Spurgeon's Notes on 1 CORINTHIANS


Chapter 1

Verses 1-9

1. Paul, called to be an, apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

Paul could never have sustained the great weight of responsibility and tribulation which fell upon him if he had not felt that he was "called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God." No man will ever be fit for the ministry of the Word unless he is called to it by God. This also will be your strength in every other station of life; if God has called you to your peculiar work and warfare, he will not send you at your own charges, but he will be at the back of you, and support you even to the end. I think it is for this reason that Paul so constantly dwells upon his own calling when he is about to write to the churches, that he may remind other believers that they have similar privileges in their spheres of labor.

1 Corinthians 1:2-3. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

A church should be made up of sanctified persons, those who have been set apart in Christ from before the foundation of the world, those who have been called by the Spirit of God to holiness of life. We sometimes sing, ó "With them numbered may we be Now, and through eternity;"-- but if we are not holy, if we are not truly sanctified, how can we expect to be numbered with the Church of Christ? Where there is no true holiness, there is no work of the Spirit of God. For all the holy ones Paul desires grace and peace, for they still need these blessings. The holiest of men still have spots about them, and they need that grace and peace should be given to them from day to day through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:4. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

It is something to be thankful for Godís goodness to yourself, but it is a higher virtue to be thankful for Godís goodness to others. How grateful we might be all day long if we had a quick eye to see the grace of God in our fellow-Christians, and if we blessed God for it whenever we saw it! There are some whose eye is much more quick to see imperfections than to see graces; it is a pity to have such a jaundiced eye as that; may we have a good, sound, clear, gracious eye, which will see all the good there is in our fellow-believers; and may we then ascribe it all to God, and bless and praise him for it!

1 Corinthians 1:5-8. That in everything you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It was very wise of Paul thus to praise these Corinthians where they could be praised, for he was about to upbraid them and reprove them for many things which were not pleasing to God. If you have the unpleasant duty of rebuking those who deserve it, always take care that you begin by saying all that you can, and all that you ought, in their favor; it will prepare the way for what you have to say to them afterwards. The Corinthians were a highly-gifted church; they probably had more knowledge and more of the gifts of utterance than any other church of their day; but, alas! they fell into greater sin than did their sister churches. Great gifts are not great graces; but great gifts require great graces to go with them, or else they become a. temptation and a snare. Yet Paul felt quite sure that God would keep even these Corinthians with all their imperfections, and confirm them unto the end; and that which was true of them, is also true of all the Lordís people, God will preserve them to the very end.

1 Corinthians 1:9. God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


Verses 1-24

1. Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

This brother had been put to great shame. He was beaten before the judgment-seat, if you remember, and now he has the great and lasting honor of being mentioned by the apostle with himself. God will honor those who bear dishonor for his nameís sake. Be not ashamed even to be beaten for Christ; the stripes are stripes of glory.

1 Corinthians 1:2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

The epistles were written to distinct churches, but they have a bearing upon all Christians; hence the apostle says, "With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." Let us thank God no Scripture is of private interpretation; every promise belongs to all the seed. If you are a believer, you may freely appropriate to yourselves whatever was said of old to any individual believer, or to any congregation of believers.

1 Corinthians 1:3-4. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

Paul is a great preacher of grace, and therefore he is a great giver of thanks. Grace should be followed with thankfulness. "I thank my God." What a beautiful expression! Not only "I thank God," but "I thank my God." He has God in possession, he has taken him to be his own forever and ever. Beloved, have we all done the same? Can we say, "I thank my God"? You notice how often Paul in the first ten verses mentions the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think it is eleven times. He was full of Christ.

Not only did he love Christ in his heart, but he had Christís name continually on his tongue, for he was not ashamed of the sweet name of Jesus Christ. Honey in the mouth, music in the ear, Heaven in the heart, is that sweet name of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:5. That in everything you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

The church of Corinth was a church of all the talents: it was not, however, a church so much of all the graces, and so it was a very poor example for us. I sometimes think that its mode of worship is recorded rather as a warning beacon than as an example to us. It caused, incidentally through the abundance of their gifts and everybody wanting to exercise his gift, great divisions, and there was an absence of humility and love in the church. However, Paul is thankful for what they have.

1 Corinthians 1:6-7. Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This is a fine trait in their character, they did look to the second Advent; it operated upon them, it helped them in many ways. We cannot now mention all the holy uses which is in the waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it ought to be a good description of all Christian men.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9. Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful,

Blessed be his name that he is. We are often very unfaithful. Man is always so, but "God is faithful."

1 Corinthians 1:9-10. By whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Where it is not so, the life of piety seems to ooze away. The blessing of God cannot rest upon a church unless we dwell together in unity, and for unity it is necessary that we be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:11-15. For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius. Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

It may have been an accidental circumstance that he did not happen to have baptized then, but he is glad of it, for he says that in the temper they were in, some of them would have made a boast of it.

1 Corinthians 1:16-17. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel:

There were other people who could baptize for him: it was enough for that he should concentrate all his energies upon that one matter of preaching the gospel, not that he neglected the divine command, but that it was not necessary that he, any more than his Master, should baptize personally, for we read that "Jesus Christ baptized not, but his disciples." Not to put a dishonor upon the ordinance, but to let us see that the ordinance does not depend upon the man, but upon that sacred name into which we are baptized, and upon the true faith of the person baptized.

1 Corinthians 1:17. Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

A very remarkable passage! Paul could have used the wisdom of words. In some of his epistles he gives us a specimen of his mighty rhetoric. He was a born master of speech. There was a touch of poetry in him, and always a high logical power, but he would not use it in his preaching, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. You may do what you like with human wisdom, put a bit into its mouth and try to lead it into obedience to Christ, but somehow or other its tendency is to rebel against him.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God,

You have only to study the history of the world at the time when Paul was writing, and you will see that the "world, by wisdom knew not God." It had made itself exceedingly philosophical and sage, but if you weigh its wisest conclusions you will find that they were only polished folly. There is nothing left us of all the wisdom of that period. Time itself has proved it: nay, has disproved it.

1 Corinthians 1:21-22. It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign,

Some miracle, something that shall attest it in a supernatural way.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24. And the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Beloved, you know how true this is. It has been a wonderful power in you, and this day it is the only wisdom which you desire to possess.

Verses 1-31

1, 2. Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth,

-Note the humility of Paul in associating with himself an almost unknown brother, Sosthenes. Although the letter is written by Paul alone, yet, as if he did not care to stand in isolation even for a moment, he associates Sosthenes with himself in the salutation: "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth," ó

2. To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,

Called to sacred uses, set apart unto God. That is the call of all believers; they are like those vessels of the sanctuary which were not to be used by any but the priests of God, and by them only for Godís service.

2. With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

That is a very happy phrase, "both theirs and ours". There are multitudes of saints whose faces we never saw yet Christ is theirs, there are some with whom we might not agree in all particulars, yet Christ is theirs just as much as he is ours. All Christ is theirs, and all Christ is ours, and here is the grand bond of union between believers of different nationalities and different tongues.

3. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace first, for that is the fountain; then peace comes, for that is the fitting stream to flow from the fountain of grace. Seek not peace first, for there is no peace for unregenerate man; grace first, then peace, and both must come "from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

4. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

That is wisely written, for Paul was about to upbraid these Corinthians for many serious faults, yet he begins by acknowledging that they had certain excellencies. It gives you a ground to stand upon if you are willing to see all that is good in those whom you have to rebuke. But Paul did not merely use this as a polite way of commencing his epistle, but he did really every day thank God for the grace which these Corinthians had; yet how seldom do we thank God for the grace that he has given to other people, especially if they outshine us, if they do more for the cause of God than we do; then, we half regret that they have so much grace, but it was not so with Paul.

5, 6. That in everything you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

The church at Corinth was an important church, with more than the usual number of speaking men among the members. This led to mischief, but had they known how to use this talent aright, the church at Corinth might have been of great service; instead of watch, it split itself up into little parties, and became one of the worst churches that then existed, as certain communities which imitate them in this present day, have also done.

7, 8. So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul continues to recognize the abundance of their endowments, and to express for them the utmost of affection, and then he adds his full conviction that God would prove the power of his grace by keeping them unto the end, and then presenting them "blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

9. God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it." To be called by the faithful God is the guarantee of everlasting salvation.

10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

They could not speak the same thing if they had not the same mind and the same judgment. Paul dreaded the introduction of anything that would divide the hearts of believers one from another; and, beloved, let every one of us, wherever we go, be on the side of Christian truth, Christian unity, and Christian love. There is no true unity outside of truth; and the nearest way to Christian union is union in the truth. When error shall be destroyed, that which divides will be taken away; when truth is dominant, union will be universal, but it will not be so before that is the case.

11. For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

He does not go beating about the bush, but he speaks straight out, and gives the name of his informants, for persons who bring reports about others should always be ready to have their names mentioned. It may be unpleasant for them, but it is sometimes necessary to do unpleasant things and those who will not allow their names to be mentioned in connection with a statement adverse to character deserve no notice whatever.

12. Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

The last were as bad as the others, it makes no difference what the party name is, for it may only thinly conceal the most sectarian spirit to say, "I am of Christ."

13. Is Christ divided?

Paul begins with that, for it is the worst of all divisions to make Christ the head of a party in his own church.

13-16. Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

Paul considered that it was a providential circumstance that he had baptized no more of them, else they would have cried themselves up as superior to those who had been baptized by others.

17. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

It is true that baptism is in the original commission of all Christís servants, but it occupies a very secondary place compared with the preaching of the gospel; and was an evil day when the Christian Church began to put rites before doctrines, and ceremonies in the place that should be occupied by the gospel itself. Paul therefore says that his main commission was not to baptize, "but to preach the gospel."

18-20 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Indeed he has; he has let it run the full length of its tether so that we may see the folly that can be taught by wise men.

21. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Not by foolish preaching, but by that preaching which men call foolishness.

22. For the Jews require a sign,

They were always looking for supernatural manifestations.

22. And the Greeks seek after wisdom:

They would believe nothing but what could be proved to them by logic.

23-20. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. They call it foolishness, but it is wiser than menís wisdom. God at his lowest (if we can imagine such a thing,) is wiser than man at his highest "and the weakness of God (if such a thing could be,) is stronger than men."

26-28. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: ó

Those that do not even seem to have an existence, those that are so despicable that men do not deign to take any account of them, these are the very things with which God shall break in pieces the many mighty errors of all the ages.

29-31 That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.


Verses 25-31

In this chapter the apostle magnifies the cross of his Lord, as Godís greatest gift to the world; and as the highest glory of Godís self-revelation to men. He praises God that the Corinthian Christians have experienced the saving grace that comes by faith in the sinnerís sacrifice on Calvary. He rejoices, too, that that same grace has taught them to look forward to the Saviorís return in glory. But he is compelled to reprove them for some divisions and rivalries that sprang from their glorying in gifts rather than graces. This leads him to remind them how God had disparaged mere worldly wisdom by saving mankind by the death of Jesus. And he brings all to a very practical application in the verses that we now ponder.

1 Corinthians 1:25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

And yet you will perceive that the church is always looking after wise men after the flesh. If it can find these, it immediately cringes before them, and asks these learned doctors to teach it something more than the simplicities of Christ. This is the old disease of the church. May God cure her yet.

1 Corinthians 1:26. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

There are a few such. Remember how the Countess of Huntingdon used to say that she was very thankful for that letter "m," for it does not say "not any noble," but "not many noble are called."

1 Corinthians 1:27-28. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not,

Seem scarcely to have an existence, not worth notice, not put down in the list of existences.

1 Corinthians 1:28-29. To bring to nothing things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.

This is what flesh always likes to do. Proud flesh we speak of, and all flesh is such. Flesh has a great tendency to swell, to corrupt; it is easily puffed up; but God will not have it so. What is flesh to God? Did not he make all things? Shall the thing formed boast itself against the Former?

1 Corinthians 1:30. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

In fact, we have everything in Christ; we have in his prophetic office wisdom, in his priestly office righteousness and sanctification, and in his royal office, in which he paid the price of our salvation, we have redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:31. That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.

Here is room for glorifying, and it is our duty to glory in God. Let us do so more and more!

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 103. 1 Corinthians 1:25-31.


Chapter 2

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.


Chapter 3

Verses 1-16

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

The church at Corinth consisted of persons of large education and great abilities. It was one of those churches that had given up the one-man system, where everybody talked as he liked ó a very knowing church, and a church of Christians, too; but for all that. Christian babies. And though they thought themselves to be so great, yet the apostle says that he never spoke to them as to spiritual: he kept to the simple elements regarding the carnal part as being too much in them as yet, to be able to drink down spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 3:2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able.

How grateful we ought to be that there is milk, and that this milk does feed the soul ó that the simplest truths of Christianity contain in them all that the soul wants, just as milk is a diet upon which the body could be sustained, without anything else. Yet how we ought to desire to grow that we may not always be upon milk diet but that we may be able to digest the strong meat ó the high doctrine of the deep things of God. These are for men, not for babes. Let the babes be thankful for the milk, but let us aspire to be strong men that we may feed on meat.

1 Corinthians 3:3. For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men?

A united church, you may conclude, is a growing church ó perhaps a grown church; but a disunited church, split up into factions where every man is seeking position and trying to be noted such a church is a church of babes. They are carnal, and walk as men.

1 Corinthians 3:4. For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollo; are you not carnal?

Instead of that, they should all have striven together for the defense of the common faith of Jesus Christ. There is no greater symptom of mere infancy in true religion than the setting up of the names of leaders or the preference for this or that peculiar form of doctrine, instead of endeavoring to grasp the whole of truth wherever one can find it.

1 Corinthians 3:5-6. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Let God, then, have all the glory. Be grateful for the planter, and grateful for the waterer, ay, and grateful to them as well; but, still, let the stress of your gratitude be given to him without whom watering and planting would be in vain.

1 Corinthians 3:7-8. So then neither is he who plants any thing, neither he who waters; but God that gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one:

They are pursuing the same design; and Apollos and Paul were one in heart. They were true servants of one master.

1 Corinthians 3:8-9. And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: you are Godís husbandry, you are Godís building.

The church is built up. God is he who builds it up ó the master of the work, but he employs his ministers under him to be builders.

1 Corinthians 3:10-13. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every manís work shall be made manifest: For the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is.

Very easy to build up a church quickly. Very easy to make a great excitement in religion, and become very famous as a soul-winner. Very easy. But time tries everything. If there were no other fire than the mere fire of time, it would suffice to test a manís work. And when a church crumbles away almost as soon as it is got together when a church declines from the doctrines which it professed to hold, when the teaching of the eminent teacher is proved, after all, to have been fallacious and to have been erroneous in practical results, then what he has built comes to nothing! Oh! dear friends, what little we do we ought to aspire to do for eternity. If you shall never lay the brush to the canvas but once, make an indelible stroke with it. If only one work of sort, shall come from the statuaryís workshop, let it be something that will live all down the ages.

But we are in such a mighty hurry: we make a lot of things that die with us ephemeral ó results. We are not careful enough as to what we build with. May God grant that this truth may sink into our minds. Let us remember that, if it is hard building with gold and silver, and harder still building with precious stones, yet what is built will stand the fire. It is easy building with wood, and easier still with hay and stubble, but then there will be only a handful of ashes left of a whole lifework, if we build with these.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15. If any manís work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any manís work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

If he meant right ó if he did endeavor to serve God as a worker, though he may have uttered many errors and have been mistaken ó (and which of us has not been?) ó he shall be saved, though his work must be burnt.

1 Corinthians 3:16. Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Do you know it? He says, "Know you not?" but I might leave out the "not" and say, "Know you that you are the temple of God?" What a wonderful fact it is! Within the body of the saint, God dwells, as in a temple. How do some men injure their bodies or utterly despise them, though they would not so do if they understood that they are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in them.

This exposition consisted of readings of readings from Matthew 6:1-24. 1 Corinthians 3:1-16.

Verses 1-23

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Their spiritual part had not grown strong, their old carnal nature still had the preponderance, as Paul was obliged to address that which was the bigger half of them.

1 Corinthians 3:2. I have fed you with milk,

That is a blessing.

1 Corinthians 3:2.And not with meat:

That is not a blessing. It is a great privilege to be fed even with the simple doctrines of grace, with the milk of the gospel; but it is a higher blessing to have such a spiritual constitution as to be able to eat the strong meat of the Word.

1 Corinthians 3:2-3. For hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men?

As ordinary, unregenerate men.

1 Corinthians 3:4. For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?

Is not this just how common, ordinary men would do? Where is your spiritual-mindedness if you so act?

1 Corinthians 3:5. Who then is Paul,

Mark, it is Paul himself who asks this question. He puts his own name here in order to show that he does not despise Apollos any more than he despises himself.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he who plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: you are Godís husbandry.

You are Godís tilled ground. Then the apostle works out the same thought under another image turning from agriculture to architecture.

1 Corinthians 3:9-10. You are Godís building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon.

Paul began the churches; he was the first preacher of the gospel in Corinth, and also in other places; and other preachers followed in his footsteps. When a man lays a good foundation, he always feels anxious that those who come after him should build in the same substantial manner as he has begun. It is a great grief to a man if he sees that, after he her laid a foundation of truth, somebody else follows, and builds up an error on the top of it. Alas, men do that still sometimes.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every manís work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is. If any manís work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any manís work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

If he be a good man, he builds for God; though he may build mistakenly, and say much that he ought not to have said. He shall escape, as a man flies out of a burning house, but all his work is gone. What a dreadful thing that would be, at the end of life, to get into Heaven, but to have seen that all your lifeís work had been a failure; to have been building a great deal, but to see it all burned; or to know, as you die, that because it was not Godís truth, it would all be burned!

1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroy the temple of God, ó

For so it should run, ó

1 Corinthians 3:17. Him shall God destroy;

If any man should pull down that which Paul built for God, if any man shall pull down that which any faithful minister of Christ has built before him,

"him shall God destroy;"

1 Corinthians 3:17-18. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

For that kind of folly is the doorstep of true wisdom.

1 Corinthians 3:19. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

All that which calls itself philosophy, and talks about its culture, and so on, is foolishness with God, just as much today as it was among the Greeks.

1 Corinthians 3:19. For it is written, he takes the wise in their own craftiness.

They call themselves wise, but they shall all be taken in their own craftiness.

1 Corinthians 3:20-21. And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.

Men are poor things to glory in.

1 Corinthians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 3:23. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours; and you are Christís; and Christ is Godís.

Glory be to his holy name!

