A People in a Place, Week 1: Love + Gratitude
This message begins a series on Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Corinth was much like many contemporary cities: a mix of highly-educated movers-and-shakers sharing a place with solid blue-collar folks. Corinth was lively, prosperous, and an important imperial city known for its boastful public inscriptions. Paul founded this church (Acts 18). He loved this church and was deeply concerned that they were being transformed more by their culture than by the Gospel. So, he writes letters to this specific people in a specific place about issues not unlike those faced by the church today.
In the middle of these two letters, Paul writes about love in one of the Bible’s most famous chapters. He says that love matters most of all, and he argues that it is the only meaningful motive for Christians. He values godly love above talent, generosity, and exemplary character. Without love, those things are nothing. Guided by the loving motives of a heart transformed by God’s love, those qualities are world-changing. Without love, the advice, correction, and pastoral care Paul offers us via the Corinthians amounts to nothing. That’s why we start there: in the middle with love.