An Apostolic Understanding – Part Sixty

We have been looking at biblical regional centers or apostolic centers as found in the New Testament… We have looked at Jerusalem, Antioch, and Ephesus… The forth one of five is found in the city of Corinth

Today – the Lord is stirring something in the harvest fields. He is placing a hunger in people’s hearts for a reality – a spiritual reality leading to a new physical reality – beyond anything they have previously seen or experienced.

He is preparing His Church for a great end-times harvest that will soon be upon us. He is preparing us to receive that harvest as well as be labourers in the harvest field bringing the harvest into the Kingdom and the Church. He is planting “new wineskin” churches in nations around the world. He is renewing existing churches that are willing to move into a new future. And, I believe, He is walking away from churches who determined to continue to hold to their lifeless traditions and religious rules that hold people in bondage and control them.

We have been looking at the early Church as seen in the Book of Acts and have noticed that the first disciples of Jesus reached the known world in one generation.

One key to their success was the establishment of regional apostolic centers that enabled new churches to be planted quickly, grow rapidly, and be built following the biblical model. Each of the apostolic centers – Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome – had its own focus. The distinction of the apostolic center at Corinth was that it broke through to reach what we could call the “hard-core unsaved.”

What are the hard-core unsaved?

In many nations today most people who get saved are individuals who grew up in the church – often second and third generation church attenders. They already share a somewhat Christian world view and understand the basics of the Christian faith. They have read some of the Bible. They have been taught the Christian standard of morality. The are familiar with their local ‘church culture’

They just never experienced a personal encounter with God and thus do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. People in the Church or who are familiar with the life of the Church need to get saved as much as the people who are living in the world. But, if we only reach those who have heard the message and even experienced the lifestyle, we will not impact the nations.

There is a large segment of society that the Church today is not reaching at all. These are the ones we are calling the “hard-core unsaved.”

These are people who have never been inside a church building.
They are ignorant of the Bible.
They have no moral standards
They often ridicule anything connected with the Church or the true Christian faith.
They are usually enthusiastic sinners, revealing in immorality, and viewing drunkenness and drug use as great forms or relaxation and entertainment.
They make up a large, rapidly increasing segment of our world no matter what nation you live or work in.

To see what it means to reach this segment of society – there is no better place to look than the Church at Corinth.

Corinth was one of the most important cities in the ancient world of New Testament times

Founded in the 10th Century BC, it was the riches port and the largest city in ancient Greece

Corinth was partially destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, but was rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44 BC as a place to settle freed slaves from Italy, Syria, Egypt, and Judea

The city thrived

When Paul arrived in AD 51, the Corinth he saw was only about 100 years old, yet it was already five times as large as Athens, and was the capital of the province

It is apparent that there are several reasons why God chose to establish an apostolic regional center (church) in Corinth

If you look at a map of Greece, the country was divided into two parts, northern Greece and southern Greece. The two parts were connected by a narrow isthmus of land less than four miles wide. This is where Corinth is located. So, all north-south trade in Greece had to go through Corinth

Some interesting history:

Early sailors, plying the east-west trade routes across the northern Mediterranean, had a problem. This problem was Greece. Greece is a 300 mile long peninsula extending halfway across the Mediterranean. East-west shipping had to take a long and dangerous (treacherous) detour around the southern tip of Greece

But in 600 BC, a man named Periander built a marble tramway across the Corinthian isthmus so ships and cargo could be wheeled over land by oxcart.. This shortcut cut two hundred miles off the east-west route. This shortcut was so significant that in modern times a canal was cut across the isthmus, following the same route. Periander’s tramway was so profitable that the city of Corinth was able to eliminate all taxes. As a result people wanted to move to Corinth. Corinth ended up with two major sea ports: One on the eastern side of the Isthmus, and one on the west

So Corinth was truly a crossroads city. All north-south traffic in Greece went through Corinth; all east-west traffic in the northern Mediterranean went through Corinth. As a result, Corinth became one of the wealthiest cities in the ancient world. Like major cities in our nations today – it became a very expensive place to live. The Greek writer Horace said, “Not everyone can afford to go to Corinth.” Corinth was an expensive place to live, yet Corinth was a gathering place for the world and it was home of the Isthmian games, second only to the olympics. These games were held every two years and people from all over the world came to see the games

Corinth was a place with worldwide influence in many areas. One of the city’s contributions to architecture was the Corinthian column. You see these columns in the White House and the American capital buildings

Next time … the religious side of Corinth and why Paul built in a different way in this city than previous places he planted a church….