Verses 17-23

17-18. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

Do not let him seek to be reckoned wise by the philosophers of the period, who are always against the truth of God. Let him consent to be thought to be a fool; yes, let him know in his own heart that he is not wise; and then let him yield himself up to the wisdom of God. Consciousness of ignorance is the vestibule of knowledge, and he who knows right well that he is a fool is on the way to becoming a wise man. He who would pass into the temple of wisdom must first of all confess his unwisdom.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

What a wonderfully small difference there is, after all, between the very cultured man, who thinks himself so, and the man who makes no pretense to it whatever! The knowledge which the wisest man has is about equal, in the presence of God, to the knowledge which one child of three years old has over a child of two years old. To God we must all seem masses of ignorance; and if you could put the whole British Association and all the doctors of divinity, and all the men of high degrees together, the things they did not know would make a great many volumes, and the things they did know would not go very far. "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise that they are vain."

1 Corinthians 3:21. Therefore let no man glory in men.

There really is not anything to glory in, in men. "The best of men are men at the best." Never need we exalt ourselves or extol others. "Lord, what is man that you are mindful of him?" "Let no man glory in men."

1 Corinthians 3:21 For all things are yours;

Children of God, all men are yours, to serve your highest benefit. All ministers and leaders in Christ are yours to seek your soulsí good. Treat them as bees do flowers, and gather honey from them all. "All things are yours."

1 Corinthians 3:22-23, Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christís; and Christ is Godís.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 13:1-23; Matthew 15:13-28. 1 Corinthians 3:17-23.


Chapter 4

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.

 

Chapter 5

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.


Chapter 6

Verses 1-14

1. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

In those days, the courts of law were utterly unjust. It was all a matter of who could bribe the most, for he would gain the suit. I think that we cannot say that it is quite like this at the present time in our law courts, neither can this verse be strictly a rule for the guidance of men in these days, except that, in the spirit of Paulís words, all lawsuits among Christians should be avoided if possible.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3. Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels?

Sitting with Christ, at the last great day of judgment, we shall give our "Amen" to the condemnation of the fallen spirits.

1 Corinthians 6:3-4. How much more things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

For they will be better judges than the best of worldly men. Do you set such people to judge your difficult matters? And if you do not, then why do you go to those who are even worse fitted to give a right decision?

1 Corinthians 6:5-11. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, you do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionist, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you:

They were Corinthians, and some of them had fallen into the same sad and shameful condition as the rest of the inhabitants of Corinth. Many of them had been fetched, by almighty grace, out of the very depths of the grossest sin, so that Paul, after giving a list of the blackest sinners, could add, "and such were some of you."

1 Corinthians 6:11-12. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:

There are some things that I may do; that is, I have the liberty to do them if I please; but I must also consider whether they are expedient, or whether they will damage others, and do mischief to them; for, if so, it will be better for me not to do them, because they are not expedient, even though they are lawful.

1 Corinthians 6:12-13. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.

So, on the one hand, do not make too much of abstaining from this or that, for these things, after all, are but small matters to glory in; but, on the other hand, let no man ever call himself a Christian while he is a slave to any evil habit. What says Paul? "God shall destroy both it and them." In the previous verse, he says, "I will not be brought under the power of any." The immortal spirit under the power of materialism? ay, that must never be.

1 Corinthians 6:13-14. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God has both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

Our bodies belong to him; therefore, let us think highly of them, and never do anything to injure them; and, especially, let us take care never to let them become instruments of iniquity to the grieving of the blessed Spirit of God.


Chapter 7

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.


Chapter 8

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.


Chapter 9

Verses 22-27

The apostle Paul is here giving a description of the way in which he made everything help toward the fulfillment of his desire to be a faithful minister of Jesus Christ. He longed to be the means of winning souls; he desired that, at the last, his Master might be able to say to him, "Well done, you good and faithful servant;" And therefore, everything with which he had to do was made to bend in that direction.

1 Corinthians 9:22-24. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospelís sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize?

No matter if twenty or a hundred had entered for the race, "but one receives the prize." Alas! out of these who appear to be running in the Christian ministry, how many will be prize-takers at the last? And out of those who seem to be running the race of the Christian life, how many will win the prize? Ah, Lord, you know!

1 Corinthians 9:24. So run, that you may obtain.

Do not speculate about what others will do, or not do, but see to your own running: "So run that you may obtain." Salvation is all of grace; but when a man is saved, he still has to run the Christian race and to be a runner as long as he lives."

1 Corinthians 9:25. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.

Here Paul is alluding to the athletic games and pugilistic encounters of the time. It was a matter of common notoriety that every man, who was going to fight, or wrestle, or run, had to get himself into proper condition, ó to "go into training," as we say in similar cases nowadays.

1 Corinthians 9:25. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

The athletes who completed in the Grecian games, passed through great self-denials and mortifications of the flesh, in order that every part of their bodily frame might be tough and strong when they came forward to wrestle, or to run, or to fight. "Now," says Paul, "if they do all that to gain a crown of parsley," ó which was generally the crown given, ó truly," a corruptible crown," ó "how much more ought we to do in order to win a crown that fades not away, ó Ďan incorruptible crowní!"

1 Corinthians 9:26. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air:

He would not leave a stone unturned, as it were, that he might gain the prize; he put out all his strength in the name of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 9:27. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:

The Greek word, according to some, implies getting his body into the same position as a man does, when, in a pugilistic encounter, he gets his adversaryís head under his arm, and smites him with all his might, So Paul says concerning his body, "I bring it into subjection and take care that it feels the full force of my will." According to other interpreters, the verse may be read, "I drag my body off as a slave;" just as in some of those ancient fights, the victors dragged away their antagonists as slaves, Paul accounted his body to be as a slave to his soul, and dragged it behind him in chains.

1 Corinthians 9:27. Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be castaway.

The Greek word, which is translated "a castaway" is "adokimos." It might better have been rendered "disapproved." It certainly has no such meaning as that which has been generally given to it. Paul was not afraid of being cast away by God at the last. What he aimed at was this, ó as he had entered the lists, as a Christian minister, to fight for Christ, to wrestle against principalities and powers, to seek to win souls for Christ, he must keep his bodily powers and passions so in subjection that, at the last, when the prizes were distributed, he would be found to have won his. This is quite another matter from being "a castaway" from salvation and eternal life. Paul was saved and he knew it; and some of us know, to a certainty, that we are saved; but we also know that there is another crown to be won, which the Lord will give to his servants who win in the great fight with sin. To win this crown is our high ambition and we long to hear the Master say to each one of us, in that day, "Well done, you good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your Lord."


Chapter 10

Verses 1-13

1 Corinthians 10:1-4. Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

You see, then, dear brethren, that the possession of privileges is not everything. Paul would not have us to be ignorant that all those, who were with Moses in the wilderness, had privileges of a very high order. Did they not all pass through the Red Sea, and so escape from their powerful and cruel foes? Did they not all drink of water which gushed forth from the flinty rock? Were they not all fed with manna from Heaven? Yet their privileges did not save them, for while they had the five privileges mentioned in these four verses, they fell into the five great sins of which we are about to read; and so, their privileges, instead of being a blessing to them, only increased their condemnation.

1 Corinthians 10:5-6. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, ó

Or, warnings, for just as they were overthrown in the wilderness, so may we be, notwithstanding all the gospel privileges which we enjoy, if we are not true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. If the life of Christ is not in our souls, all the privileges of the Church of God cannot save us. "These things were our examples," ó

1 Corinthians 10:6-11. To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples; ó

The apostle has told us that before, but he tells it to us again, to warn us, by these beacons, lest we come to a similar destruction to that which befell those ancient unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 10:11-12. And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

We also are to take heed lest we fall, especially those of us who think we are standing securely. You have seen how terrible was the fate of those unbelievers in the wilderness, who never entered into Canaan, but left their carcases in the desert; now Paul urges us, with such beacons to warn us, to take heed lest we also fall as they did.

1 Corinthians 10:13. There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

O Lord, fulfill your gracious purpose unto your servants! Hold you us up, lest we fall. We are very weak; keep us, for your dear Sonís sake! Amen.

Verses 1-14

1 Corinthians 10:1-4. Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The history of Israel in coming out of Egypt was a very instructive type of the history of the visible Church of Christ. They were in slavery in Egypt as all men are in bondage to sin and Satan. They were brought out of Egypt as all the redeemed are delivered by the almighty grace of God. With a high hand and an outstretched arm, the Lord brought Israel out of the house of bondage; and, by a very wonderful baptism, "in the cloud and in the sea," they commenced their career as Godís separated people. Then they all shared in the same spiritual ordinances: "They did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink." Yet, for all that, they were not all Godís people. They were so nominally, and visibly; but they were not all really so. And, as there was a mixed multitude that came up out of Egypt, together with the true seed of promise, so is there an alien element in every church at this present day. Among those who have been baptized into Christ, there are still some who, while they eat the spiritual meat and drink the spiritual drink, yet for all that have not been brought into true communion with Christ, and do not in reality know the Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:5. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

There was no evidence of faith in many of them, and "without faith it is impossible to please God." Is it not a sad thing that, in a people so highly favored as they were, there should have been so large a proportion of those who had not the faith which renders men pleasing unto God? So they did literally come out into the wilderness to die there, and they never entered into the rest of God.

1 Corinthians 10:6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we ó

We professed Christians,ó we, church-members,ó

1 Corinthians 10:6. Should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

They gave way to their carnal appetites; they craved for meat when God had already given them angelsí food. Now, if we act like this, we cannot be pleasing unto God.

