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My husband and I have been attending North Point Church, the East Sunshine Campus since February shortly after we moved here to Springfield. In just a few short months, we met a lot of loving, giving people. It did not take us long to feel like we were becoming part of a community of like minded people who wanted a relationship with Christ as much as we do. We loved the worship, we loved the sermons, we loved the way that the church encouraged everyone to get involved. My husband grew up in this neighborhood, so we felt like this campus in this neighborhood was the perfect solution to “where God wanted us to attend church”.

Then on June twenty-ninth, everything started to unravel. The Senior Pastor of North Point Church Tommy Sparger admitted to moral failure. He admitted to having a year long affair. I had met Tommy the week before when he visited the North Point East Sunshine Campus. My impression of him was that he seemed humble. I told him that the reason I was there because of him. Then I said no, that wasn’t true, it was because of Jesus Christ and his work on the cross. He nodded and he moved on to speak with someone else.

His sin was not done in isolation. It affected a multitude of people and the situation was difficult for all of us,but we worked to process what had happened. The church body really seemed to try to pull together after that. It was though there was a death in the family, a very significant death. The one thing that we all felt was hope that God would bring us out of this experience, stronger than ever before.

We didn’t realize that not all the dominoes had fallen yet. On August 13th, the church board brought the attendees of the East Sunshine Campus together to let us know that because of financial circumstances beyond our control, the church had to close down the campuses of East Sunshine and Nixa at least temporarily.

Because of this one man, many came to know the Lord, therefore this same man’s sin has affected us too. (Nothing illegal, just poor judgement.)

As it says in John 10:10

The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, (Jesus said) I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

We have to remember that it was SIN that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross that day. Of course, it was not HIS own sin that did it, it was OUR that nailed him there.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord Romans 6:23

As our church continues to grieve through its time of loss because of the sin of this one individual, I am reminded of how Christ’s disciples felt when he was crucified. Things had not gone as they had planned. The leader was gone, so they backed off from ministry. They hid because they were afraid of what future held.

But God had other plans for them. Christ rose from the dead. He was alive! Death no longer had a hold on him! Fifty days later, God gave them power to turn  the entire world right side up with  the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Just as God allowed the disciples to retreat to regroup, he has allowed us to retreat to regroup. God wants to give us a New Life and he wants to renew us with the gift of His Holy Spirit. He wants to solidify our faith in him, not in anyone else. He wants us to know that he has a greater work for us to do. God has a new beginning planned for us. He asks us just to do one thing. We need to open ourselves up to where the  Holy Spirit is leading us. We need to learn to wait on God to make the next move.

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In my last post,  as we finished Chapter One of First  Corinthians, we learned that the Greeks used logic and the Jews used their understanding of the law  to understand everything. We learned that, because of their limited thinking, they did not understand God’s plan of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Today, in chapter two, we will discover how the Corinthians, and consequently, how we can develop wisdom of his powerful grace and love.

In the first few verses of this chapter (2:1-5) Paul refuses to take credit for the insights into God’s word that he gave them. He said that he was weak and fearful. I can imagine how he felt. I know that anytime I stand in front of an audience, my mouth gets dry, my hands shaky and sweaty. and i am afraid that I will make a serious mistake. But Paul did not depend on his own abilities.

Paul knew that he wasn’t the eloquent speaker. He depended on the Holy Spirit to guide him in all wisdom. Because he chose to follow the Holy Spirit, his  contribution to our understanding of God’s plan for humankind is outstanding. He wrote much of what became the New Testament. I believe this is in a large part, as he says in verse 2:2,  because he decided that he would put his focus on Jesus Christ and him crucified. I believe that if we also learn the power of Jesus and his crucifixion, our lives would be revolutionized as well.

In verses 6-9, Paul humbled himself to the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is the gospel of Jesus Christ. None of the rulers of this world system recognized this revelation. If they would have known, they would not have had him crucified. The prophets, nor the angels understood, but God made clear the mystery of the gospel through the apostles. God gives his wisdom to those who love him.

We discover in the remainder of the chapter that we can only understand God through his spirit. Our puny little minds cannot possibly compare to God’s wisdom.

The closest comparison I can give concerning this is by comparing the processing capabilities of our personal computers with the the knowledge of the internet. Our home computers have memory and they are truly amazing at what they can do, but compared to the internet, our computers are very limited. When we plug into the internet, we have access to so much more. .

Think about how foolish God must see us when we try to rationalize and explain away God. That’s why our minds are not sufficient to understand God. We need his spirit guiding us and revealing his truth in our lives. Just as our computers are inferior to the internet in supplying us with knowledge, so is our minds are inferior to what God’s spirit has to offer us. By having God’s spirit, we gain the mind of Christ.


