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The messy church

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:56–58

God uses people, specifically the members of his church, to advance the proclamation of the gospel. However, the church consists of Christians who are still in the process of being conformed into the image of Jesus. This means the church can be messy. It is important to note that when the church is inundated with division, disunity, arrogance, immorality, cliques, and self-righteous judgment, the mission will cease in that place.

This was the case with the church in Corinth. The church had a phenomenal opportunity to present the gospel to a thriving, yet, spiritually confused city; however, they were weighed down by many internal distractions. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to guide them through their paralyzing issues so they could resume worship and pursue Jesus’ mission.

These are a few of the many lessons we can learn from what Paul says to the Corinthian church, in order for the proclamation of the gospel to continue:

  1. We must love other churches and ministries who communicate the gospel.
  2. We must not be shocked at the deep depravity of sin.
  3. We must take sin seriously, even if it means church discipline.
  4. We must diligently work out our issues before we escalate matters.
  5. We must abstain from sexual immorality.
  6. We must view being married or being single as a gift from God.
  7. We must become all things to all people for the sake of God’s glory.
  8. We must honor the conscience of others.
  9. We must respect the biblical roles of both men and women.
  10. We must avoid social snobbery since we drink from the same cup at the Lord’s table.
  11. We must recognize that love is the greatest of all gifts.
  12. We must be generous for the sake of gospel proclamation.

This is a long list of issues to work through. We can become over burdened, but as Paul closes the letter, he reminds us of the main point: Christ defeated death. This is not a burden that we must carry, but it is power that we find in the one who conquered death. More so, this is the message that must go out into the city and culture that surrounds them, but we must first begin with ourselves. Don’t let sin bog down the proclamation of the gospel, because Christ has destroyed sin and death and we now have life in him.

We have many opportunities before us daily to participate in the mission of Jesus. The gospel of Jesus’ good work is unstoppable. So let’s live in light of Jesus’ work on the cross, and keep it at the forefront of our lives. We do this by quickly repenting of sin, trusting in Jesus’ victory, and working out all our ailing problems with each other for the sake of the gospel reaching the people of our cities.


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