1 Corinthians 10:7. Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

That is, to go through those unclean rites and ceremonies before their idols which are here called, "play." Ah, dear friends, may God keep us from the worship of anything which we can see with our eyes, or hear with our ears! Stay we never become idolaters! You know, we can very easily make idols of our children; we can make idols of our own persons, we can make idols of our talents, of our respectability, and so forth. But, oh! it matters not what the idol is; it is no more pleasing to God if it be of silver and gold than if it were of the mud of the river. No: "Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them."

1 Corinthians 10:8. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Fornication in Godís people is peculiarly black and filthy. In the ordinary man of the world, it is evil enough; but when a man professes to be a Christian, he must flee from even the very thought of it, and keep himself chaste, for his body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Oh, may none of us ever come anywhere near to this great evil, but in purity of heart may we walk before our God!

1 Corinthians 10:9. Neither let me tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

I cannot stay to mention the many ways in which we can tempt Christ; but we can readily do so still. What a dreadful doom it was to be destroyed by serpents! Yet is it not very wonderful that, in connection with this great sin, and its awful punishment, the brazen serpent was lifted high, that whoever looked to it might live? And now, if any have tempted Christ by presumptuous sin, by their delay, or by their infidelity, let them bless God that they are not yet destroyed of serpents, because Christ has been lifted up even as the serpent of brass was exalted above the camp of Israel.

Remember our Lordsí words to Nicodemus: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

1 Corinthians 10:10. Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

It is a dreadful habit to get into,ó that of complaining against God. Occasional murmuring is doubtless sinful, but habitual murmuring becomes a very great evil. I am afraid that there are some who cavil at Godís providence, and cavil at his Word, until they come to be cavilers and nothing else; and what good is a man who can do nothing else but carp, and cavil, and criticize? O beloved, "neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer."

1 Corinthians 10:11. Now all these things happened unto them for examples:

They were like a Ďbook in which we might read our own history in large characters. We see ourselves foreshadowed in them, and we read our happiness or our misery in their behavior.

1 Corinthians 10:11-12. And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

For if he begins to think that he stands, it may be that it is nothing but his own imagination; there may be no real standing about it. And there is no surer sign of the falsity of a manís estimate of himself than the fact that it is a high one. He that thinks himself good has not begun to be good, for the door of the palace of wisdom is humility, and the gate of the temple of virtue is lowliness of mind.

1 Corinthians 10:13-14. There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

I should like to see this verse put over the top of every "sacramental" table in every "church" in England: "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." If this text were properly understood, every crucifix would be broken to pieces, and the altars themselves would be cleared away to make room for what should be there,ó the table of the Lord; and we should have no more worship of visible things, which is idolatry. O you who are the dearly-beloved of God, flee from it! Keep as far from it as ever you can. I remember reading of a man of God who was the rector of a certain parish, and who had in the church a very ancient sad famous painted window of which he was somewhat proud. In the design there was a representation of the Godhead,ó the Father was there, and oh, how blasphemous! ó he was represented as an aged man; and, one day, this clergyman, who had seen no evil in the window, heard a rustic explaining to a companion that that was the God whom they worshiped. The rector did not deliberate for a moment, but he threw a stone right through that part of the painted window. I suppose that was an offence against the law of man, but certainly it was not against the law of God. He would never have that figure replaced on any account whatever, and I think that he did well: "Dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." Put it out of your sight; do not tamper with it, but hate it with a perfect hatred. In Godís eyes, it is one of the most fearful of sins. He has said, "I the Lord your God am a jealous God," and he will have nothing to come between us and the pure and simple worship of his invisible self.

Verse 15

1 Corinthians 10:15-19. I Speak as to wise men; judge you what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything?

After they had offered the beasts as sacrifices to their idols, it was the custom to sell the carcases in the shambles. Christian men, going into the market to buy meat, and asking no questions, bought and ate portions of these sacrifices, and they did no wrong whatever. But there were some in the church who were very tender of conscience, and who said, "If we eat meat which has been offered to idols, we thereby become partakers with the idolaters." Paul therefore writes:ó

1 Corinthians 10:20-21. But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils:

It cannot be; there must be a separation between these two things. We cannot have any delight in idol-worship, and yet worship the Christ of God.

1 Corinthians 10:21-28. You cannot be partakers of the Lordís table, and of the table of devil. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man anotherís wealth. Whatever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lordís, and the fullness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and you be disposed to go; whatever, is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lordís, and the fullness thereof:

So, you see, you may eat the meat if you like, for the idol is nothing at all; but, still, if you are told that it is meat that has been offered to idols, and that you by eating of it seem to join in the worship of idols, abstain from doing it, not for your own sake, but for the sake of the man who might be caused to stumble through you. This is a safe rule with regard to Christian behavior in many other things. There may be things lawful in drink as well as in meat, which a man may take without sinning; but if he knows that his example leads others astray, then let him take heed that he does not set such an example. An example which is an excuse for drunkenness is not a good one; therefore, let none of us set it before the eyes of men. If any man say to you, "This meat has been offered in sacrifice to idols," "eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lordís, and the fullness thereof."

1 Corinthians 10:29. Conscience, I say, not your own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another manís conscience?

That man may not be able to do it without injury to himself, but I may, and I have liberty so to do; but yet, as a Christian man, I am to consider his want of power, and I am not to use my liberty lest I do harm to my brother.

1 Corinthians 10:30-31. For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

And if anything you might do would not glorify God, do not do it.

1 Corinthians 10:32-33. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 11:1. Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

This exposition consisted of readings from John 9, and 1 Corinthians 10:15-33, and 1 Corinthians 11:1.


Chapter 11

Verses 17-34

The members of the church at Corinth abounded in gifts, and therefore they thought it meet for each one to speak to edification. They had no pastoral oversight whatever; acting, in this respect, like certain brethren whom we know nowadays. The result, however, was very deplorable. They do not appear to have been able even to conduct the Lordís supper without the most disorderly proceedings. Church discipline was utterly forgotten or neglected; and it seems as if the two Epistles to the Corinthians are given to us as beacons to warn us against that form of worship, seeing that it produces such mischievous and sad results.

1 Corinthians 11:17. Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse.

It is a very bad state of things when we meet for worship, and separate without any improvement, or, like these Corinthians, "come together, not for the better, but for the worse."

1 Corinthians 11:18. For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

It was very gracious and kind on the apostleís part to put it so mildly, and he sets us the example of not believing anything against our brethren too quickly: "I partly believe it."

1 Corinthians 11:19-21. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lordís supper. For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

They seem to have regarded it as a common feast, to which they brought their own provisions; and, without waiting for each other, they disgraced the table of the Lord by their scandalous proceedings.

1 Corinthians 11:22. What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in these? I praise you not.

No doubt they hoped to be praised, and expected that they had done everything in the right way; perhaps, they even believed that they were acting under the inspiration of the Spirit, and therefore could not do anything wrong; but the apostle deals very faithfully with them, and tells them how the supper is to be celebrated. How much we have gained by the mistakes of others! As the inspired apostle is guided to inform us as to the right mode of observing this ordinance, we may almost be thankful that the Corinthians fell into error concerning it, much as we may regret their faults on their own account.

1 Corinthians 11:23-24. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

These are the words of the Lord Jesus himself, and therefore they come to us with all the weight of his infallible authority. Then Paul continues:

1 Corinthians 11:25-26. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lordís death until he come.

"Show" or "proclaim." The latter is the better word: "You do proclaim the Lordís death until he come." That last phrase ought finally to settle the question of the perpetuity of the Lordís supper, which is to be observed "until he come."

1 Corinthians 11:27. Wherefore whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

"Unworthily," that is, in a thoughtless, careless way; or with a view to worldly gain, as some used to take it in order to obtain office under government; and as some, doubtless, do take it, to obtain the alms of the church. Such an unworthy participation is a sin against the very body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Paul does not say, "Let a man examine himself, and then not eat or drink at the communion." The examination should lead him to repentance, and to faith, and should then bring him to the table of fellowship in the right state of mind and heart. The examination is not a door to shut him out from the ordinance, but a door at which he may pause awhile, to see whether he is in a right condition to enter; and if he is not, he should seek to be made so, and then enter.

1 Corinthians 11:29. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, earth and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lordís body.

"Eats and drinks judgment to himself," for "judgment" is the word here used by the apostle.

1 Corinthians 11:30. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

It appears that God visited this church at Corinth with sickness, and took away many of the members by death, because they had profaned the Lordís table, and had walked in a disorderly manner before him. Paul did not mean to say that these persons were lost; but he intended to remind their fellow-members, and all who might read his Epistle, that God visits churches after this fashion with discipline and chastening because of the unseemly conduct which is always so offensive to him.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

So, you see, that chastening process, which is going on in the church, is all in love: "that we should not be condemned with the world;" just as a father exercises discipline in his household, and uses chastisement that his children may never disobey the laws of the realm. They will never come before the police court, for they are kept under proper control at home, and are tutored and trained by their fatherís wise government. So we come not under the judgment of the law, as the world itself comes; we come under the disciplinary treatment of the great Head of the Church, even the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:33-34. Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Now let us read Lukeís account of the institution of this supper; as we do so, it will be well for us to remember that Luke was a friend and intimate companion of Paul.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; and Luke 22:14-24.