There are a lot of people today who feel the same way that  Charlie Anderson, the character played by Jimmy Stewart, did in this movie. They really don’t understand why they should give God the credit when everything they have, they feel that they earned. If they wanted anything, they went out and made it happen. This same type of person often believes the idea that we human beings created God, rather than believe that God created us. They feel that they have done it all, and they think it foolish when some of us Christians have decided to give God the credit for all that is good in our lives.  As Paul stated in I Corinthians 1:18, they don’t understand  the preaching of the cross, and they believe it is foolishness. As we will learn in this study of I Corinthians 1:18-31, we will see that perhaps it is the scoffers who actually are the foolish ones.

In verse twenty of the passage Paul questions why the philosophers and religious leaders were not able to wrap their minds around this good news.

If you have ever taken a philosophy class, one of the first things that you learn is that it is easy to disprove something, but impossible to prove it. One small misstep and you’ve lost the debate through one of the many fallacies that can occur. Philosophy as we know it was originated by the Greeks and in Paul’s day, the Greeks were the philosophy experts. The philosophers had followers like rock stars of today have groupies. Every ideology came under scrutiny, and the new religion Christianity was a new one for them to examine. The problem was, the crucifixion did not make sense to their understanding so therefore they rejected it. It just wasn’t logical.The logic of philosophy comes short of  realizing that God knows all truth.

The Jewish religious groups, despite their piety, did not get it either.

The first century Jewish society contained many sects and schools. There were, of course, the Essenes who separated themselves because they thought they were the only ones who knew the truth. Another group, the Pharisees are more a more familiar group to us because Jesus opposed them. The Pharisees were a scholarly group  of Jews who, as Josephus the historian said, had a reputation for claiming expertise understanding the Torah (First Five Books of the Old Testament) and the observance of the laws. The Sadducees, on the other hand, did not believe in the authoritative nature of these ancestral laws.They however, had a following among the well-to-do. They denied the  resurrection of the dead, a belief  the Pharisees espoused. These groups were at odds among one another about who was right and who was wrong, neither espousing to the possibility that they were both wrong.

I Corinthians 1:21 says that it pleased God to confuse the wise men of that day by preaching of a crucified Christ. The Jews would not have him because they expected the Messiah to come as a mighty  conqueror. When he came to be crucified they stumbled at Him. The Gentiles could see no reason for salvation by a crucified malefactor of Judea. To those of both classes who would believe, Christ was the power and the wisdom of God.

Have you ever noticed that God always chooses to do things differently than humans do? Perhaps we need to change that to say that we choose to think differently than God thinks). God chooses to make:

  • Foolish things to confound the wise.
  • Weak things to confound mighty
  • Base things to humble the exalted
  • Despised things to humble the noble
  • Powerless things to bring to defeat the things that are powerful

God did not choose the things that make men feel important because that is not what he wants for mankind. He wants no flesh to glory in his presence. He wants Jesus Christ to be our Glory, our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification and our redeemer. He wants us to reach the point where when we can only glory in what Jesus Christ has done for us. He wants us to become smart enough to know we need his help.


In I Corinthians 1:10-17 Paul writes to the Corinthians that people from the house of Chloe informed him that there were divisions among the members of the church at Corinth, and he tells them that isn’t the way it should be.

He said that there should not be any divisions among them, that they should be of the same mind and judge things the same. In these divisions, some said they were of Paul, some said they were of Apollos, and some Cephas and some Christ.

The church was divided among leaders within the church. The ones who followed Paul, followed him because he founded the church (Acts 18:1-7), and because he was a special apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). The sect that followed Apollos, followed him because he was eloquent. Those who followed Cephas (another name for Peter, the apostle) because he was an apostle to the Jews (Galatians 2:7-10). and then there was the group who followed Christ.

Paul could have directed people to follow him, but he knew better. He knew that Christ was not divided, so his followers should not be divided either. Jesus Christ died for them. When people are baptized, they are not baptized into the name of anyone else, but Christ. Paul was glad that he had not baptized a lot of people in the Corinthian church because  he was not called to baptize. He was called to preach the gospel, not because he was eloquent, but because he valued what Jesus did on the cross.

Jesus himself said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. (Mark 3:23-27) Church division is not good, but it is a very prevalent problem in the body of Christ. Why then does this division exist?

1) Doctrinal Differences

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are 33,000 different Christian denominations throughout the world where many of these denominations believe that their way is the only way to salvation. Of those 33,000 these groups can be divided into six different basic divisions–Independents, Protestants, Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Marginals.  Each of these groups teach differing doctrines. While two denominations may be tolerant of their differences they are still divided and that does not please the Lord.

