What was Paul doing?
He was establishing an apostolic center in Corinth. This was to be a very significant center as it was established in a city known for wealth and immorality
In Jerusalem, the new converts were all Jews who had studied holy Scriptures since they were children. They already believed in the God of Israel and wanted to please Him
In Antioch, where Gentiles were first added to the church, they were primarily Gentiles who were hungry for God and already attending the synagogue
In Ephesus, although most of the converts were from the occult the initial 12 were originally Jewish disciples of John the Baptist and thus believers in God.
When Paul brought the Gospel of the Kingdom to Corinth, he was confronted by the “hard core unsaved.”
In Corinth, he found a city of committed, enthusiast sinners, much like most cities we now take the Gospel to
Corinth was a place the true power of the gospel could be revealed. In Corinth God would rescue a totally pagan people out of the world. They had been cut off from God and in bondage to the devil. They were entrapped in every kind of sin, perversion, and false philosophy. But, out of that group God would raise up a holy people for His own possession
Interesting to note for today and our work in spreading the Gospel…
This church plant was not an easy process
A lot of people are shocked when they first read about the church in Corinth. When you read the book of 1 Corinthians, you think, “Oh my! What was going on there?” The book of 1 Corinthians reads like a grocery list of the church’s sins. Some people in the Corinthians church were guilty of drunkenness. But, they didn’t get drunk down at the local pub. They were getting drunk in church at the Lord’s Supper.. Some of them were engaged in gross immorality. Many were divisive – out of order. Some were into false teachings and doctrine
You might think, “What a horrible church!” The Corinthian Christians were not backslidden believers – they were simply baby Christians. They loved Jesus but had not grown yet. God was changing them but change is a process and a journey
The Corinthians Christians had come out of the world, but the world had not yet come out of them
They didn’t know it was a sin to get drunk at church because in the pagan temples this was normal practice and an act of worship. They didn’t know that God doesn’t like immorality – in the temples this was part of the standard, daily practice of religion. These new believers simply needed to learn and grow…. But as Paul taught them, they grew.
Corinth eventually became a very healthy church
Just a year after writing 1 Corinthians, Paul writes 2 Corinthians rejoicing in the news that the Corinthians had repented of their sins (2 Corinthians 2:6-15). He speaks of his confidence in them (2 Corinthians 2:16) and how others would praise God when they heard of God’s surpassing grace among them (2 Corinthians 9:13-14). So Corinth became a testimony to the power of God’s grace. It was a place where those who were messed up by the world could come and let God put their lives back together. It was a place where people could be saved out of hard core sin, built to maturity, and equipped to minister in the power of the Spirit.