Verses 18-34

1 Corinthians 11:18-22. For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lordís supper. For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

These Corinthians fell into a great many errors. Everybody was a speaker, and said whatever he pleased; and they had no proper order or rule. Among other evils, when they met together to observe the Lordís Supper, they brought their own food with them, thinking that eating thus together was keeping the sacred feast. So the richer ones feasted to the full, and the poor went almost without anything. "One is hungry, and another is drunken," says the apostle, and he tells them that this was not the right way of observing the Lordís Supper. Yet it is evident that the idea which was in their mind was that of feasting together. They had exaggerated it, and carried it to a grievous excess; but that was the idea they had concerning it. Certainly, there was no altar, or priest, or anything of the sort. Now the apostle tells them how the ordinance should be observed.

1 Corinthians 11:23-25. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. How wonderfully simple it all is! There is nothing here of the paraphernalia of a "sacrament." It is a simple memorial festival, that is all.

1 Corinthians 11:26-27. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lordís death until he come. Wherefore whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

He shall be guilty with respect to that body, ó not with respect to that bread, against which he cannot sin, ó but with respect to that body which is represented by the bread, and with respect to that blood which is represented by the cup. See with what holy solemnity this humble feast is fenced and invested. There is a divinity which does hedge the simple ordinance of Christ lest men should trifle with it to their eternal ruin.

1 Corinthians 11:28-29. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lordís body.

"Judgment" or "condemnation" is the word in the original, not "damnation." That is not a fair translation, neither does it express the truth. He who eats and drinks unworthily condemns himself in so doing, he comes under judgment for that act. This is the kind of judgment that falls upon Christians if they come unworthily to the Lordís table: ó

1 Corinthians 11:30-32. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Believers, who are rendered sick, or who even die, because of their offence against the Lordís ordinance, are not therefore condemned to Hell. Far from it; it is that they may not be so condemned that God visits them. "When we" the people of God ó "are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."

1 Corinthians 11:33-34. Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

By due attention to the apostleís injunctions, they would be able rightly to observe the ordinance; and we also may learn, from what Paul wrote, how we may worthily come to the table of our Lord.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 26:17-30; and 1 Corinthians 11:18-34.

Verses 20-26

1 Corinthians 11:20. When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lordís supper.

Merely meeting together, each person bringing his or her own portion of bread and wine, and each one eating the provided portion, was not celebrating the Lordís supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21. For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

Bad as some professing Christians are even now, they are not so bad as these Corinthians were. One was hungry, and another was drunken, because they had turned the holy feast into a kind of banquet of a most disorderly sort. There was nothing in their conduct to indicate true Christian fellowship. The very meaning of the ordinance was lost in the fact that each one was feasting himself without fear.

1 Corinthians 11:22. What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

The Lordís supper is not to be made an opportunity for eating and drinking in disorderly self-enjoyment. It is a hallowed and holy institution, setting forth the fellowship of true believers with one another, and with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was an apostle, yet he had not been present at the institution of the Lordís supper, so he had a special revelation given to him concerning the way in which this ordinance is to be observed.

1 Corinthians 11:23. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,ó

That is the right kind of teaching which a man first receives from God, and then delivers to the people. Nothing is of authority in the Christian ministry unless we can say of it, "I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you," ó

1 Corinthians 11:23. That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: ó

What a pathetic interest is given to the Lordís supper by the fact that it was instituted "the same night in which he was betrayed." Never forget that God grant that none of us may betray our Lord this night, or any other night! It would be the darkest night in our life should it ever be so: "The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:" ó

1 Corinthians 11:24-25. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament ó

"The New Covenant" ó

1 Corinthians 11:25-26. In my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lordís death until he come.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 26:20-30; And 1 Corinthians 11:20-26.

Verses 20-34

1 Corinthians 11:20-21. When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lordís supper. For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

These Corinthians had fallen into a very queer state. I do not think that any Baptist Church that I have ever known of has acted in this fashion; but when churches have no ministers, when there is an open ministry where everybody talks and nobody listens, they fall into a queer condition, especially into divisions and heart-breaking strifes. It was so in the case of this church at Corinth. Here everybody brought his own provision, and some ate to the full, and others had not enough; and they thought that they were observing "the Lordís supper."

1 Corinthians 11:22. What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in?

There is your proper place if you want a meal. Go home, and eat and drink; do not come to the sanctuary for such a purpose: "Have you not houses to eat and to drink in?"

1 Corinthians 11:22. Or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which I delivered unto you,

He had received it by a special revelation, Poor Paul was brought in late, and he was like one born out of due time. He had not been present in the upper room with Christ at the first famous breaking of bread; so the Lord came and gave him a special revelation concerning this sacred feast, so that, whenever he spoke or wrote to any of the churches about the Lordís supper, he could say, "I have received of the Lord that which I delivered unto you."

1 Corinthians 11:23. That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

The Lordís supper is a simple service of remembrance. Nothing is said about an altar, or a priest, or a sacrifice. Our Lord took bread, gave thanks for it, brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." Mark that "this do"; it will not be right to do something else instead of this; and we must not do this for any other purpose than the one he mentions, "This do in remembrance of me." This command raises a previous question, "Do we know him?" we cannot remember Christ if we do not know him.

1 Corinthians 11:25. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lordís death until he come.

"By Christ redeemed, in Christ restored,
We keep the memory adored,
And show the death of our dear Lord,
Until he come!

"And thus that dark betrayal-night,
With the last advent we unite;
By one blessed chain of loving rite,
Until he come!"

1 Corinthians 11:27. Wherefore whoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

If such a man has treated "this bread" and "this cup" with contempt, he has treated "the body and blood of the Lord" with contempt; it shall be so reckoned to him. Many have been trouble by this verse. They have said, "We are unworthy." You are, this is quite true; but the text does not say anything about your being unworthy. Paul uses an adverb, not an adjective. His words are, "Whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily," that is, in an unfit way, to gain something by it, as men used to take what they called "the sacrament" to get into certain offices, or as some come to the communion-table for the sake of the charitable gifts that are for the poor of the church; this is to eat and drink "unworthily." To come carelessly, to come contemptuously, to say, "I do not care whether I am a Christian, or not; but I shall come to the communion," this is to eat and drink "unworthily." Notice the ly; we are all unworthy of this sacred feast, and if unworthiness could shut us out, who would dare to be here?

1 Corinthians 11:28. But let a man examine himself,

Let a man look himself up and down, as a lawyer cross-questions a witness, as a man examines money to see whether it has the true ring of gold about it; or not: "Let a man examine himself."

1 Corinthians 11:28. And so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Let him come as a true believer, as sincere; if not perfect, yet true; if not all he ought to be, yet in Christ; if not all he wants to be, yet still on the way to it, by being in Christ, who is "the way, the truth and the life."

1 Corinthians 11:29. For he who eats, and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lordís body.

He does not see the meaning of the emblem of Christís death.. He degrades the symbol by making it take the place of the thing signified. He sees the bread, but not the body; and he damnifies himself, condemns himself, by such eating. He is a loser rather than a gainer by eating and drinking unworthily.

1 Corinthians 11:30. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Persons coming to the Lordís table in an improper spirit are very apt to come under Godís discipline; some will be taken ill; and some will die. This discipline is being carried on in every true church of God. Godís providence will work in this way if many treat the table of the Lord as the Corinthians did, acting as if it were a common place for eating and drinking. Many of them were weak and sickly, and many died.

1 Corinthians 11:31. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

If we are Godís people, we shall be judged by him here for our wrongdoing. We shall not be like the world that is left to the day of judgment; but we shall be judged now. God will visit with temporal judgments those of his children who sin against him.

1 Corinthians 11:32. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

You know that a man will see a great deal that is wrong in children in the street, and say nothing about it; but if it is his own who is up to mischief, he will give him a sweet taste of the rod. So, if you belong to God, you cannot sin deeply without having a present judgment, a present discipline; and you ought to be thankful for it, painful though it may seem to be for the time, for "when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."

1 Corinthians 11:33. Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, tarry one for another.

How gently Paul talks to these Corinthians! They deserve to be scolded; but he is very tender with them. He says, "If you must come together in this way, at least have the good manners to stop for one another; and if you do come to the communion of the Lord, treat it with that respect and reverence which it deserves.

1 Corinthians 11:34. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

May we tonight keep this feast in due order under the power of the Holy Spirit, and may we find a blessing in it to Godís praise! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34


Chapter 12

Verses 1-3

1 Corinthians 12:1-2. Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. You know that you were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led.

Although the members of the church at Corinth were highly favored with spiritual gifts, they do not seem to have known how to use them. Paul points out to them, in this chapter, how ignorant they were concerning the very gifts which they possessed. They did not know how to put them to properí use in the service of God. The apostle therefore reminds these gift-exalted Corinthians that, only a little while before, they were heathens, carried away by falsehood and superstition, and worshiping dumb idols. They had nothing, therefore, to boast of; and it is probable that, if we also look back to the hole of the pit whence we were dug, we shall find no more occasion for boasting than they had.

1 Corinthians 12:3. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed:

I suppose that, in their assemblies, where everybody talked who liked, there were some people who even spoke blasphemy. They professed to be under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and yet they stood up, and called Jesus accursed. Where there is no rule nor order, there is pretty sure to be something very mischievous before long. Paul gives them to understand that this kind of talk could not go unrebuked.

1 Corinthians 12:3. And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.

If a man really knows Jesus as his Lord, and he declares that truth, then you may fully accept it as being in harmony with the teaching of the Spirit of God

1 Corinthians 12:4-7. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

It is given in order that he may himself profit, and also that he may be the means of profiting those who hear him.

