• Matt Beaney

#431 (6/9/21)- SANCTIFIED, HOLY, TOGETHER (1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-3)

Updated: Sep 6





This week our devotions are based on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.


‘Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be (saints) his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 1:1-3)

Paul opens this letter by telling us some vital things about this and any church. This church is divided and unhealthy in various ways. God is writing to straighten them out. If they, and you and I, will apply the truths in these first three verses, our churches would be radically transformed. Let’s think about each truth in turn.


WE ARE SANCTIFIED

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the joy or discouragement of being or not being chosen for something. I remember the pain of not getting a job that I really thought that I wanted and the joy of getting a job on another occasion. Sanctification is about being chosen for something - God wants us to know that we are ’sanctified’, that is chosen and set apart by God - by His grace - and for Him. Just as Paul was ‘called…by the will of God’ the Corinthians, as all Christians, have been chosen by God to be His treasured possession. We do not belong to ourselves, our families, our culture, our boss, the devil… we belong to God by His will and by our choice to give our lives to Him.


WE ARE SAINTS (HOLY ONES)

Secondly, God wants us to know that we are ‘saints’ or ‘His holy people’. To be holy is to live a life that is entirely centred on serving God. A holy life is what flows from having been ’sanctified’. For example, as a soldier is set apart and then obeys the orders of the commanding officer, so Christians are set apart and so obey Jesus by being holy. This letter was written to correct a lot of unholiness among them. May you and I take seriously our calling to live as saints.


WE ARE UNITED TOGETHER IN CHRIST

Thirdly, Paul reminds them that they are a part of the local and universal church. They are ‘the church of God in Corinth’, and they are also ’together with all…who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ’. Division was a major problem in Corinth and it is a constant danger for us. Individualism, unfaithfulness, worldly priorities need to come under the truth of our being together in Christ. We are to love one another as we are loved by God.


LET’S BE WHAT WE ARE IN CHRIST

Let's learn to say “Therefore” (Rom. 8:12) - in light of what I am in Christ, I will do, not do, think, decide... like this or that. In Christ, we are chosen by and for God (sanctified) to live for Him (holiness) in a loving community who love and help each other. This is simple, profound and life-transforming truth!


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we began a new series in 1 Corinthians entitled 'Becoming love'. A central idea in the book of 1 Corinthians is the importance of learning to live a life of love.


The title of Sunday's message was, 'GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FINISH WHAT HE BEGINS'.


Please read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.


Paul begins this challenging letter with an encouragement to remember God's grace and faithfulness. This is a rich text and here are few points from it:


i) He chose us in Christ - The term 'sanctified' means to be chosen by God as His treasured possession. Something that's key to remember and needs to be re-said all the time is that God chose us and saved us in Christ at our worst. We were 'dead in sin' but God saved us through the cross without any reference to our good works. It's all in Jesus who is mentioned at least 8 times in these 9 verses!


ii) He is transforming us - The term 'holy people' means to have a new way of living that is pleasing to God. God has given us His Spirit and is changing us. We read that 'in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.' God is transforming our way of speaking and thinking.


iii) He gives us all that we need - God promises that 'you do not lack any spiritual gift'. God is faithful to finish what He begins in us and the church by providing all of the spiritual gifts that we need for our edification.


iv) God is faithful - We are weak and faltering, but our Father is faithful to finish the work He began in us. A wonderful phrase is 'God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son.' 'Fellowship is an unbreakable parnership - like a perfect marriage. God will never give up on His people. Let's be encouraged to trust God to provide all that we need as we seek Him for growth.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?

2. Do you have any questions about this text?

3. Count up how many times Jesus is mentioned in these 9 verses. How can one be certain of being saved - loved, forgiven and certain of eternal life?

4. Giving thanks is an important application from this text. What are the sorts of things that it's important to give thanks for? (Particularly, take a look at 1:4).

4. How does knowing that we are 'sancified' -chosen by and for God - change us?

5. We are 'called to be His holy people'. What does the bible say about how we can grow in holiness?

5. SIV

Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?






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