To the church of God that is on 204 N Little Texas Road in Kannapolis, 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: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 1:1-3)
Good theology takes this advice, “Pay attention to the verbs.” Who is the actor? What is the action? Who is acted upon? What is that action?
I give thanks (active!) to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given (passive!) you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched (passive!) in him in all speech and all knowledge – even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed (passive!) in (not among) you – so that you are not lacking (passive!) in any gift, as you wait (active!) for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain (active from God!) to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jess Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called (passive!) into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Corinthian congregation is a mess. If you have any complaints about a congregation, read 1 Corinthians and you’ll probably feel better about that congregation. Boy, did they need reproved and correction – many individuals, much of whole! Some were getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper. Some denied the resurrection. There was a man who was committing incest with his father’s wife and the congregation did nothing about it. The services were being disrupted by all sorts of disorderliness. They too often thought it was their church (hence, the first words to the church of God) for them to follow spiritual inclinations, not testing to see if it was from the Holy Spirit, a demonic/unclean spirit, or just their own selfish natures.
How should the Holy Spirit through Paul address this mess, these messy Christians? I give thanks to my God always for you…Really, Paul? Really, Holy Spirit who inspired this? Really, pastor? Yes, really.
In the midst of your mess, consider this wonderful gift that the Holy Spirit is pleading with words too deep to understand and your high priest Jesus is interceding on our behalf and your pastor is praying today for you and your brothers and sisters are doing the same – I thank my God always for you…
You see, in the midst of your mess, the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and knowledge…
Active thanksgiving, to my God, for being the actor in every, important, comforting, way. You, dear saints, holy and pure, are rich! Rich in speech and knowledge. Just consider if you can sing (with your mouth) these words, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Rich in speech and knowledge.
Can you guess what two words can best summarize the abuses, divisions, pride, sin, and in general, the mess, of the members individually and collectively (because no sin stays an individual sin, only affecting an individual) in Corinth? It would be speech and knowledge.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
What is believed in the heart so often spills out in the mouth. It’s one of the reasons why the tongue is so hard to control. It’s a symptom of the impossibility of controlling the sin in our heart. We who are rich, who know the love of God and His wonderful promises for us (God is faithful, by whom you were called) still have a heart that is prone to grasp at things that won’t satisfy, devoted too often to self-preservation, thinking mostly about me, me, me spills out in complaining, grumbling, worry, anger, crude or obscene talking about others. Pride sometimes says, “I’m so much better than you,” and despair so often says, “I don’t deserve this! Life is so unfair.”
Do you see, dear called, sanctified saints, why Paul is thankful why the actor of salvation is God? As I consider the poverty of my heart and my mouth, as you consider yours, as we consider the many Christians that we love, how can we not break out in thanksgiving that God is the actor? Is, was, and will be, in fact, as the text makes abundantly clear! Grace was given, were enriched, were called, by baptism, by His Word, in the past.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not lacking in any gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, right here, through His Word, right now.
Jesus Christ, who will sustain to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jess Christ. You, will be guiltless. He will sustain. God is faithful. How amazing is that! As you consider the poverty of your heart and mouth, that the riches of God’s grace for your heart, mind and mouth, by the declaration of Jesus’ death for you, His testimony for and in you is confirmed, Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? (Roman. 8:33). With that, all uncertainty passes away. God approves of you.
God is the actor of our faith, past, present, and future. We, as Christians, do well to hear the two things this text tells us that we are act up. Give thanks to God…and wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Receive everything (the material, spiritual, the suffering, the joys, the people) in thanksgiving to God as a gift that doesn’t belong to you, but Him. Wait, recognizing the present blessings and challenges last only a little while. Don’t be satisfied with the things that you see or hear but will fly away all too quickly. Your hope is in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Come Lord Jesus will be how this letter to the Corinthians will close (16:22).
As we wait, we receive in thanksgiving today a most wonderful gift: the gift, in which He took break, took wine, gave thanks, and gave it to the disciples, communion, and fellowship with Him. He gave His body His body and blood unto death, He gives His risen body and risen blood unto you today, enriching your speech, your knowledge, testifying of His love for you, and promising God is faithful. He will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.