1st Corinthians 1:3-24
Paul had promised to return to the church at Corinth and had not done so. Elements within the church resented the respect accorded the apostle and believed his failure to return a golden opportunity to undermine his reputation. Hoping to avoid a situation that would embarrass those that had been mislead, Paul sent a letter via one of his companions explaining his absence.
While in Asia, the missionaries had experienced bitter assaults by the minions of Satan. As the Corinthians were condemning his lack of faithfulness, he and his companions were facing persecution so severe as to cause them doubt concerning their very lives. In an inoffensive manner, Paul taught them a lesson about the grace of God. In doing so, he avoided a confrontation that might have done irreparable damage to the Corinthian Church.
This morning I want to present Paul’s message about the deliverance of Christ. As you know, I have often made reference to this scripture. With the world in such a state, I fully expect to return to this promise again and again before Jesus calls me home. In my thinking, verses 10 and 20 sum up the entire gospel message. If I should be forbidden to read the Bible and forget everything but this promise, I am content to believe that I have sufficient to preach from for a dozen lifetimes!
I. First Examine the Special Nature of God’s Promises
A. Each promise bears the qualities of the Promisor
1. Immutable – unchanging with no fine print
2. All encompassing
B. Each bears His guarantee – His name is on it
II. Next Examine the Range of the Promises
A. Encompassing both Old and New Testaments
B. Both conditional and unconditional promises
C. Covering every eventuality
III. A Trinity of Promise
A. Experience teaches me lessons for today
1. I am free from the debt of sin! I need fear no skeleton in the closet (hidden 7th grade report card)
2. My experience of forgiveness (I am unable to forget as God does) constantly reminds me of His love for me
B. Observation calls my attention to present protection
1. I see the troubles facing this generation
2. His promise gives me confidence to stand any test
3. His guarantee sets me free to be happy
C. Faith gives me hope for the future
1. As He has been faithful past and present, I have every confidence regarding the future
2. What have I now to fear?
IV. I Draw Three Inferences From These Facts
A. This side of heaven we shall never be entirely safe from testing
B. We shall always have need of God’s interposition
C. He is deserving of praise
William Gurnell said, “Promises are like the clothes we wear; if there is life in the body they warm us, but not otherwise. When there is living faith, the promise will afford warm comfort, but in a cold unbelieving heart…it has no more effect than pouring a cordial down the throat of a corpse.”