As we begin our study of Church 101, the first basic truth we will see is found in 1 Corinthians 1:1-3.
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
As we take a closer look at these three verses we are going to see the infrastructure of The Church of God.
First, The Church of God is made up of THE MESSENGER
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother”. (1 Corinthians 1:1)
The reason behind Paul’s opening in verse one is because those in Corinth were questioning his authority. The initial address of sectarianism is seen later in chapter one. Paul’s Position is stated clearly: He is an apostle. He was called by the will of God.
This speaks to the divine origin of HIS POSITION
God chose Paul. This was not a task he volunteered for. He was an apostle sent by God. The word Apostle (apostolos) means “sent from”. In the Greek, the one sent isn’t the main focus, rather the focus is upon the sender and the reason for the sending. So, God is the focus! God is responsible for Paul’s ministry as well as the message he is writing to the Corinthians (and to us). John MacArthur clarifies the role of the one sent:
When the Jewish supreme court, the Sanhedrin, was asked to arbitrate a serious dispute or to give an interpretation regarding Jewish law or tradition, they would send their decision by an apostolos to the parties involved, who were often represented through a synagogue. As far as the message was concerned, the apostolos possessed the full authority of the Sanhedrin. He did not speak for himself, but for the Sanhedrin. Yet he was more than a messenger. He was an emissary, an envoy, an ambassador. Paul was God’s envoy, God’s ambassador (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20), God’s apostolos. (MacArthur 222-26)
Paul wanted them to know he was writing God’s message and that he is simply an emissary delivering the Lord’s message.
The next thing we learn about The Messenger is: HIS PERSON
“and Sosthenes our brother”
Though an apostle, he was still equal to all believers. All Christians are saints. The Corinthians had those who thought they were super-saints. Either prominence, prosperity, or power led them to feel superior. Paul associates himself with the church in Corinth using the term “Our brother”. The New Testament consistently presents the theme of family: We are One through the blood of Christ Jesus!
How is this applicable to the church today? Ministers are called by God. Trust me, no one chooses to be a minister. All are chosen and called by God to a specific task. Ministers are to proclaim the eternal, timeless message of God. We are ambassadors for God. We are delivering His message.
Even though ministers have different responsibilities they are still equal to the saints. All believers are a part of the body of Christ, so none are more important than the others. Ministers lead the sheep, but only by following Christ’s leadership. They are to be treated as part of the family. When a group or person tries to run the church it is never a good thing. When a pastor sees himself as a dictator it is never a good thing. It is like a single cancer cell that will eventually destroy the whole body. The church is one body united in Christ.
The first infrastructure of the church of God is GOD’S MINISTER.
In tomorrow’s post we will examine the Second Part of the Infrastructure of the Church of God.
Resource: MacArthur, John. 1 Corinthians. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1984.
The Church of God is the first in the Sermon Series Church 101: A Study of 1 Corinthians at Living Oaks Baptist Church in Tulsa, OK.
Join us at 10:45 AM each Sunday for contemporary music and worship as we continue the series Church 101.
Living Oaks Baptist Church
8855 E 91st St
Tulsa, OK 74133