1 Corinthians 12:8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;

He is prudent,óan experienced manófit to lead the young, and the feeble, and those who are less instructed than he himself is.

1 Corinthians 12:8. To another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

He has a wide range of practical acquaintance with Godís Word; and though he may not be so judicious as the brother who was just mentioned, yet he is a man of knowledge.

1 Corinthians 12:9. To another faith by the same Spirit;

Paul probably means here some special kind of faith; perhaps, the faith that enabled its possessor to work miracles.

1 Corinthians 12:9-10. To another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;

So that he is able to detect the impostors who come even into the nominal Church of Christ. They did come then, and they will continue to come even to the end.

1 Corinthians 12:10-11. To another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Whatever Our gifts as a church, or as individuals, may be, they all come from the selfsame Spirit. This should tend to promote unity among us. Let us all trace whatever gift we have to the hand that gave it, and to the Spirit that wrought it; let us feel that we are so many pipes connected with one fountain; and, therefore, as all the good that we convey comes from the one source, let us give all the, honor and glory of it to the Spirit of God from Whom it comes.

1 Corinthians 12:12. For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

That, is to say, Christ visibleóthe Church of Christ. We are members of his mystical body. He is the Head; but all who are quickened by the Spirit of God are one with him.

1 Corinthians 12:13-14. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

By the way in which some people act, you might almost imagine that the body was one member, and that the one member was a tongue; but it is not so. God never intended that, in the assembly, all should speak. Let those speak to whom he has given the power to speak. He does not lay all burdens upon one back; let each man bear the personal burden which God has placed upon his back.

1 Corinthians 12:15. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

Where are you, dear child of God, who are in the position of the foot? Have you been comparing yourself with some eminent Christian, who did much in his Masterís service; and have you sorrowfully asked, "Why can not I do what he did? I am only a poor foot, always touching the ground, often limping, and frequently needing to be washed." Well, suppose you could be made into a hand, it might be a gain to you in some respects, but it might be a loss to the rest of the body. It would certainly be a loss to any of you if your feet were to be turned into hands, for you have need of feet; and the Church, which is here called by the name of Christ, needs its feet as much as it needs its hands. The mercy is that even if you have, in your anxiety,óperhaps I ought to say, in your unbelief,óbeen saying, "Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body," it does not matter what you have said, for that does not alter the fact. "Is it therefore not of the body?" Of course, it is of the body still, whatever it may say.

1 Corinthians 12:16. And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

Oh, by no means! The ear has its proper purpose to fulfill; it is designed for a special service in the body, which no other member can render. We must never compare ourselves among ourselves, and wish to be somebody else. You are bad enough as you are, dear friend, but you would probably be much worse if you were somebody else. You may think that you are a very poor ear, but you would decidedly make a much worse eye. Even if your ear is dull of hearing, it can, at any rate, hear better than it can see. It can do its own work better than it could do the work of any other member of the body; and so can you as a member of Christís mystical body.

1 Corinthians 12:17-18. If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.

That is the best rule for each part of our body: "as it has pleased him." Could any of you suggest a better place for your eyes than where they are? We have read the old heathen fable of a giant who had one eye in the middle of his forehead; and whenever I have seen his portrait sketched by fancy, I have felt at once, that it was no improvement upon the human face. No, the eye is best where it is; so is the ear, and so is the mouth. They are all best just where they are. So are you, my brother or my sister, best where you are, if you are in the place where God evidently meant you to be.

1 Corinthians 12:19. And if they were all one member, where were the body?

There would be no body at all

1 Corinthians 12:20-21. But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you:

You know how very quick the hand always is to go up to the eye when it is in danger You do not have to wait to tell it what to do; but, in an instant, the hand is up, for there is a fellow feeling between the members of the same body. "The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you." And the hand never feels that it may leave the eye to take care of itself; it is ready at once to protect it.

1 Corinthians 12:21-23. Nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant loveliness.

They are covered and concealed; and so we take more trouble with them than we do with other parts of our body.

1 Corinthians 12:24. For our lovely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:

Here is a lesson for us with regard to church-fellowship,óalways to take most notice of those who are the least noticeable, and to be most gentle with those who require the most tenderness. You know that there are some of our fellow-members who are not all we should like them to be. We believe that they are children of God; but they are, somehow or other, "cut on the cross." They are crotchety, and weak in many ways. Now, we should try, as far as ever we can, to adapt ourselves to them. If you have ever had the gout very badly, you know that, if a person walks across the room too heavily, you feel it. Do you, therefore, say to your father, when he is thus laid aside, "You cannot expect me to take notice of such a thing as that? Nor would you be so cruel as to say to anybody else, "If he has a gouty foot, I cannot help it, and I shall tread on it every now and then." No; you are not so brutal as that. So, if there be a member of the body that is more tender than the rest, and especially if that tenderness is the result of disease, let us try to minister to it as far as ever we possibly can. Let us give "more abundant honor to that part which lacked."

1 Corinthians 12:25. That there should be no schism in the body;

That is, no division, no rent in the body.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26. But that the members should have the same care one for another.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. I am afraid that this second half of the verse refers to a duty which is more neglected than is the other. It is an easier thing to suffer with those that suffer than it is to rejoice with those that rejoice; and I will tell you why it is so; because, in giving compassion to those that suffer, you have some sense of dignity. Condescension is often a sort of pride; but when a brother is better off than you are,ówhen he has more talent than you have,ówhen he is more successful than you are,ófor you to go and rejoice with him, and be as glad as if it were all your own gladness,óay, to enter into his joy, and say, "God be thanked, my brother, for your prosperity! I would increase it if I could, for I feel that I am a partner with you;"óah! this needs great grace. So, may God give us more grace continually, and deliver us from everything like envy, which is of Satan, and yet is all too common even among professing Christians.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31. Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

God grant us grace, then, that we may abound in this most excellent grace of a true Christian life, which is infinitely more essential than the highest gifts or the most remarkable talents that God himself can bestow upon us?

Verses 12-31

1 Corinthians 12:12-13. For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Oh, what a sacred oneness that is which exists between all the Lordís people! We are not simply brethren, but we are one; we are not allied by affinity, but by actual identity; we are parts of the same body; we are brought into spiritual membership with each other, as real and as effectual as that membership which exists between the various parts of the body. Yet we are not all alike, although we are all of one body; some are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are bond, some are free; and yet, in some things, we are all alike, for we have all been baptized by one Spirit. And, moreover, we have all been made to drink into one Spirit; we have had one spiritual baptism, and we have had one spiritual drinking. Would to God that we felt more one, that our hearts beat more in tune with each other; that we had a sympathy with each other in woes and sufferings; that we had a fellow feeling with all who love the Lord; and could at all times weep with those that weep, as well as rejoice with those that rejoice

1 Corinthians 12:14-15. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

Do not get comparing yourself with others, and saying, "Ah! if I were such-and-such a person, I might then think myself to be part of Christís body." No, you might not; if you were just like him. As there are only certain members of a sort in a manís body, so, by a parity of reasoning, there would not be more than a certain number of members alike in the mystical body. We do not imagine that there will be many members of this body, the Church, of one class, or of one character; so that, if you are different from others, you are filling a different office in the body. You may, from that fact, rather draw an inference of comfort than one of sorrow and despondency. Even should you say, "Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, are you therefore not of the body?" Oh, no! you are of the body still, though you do not think that you are.

1 Corinthians 12:16-17. And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?

If we were all preachers, if we could all see into Godís truth, and set it forth in a public manner, where should we get our congregations?

1 Corinthians 12:17. If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

There must be different members to fill different offices. If we were all so one that there was no distinction whatever, if we were all of one rank, all of one age, all of one standing, the body would be incomplete.

1 Corinthians 12:18-21. But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Brethren, you sometimes think there are some belonging to the Church whom we could well spare; but there is not one superfluous member in the whole body. If they be truly united to Christ, they have all their offices, all their places. There is not a poor old woman, who has not been able to get up to the house of prayer for several years, who is not of some use to the Church; for she lies upon her bed, and there she intercedes with God. There is not: a member of the Church so humble, so illiterate, so uninstructed, that he or she may not be of essential service to the whole body. There is some little part, my brother, which you are to take in the great Church of Christ; you may not be able always to tell what it may be, but still there is a place for you to fill. There is a linchpin in a chariot; who thinks much about or thanks that pin? Indeed, it is so very small and insignificant, who would imagine it is necessary to the locomotion or speed? The wheels carry it round, but who would suppose that, if it were taken away, the wheel would fly off? Perhaps you are like one of these little linchpins which keep the wheel right; you may not know what use you are; but, possibly, you prevent someone else from turning aside. Let us each keep in our station, endeavoring, God helping us, to exert the influence which he has given us.

1 Corinthians 12:22-24. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant loveliness. For our lovely parts have no need but God both tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:

A momentís thought will tell you that those parts of our frame which are tenderest are the most necessary parts; and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these, by clothing them more than other parts, we bestow more abundant honor, and our uncomely parts have more abundant loveliness; for our lovely parts have no need of being covered, and therefore we leave them exposed.

