Skip to content

The Sunday Sermon – 1st Corinthians 1:5

30/10/2011

The Work of the Trinity in Redemption.

1st Corinthians 1:9,

(Read also Jeremiah 31:31-34.)

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

This is a very interesting and a very important verse.  In closing his introduction, Paul seals all that he has said by making this reference to the attributes of the Godhead.   God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 1:9.  All that the church at Corinth is and has is thanks to the faithfulness of God, who personally intervened in the lives of these individuals, drawing them from their lost estate, into a state of grace; that is, a state of renewed fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

I say it is an interesting verse, for in this one verse we see the blessed holy Trinity of God at work in the salvation of the souls of men and women.  Now there are those who would deny us the use of the word Trinity in speaking about the Godhead.  They would tell us that such a word does not exist in the Scriptures, and that the whole concept of a triune God does not appear in church history until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.  But they are wrong!  The whole of the Scripture implies the Trinitarian belief.  The New Testament heavily underscores the doctrine of the Deity of Christ, as it does the personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son.  To quote the Savoy Declaration of Faith[1] 1659, “In the Unity of the God-head there be three persons of one Substance, Power and Eternity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; The Son is eternally begotten of the Father; The Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son, which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God and comfortable dependence upon Him.”

Trinity
Trinity Shield

Now this verse is one of those verses that strongly suggest to us, the nature of the Godhead, and in particular, the roles of the Persons of the Godhead in the salvation of sinners.  We see here:-

The Faithfulness of the Father.

This is the very first aspect of God’s redemptive dealings with mankind that we ought to bear in mind.  God is FAITHFUL!  But for the faithfulness and trustworthiness of God, we would all be perishing in our sins!

1)      He is a COVENANT-KEEPING GOD!  Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deut. 7:9.  Right throughout history God has made a series of Covenants with his people.  He made a covenant with Adam, with Abraham, Moses, David.  God always kept His covenants, but mankind IN HIS SIN, fell away from Him and caused the covenant promises to be rendered null and void.  So God promised a new covenant!  Read again the passage in Jeremiah 31:31-34.  He promised to put His Law in our HEARTS, to FORGIVE OUR SINS AND TO REMEMBER THEM NO MORE!  This Covenant, the NEW COVENANT was sealed by the precious shed blood of Christ at Calvary.  He keeps His covenants, and He has made a way of salvation for sinful man.  He is a faithful God!    

2)      He is a PROMISE KEEPING GOD!  Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. 1 Kings 8:56. Do you remember back in the Garden of Eden, following the fall of man, God gave a promise to the man and the woman?  He said, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15.  We call that promise, the ‘FOUNTAIN HEAD OF PROPHECY,’ or the ‘PROTO-EVANGEL.’  It is the very first Gospel message.  It is a promise, that God would send His son, born of a woman (note, no mention here of a man) and that the serpent would cause Him some injury, His heel would be bruised, but that He would destroy the devil!  This is a great promise to fallen man, and it is a promise that God kept in its entirety at Calvary!

3)      He is an IMMUTABLE GOD!  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Hebrews 6:18. 

I once had a conversation with a dear lady in a shop.  She noticed that I was looking at a Christian magazine and she struck up a conversation with me, asking me, of course, to which church I belonged.  On learning that I was an evangelical, she asked me if I only believed that those who were saved would be in heaven.  I replied that this was exactly what God’s Word taught.  “Well,” she replied, “You are in for some shock!  What if, on judgement day, God was to say to those who you say are ‘saved’, yes, you can enter.  And then, perhaps, He might turn to those you term as ‘lost’ and say, I know that you rejected me, but I am a God of love, and I love each of you also.  You too can come in!”  I replied that such a thing would be impossible!  “No, she said, “Our pastor was just saying last Sunday morning that nothing is impossible with our God, He is so great and so good and loving!”  Her argument was that God can do anything, therefore He could admit to heaven unforgiven sinners! But this cannot happen, for God never changes, and therefore cannot lie!  If God says “Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,” then that is exactly what God means!  Consider to this hymn by Horatius Bonar,

“’Tis everlasting peace,

Sure as Jehovah’s name:,

‘Tis stable as His steadfast throne,

For evermore the same.

I change, He changes not,

The Christ can never die:

His love not mine the resting place,

His truth not mine, the tie.”

4)      He is a SUSTAINING GOD!  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:19

5)      He is a MERCIFUL GOD!  Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Psalm 36:5  Psalm 89:1

Because God has proven to be faithful, we can put our complete trust and faith in Him!  Who can you trust these days?  Trust the Lord!

