"Count on That"
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 - I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge-even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you-so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Two thousand years ago, a bustling city stood at the crossroads of a flourishing culture. The city was Corinth, and the country and culture was Greece. Corinth was critically positioned at the crossroads of commerce. Many goods flowed through this city. But that's not all. Corinth was also a major harbor city located on a busy waterway. Interestingly, the town of "Korinthia" still exists today.
It was in this Grecian city of Corinth in St. Paul's day that the streets were clanging with peddlers, and the wharfs were echoing with sounds of heavy cargo being loaded and unloaded. One can imagine hearing the "clop-clop-clop" of horses' hooves on the stone streets, and the cry of salesmen hawking goods from countries far and wide. Corinth was indeed a beehive of commercial activity.
But Corinth was also a magnet for vice and sexual immorality. In fact, in those days, if you used the expression that a particular person "acted like a Corinthian," this meant that person was very, very, immoral. And for that reason the city of Corinth of 2,000 years ago has a lot to say to us today.
You see, in our fast-paced era in a time of sexual looseness and lack of integrity, many of the conflicts, frustrations, and challenges we face today are very much like those found in Corinth two millennia ago. Because of a lack of godly morality in Corinth, families were often broken; because of a lack of integrity, business dealings were strained. It was not unusual for friends to turn upon each other, and it was not unusual for acquaintances to be constantly suspicious of one another; nobody seemed to be faithful.
In the midst of these difficult conditions, the apostle Paul wrote words of encouragement and hope to the small community of Grecian Christians. The apostle encouraged these people by reminding them, "God is faithful." With this pointed statement and promise of the Lord in those days, Paul lifted up the weary, strengthened the weak, and gave hope to the dying.
This, my friends, may also be the type of uplifting message you need at this hour. Perhaps you haven't been to church recently. Maybe you're sensing you're far, far away from God. Or perhaps life has you at a crossroad and you're wondering what life is all about and who you can turn to. Whatever the case may be, you need to know that even though others may let you down, and even though your closest friends may disappoint or even desert you—God is always faithful. In Jesus Christ, God is the one Friend you can always count on. Just as the writer to the Hebrews conveyed when he penned God's message to us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5b).
And you can count on that.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, when life is difficult and the road ahead is dark, remind us of Your promises and constant love in Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "God Is Faithful," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do we face challenges in our lives as Christians that are beyond what the Corinthians faced? What are they?
2. What do you think Paul means when he says the Corinthians were "not lacking any gift"?
3. Do you have a friend who has been consistently faithful in his dealings with you?
Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 120-122 2 Thessalonians 2
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