2) Sin ignored

Sin causes division among the church. The Bible tells us specifically how to deal with those whose sin causes division in the church (1 Corinthians 5:1-2; Romans 16:17; Matthew 18:17 ). We are told to separate from the Christian who persists in ongoing, public sin. Removal or prevents the spread and acceptance of the sin ( 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:6, 9). By removing this person from the fellowship, the church reputation is protected, and all attempts should be made to bring the individual is brought back into faithfulness (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11). This removal from fellowship is strong action and was not designed as a way of controlling Christians under dominance of church leaders. Dealing with public sin requires extensive prayer, study, patience and interaction with the sinner. It is done with the awareness of our own weaknesses (Galatians 6:1-5; Matthew 7:3) and with love toward the sinner.

3) Pride

The kind of pride we are talking about here is not the kind of pride that comes from doing something well, but is the kind of pride that demonstrates arrogance and superiority. Pride Isolates. It makes ignorance, It causes error.  Pride does not come from God (1 John 2:16). God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13). Pride brings trouble and disgrace (Proverbs 16:18; 11:2).  Jesus listed it as one of the things that defiles a man (Mark 7:20-22). Pride is a serious problem in the church.

4) Prejudice

Prejudice is believing that someone is not as good as you are because you for some reason feel that the other person’s gender, race, nationality, education, social standing, wealth or experience is inferior to yours. The Bible says clearly that all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and in Christ there is no distinction (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23, I John 1:8) Sin, not social issues separate us from God. Just as Christ showed compassion toward us, we are required to show compassion toward others.

5) Petty Issues

Petty issues are numerous in the church. One group doesn’t like the fact that the pastor preaches long on Sunday. Another group complains that what he preaches isn’t relevant. Another group complains that he is meddling in their business. Another group might complain that the music is too slow. Still  another group might complain that the music is too loud. One group wants country music. Another group wants old hymns; still another group wants rock music. One group wants traditional services. Another wants freedom of worship. All these are minor issues that divide and conquer the church.

Love conquers Church Division

As it says in John 10:10, the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Christ has come to bring abundant life. Because Jesus reconciled us to the Father through his work on the cross, Paul encourages us in II Corinthians 5:17-19 to work to reconcile others to Christ. Our responsibility to the body of Christ is not to be “right” but to draw others to Christ’s righteousness. As John further says in his later book  I John 4:7: “Let us love one another; for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.” We are called not to divide, but to draw all men to Christ.


Ephesians 5

19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord

Colossians 3

15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord

I noticed that in both of these scriptures, there are three terms that sound like they mean the same things–psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Why did the scriptures distinguish between them? I know enough about Greek to know that often there are subtleties in the language that aren’t always translated in English, so I decided to check out my Strong’s Concordance to discover the differences.

The first term Psalms is the word Psalmos (5568). This word has to do with formal written odes, the kind that is written to be accompanied by voice, the harp or other instrument. In today’s language, a psalm would be like the songs sung from a hymnal. It would also include songs written on sheet music and would include any music played on instruments in church. This is the word that would discribe most of the so called worship music in church.

The second term Hymn comes from the word humnos (5215) which comes from an earlier word hudeo which simply means to celebrate. A hymn therefore is a song of celebration. In other words, this word translated hymn should actually have been translated songs of celebration. These are basically songs that we sing because we are happy. these hymns are praise songs. Included in this list are children’s songs and choruses that we like to sing over and over again.

The third term spiritual songs come from two words the first one is pneumatikos (4152) which refers to something that is supernatural, daemonical, ethereal, regenerative or spiritual. The second word songs is ode(5603) This word refers to a chant or ode (general term for any words sung). So what this entire term is in reference of is a supernatural spirit originated song.

I believe that God encourages us to use music in whatever form that will draw us to him. Not only does he want us to sing from written music, from choruses, and spiritually from the heart, one of the easiest ways to draw people in spiritually is through music.


So far we have basically covered just two verses in I Corinthians. We have learned about Paul who wrote the book. We learned about the church, and we learned about Corinth. Today we are going to discuss the Bible’s central person–Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:4-9

4) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you  by Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ gave us God’s Grace when he died on the cross.

