1 Corinthians 3:1-23
Thursday, 20 October 2022
“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”-1 Corinthians 3:7
The First Epistle to the Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to address specific issues faced in the Corinthian church. Today’s reading addresses the concern of allegiance towards individual leaders that led to divisions in the church. While Paul as a pioneer missionary brought the good news of salvation and planted the Corinthian Church, Apollos as a teacher strengthened them in faith. However, instead of focusing on Jesus Christ the foundation, the church was split over pledging allegiance to Peter or Paul or Apollos. Paul’s admonitions to re-establish unity and peace in the church offer a relevant message for us today:
Attaining to Spiritual Maturity: Although the Corinthian brethren had received the Holy Spirit, they were immature and worldly infants in Christ. Their carnal nature was characterized by the envy, dissension and quarrel amongst them. As we mature in our Christian walk, we are able to deny the fleshly nature - avoiding irrelevant arguments and strife and live according to guidance of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual maturity of the brethren leads to unity within the body of Christ. “…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10)
Understand the Leader’s role: In describing the church, Paul uses the metaphor of a plant that needs to planted and cared for (Vs.5-9); a building that needs to be built (Vs 10-15) and as the temple of God (Vs 16-17). In both instances he reveals how each leader and elder has a different role in planting, in tending, in building as fellow workers/partners with God. Leaders should labour in unity towards building God’s temple, not seeking credit for their work but glorifying God who brings the growth. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith….” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Building on the Firm Foundation: The person and work of Jesus Christ is the unshakable foundation on which the Church is built (V.11). Whoever builds on that foundation should take care to build with quality materials or the truth of God’s word and sound doctrine, rather than with worthless materials or in a unworthy manner. On the Day of Judgment each person’s work will be tested and only those built with gold, silver, and costly stones will withstand the test of fire. Similarly, in the lesson of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27) Jesus reminds us that only he who builds on the solid foundation will withstand the storms and trials of life.
Boast not in Men: In their immaturity and pride, the belivers at Corinth had pledged their allegiance to leaders rather than to God. Paul reminds us that our boast in not in men but we are under the authority of Christ and we belong to Christ. By forsaking worldly knowledge and pursing divine wisdom – to live and produce fruit in keeping with His Word, we glorify God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)
It is in giving up our pride and humbling ourselves in the presence of God that we can have a truly meaningful relationship with Him and labour in unity to advance God’s Kingdom.
Thought: The more fractured we are, the greater we become spectacles to the world. The more we are united in love, the more the world sees Christ. –Curtis Thomas