July 20th 1 Corinthians 3 Christ is the foundation
1: And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2: I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3: For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7: So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8: Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12: Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13: Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14: If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15: If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17: If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 18: Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20: And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21: Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22: Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23: And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
When Paul was in Corinth he could not talk to them, as a whole church, as if they were spiritual christians but as carnal christians even as babes in Christ. He says l had to feed you with milk rather than meat because you were unable to bear it and it seems that this is still true today. The reason for this says Paul is that you are still carnal christians. I can see this because there is among you envy and strife and divisions. Is this not carnality? Do you not live as ordinary men? One of you says, I am of Paul and another l am of Apollos isn’t this carnality? Who is Paul? and who is Apollos? but servants of God that brought to you the Gospel. I planted the church and Apollos watered it but God made the church grow. The one who plants is nothing and the one who waters it nothing too. The only one that is important is he that made everything grow and that is God. The one who plants and the one who waters are completely one – they are servants of God. And both will receive reward according to his labour. You see we are labourers together - with God. You are like Gods vine. You are like Gods masterpiece of construction. And according to the grace l received, like a master mason, l laid the foundation and another built on it. (Let ever master mason take care how he build because there is only one foundation that can be laid and that is Jesus Christ.) Now if a man comes along to build on this foundation what will he build? Will he use gold, silver and precious stones or will he use wood, hay and stubble? There will come a day when every man’s ministry will be tested. It will be tested by fire to see what sort of construction it is. If his work survives the fire he will receive reward, but if his work is burnt up then he will loose out, yet he will still be saved coming through the fire. Don’t you know, says Paul, that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells within you? If a man defiles the temple God will destroy him, (He will bring his ministry completely to an end) because the temple is holy and you are the temple. Let no man deceive himself. If any man appears to be wise according to this world let him throw away his wisdom and become a fool in this world that he might become wise to God. You see the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. He quotes Job 5v13 is which he says that God captures the wise of this world in their own cleverness. Again Paul quotes Psa 94v11 in which he says that God knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are empty. So let none of us glory in men. All these men belong to you (you do not belong to them) Everything belongs to you, Paul belongs to you. Apollos belongs to you, Cephas belongs to you. Everything in this world, your life and your death, things present and things to come - they all belong to you. But you belong to Christ and Christ to God. When we see things like this party spirit seems pretty foolish.
- Why couldn't Paul write to the believers at Corinth as if they were spiritual christians?
- In what way did the carnality and immaturity of the christians at Corinth manifest itself?
- What was wrong with the divisions in the Corinthian church over personalities?