Friday, April 23, 2010

The riches of God's grace

After a wonderful time of music and testimony last Sunday morning by Robert Barley, our church continued our study in the book of 1 Corinthians. In chapter 1:4-9, Paul continues his greeting to the church with a prayer of thanksgiving.
This may seem odd for a church with so many problems, yet Paul sees great reason to give praise to God.

Not one to dish out cheap compliments, Paul is genuinely thankful for this church. Why? Because in spite of their many faults, God's grace is shining through them. His grace manifested itself in three ways:
  1. Past Grace (1 Cor. 1:4, 6). Paul's testimony of the death and resurrection of Jesus were confirmed by the impact and change that occurred in their lives. We have been privileged to see this recently in the life of some of our church attenders as well.
  2. Present Grace (1 Cor. 1:5, 7). At the very moment of salvation, they were endowed and enriched with spiritual gifts. But sometimes those strengths can turn into weaknesses. The church had a tendency to abuse these gifts (chs. 12-14), but Paul was still thankful they were "not lacking in any gift."
  3. Future Grace (1 Cor. 1:7-8). Paul ends his prayer by looking ahead at the great future that the Corinthians and each of us can have in Jesus Christ. He will return! We will be with Him! He will defeat sin and death! And we will be changed into His image!
Questions for thought and discussion:
  • When we meet someone with 'glaring faults' like Corinth, what is our usual reaction?
  • How did Paul respond in this letter?
  • What gift(s) has the Lord given you to use in His church?
  • How could those strengths turn into weaknesses?
  • Who is someone that bothers, disappoints, or offends you? Write down their name.
  • List five ways God has shown His grace in and through them.
  • Pray for them, and that you will be an instrument of grace in their life
Sunday's sermon is available for free download from our podcast site.

Photo credit: bhermans

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