The issues with the church at Corinth are well documented. Sadly, the sins found in that church are much the same as we see in many modern congregations. It seemed as though the people that received two letters from Paul took the gift of the grace of God for granted, which led to many public displays of carnal behavior. The beginning and middle of First Corinthians sees instruction, admonition, and rebuke as Paul addressed these issues.
Even though Paul had to threaten discipline in the church, he did not give up on them. Later in First Corinthians he instructed them to pursue gifts that build up the church
(1 Corinthians 14:12). Rather than desire gifts that were “for show,” Paul challenged the believers to excel at the edification of others.
In the final chapter, Paul also asks that all things be “done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). The church is much like a family in that members know a great deal about the personal lives of others. We are close enough to notice the character flaws and imperfections of those around us. It would be easy, therefore, to focus on the negative aspects of the congregation or of individuals. Just a few chapters earlier, in chapter 13, Paul gives us the attributes of love:
“love is kind” and does not think evil. Loving others means we must think of the good of others instead of thinking about how much better we are. “Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (13:4)
How do we make our church stronger? By building up individual members in the faith and by showing love and kindness to members that are going through troubled times. Berea should be a safe haven for those who need extra encouragement and assistance. Each of us should look for opportunities to help others – some of those we help will help us when we have a need. This is how the New Testament church is supposed to function.
The writer of Hebrews gave a similar challenge: “And let us consider one another and provoke unto love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).