and blessings of this Promised Land. She actually had no rights to it, because she was a Moabitess and her people were forbidden to even enter the land. However, long before she existed, God devised a plan, and Ruth, though not one of the people of God, but a foreigner, was received into His plan. That was a high and undeserved privilege, but it was not the end of the story.

Ruth’s mother-in-law desires more for her. It already was going very well for Ruth, but Naomi would look for a “rest” for her. What does she mean by “rest”? She meant that Ruth should find a place of satisfaction and fulfillment, that would secure her future. It was a place, where she could put down roots, settle in, and be established. She was speaking of a home.