02 Cooperative Ministry – 1 Cor 31 Corinthians: Called to Be Saints
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “1 Corinthians – Called to Be Saints.” Here is my video presentation introducing 1 Corinthians – https://youtu.be/MiaMXIyVrRU. All other video presentations in this series will be posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI-t5t25Ptg&list=PL7JRppjEn33bJCwx5j1l6O8BE3ozid-JB. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, send a message via the “Contact” button.
1 Corinthians 3 returns to the issue of elevating individual men like Paul and Apollos as favorites. We can approach the text by creating a sentence outline.
It’s only natural to be infants for awhile … 1 Cor 3:1-2a
We all start out as such, both physically and spiritually.
Babies cry! Weak, dependent, needy, and defenseless.
“Born again.” Jn 3:3-5
“Newborn babes … milk … grow …” 1 Pet 2:2-3
God: “I taught Ephraim (Israel) to walk.” Hos 11:3
Jesus: “Don’t make little ones stumble!” Matt 18:5-6
Train. Nurture. Help. Don’t exasperate! Don’t look down (1 Tim 4:12)!
What if we defined “age” based on stages of spiritual development?
We must care for spiritual infants as family members care for physical infants. In both situations, we reflect the ways that God cares for us. Ps 103:13-14
… but then it’s time to grow up … 1 Cor 3:2b-3
“No longer children.” Eph 4:14-16
“By this time … teachers.” Heb 5:12-14
“As babes re: evil, but mature re: thinking.” 1 Cor 14:20
“Add to your faith (2 Pet 1).” “Grow in grace, knowledge (2 Pet 3).”
When Christians don’t grow, they gripe.
“Jealousy and strife.” Jas 3:13-18
What if we measured “church growth” by levels of spiritual maturity?
… put people into perspective … 1 Cor 3:4-5
Paul and Apollos: servants. Agents. Tools. Field hands.
“Nobodies” through whom God brought growth.
“One:” united in purpose and aim.
To be rewarded for their labor.
2 Co 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
… focus on the farm and plant and water … 1 Cor 3:6-9
God uses human agents, whose involvement is often essential!
He used Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, etc., in vital roles.
Only as you and I plant and water will the seed spread and take root.
The Sower (Mt 13:1-9, 18-23). Wheat and Weeds (Mt 13:24-30). Mustard Seed (Mt 13:31-32). Seed Growing Secretly (Mk 4:26-29).
Yet it is He, not we, who grows and produces the crop.
We are not responsible for the results, but for planting and watering.
Read 2 Cor 9:10-11.
… build on the foundation, Jesus Christ alone … 1 Cor 3:10-15
By the grace of God, Paul a master builder (ἀρχιτέκτων, architecton).
The foundation, the builders, and the materials must all be right.
In Corinth – pagan temples. Some built with granite, marble, alabaster, etc. These, unlike wood, hay, straw, could withstand fire.
Church leaders – and all of us – must build for eternity.
What are we building that will outlive us and outlast us forever?
The builder may survive the fire, but will his work?
“There Stands a Rock.” “Firm Foundation.”
… respect God’s holy temple, the church … 1 Cor 3:16-17
You (plural – the church as a whole) are His temple.
What are the implications of such a statement?
The church is a spiritual temple, unlike Corinth’s man-made temples.
The Spirit of God dwells in the church body.
The church, filled with the Holy Spirit, is holy.
One dare not destroy (corrupt, harm, ruin, spoil, violate) the church.
What are the consequences for anyone who does?
… become foolish to become wise … 1 Cor 3:18-20
The wiser you think you are … the more foolish you may be.
Crediting Him for the wisdom you lack, you become a genius!
Job 5:13 “He captures the wise by their own shrewdness, and the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.” Ps 94:11 The LORD knows the thoughts of man, That they are a mere breath.
1 Co 8:1 … Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
Ga 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
… because it’s all yours and you are all His! 1 Cor 3:21-23
Since human wisdom is folly, no one can rightly boast in man or self.
Neither can one boast in preachers: Paul, Apollos, Cephas (Peter).
In Christ, everything that matters belongs to you.
These preachers are yours. The world is yours.
Life, death, things present, and things to come.
Because you belong to Christ. (Not because of your own wisdom.)
And Christ is of God. Cf. 1 Cor 11:3; 15:27-28.