Lectionary Year A
January 27, 2002

1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Contemporary Address

Step VI - Contemporary Address

A. Goals

(JFC) We might declare how most effectively to deal with conflicts in the local congregation, as did Paul in the first century.

B. Describing the Audience

(JFC) Any congregation in conflicts might find a sermon from this text helpful.

C. Contemporary Address

(JFC) Sermon entitled for this working draft, "The Cross' Message Resolves Conflicts"

Foolishness or the power of God, which would we choose? "No question," as the TV Sports analysts say. No contest, we would prefer God's power to human foolishness.

I. The Message of the Cross

A. First, we seek God's power and Paul tells us it is found in the message of the cross. The power of God brings us under an influence that is good to be our guide. It brings God's power, which is enabling and leads us in God's directions. It might even lighten up some of this winter's darkness. We need God's power. God grants it to us. It avails itself to us in the message of the cross.

B. The Message of Christ's Cross can prove to be unspeakable. Even the eloquent and loquacious Apostle Paul stumbles over his tongue/pen as he tries to explain the cross' message. In the New Testament the message of the cross "became a theological teaching term in Galatians 5:11; 6:12, 14; Phil. 3:8; Col. 1:20; Cf. Eph. 2:16. The word, which we use confidently today in connection with its theological heritage, was a word that repelled the contemporaries of Paul just the way the word 'gallows' repels us today," Goppelt says in TNT, vol. 2. It defies logic and human speech. It is greater than we can describe.

II. The Urgency of the Message

A. Paul's urgency with the Corinthians then was quite obvious in this Epistle because he cared about the Christian friends he had made there. When caring carries people, they can wade more deeply into waters of dealing with conflict, disagreements, etc.

B. Our urgency with our world now tells us it is high time to get out and show and tell of God's love. If we procrastinate much longer, it might get even worse, both locally and globally. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in The Conduct of Life, "Considerations by the way", "We do what we must, and call it by the best names." Paul calls it, urgency.

III. The Unity, the agreements, the harmony

A. We have disagreements in our church today. Mention, diplomatically, of course, a local one or two by name. They are inevitable as long as the Church has existed, for, you see, the Church admits imperfect sinners into membership, and, aren't we glad?

B. Paul's ideals for resolving conflicts in the church include considering what Baptism means more than who administers it. He advises that our loyalties are to God rather than to mortals who might, for a season, lead a community of faith development. "The Lord our God is One," remember (Deuteronomy 6:4). In I Corinthians 3:3-5, Apollos and Paul, even get second billings to God's pre-imminence.


Honestly naming the problems can enable resolution to begin. Faithfully following Biblical examples can aid in solving problems. Remembering God's prominence in good times as well as in times that need improving, helps move the latter into the former.

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