Everybody's life is being built up with something. What kind of materials are you using?
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1 Corinthians 3 (ESV)
1 But I, brothers,
could not address you as spiritual people,
as people of the flesh,
as infants in Christ.
2 I fed you
not solid food,
for you were not ready for it.
And even now
you are not yet ready,
3 for you are still of the flesh.
→ For while there is jealousy and strife among you,
are you not of the flesh
and behaving only in a human way?
when one says, “I follow Paul,”
and another, “I follow Apollos,”
are you not being merely human?
5 What then is Apollos?
What is Paul?
Servants through whom you believed,
as the Lord assigned to each.
6 I planted,
but God gave the growth.
neither he who plants
nor he who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.
8 He who plants and he who waters are one,
and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
9 For we are God’s fellow workers.
→ 10 According to the grace of God given to me,
like a skilled master builder
I laid a foundation,
and someone else is building upon it.
Let each one take care how he builds upon it.
11 For no one can lay a foundation
other than that which is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with
gold, silver, precious stones,
wood, hay, straw—
13 each one’s work will become manifest,
for the Day will disclose it,
it will be revealed by fire,
and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone’s work is burned up,
he will suffer loss,
though he himself will be saved,
but only as through fire.
16 Do you not know
that you are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
17 If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy him.
God’s temple is holy,
and you are that temple.
18 Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age,
let him become a fool that he may become wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.
For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
20 and again, “The Lord knows
the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
21 So let no one boast in men.
For all things are yours,
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas
or the world or life or death or the present or the future—
all are yours,
you are Christ’s,
and Christ is God’s.
1 Corinthians 3 Summary
Remember, the 'book' of 1st Corinthians is, like so many of the New Testament books, actually a letter. We can now be thankful that this church from long ago in Corinth had lots of problems, because the advice Paul gives in response to these problems still guides us today.
But Paul's frustration with those he's writing to becomes evident in v2:
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.
Just like anytime we plant seeds, be it on a section or in a garden, we do so with an expectation of growth, and when growth doesn't materialize, frustration follows.
The Corinthians were not growing because they were hung up on the personalities of the preachers who had served them. There were no doctrinal differences between Paul & Apollos, so the cracks forming in this church were based on surface things and personalities.
Paul calls them out on this error in this letter.
He pulls this congregation together with an amazing promise in the final verses. It doesn't matter who it was that planted, watered or currently is feeding your church because all things are yours... You are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
No matter how it is that you came to faith, Jesus Christ is the foundation of your life, and your life is a continual construction project in which you are built up.
The question is, what is the quality of this construction?
Are you being built up with the gold, silver, and precious stones that are found in God's Word, or is it with the wood, hay, straw the world offers?
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father knows the thoughts of those wise according to the world and that they are futile (v20);
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will not use the world's futile building materials, but rather the gold, silver and precious stones found in God's Word to build your life upon Christ's solid foundation.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: