Introduction: How important is the church? I hear claims that being
in nature is as good, if not better, than being in church. There is a
real blessing in nature, but it is a different blessing than
regularly attending church. We learn this week that we are all in sin
together, and we need to be together in the battle against sin. Let’s
plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. The Sin Solution

    1. Read Romans 5:12. Who is this “one man?” (Adam, as we will
      see when we read on.)

      1. Did you choose to sin? (Yes: “All have sinned.”
        However, this suggests something more – that our sin
        decision automatically gave us death because of the
        prior decision of Adam.)

    2. Read Romans 5:13-14. What does it mean that “sin is not
      taken into account when there is no law?” (The rest of the
      text says that we died before the law was given, even
      those who “did not sin by breaking a command.” Thus, this
      cannot mean that the penalty for sin was not taken into
      account. Instead, it must mean that sin was not labeled as
      such. Adam and Eve were given a specific command, and they
      violated it. Before the Ten Commandments were handed down,
      people died even though they did not have a specific
      command to break.)

      1. What is the practical lesson for us? (The Ten
        Commandments serve the purpose of identifying sin.
        They do not change the fact that we are sinners.)

    3. Read Romans 5:15-17. On a very simple level we can see
      that “the gift is not like the trespass” in that one
      plunged us into sin and death and the other “brought
      justification” from sin. What does the additional detail
      mean about “judgment followed one sin,” but “the gift
      followed many trespasses.” (We are victims of Adam’s sin.
      His sin harmed us. But, we had already personally chosen
      to sin when Jesus fixed our sin problem by bringing us

    4. Read Romans 5:18-19. This seems to say that our
      righteousness is automatic through Jesus. Is that correct?
      (I think this should be understood to say that the
      availability of justification is automatic. Paul’s
      argument is about how sin and grace mirror each other, and
      Paul noted that we personally sinned.)

    1. Read Romans 6:1-4. What does this add to the evidence
      about whether we need to choose grace? (It tells us that
      in baptism we enter into Jesus’ death and His resurrection
      from the dead. We enter into new life. “We too may live a
      new life.”)

      1. What do these verses teach us about community? (We
        are all in this together. We were in sin together and
        we are in grace together. Let’s look at the practical
        side of that next.)

  1. The Church Solution

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10. What “foundation” is Paul
      building? (Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 for the explanation.
      Paul is talking about the “building” composed of Jesus’

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. What does this tell those who
      work to improve the church? (That we should “be careful”
      about how we build and we should be careful to use the
      best materials.)

      1. Whenever I read this text I immediately think about
        teaching, and the need for me to strive to be a “gold
        standard” teacher. But, this is too narrow a view.
        Those who work with the children in church are
        builders, those who are involved in the praise
        service are builders, those who visit the sick are
        builders, those who attend to the physical
        requirements of the church are builders. The question
        is this, if you are a builder, are you always
        striving for “gold standard work?” Are you striving
        for excellence?

      2. Let’s look at this from a different angle. Let’s say
        a teacher is building with “silver” or a lesser
        material. Does that mean we should oppose them? (We
        need to be restrained in our criticism of those who
        might not have things exactly right (in our view). We
        need to continue to promote gold standard work
        because we don’t want any to “burn,” but we need to
        recognize that there are many other builders, even if
        their work is not gold-standard.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 3:16. What is God’s temple, given the
      context we have been studying? (Our fellow Christians. It
      is the church.)

      1. Do you know people who are not even “straw builders,”
        they are destroyers of the church?

        1. Who will fix this problem? (“God will destroy

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. When I was growing up, there
      was my church denomination and the rest of the “unwashed”
      church denominations. Now that I’ve grown up and worked
      closely with other Christians, I realize that other
      Christians growing up in other denominations felt that
      same way about their church – indeed, my denomination may
      have been particularly suspect in their eyes! Who knew?
      What does this text say about this “them and us” attitude
      among Christians? (It says that we are “one body” in the
      Holy Spirit and we drink from the same “one Spirit.”)

      1. What does this teach us about those church members
        who look down on other church denominations? (They
        have not yet been drinking enough from the Holy

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-17. My church has a special
      mission to promote the message of Revelation 14:6-12. Is
      it correct to consider this an “eye” message? Meaning, is
      it just a part of the overall message presented by each
      denomination in the greater Christian church?

      1. When I was young, I was taught that church
        denominations that were older than ours each had a
        special message, and each subsequent denomination
        added a further refinement until we came to my
        denomination, which was proclaiming the final
        refinement. Is there any Biblical basis for that
        view? Or, is a better explanation found in the
        chapter we are studying, that each “part” of the
        Christian church brings its own unique and important

      2. If my suggestion is correct, does this help make
        sense of all of the Christian churches? Instead of
        complaining that all of the denominations show a
        failure of unity, what if all of the denominations
        are part of the body of Christ, all with a special
        addition to truth? Can you imagine the foot saying,
        “We have too many body parts around here, it shows a
        lack of unity?”

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:18-20. Who is responsible for the
      special role of each part of the Christian church? (God

      1. Consider this example: my grandfather, my uncle, and
        my cousin were ministers in the Salvation Army
        Church. Many of my relatives are members of that
        wonderful denomination. Does that Church have a
        special role in the body of Christ that you can
        identify? (Yes, it is known for its service to the
        poor and homeless.)

      2. When I was young, and ignorant, I used to pride
        myself on what I thought was a more refined
        understanding of theology than my uncle who was a
        minister in the Salvation Army. This is like the ear
        thinking it is superior to the nose! I don’t think
        I’ll ever reach the level of love and trust in God
        displayed in the life of my uncle. He was an
        astonishing man of God! What do you think you can
        learn from the members of other churches?

        1. How can we cooperate with them to advance the
          Kingdom of God, the body of Christ?

    7. Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-26. I’ve suggested that you
      should consider whether Paul’s words apply to all of the
      different Christian denominations. How else might they

      1. Would they apply to factions within our church

      2. Would they apply to the local church, your local

      3. If they apply to other denominations, factions within
        our church and your local congregation, how would you
        understand Paul’s comments on parts that are “less
        honorable,” and “unpresentable?” (When I read
        comments on the Internet by supposed members of my
        church, I sometimes think “I don’t need you!” Paul
        corrects me to say that we “should have equal concern
        for each other.”)

    8. Friend, we need to be in fellowship with other church
      members. We need those who have different spiritual gifts,
      different talents and different views. If you are not
      regularly attending church, why not commit to start this

  2. Next week: Peter on the Great Controversy.