The Function of the Spirit.

by whom ye were called’   the Father has CALLED US to be His, and as far as salvation is concerned, the way that He effects that calling is through the work of the Holy Spirit.  We refer to this as ‘the effectual call of God.’  It is part of the Holy Spirit’s role in the saving of a soul.  Now there are two ways in which the Call of God goes out into this world, and affects sinners.

1)      The GENERAL CALL to all mankind!  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:4. This is why the Gospel message must go to all men.  It is why a general invitation must be made, to come to Christ and be saved!  Many will reject this call!  Only the Lord knows who will respond!

2)      The SAVING CALL to those who will respond!  To those who will respond, the Holy Spirit applies the saving work of Christ on the Cross-

  1. Conviction and Calling! He convicts them of sin, draws them to the Cross, 2 Tim 1:9, 2Thess. 2:13-14. Acts 26:18,  Jn.6:44.
  2. Regeneration. He renews their rebellious and stubborn will, (Ezek. 36:26) regenerates their dead spirit within them, thus giving them new life. He clothes the sinner in the righteousness of Christ, and thus alters that sinner’s standing before God, so that he is no longer under God’s condemnation
  3. Repentance.  He causes them to turn from sin and wickedness and begin to live for God.
  4. Presence!  He dwells within them, making the presence of God real in their lives.
  5. Adoption! He brings them within the body of Christ (Eph. 1:5) by what Paul describes as a ‘baptism into one Spirit’  (For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. 1 Cor. 12:13 ).
  6. f.        Sealing!  When we are regenerate, the Holy Spirit SEALS US as being the Lord’s!  He marks us out for Christ, and by so doing guarantees that one day we will be finally redeemed from all sin, in the presence of His Glory. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Ephesians. 1:13-14
  7. Sanctification! He begins at that very moment the process of sanctification, so that the redeemed sinner gradually becomes more like Christ, fitting him for heaven and home!

So you can see the great importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in making these Corinthian believers whet they are in Christ Jesus.  It is His role to take the sacrificial atoning work of Christ on the Cross 2,000 years ago, and to apply it to the hearts and minds and the will of believers today!  So we are saved, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5

The Fellowship of the Son.

Now in the benediction that we usually repeat at the close of a service, we speak of the ‘fellowship of the Holy Spirit,’ and that is a phrase also used by Paul.  But it is only for believers.  Only those who have been redeemed can enjoy true fellowship with God, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, for while we are still in our sins we those sins separate us from God.  But Paul is reminding these Corinthians of WHY they are in this fellowship.  Of their CONVERSION!  To enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit, we must firstly partake in the fellowship of the Son!  What does this mean?

1)      It means that we will partake in His Sufferings!  Paul said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” Philip. 3:10. To know Christ we must come to the Cross!  When He died, He died for me!  It was not for sins that He had committed that Jesus died at Calvary, it was for the sins of others.

2)      It means that we will experience His presence!  As did the men on the road to Emmaus, when the Lord himself drew near to them and fellowshipped with them along the road, and their very hearts burned within them as He spoke to them from the Scriptures.  Luke 24:15ff. And we experience this presence forever!

3)      It explains our existence!  It is for this very reason that we were created and that Christ died to redeem us!  We were created to have fellowship with God and we were redeemed so that such fellowship could be possible.

4)       It is a result of the Gospel.  We preach the Gospel, so that others will also know this liberating, life changing message of salvation, and that in knowing they may understand, and respond and be saved and have fellowship with us and with the Lord.  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3

5)      It is a response to our willingness.  I have spoken much in this section of the sovereign action of God in salvation and redemption.  But there is also a need for response from man.  It is a passive response.  A taking of a free gift, but a response it must be.  Christ wants to have fellowship with us!  He said so Himself.  He said to the cold dead church at Laodicea,  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev. 3:20.  When we consider what the Lord has done for us, and how he so graciously offers us fellowship with Himself, how then shall we respond?

Let us seek the fellowship of the Lord. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22

Here are the very grounds and foundations of our faith and of our salvation.  What can we rest upon in our hour of need?  What confidence can we have when life is crumbling around us?  In Corinth, what is the very basis of faith which will begin to sort out the problems and difficulties in the local church?  It is this and this alone, that God is a faithful God who can be trusted completely!  That He sent His precious Son to die on the Cross for Sinners, and that even today, He still applies that saving work to the lives of individuals, through His blessed Holy Spirit, who is active in His church!  Thank God for the Trinity!


[1] The Savoy Declaration of Faith is a subordinate standard of faith, written in 1659 by the English Congregationalists, including John Owen.  It closely follows the Westminster Confession of Faith but differs in several areas, most notably in the area of church polity and government.  All quotations from the Savoy Declaration in this work are taken from the Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order of 1658, Ed. A. G. Matthews, published by Independent Press Ltd., London,  1959.

From → Sermon Notes

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: