Day 51…1 Corinthians 3:

January 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 3:1-9: Paul condemns division

The Corinthians needed to mature in the spiritual lives. They were allowing themselves to be divided into factions regarding which preacher they liked better [things never change]. These divisions in the church threatened the unity they would need in order to stand for the truth against the false teachers and persecution.

v.1, Paul starts this chapter by reprimanding the Corinthian believers for their lack of maturity in the faith. Instead of growing in their faith, they had let themselves be dived into factions so that Paul couldn’t even talk to them as he “would to mature Christians.” He had to talk to them as “though [they] belonged to this world or as though [they] were infants in the Christian life.” Paul was saying to them that their behaviour was sinful in comparison to mature believers. These “infants” had not grown in their faith because they were acting like the world around them. Proof: they were quarreling like children and allowing divisions to distract them from what really mattered–living for God!

v.2-3, Because these believers had not grown up yet Paul had to “feed [them] with milk, not solid food, because [they] weren’t ready for anything stronger.” In other words Paul had to teach them the basics of Christianity again, as if they hadn’t learned it the first time so he couldn’t teach them deeper truths (as he had hoped). Just like babies only drink milk these “baby Christians” had to continue to learn the basic of their faith because they couldn’t handle anything stronger–they weren’t growing! Paul wanted to teach them stronger truths but he realized he couldn’t because they “weren’t ready” and were being influenced by the world around them–”sinful nature”=selfish human / fleshly desires, they were not the desires of the Spirit. Proof: They were “jealous of another and quarrel[ed] with each other.” Which proved they were “controlled by [their] sinful nature” and they were “living like people of the world [who didn’t belong to God].” Because of all this quarreling and jealousy and immaturity it was wreaking havoc in the church and Paul would haven’t it…so he rebukes them.

v.4-5, The cause of the division was loyalty of different teachers or in today’s age teaching / preaching styles (sad but true). Paul only mentioned himself and Apollos because they were the two preachers that spoke or taught at this church in the past. Paul points out that the two of them are nothing more than “God’s servants.” And when the Corinthian believers say “I am a follower of Paul” or “I follow Apollos” they are “acting just like people of the world.” It just happened that these men brought the message of salvation to the Corinthians but it was really the “work the Lord gave them to do” and because they did so the Corinthians believed the Good News and were saved. Both Paul and Apollos were just servants or God’s instruments–nothing more and wanted the people to believe in Jesus for salvation and grow in maturity NOT follow either of them.

v.6-7, Part of the reason for the division was because both Paul and Apollos had different roles in the life of this church. Paul was the one who “planted the seed” of the Gospel and because of this they became believers. He was the person to bring the salvation to these people and he founded the church at Corinth. Apollos’ role was to “water” or help the believers to grow stronger in their faith. Unfortunately some of the believers at this church decided to follow one or the other NOT Jesus! But their loyalties were misplaced because it was not Paul or Apollos that made the seed grow, it was “God who made it grow.In fact, compared to God’s role in this process, the one who did the planting and watering aren’t as important as what God does–he “makes the seed grow.”

v.8-9, While each servant of God has a role to play…”the one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose”–to bring people to Jesus and see them mature in their faith. Yet, each servant is responsible for his own role or work “they will be rewarded for their own hard work.” Paul and the other preachers / teachers worked together as “God’s workers.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Two things. 1st, we need to stay away from favourite preachers to the point where we divide ourselves as believers…”I only listen to….” which leads to substituting these men or women for the one who deserve all our worship, praise and honour–Jesus! 2nd, we all have a role to play in the lives of unbelievers. Whether it is the preacher / evangelist (at the front) or the person who shares their life each day in the “trenches”, each one is just as important as the next and we all need each other to fulfill the purpose all believers should live for–seeing people come to Christ and then seeing them grow deeper in their faith.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Focus less on the teacher / preacher and more on the message. And thank God for every teacher he has in the Kingdom of God that are fulfilling the purpose of why we exist as believers–bringing unbelievers to Jesus and seeing them mature in their faith. If he or she is focused on that and not growing their own empire or kingdom, then I need to rejoice in what God has them do. And never get proud of what I do but remember who I am doing it for–Jesus!

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Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible.

It’s been awhile… Day 52…1 Corinthians 3:

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