1 Corinthians 12:25. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

We have heard this text urged by some who are in the Church of England as a proof that we are wrong in departing from it. They tell us that there should be no schism in the body; we beg to tell them that there is no schism in the body that we know of. We do not belong to their body, and therefore we make no schism in that body, we are quite clear of them. We have neither stick, nor stone, nor part, nor lot in their State Establishment; therefore we do not create a schism in the body. When they divide themselves into Puseyites and Evangelicals, they make a schism in their own body; but, as long as we are all united, as long as the members of a church walk together in unity, there is no schism in the body. We are different bodies altogether. They say that a schismatic is one who departs from a Church, and makes a rent from it; by no means, a schismatic is one who makes a rent in it, not from it. We, I say, are not schismatics. Those who are in the Church, and yet do not agree with its fundamental principles and its Articles of Faith, they are schismatics; but we are not.

1 Corinthians 12:26. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it;

Is that true of our churches? I am afraid not. The members of the one Church of Christ have not been brought to that unity of feeling and sympathy which they ought to have.

1 Corinthians 12:26-30. Or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

God intended that there should be different offices in his Church; let us look on each other as being different, and yet united in the common faith of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:31. But covet earnestly the best gifts:

I would not wish you, brother, to repress your aspirations after these blessings; I am most anxious that you should earnestly desire and seek to possess a large share of all these spiritual endowments.

1 Corinthians 12:31. And yet show I unto you a more excellent way.

Which is, holding the truth in love, and walking in charity one toward another.


Chapter 13

Verses 1-13

1 Corinthians 13:1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

If there be no love to God, and no love to man, the vital element is wanting. Whatever sound we make if the Word of God is not in us, it is a sound that has no meaning, conveys no heavenly meaning. "I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." What if any of us who bear witness for Christ with our tongues should be found to be no better than this?

1 Corinthians 13:2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Judas had, no doubt, faith in Godís miracles, but yet he was not saved. Selfishness was his ruling motive; he had no love to God or man. How this clips the wings of those lofty ones who hover on high, boasting of their knowledge and of their gifts! There are many who have few gifts óobscure and unknown ó who love God much, and these are the accepted ones. Before God the balances of the sanctuary are rather turned by the shekel of love, than by any weight of talent or position.

1 Corinthians 13:3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

Love is a matter of the- heart, and if the heart be not right with God, external acts, though they are very similar to the highest acts that flow from love, are of no service. God requires the heart to be right, and if that be not right, whatever comes out of us is not acceptable in his sight.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5. Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;

Always try to put the best construction on other peopleís actions and work. Let gentleness triumph.

1 Corinthians 13:6-11. Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Much of what we call knowledge, much of what we call eloquence, will all be put away. As our spiritual growth shall increase, we shall not want these childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three;

Three abiding graces. Some have said that faith and hope will not be found in Heaven. Why not? Why not? It seems to me there will be plenty of room for them ó plenty of space for them. Am I to be an unbeliever when I get to Heaven then? Am I not to believe when my disembodied spirit goes to Heaven? Am I not to believe in the resurrection of the dead? Am I not hopefully to expect it? Am I not in Heaven to believe in the second advent of Christ? Am I not to be hoping for it? Am I not to believe in the complete conquest of Christ, and that he shall reign from the river, even to the ends of the earth? And am I not to hope for it? To miss faith and hope in Heaven were to miss two things which the Apostle expressly tells us are the abiding things.

1 Corinthians 13:13. But the greatest of these is charity.

It is the highest, the pinnacle. It is not the foundation ó that is faith. Just as a rose in full bloom is greater than the stem that bears it, so, while faith is most needful, and hope most cheering, love is he most beautiful and brightest of the three.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 1.


Chapter 14

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.


Chapter 15

Verses 1-9

1 Corinthians 15:1. Moreover, brethren I declare unto you the gospel ó

Mark that Paul writes concerning "the gospel." We shall see now what "the gospel" is.

1 Corinthians 15:1-3. Which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

That is the central truth of the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:4. And that he was buried,

That is an essential part of the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:4. And that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

This is the bright light of the gospel, the resurrection of our Lord from the dead ó

1 Corinthians 15:5-9. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Yet he was made one among the many testifiers to the fact that Jesus really died, and was buried, and rose from the dead, of which we will speak more particularly by-and-by.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mark 15:34-47; John 19:38-42; John , 1 CORINTHIAN 15:1-9

Verses 1-20

1 Corinthians 15:1-2. Moreover, Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

Paul preached the gospel, his hearers received it, and also stood in it: "wherein you stand." It is essential to salvation to hear the gospel, to receive it, and then to stand in it. Now, what was this gospel? Paul is going to tell us; and instead of making a list of doctrines, he mentions a set of facts.

1 Corinthians 15:3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,

Notice that the preacher does not make the gospel. If he makes it, it is not worth your having. Originality in preaching, if it be originality in the statement of doctrine, is falsehood. We are not makers and inventors; we are repeaters, we tell the message we have received.

1 Corinthians 15:3. How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

This then, is the gospel, that Jesus "died for our sins", taking our sins upon himself. He bore the death penalty for us, "according to the scriptures." There are plenty of scriptures, Old Testament scriptures, which teach this great truth by way of prophecy.

1 Corinthians 15:4. And that he was buried,

This was necessary as a proof of his death, and as the ground work of his rising again.

1 Corinthians 15:4. And that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

This is the gospel, Christ dead, buried, risen again, ever living. We must dwell upon these points, for they are the essentials of the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:5-6. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present,

When Paul wrote,-

1 Corinthians 15:6-7. But some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

In different places, and at different hours; sometimes by one, sometimes by eleven, once by five hundred brethren at once, Jesus was seen after he had risen from the dead. As I have often said, there is no historical fact that is so well authenticated as that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:8. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Paul calls himself an abortion, and speaks of himself as one hardly worth mentioning; yet he had seen the Lord after his resurrection from the dead. He was not a man to be deceived, for he had persecuted the Church of Christ. He was exceedingly mad against the Messiah; so that if he said that he had seen Jesus of Nazareth, and that he was converted by the sight, we may be quite sure that it was so. Paul was not a man to undergo all the sacrifices he had to endure, for the sake of a mere dream.

1 Corinthians 15:9-10. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

No man could be more thoroughly with Christ, heart and soul, than that Paul who, aforetime, had been the blood thirsty Saul of Tarsus. His witness may well be believed; and, in connection with all that went before it, it proves beyond all doubt that he who was crucified and was laid in the tomb, did certainly rise again, and was seen in life after death.

1 Corinthians 15:11. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.

There was not a doubt about that. All the apostles, all the early Christians preached the resurrection of Christ; and the Corinthians, when they became Christians, believed it.

1 Corinthians 15:12. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

What! had they got so far as that, to call themselves Christians, and yet they doubted the truth of the resurrection of the dead? Yes, they spirited it away, they made it into a kind of myth or fable; and yet they called themselves Christians. That the heathen should not believe it, was not wonderful; but that those who professed to believe that Christ had risen from the dead, yet doubted the resurrection of his people, was indeed a strange thing. Paul argues with them about this matter.

1 Corinthians 15:13-14. But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, we are preaching a falsehood. If he did not rise from the dead, you are believing a falsehood, and our preaching and your believing are nothing but vanity.

1 Corinthians 15:15-17. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.

If Jesus Christ is not risen, he has done nothing for you; you are not saved, you are not pardoned, you are not renewed. It is all a myth, all a piece of deceit. If that fact be given up, that Christ rose from the dead, everything connected with salvation is also given up.

1 Corinthians 15:18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

All the godly saints died resting in the risen Christ; and if he is not risen, they died under a delusion, and they have perished.

1 Corinthians 15:19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Those who are believers in Christ, says Paul, are miserable dupes if he has not risen from the dead. They are believing and resting all their hopes upon a lie. It makes them happy, truly; but if you can take away from them that hope, by persuading them that what it is grounded upon is not true, you have made them miserable indeed.

1 Corinthians 15:20. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

Paul has been arguing on every supposition, and now he comes back with his own positive witness a Christ is risen. You remember that Jesus died at the time of the Passover, as the one great Paschal Lamb; but he rose again on the first day of the week, and that was the feast of first fruits with the Jews. They brought handfuls of wheat from the fields to show their gratitude to God, and in order that a blessing might rest on all the crop; and Paul uses Christís rising on that particular day as a figure: "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept." He lives. He is the first fruits, and the full harvest will follow. All who are in him will rise from the dead; for he is one with them, and none can separate them from him, nor sever him from them. They died in him, and they live because he lives, blessed be his name

Verses 1-32

1 Corinthians 15:1-2. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand. By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

By which the apostle means, unless they had a false faith, a merely notional faith; or he may also mean "Unless what I have preached unto you should have been a fable, and therefore you will have exercised your faith upon nothing real, and so it would have been in vain."

1 Corinthians 15:3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which, I also received,-

The preacher of Christ must not make new doctrines. He is not to be his own teacher, he is to receive the truth first, and then to deliver it. The Christian minister takes the lamp out of the hand of God, and then passes it on to the hands of his people. Think not that any originality is needed in the pulpit. All that is required is that the herald should faithfully deliver his Masterís message just as his Master gives it to him. "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,-"

1 Corinthians 15:3-4. How that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are many passages in the Old Testament which describe the Messiah as dying for sinners, especially the old chapter of Isaiahís prophecy. There are others that speak of him as being buried, yet not corrupting in the tomb. These were facts which the apostle had received upon the testimony of others; now comes the great fact of the resurrection:-

1 Corinthians 15:5-8. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostle. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

The apostle does not attempt to defend the doctrine of the resurrection by an argument fetched from reason, but he proves it by undoubted evidence. If I had to prove that there existed such a tree as the cedar, I should not use logical arguments further than this,-I produce a certain number of men who have seen a cedar, and the thing is proved by their testimony. If the evidence of honest men be not accepted, then there is an end, not only to Christianity, but to all the sciences, and you and I must wander forever in a maze of doubts. Now, of all the facts recorded in history, there is not one which is better attested than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The men who testified that they had seen the risen Christ evidently had no selfish reason for doing so. What is the result of their testimony ? They were cast into prison, they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, simply for believing the evidence of their own senses, and testifying what they knew to be true. It is clear that they would have had no interest in publishing this fact if it had not been true; their interest would have lain quite the other way. Besides, it was not as if only a few had seen him but over five hundred brethren at once beheld him. For forty days he was gazed upon by different persons, and the fact is proved beyond all doubt.

1 Corinthians 15:9. For I am the least of the apostles that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

"God has forgiven me," said a good man once, "but I shall never forgive myself." So was it with the apostle Paul; he knew that God had forgiven him, and honored him by making him an apostle, but he could not forgive himself; and no doubt the tears gushed from his eyes when he wrote these words, "I am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

1 Corinthians 15:10. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, out I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me

In what humble tones Paul speaks! He will not deny what grace has done in him and by him, but he will ascribe it all to grace. Brethren, you are not to shut your eyes to the gracious change which Godís Holy Spirit has wrought in you. You may speak of it, and speak of it often, but always guard against taking any of the honor to yourselves, and be especially careful to put the crown upon the right head.

1 Corinthians 15:11-12. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

For Christ was the pattern man to all his people. He is their Representative. Whatever he did, he did for them; and whatever was wrought in him shall be surely wrought in them, and if Christ rose from the dead, then all who are members of his mystical body must rise too; for when the Head comes out of the grave, you cannot retain the members in it. Prove that Christ rose, and you prove that his people rise, for they are one with him.

1 Corinthians 15:13. But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

Yet it is proved by hundreds of credible witnesses that Christ is risen, therefore there is a resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

This truth is the key-stone of the arch, put this away, and the whole tumbles down. It is upon this that the whole Christian system rests. If the resurrection of Christ be a mere myth, and not a positive matter of fact, preaching and faith are equally vain.

1 Corinthians 15:15. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

The apostle puts the matter strongly, yet not too strongly. He seems to say, "You know me to be an honest and truthful man, having no selfish motive in what l declare unto you; but if Christ did not rise from the dead, I have testified to you a gross falsehood, and led you to put your trust in an imposture." So he stakes his own personal character upon the fact of Christ resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:16-17. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.

Yet they knew that they were not in their sins, for they had the witness within them that their sins had been pardoned. They knew that sin had no more dominion over them, for they had been made to walk in holiness before the Lord. "Therefore," says Paul, "Christ must have risen, for if he had not risen, you would have remained sinners as you once were."

1 Corinthians 15:18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

A supposition against which both nature and grace revolt.

1 Corinthians 15:19-20. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

As they always brought into the Jewish tabernacle and temple a portion of the harvest, which indicated that the harvest was begun, so Christís going up to Heaven was the taking of the first sheaf into Godís great garner, and all the rest must follow.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even in Christ shall all be made alive.

Not that all shall be saved, but all will be raised from the dead. Or else the passage means that, as all who were in the first Adam died as the result of Adamís sin, so all who are in the second Adam, that is, Christ, shall live as the result of his righteousness. The question is, Are we in the second Adam? Faith is that which unites us to Christ. If we are trusting in him by a living faith, then his rising from the dead ensures our rising from the dead; and if not, it be true that we shall rise, but it will be to shame and everlasting contempt.

1 Corinthians 15:23-28. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christís at his coming. Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he has put all things under his feet. But when he says all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is accepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

This is a very difficult passage, but I suppose the meaning is just this. Jesus Christ, in order to remedy the great mischief of sin, was appointed to a mediatorial kingdom over all worlds, and that kingdom will continue until all his enemies shall be destroyed, and sin shall be trodden under his feet. Then Christ-as mediator, mark you, not as Lord, shall deliver up his mediatorial kingdom to his Father, and there shall be heard that great shout, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigns!" Christ as God, as one of the persons of the ever-blessed Trinity, will still be as glorious as ever, but his mediatorial reign will then be over, seeing that he has accomplished all its purposes.

1 Corinthians 15:29. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

This is another most difficult passage, and many meanings have been given to it, but I think the most likely to be correct is this: As soon as a member of the early Christian Church was given up to the lion or to be burned, another convert would step forward, and say, Let me take his name and place." Though it was almost certain that they also would soon be put to death, there were always found persons bold enough to come forward to be baptized, to take the place of the dead. "Now," says the apostle, "what advantage is there in this horizon if the dead rise not ?"

1 Corinthians 15:30. And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

Why were the apostles always subjecting themselves to cruel persecution?

1 Corinthians 15:31. I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

He was so hunted about everywhere that there was not a day in whole he felt secure of his life, so he asks, "Why should I endure this if there be no world to come?"

1 Corinthians 15:32. If after the manner of men I has fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not?

It is quite possible that Paul was thrown to the lions in the theater at Ephesus, and that he fought with them, and came off a conqueror. "But why," says he, "did I try to save my life for future labor and for future suffering if the dead rise not ?"

1 Corinthians 15:32. Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.

This is the best philosophy in the world if there is no life to come. So Paul has proved his point right well by every argument that he has used.

Verses 1-58

1 Corinthians 15:1-2. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

What then was this gospel which Paul had preached, and which the Christians in Corinth had received,óthe gospel which Paul declared would save them if they truly believed it? Was it a gospel made up merely of doctrines? No; it was a gospel formed of facts.

1 Corinthians 15:3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

That is the first fundamental fact in the gospel system. Blessed is the man who believes it, and rests his soul upon it.

1 Corinthians 15:4. And that he was buried: and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That grand fact of the resurrection of Christ from the dead is rightly put next to his substitutionary sacrifice, for it is the very cornerstone of our holy faith. It is one of the essential doctrines which must be received by us, for we cannot truly believe the gospel unless we accept the great truth of Christís resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:5-8. And that he was seen of Cephas,ó that is, Peter,ó then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

I suppose, brethren, that we may have persons arise, who will doubt whether there was ever such a man as Julius Caesar, or Napoleon Bonaparte; and when they do,ówhen all reliable history is flung to the winds,óthen, but not until then, may they begin to question whether Jesus Christ rose from the dead, for this historical fact is attested by more witnesses than almost any other fact that stands on record in history, whether sacred or profane. The risen Christ was seen by many persons who knew him intimately before he died, by those who saw him put to death, and who saw him when he was dead. He was seen, on various occasions, privately, by one, by two, by twelve, of those who had been his companions for years; at other times, he was seen, in public, by large numbers who could not all have been deceived. These men were so certain that this was indeed the same Christ who had lived, and died, that, although it was at first difficult to make them believe that he had risen from the dead, it was impossible to make them doubt it afterwards, and the major part of them died to bear witness to the fact, they were martyred because they confessed that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. There is no fact in history, from the days of Adam until now, that is better attested than this great central truth of the resurrection of Christ; so we accept it, and receive it gladly. Paul finishes up his list of witnesses by putting himself down as one of them, although his conversion was, to himself, such a marvelous display of divine grace that he was like "one born out of due time."

1 Corinthians 15:9-14. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, the your faith is also vain.

It is all emptiness together. Our preaching evaporatesóthere is nothing left in itóunless Christ did really rise from the dead; and your faith has nothing in it either, you are believing in that which is only vanity, and nothingness unless his resurrection was a fact.

1 Corinthians 15:15-17. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom, he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.

So that you cannot be a Christian if you deny the resurrection of Christ.

You must give up Christianity altogether, and confess that your faith in it was a delusion, unless you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that therefore there is a resurrection from the dead for the sons of men. Let it ever be most clearly understood that what Christ is, that his people are. There is an unbroken union between the Head and the members, so that, if he lives, they live; and if he lives not, then they live not; and if they live not, then he lives not. Jesus and those for whom he died are so intimately joined together that they are really and truly one, and nothing can ever separate them.

1 Corinthians 15:18-19. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

That is to say, if our hope for the future be all a lie, we have been dreadfully deceived; and, moreover, if we could lose a hope so brilliant as that has been to us, there would fall upon us a sense of loss so great that no one in the world could be so wretched as we should be. Besides, the apostles being always in jeopardy of their lives, if they were suffering poverty, and persecution, and the fear of death by martyrdom, all for a lie, they were indeed of all men the most deluded, and the most miserable. But the Corinthians would not admit that, neither will we.

1 Corinthians 15:20. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruitsó

He must always come first, that in all things he may have the preeminence.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28. Of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christís at his coming. Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule the all authority and power. For he must reign, tall he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he has put all things under his feet. But when he says all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The mediatorial person of Christ, as God-man, shall bow before the eternal majesty of the Godhead: "that God may be all in all." Now we will finish our reading with just a few verses at the close of the chapter.

1 Corinthians 15:50-51. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

We shall not all die, some will be alive when Christ comes to this earth again; "but we shall all be changed," if not by the process of death and resurrection, yet by some other means.

1 Corinthians 15:52. In, a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall he raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Somehow or other, such a change as this must take place before we can enter Heaven, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."

1 Corinthians 15:53-58. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on in corruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that ,is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

That should be the practical outcome of receiving the great truths of which we have been reading God grant that it may be! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Revelation 7:9-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.


Chapter 16

Spurgeon did not write any commentary for this chapter.