Bloom Where You’re Planted
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Bloom Where You’re Planted

In 1 Corinthians 7:17–24, Paul called for stability and contentment among believers regardless of their station in life. He used circumcision and slavery as illustrations to describe God’s sovereignty over the social and religious barriers of his day. Similarly, Alistair Begg urges us to enjoy contented Christian lives, irrespective of external circumstances, by allowing God to work within us and by enjoying a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in 1 Corinthians, Volume 3

Marriage and Singleness 1 Corinthians 7:1–40 Series ID: 14603

Sermon Transcript: Print

First Corinthians 7:17 is where we pick up our studies. We left them at verse 16. And this little section that now follows is in some ways a digression, and yet it is in the main flow of things. It’s one of these sections that you come to in your Bible where you hold onto the fact that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for instruction and for correction and for training in righteousness.[1]

The context in which Paul is writing, not simply in 1 Corinthians 7 but, indeed, in the whole first Corinthian epistle, is one of upheaval and instability. I think even a cursory glance through the first seven chapters gives us this notion of a people who were zealous and yet who were so easily buffeted. It was true in relationship to spiritual leadership. It was true in relationship to spiritual gifts, as we’re going to see. It was definitely true in relationship to their family life and in terms of the very practical elements of faith. And Paul, in writing to these people whom he longs for from his heart, is concerned that they might be presented mature in Christ Jesus.[2] And he has been immediately addressing issues of sexuality in chapters 5 and 6, and particularly the whole concern of marriage—whether one should be married or how one should live in singleness, what to do if you get married and one partner becomes a Christian, what do you do in relationship to the dreadful prospect of divorce, and so on.

Christian Contentment

And this upheaval is such that in verses 17–24, he issues, if you like, a call for stability, or he issues a call—looked at from another angle—he issues a call for Christian contentment. And this is the whole drift of these seven verses. This is why he says in verse 17, having talked about the circumstances of marriage and the departure of the unbelieving spouse or the staying of the unbelieving spouse, he says, “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord [has] assigned … him.” I believe that what he’s doing here is he is addressing the notion, challenging the idea, that “if only I could change my circumstances, everything would be great. If only I could change the external factors which are part of my life, deal with these things, then everything would fall into place.” What he is about to give, by way of instruction, is this important truth: that the real and necessary change is one which is internal, a change of attitude, rather than external, a change of atmosphere.

Now, this is not new instruction for Paul. When he writes to Timothy in his first letter, he says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” To be contented is to be a rare commodity at this point in history.

Earlier in the year, I had occasion to be in the company of some men who all work for a financial institution here in this country. Their job is essentially to look after people who have a lot of money and make sure that they do the right thing with their money. And so, in the course of having lunch together (and I was simply playing golf with them; they obviously weren’t looking after my money)—I was playing golf, and in the course of lunch before we played, I said to them, because it was appropriate in the conversation, I said, “Let me just give you a phrase at the moment as we have this conversation.” And I said to them, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

That brought a great pause in things, and then one of them said, “Where did you get that from?” And I said, “Well, actually, it was a guy, Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul. He said that when he wrote a letter to a young fellow called Timothy, and he pointed out to Timothy this truth.” Then there was silence some more, and I said, “How many contented people do you men know?” Then the silence was deafening. And the answer was, “Not a single one!” Okay? And they were dealing with people at a level in society who had, in financial terms, everything that would represent security to them, everything that would represent freedom of movement to them, and as they thought about this simple question regarding contentment, they were forced to conclude that they could not bring to mind anyone at that moment within their sphere of reference—admitting even themselves to be outwith the realm of contentment, which I thought was extremely honest on their part.

Now, the fact is, loved ones, that this gives us no justification for pointing the finger. Because Paul, when he writes to Timothy and as he underpins it here, is writing to believers. And he is addressing the issue of Christian contentment because it is so very, very important. Because the fact is that Christians do not stand out in our culture—although we should—as being representative of contentment. Indeed, spending time with Christians in the average church may be to spend time with some of the most malcontented, discontented people that you ever met in your life: always grumbling, always groaning, “Oh, we’ve got the wrong political structure; if only we’d change that. Oh, things are not well here, things are not good there. If only all these things could be sorted out, my, my, how super it would be. If only I could change all the things circumstantially, then I would be in a great position in which to serve God.”

Now, the principle that he has established is relevant not only in discussing marriage, which he has been, but also in the other areas of life which create tension. This principle, I think you would agree, is very, very important, because he states it three times in the course of these seven verses. In verse 17, he states it straight off: “Each one should retain the place in life … the Lord [has] assigned … him.” Verse 20, he comes back to it: “Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” Verse 24, he wraps out his argument by stating it again: “Each man … should remain in the situation God called him [in]to.”

Well, what does this mean? Listen to John Calvin on the subject: Paul is not here categorically denying the possibility of changing our circumstances but is rather “seeking to check those impulses, uncontrolled by reason, which drive many [here] and [there], so that they are confused by their constant restlessness.”[3] An excellent phrase, isn’t it? He is seeking to arrest the drifting to and fro of believers in the Corinthian church who are “confused by their constant restlessness.” They haven’t been able to determine whether, if they are married, they should stay married or, if they are single, if they should stay single. They just can’t work out what they should do. And so he says, “This is what I’m going to tell you to do.”

Now, the temptation was obviously a very real one. On the basis of their conversion to Christ, some were trying to justify the forsaking of their marriage, for example: “Well, now that I have become a Christian, I don’t think that I need to be married anymore. I don’t need to be married to this person anymore.” Somebody else says, “Well, I have grounds for divorce; and therefore, because I have grounds for divorce, it is automatic that I should be divorced.” Paul says, “No, you’d better think it out.” And that also spills over into matters of daily employment and into social relationships.

Now, it should be obvious to us, in learning to interpret the Bible properly and not to apply it in a way that is wooden, that Paul is not urging believers to stay in occupations or to remain in circumstances that are patently and blatantly illegal or immoral. The Bible would not contradict itself in that way. In following after Christ, everything that is sinful is to be forsaken. Therefore, if everything that is sinful is to be forsaken, there may be people who, having been converted to Christ, were in occupations that were clearly sinful. For example, if somebody was involved in the prostitution mentioned in chapters 5 and 6, Paul is not suggesting that they should stay involved in that dirty business, or, if they were involved in gambling or something, that they should maintain that position. That would be to set Scripture at odds with Scripture, and we must always learn to understand the context chapter by chapter, book by book, and section by section. Rather, what Paul is doing is he’s calling upon restless people to learn how to submit to the context in which they’ve been saved, given that all other things are equal. In a phrase, he’s saying this: “Be a Christian where you are.” “Be a Christian where you are.” Or, in the title that I gave it, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

And in order that they might understand why that is important, he points out three things. Number one, God is sovereign in his assignments. “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him.” God is providentially overruling the affairs of our lives: the place of our occupation, the nature of who and what we are, what we are doing today. And this is a very, very important principle, especially when we live in such a transient society where the temptation is frequently to jump ship for another port, another place, another day, another job, another office, another wife, another husband, another relationship. Paul says, “Listen, God is sovereign, and he has assigned places to you in life. You should retain that place.”

Secondly, he points out that while the assignments which the Lord gives may differ, the call of God is one and the same. You notice that as he rounds out verse 17: “that the Lord assigned to him” this place in life “and to which God has called him.” The call of God to salvation takes place in peculiar circumstances, peculiar to each individual. We share the same call of God; we differ in the places that he has assigned us.

And thirdly, he lets them know that he’s not singling out the Corinthians for this instruction, but, as he says, “this is the rule I lay down in all the churches.” Because they might be tempted to believe that he was trying just to drive them in a certain direction.

Now, this is the principle that he lays down. It’s a straightforward principle, and yet it’s difficult to see how it might apply. And so he helps us out by providing an illustration and in the illustration, application. In actual fact, he gives us two. He doesn’t choose issues which are marginal but rather those that are crucial: he chooses circumcision and slavery, two of the most divisive phenomena in the society of the early church. He could have chosen easier ones, but he didn’t. Do you want to know something that people got really steamed up about? One was the whole question of Judaism as it was represented by circumcision, and the other was the nature and continuity of slavery. One, circumcision, represented the greatest religious barrier in the culture of the day, and slavery represented the biggest social barrier of the day. And Paul’s approach is radical. Look at what he says concerning circumcision in verse 19: “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.” Or, as Phillips paraphrases it, “Being circumcised or not being circumcised, what do they matter?”

Now, for us today, it doesn’t come with the same impact. But if we’d been sitting listening in the Corinthian context to this letter being read, we would have been completely blown away by that statement. Because some of us came from a Jewish background and some of us came from a gentile background, and both of us knew one thing: circumcision is a huge issue. It is a big enough issue to divide believers; it is a big enough issue for people to take radical steps in relationship to it, as we will see. And Paul writes concerning it, and he says, “Listen, you should retain the place in life in which you were assigned. Let me apply it,” he says, “in the religious realm. Was a man uncircumcised when he came to faith in Jesus Christ? Fine. He shouldn’t get circumcised. Was he circumcised? Then fine, he should stay that way. Don’t try and tamper with it.”

Now, think about this with me just for a moment. In the Jewish mind, circumcision was, in a sense, everything. It was the mark, externally, of the covenant, it signified their place amongst the people of God, and it accompanied their enjoyment of the blessings of God. Therefore, in the Jewish mind, an individual who remained uncircumcised were, in the thoughts of a Jewish man, these people were outside the covenant blessing of God. And therefore, there was a great drive on the part of people who’d come to faith in Jesus Christ in the context of Judaism to try and make gentiles capitulate to this external procedure and many others that accompanied it. And so Paul is addressing them, and he’s saying, “You have no right to do that.” On the other hand, when the gentiles looked on this whole affair, they looked down on people who were being circumcised, because after all, it was the mark of belonging to a religion of a despised people. So, on the one hand, there’re people looking on and saying, “This is of vital importance; it must take place.” On the other hand, there were believers who were looking at it and saying, “This is dreadful, and it mustn’t take place.”

Indeed, it was to such a degree that in the gentile mind, for them it was a sign of emancipation when—and I quote now from an earlier historian—“when,” as sometimes happened, “a Jewish youth, by undergoing a surgical operation …, tried to efface the marks of his circumcision in order to take his place in the wider world of Hellenistic culture.”[4] So Paul comes along and says, “This doesn’t matter. Retain the place in life that the Lord has assigned to you. If you have come to faith in Christ out of a Jewish background, thank God for that, and continue. If you have come from a gentile background, then you just proceed along that journey as well.”

This issue was, in the mind of Paul, a distraction. Ritual, he says, is not to take the place of obedience. That’s how he finishes verse 19: “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” And when he addresses the same issue, incidentally, when he writes to the church at Galatia, he says, in Galatians 6:15, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” “The real issue,” he says, “is not what you are externally, what you are by means of your background, what you are in terms of your religious heritage, but what matters is that you’ve become a new person in Jesus Christ. And the evidence that you have become a new person in Jesus Christ is that you keep the commands of Jesus Christ. Because he said, ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my commands.’”[5] And the immense barriers which existed in the Corinthian church between Jew and gentile were not to be removed by external human activity on the part of either one but were going to be removed by internal divine activity.

Now, there’s a principle here in the midst of all of this, if we can fasten on to it: God is able to overcome barriers as he works in the heart of both Jew and gentile. He doesn’t need our help in trying to sort it out. Now, there is a fundamental issue here that comes right down through the corridors of time into the church in the late twentieth century in America. God does not need Black people to try and make themselves White, nor White people to try and make themselves Black, nor Hispanic people to make themselves Caucasian, nor Caucasian people to make themselves Hispanic. God does not desire that amazing, sought-after cultural demise of the ethnicity of that which he established in a world for his own sovereign purpose in the variegation of humanity. And it is a dead-end street to try and bring about that kind of reconciliation from the outside in. The Jew could not do it by effacing the marks of his heritage, the gentile could not do it by assuming the marks of the covenant people, but God was able to do it by changing the heart of the Jew and making him love the gentile and changing the heart of the gentile and making him love the Jew.

And you see, it is only in the church, when you think this out, that there is any hope in our culture for that harmony for which men and women long today—longing that we might all be one, but on the basis of what? On the basis of some lowest common denominator. But who can change the heart like Jesus? Only Jesus! And where will there be that harmony of the races? Where will it be possible for the rich and the poor to walk together? Where will it be that young and old and people from different educational strata of life are able to be united? In the body of Christ. In the church.

It is only in the church that there is any hope in our culture for that harmony for which men and women long.

And you see, the church has a message to proclaim which is able to bring a transformation that the world cannot even project at, cannot even begin to approximate to. And again, without sounding like I’ve got onto some dreadful hobbyhorse, don’t you see the fallacy of the church trying to ape the world in using the world’s agenda to bring about that which only Christ by his power can create? That’s why you could say to somebody, “You don’t have to be somebody other than you are. You don’t have to live in some other place than which you live. You don’t have to become another occupation than what you are. Conversion doesn’t introduce you to chaos.”

By and large, when a person becomes a Christian, they’re not supposed to change their job, are they? If you’re a plumber and you become a Christian, what difference does it make when you go to work on Monday? You’re still a plumber; now you’re a Christian plumber. All right? You’re a lawyer; you’re a Christian lawyer. But your occupation is the same.

This has been one of the great debates, of course, has it not, in the world of entertainment? When Cliff Richard became a Christian some years ago—those of you who have heard any of his music will know the individual to whom I’m referring—when he became a Christian and announced it at a Billy Graham crusade, a group of people immediately got around him and told him that he ought to go to Bible school and become a teacher of religious education in a school. Why? Well, because he’d been singing, “We’re all going on a summer holiday,”[6] and he had been wearing his hair like Elvis, and he’d been wiggling his hips like Elvis. And so they told him, “You’re going to have to go to Bible school, and you’ll be a teacher in a school.” Why? He was a singer, for goodness’ sake! Couldn’t he sing anymore, as a Christian? And of course he could, and of course he has. And still the debate surrounds Cliff Richard.

Doesn’t this have something to say to that? “[You ought to] retain the place in life that the Lord [has] assigned to [you] and to which God has called [you]. [And] this is the rule [that] I lay down in all the churches.” God can deal with the issue of race. God can deal with the issue of status. God can deal with the issue of education. It’s not dealt with by some kind of pseudo-communism. You can’t do that; it doesn’t work. You can’t make everybody the same. God never intended it to be so.

Freedom in Slavery

Now, that was in the religious realm, the illustration from circumcision. He then goes into the social realm, and he picks up another scorpion by the tail, and he says, “[Now, let me say it again:] each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you.” Now, for us tonight, we’re sitting here, we’re saying, “Hey, you know, that’s cool. I understand that.” But what if you were a slave hearing that? “You were a slave when God called you? Don’t let it trouble you,” he says—“although if you can gain your freedom, do so.”

The point that Paul makes in both of these illustrations is that irrespective of our circumstances, it is still necessary and it is still possible to live a Christian life. The context of slavery in the Roman Empire of Paul’s day was such that some 50 percent of the population were regarded as slaves. Now, some of them were in dreadful circumstances, but we need to realize, too, that many of these slaves were better educated, more skilled, and more literate than the average free person. The slaves comprised doctors, teachers, accountants, and all manner of professionals. And so, some were going through their days subservient. Some were going through their days apparently in control. And Paul says again, “The issue in life is not that you change your external circumstances, but the issue in life is that God changes the attitude of your heart, so if you were a slave when you were called, don’t let it bother you.” “For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s [freeman]; [and] similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.”

The point is this: only sin can keep us from obeying and serving the Lord; our circumstances can’t. Only sin can keep us from obeying and serving the Lord; our circumstances can’t. Do you notice how often we blame our circumstances as to why it is we can’t serve the Lord the way we should or might or ought or want? And we say to ourselves, “Oh, well, it’s because I’m here. It’s because I’m in this office. It’s because I’m in this family. It’s because I’m in these circumstances. If all of this external stuff were changed, then boy, I could be the Christian that God intends.” And Paul is saying, “No, don’t let yourself begin to think that way.”

The gap between slave and free was wide, but God was able to bridge the gap. If you’re in any doubt about that, go home and read the wee book of Philemon as a cross-reference to that issue. We won’t take time to turn to it now.

But notice in verse 22 the paradox which he draws out: the slave is free in Jesus, and the man who is free in Jesus is actually Christ’s slave. Because the ultimate bondage is a bondage to sin. And when somebody who has been enslaved to sin is set free by Jesus Christ, they actually become a slave of Jesus Christ. So what he’s saying in a vaguely humorous way is this: we’re all slaves. We’re all slaves. In Christ, whether we’re free and have control or whether we are subservient, we’re all enslaved to Jesus Christ.

Nowhere is that clearer than when he writes in Romans chapter 6 and he says in verse 22,

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you[’re] now ashamed of? [These] things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

None of us will ever understand the nature of our liberation in Jesus until we come to comprehend the fact that we’re now the slaves of Christ. As the hymn writer puts it, “Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free.”[7] An amazing and important paradox.

The point is clear, and I say it to you again: ultimately, the outward circumstances matter little. It is the relationship which we enjoy with the Lord Jesus which is primary, and nothing matters alongside that.

None of us will ever understand the nature of our liberation in Jesus until we come to comprehend the fact that we’re now the slaves of Christ.

Now, in verse 23 he provides a picture: “You were bought at a price.” You say, “I remember that phrase.” Yes, you do; back in 6:20, he said it already: “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Now he says, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”

Now, the people in Corinth would understand that. Because in the ancient world, it was possible for a slave to buy their freedom. The way that a slave could buy their freedom was by working another job on the side, if that doesn’t seem too bizarre. And in the small amount of free time that they may have been given by their master, they went and did other tasks. In the doing of the other tasks, they received remuneration. Their master was able to take a percentage of what they made in any other context, and he usually did; but the rest of it he allowed the slave to retain. And the slave did not hide it under his bed, but the slave took it to the temple, to the temple of any kind of ancient god—any god at all would be fine. And what the slave did was he was gradually providing his purchase price at the temple. And when he had managed over the time to save up enough cash and deposit it at the temple to purchase his freedom—and his price would have been at the market value of the day—he took his master to the temple, and the money from the temple was then discharged. The priest would hand over the money. The slave then symbolically became the slave of the god, and the slave was no longer, then, responsible to his earthly master. A purchase, a transaction, had taken place, and he had been liberated from this man and had become now enslaved to the god of this temple.

That is exactly the picture that Paul uses here, although he applies it in Christian terms. He knows that they understand that they have been bought “not with … silver or gold … but with the precious blood of [Jesus] Christ,”[8] 1 Peter 1. And they have, if you like, as a result of the shedding of Christ’s blood, been set free from all other enslavements and entanglements. Therefore, having become enslaved to Christ, purchased by Christ, they no longer need to be in bondage at the hands of a man.

In verse 24, he comes full circle, and he restates the principle: “Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God [has] called him to.” In other words, the transforming power of Jesus does not turn an individual into a discontented revolutionary. The transforming power of Jesus does not turn an individual into a discontented revolutionary. The change that Jesus came to bring was first and foremost a change in the hearts of individuals, was it not? I mean, he did not come to transform the Roman Empire, did he? If he did, it didn’t work! He came to transform individuals. The way he reached the masses was to reach them one by one. And he gave to us an example that we might follow in his steps. Therefore, having come to faith in Jesus Christ, my responsibility is not somehow to become a revolutionary, buck-the-system nuisance, but by and large, it is probably to go back to my job, to retain the situation in which I find myself, to stay within my marriage, to stay as a child within the framework of my family, and to live in such a way that demonstrates the radical change that Jesus makes.

Religious and social barriers, in Christ, have been rendered null and void. It is supposed to be, says Paul, that any man or woman in Jesus has been so remade—now, listen to this; this is the principle of the New Testament—any man or woman in Jesus Christ—2 Corinthians 5:17—has been so remade that earthly status or lack of earthly status is irrelevant, that racial background or education is irrelevant. And just to state those things in bald terms like that surely ought to bring us as a church to our knees—to recognize that when it comes to the issues of these affairs, if we just chronicle the last… We only need to chronicle the last hundred years of history and ask ourselves the question, “Did we understand this?” And if we did, what in the world were we doing in Nazi Germany? What were our countries doing when they knew that all those things were going on? What has the church been doing in South Africa, with all the heinous hatred that was represented in apartheid? What has the church been doing for these issues? “Oh,” you say, “it’s been doing a lot of stuff! It’s been marching, and there were people who got a thing together, and they got involved in this big organization, and they went to Washing… That’s right! You’re right! We did all that.” Uh-huh? Was that what we’re supposed to do?

Jesus comes walking along the stage of human history, and while the religious orthodoxy of his day looked for some great and dramatic activity, he did it in his own way. Paul, in walking into the Corinthian context, says, “I’m not going to use human eloquence. I’m not going to attempt to try and take people on at their own level. I have just one message, and my message is Jesus Christ and him crucified.”[9] When George Whitefield got on his horse and rode all across the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and down into Virginia and into the Carolinas, what was he doing? He was proclaiming the good news of faith in Jesus Christ. As Wesley was a part of that, what was he doing? He was proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ. When Brainerd went to the American Indians, what was he doing? He was proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ. When Carey went to India, what was he doing? Proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ.

Why? Because that is all we have been asked to do, and it is by that simple, powerful agenda that the distractions of social and religious encumbrances lose their place and lose their significance. And the church has an opportunity to show society the difference that Jesus makes. The church ought to be able to go out into the culture and say, “Come to our church, and we will show you that neither race, education, or status means anything at all.” And the reason that we don’t do that is because largely, we can’t do that. And that ought to bring us afresh to cry out to God to begin revival amongst the people of God: “Start, Lord Jesus, the work in my heart tonight that would make this kind of revolutionary impact in my life and in my home and in my church and in my town—not that I change the external circumstances of people first, but the power of the gospel revolutionizes lives.”

Well, I hope you’ll have a great week. And as you go into your office tomorrow, maybe you’ll remember 1 Corinthians 7:17. As you look at the pile of stuff on your desk and you look at the face of your secretary and you look at the number of pink slips that are already waiting for you, remember that God sovereignly assigns your place, and “there’s a work for Jesus [that] none but you can do.”[10] And don’t fall into some crazy notion of thinking that if you became a pastor, that would answer it. Just look at us, and you know that isn’t true. Bloom where you’re planted.

The church has an opportunity to show society the difference that Jesus makes.

Let’s pray together:

Father, I pray that out of all of this multitude of words, that you will bring clarity. Think of the Corinthian context and the barriers that people placed because of their religious background—the tremendous pressure on them to try and be like the other person and, in social circumstances, to try and bring about insurrection and change the system from the outside in. How challenging the words of Paul must have been: “Retain the place in life which God has assigned you. Be a Christian where you are.” And how challenging tonight to us, and yet what a phenomenal encouragement to be about the business of our everyday lives with zeal and with effective desires to proclaim the love and power of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for this day. Thank you for the simple songs of the children. Thank you for the reading of Scripture and the offering of prayer before your almighty and powerful throne. Thank you for one another and for the encouragement we derive from seeing the way you remain faithful in the lives of each one.

Remind us tonight as we go that the Lord God omnipotent reigns and that we can rest confident in this truth. For we commend one another lovingly to your care in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

[1] See 2 Timothy 3:16.

[2] See Colossians 1:28.

[3] John Calvin, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, trans. John W. Fraser, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), 155.

[4] Leon Morris, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1958), 113.

[5] John 14:15 (paraphrased).

[6] Brian Bennett and Bruce Welch, “Summer Holiday” (1963).

[7] George Matheson, “Make Me a Captive, Lord” (1890).

[8] 1 Peter 1:18–19 (NIV 1984).

[9] 1 Corinthians 2:1–2 (paraphrased).

[10] Elsie Duncan Yale, “There’s a Work for Jesus” (1912).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.