2. The Lordship of Christ enriches us (1.3)
"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." How comprehensively the Lord had blessed them! Paul enlarges upon this thought in vv.4-7. Look at what the grace of God had done for them.
They had been "enriched by him in all utterance, and in all knowledge". The Lord had given them ability to clearly express spiritual thoughts and ideas, and coupled that with spiritual insight. We may well be wondering why they did not apply such rich endowment to avoiding the moral and doctrinal minefield into which they had stumbled? The Lord had equipped them with abundance of spiritual gifts (v.7), but, sadly, gift is no guarantee that carnality will not rise to the surface! God has put in the assembly the wherewithal to overcome sin and failure, but we must be prepared to follow the teaching of the Word of God as guided by the Spirit of God and submit to the Lordship of Christ. With what spiritual ability has the Lord enriched you in your assembly? There is no room in its use for pride or self advancement, or the promotion of party spirit to further popularity. What we are and what gift we possess was given to us as a gift from the Lord Himself. Are we using what has been given to the building up of the assembly and to the glory of God? Sadly many have buried what God has given them under the unproductive soil of worldly pursuits! More time is spent watching or playing sport, as leisure time increases while "assembly time" diminishes year on year! The Lord has not enriched us to dwell in our own panelled houses and show little or no concern for conditions in the House of God as in Haggai's day (Hag 1.4). Many need some lifestyle changes that will prioritise the work of the Lord and enable them to do business for Him. It is not for every one to look on their own things as seems to be the spirit of the age.
3. The Lordship of Christ encourages us (1.7)
What blessed occupation marked them. They were "waiting for the coming (revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ". Four times the Lord's coming is raised by the apostle in this epistle. Here it is the anticipation of the saints as they waited expectantly for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come" (4.5) is linked with the examination of the steward at the Judgment Seat of Christ (4.4). How prone we are to judge the service and motives of others. Paul shrank away from even judging himself. No, for this we must wait for the verdict of the righteous judge at His coming again.
"Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (11.26). The thought here iscommemoration at the Supper. Are we remembering Him as we wait for Him? This is what He asks us to do in the day of His absence and as we break bread and drink the cup we are proclaiming His death in view of that bright morning when faith will give place to sight!
"They that are Christ's at his coming" (15.23) has in view the resurrectionof the sleeping who will hear His voice and come out of the graves clothed with incorruptibility. Christ is the firstfruits. That wave sheaf as the first of the harvest has appeared before God and we have the assurance that there will be a glorious afterward to that triumph of His resurrection. It will take place at His coming when the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall be raised, and we shall all be changed!
Are we lifting up our eyes and craning our necks as we look heavenward for the Saviour? Or could we be like the unprofitable steward thinking, "My lord delayeth his coming" (Mt 24.48; Lk 12.45). Be sure there is no delay, for "he that shall come will come and will not tarry" (Heb 10.37). Such a blessed truth should encourage us, for His coming is certain, it is imminent, and it is personal! He declared in His final message to the Church, "Surely I come quickly", and we respond with, "Even so, come Lord Jesus" (Rev 22.20). Little wonder that Paul exclaims, "Maranatha"- the Lord is coming! (1 Cor 16.22).
4. The Lordship of Christ establishes us (1.8)
"Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." He confirms us now to bring us stability and security and will ensure that we will be blameless, without a charge then, at the Judgment Seat. Is my assembly firmly grounded in the doctrines of the Bible? This was the pastoral work of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14.22) as they returned to new assemblies on their way back to Antioch. They were "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith". We need nothing more to lean upon than the Lord and His Word! Thank God for those who seek to establish, with a sure foundation, the saints of God. However, here it is the Lord Himself who confirms us. He has begun a good work in us and "will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1.6).
The Lord Jesus will have His day. It will be a day of glory for Him and blessing for the saints who, Paul tells us here, will stand blameless in His presence. Paul states, "It is God that justifieth", and, "Who can lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" (Rom 8.33). The sovereign choice of the Father, the sanctifying presence of the Spirit, and the sacrificial work of the Son combine to make this an unalterable reality for the child of God.
5. The Lordship of Christ elevates us (1.9)
We have been "called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord". How God has lifted us up, not just to join with those who regard themselves as the important of this life, but to have fellowship with the Son of God Himself!
What a privilege! One thinks of Mephibosheth in the days of David, taken from Lo-debar to the palace to eat meat at the king's table continually.
What a partnership! Fellowship is common sharing - what grace it is that sees the wealth of heaven put at the disposal of cleansed sinners like us. Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him (Jn 12.2). The man who had been in the place of weakness and death is enjoying resurrection life and sitting in the presence of the One whose power had placed him there. "What a fellowship, what a joy divine."
What a provision! When the servant met Rebecca he gave unto her jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and raiment (Gen 24.53). They were the tokens of his master's wealth. What riches of His grace we enjoy today in fellowship with our heavenly Isaac.
6. The Lordship of Christ exhorts us (1.10)
"I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Paul brings the authority of the exalted Saviour to bear upon the disorders found at Corinth. He encourages them:
To "Speak the same thing". There must be demonstrated an outward expression of unity, belief, and practice.
To have "no divisions among you". Party spirit leading to sects must not be allowed to exist amongst the saints of God.
To be "perfectly joined together".There should exist healthy wholesome harmony. Thus they must rectify their disorders, be reconciled in their factions, and be restored to spiritual unity. Note that this will be dependent upon two matters.
To have "the same mind". There must be a mind that is receptive to the Word of God and prepared to submit to its truth.
To have "the same judgment",which means agreement about the way of coming to conclusions and decisions. God has given us His Spirit and His Word and we need no other resource!
7. The Lordship of Christ excludes us from boasting (1.31)
"He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord." Paul quotes from Jeremiah (9.23,24) which states in full: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord" (9.34).
How the flesh puffs up with pride and pushes for place. Paul states: "Therefore let no man glory in men" (1 Cor 3.21), and, "Why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (4.7). His summary is "That no flesh should glory in his presence" (1.29). Christ is made unto us all that we are and need, as Paul details at the close of this chapter (see 1.30). Christ is made unto us wisdom (insight into the true nature of things); righteousness (our purity and acceptability before God); sanctification (our holy separation to God); and redemption (our liberty and glory with God).
Let us acknowledge the fullness that there is in Christ for the child of God and be satisfied to submit to the Lordship of Christ over us. "As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1.31).