5) That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge;

Paul told the Corinthians that he wanted them to be enriched by Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus Christ is the source. The term “all utterance” in the Greek is logos–the spoken word of God.. (Another Greek term for utterance apophtheggomal is used in Acts 2:4 on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God came down with tongues of fire, and the worshipers in the upper room spoke in other tongues. This term here therefore is not referring to that kind of utterance.) What this word “utterance” refers to is the idea that God will speak to you in very real terms and as the next phrase states, he will give you all the knowledge you need to make decisions that he approves.Our knowledge comes from Jesus Christ. I remember the first time I  the Bible through.  I didn’t really understand what I was reading, but on each subsequent time I have read it, the Lord speaks his secrets to me. I encourage people to read the Bible all the way through as often as possible. Like me, you may not get much out of your first reading of the Bible, but you will gain insights into how the word relates to you with each subsequent reading. A lot of people get bogged down in Bible reading because they begin in Genesis and read from there. I suggest that you begin in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first four books of the New Testament in which they write about Jesus’ life here on earth from four different perspectives. There are parts of it you won’t understand and that is okay. (I don’t understand all of it either.) Don’t just read it through once and call it quits, instead, read it numerous times. Each time you will discover something new and relevant to your current situation. Focus on how Jesus thinks. This will help you know whether you are hearing him in your every day activities.

6) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you

As you read through the Gospels you will discover an amazing thing happening. The things you read about concerning Jesus will have direct bearing on what is going on in your own life. Questions you had yesterday, he answers today out of his written word. The word testimony is maturion (Strong’s 3140) which means evidence, in other words, you will witness the truth in your own situation. His testimony will be backed up by events in your own life.

7) So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This verse tells us that Paul wanted the Corinthian church to have the testimony of Christ so that they wouldn’t miss out on the gifts that Christ’s testimony had to offer. He also says that part of those gifts will come at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The same is true for us. Jesus is returning and he has presents for us! It will be better than Christmas! (The celebration of the gift of himself his first time on earth.)

8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word “confirm” here is the Greek word bebaloo  (Strong’s 950) which means stands firm. Jesus will stand firm that we are held blameless because we have accepted his provision for salvation.  As it says in  Romans 8:30-32 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? And in Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Isn’t this cool, Jesus is willing to blot out anything that is held against us. Jesus is on our side!

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

Just like the Corinthians, you are called into fellowship (friendship) with Jesus Christ, the son of God. You are called, he wants you to have fellowship with him. He wants to be your friend. He isn’t looking for ways to trap you into hell (no fine print!)  Are you ready to accept his call?


So far in our study of First Corinthians we have examined Paul–the author, we have looked at the church, and the city where the church was located. Today I would like to look at the rest of Paul’s introduction and discover what we can about how to look at others in the church with whom we may not agree.

In today’s study, we are going to examine I Corinthians 1:2 a little more closely, because there is an important jewel to be discovered here:

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

I want to point out that the words  in my Bible “to be” are italicized. Whenever I see words in my Bible italicized, I know that those words were not in the original language (in this case Greek), but were added by the translator to help clarify the words meaning. However, in this case the words “to be” change the meaning of the passage. The phrase originally read:

” to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus called Saints“.

In other words, those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus are already called Saints. In order more completely understand what this verse means, we need to learn what a couple of words actually mean.

What does Sanctified mean?

The word sanctified here is haglozo (Strong’s 37) means to mentally purify, or to go through the process of making your mind holy. It is a process that you do in your mind. It is different than the spiritual change that occurs at salvation. Your spirit becomes a new creature at salvation (II Corinthians 5:17), but your mind is under a constant renewal process. (Romans 12:2).

Who are the Saints?

This Biblical term is not referring to the canonization of people by the Roman Catholic church. The word “saints” here (and all of the New Testament) in the Greek is hagios (Strong’s 40) which means consecrated thing, one who is held blameless. If you are a born again believer, you are called saint because if you remember from earlier lessons, your righteousness doesn’t come from your own merits. The righteousness that covers you comes from what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. You are held blameless for your sins because of what he did for you.

Both of these Greek words haglozo and hagios come from the same Greek root hagos. As I pointed out, Haglozo refers to the fact that every day there is a renewal in our minds that should go on every day. Hagios is different in that we are made blameless through making Jesus Lord of our lives.

Paul still called them Saints because they called upon the name (authority) of Jesus Christ.

Let’s go on to Verse 3:

3) Grace be upon you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ,

Paul gave the church at Corinth a blessing in his greeting. He offered them grace and peace. Paul gave this blessing in all of his letters except for his letters to Timothy and Titus. He did not agree with everything they were doing, but he always blessed them anyway.

Perhaps we too need to learn to bless those in the church who we don’t always see eye to eye with or even those we believe are in error. We need to learn to pray grace and peace over them every time we think about them. When we pray grace and peace over other people, we are rewarded with the same thing. If we want more grace and more peace, we need to begin praying the same for others, especially those with whom we do not agree.

If this has blessed you or if you have any questions or comments about this post, please comment below. If you have any questions about any matter regarding salvation or growing in Christ, please contact me at cygnetbrown@gmail.com. I would love to help.

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