1 Corinthians chapter 3

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Paul and Apollos, Servants of Christ

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.

10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,

“He traps the wise
    in the snare of their own cleverness.”

20 And again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
    he knows they are worthless.”

21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

(O)

Paul is writing of the true view of ministry and ministers, and he does not mean by ministers only the apostles, or only a select group called the clergy, the pastors. This is a devilish idea that has possessed the church. It sees the clergy as different people, with a special pipeline to God. That idea is never found in Scripture. No, in Scripture all Christians are in the ministry, everyone without exception. All are given gifts by the Spirit. All are expected to have a function, a service that God uses. It does not have to be in the meeting of the church. It is out in the world, anywhere you are.

Paul says we are servants; that is all. Everyone, servants of Christ. That is the highest rank possible in the church, and everybody has it to start with. Therefore, there is no need for competition or rivalry in any sense at all. We are all servants of Christ.

So what is our purpose and thought when we come to church? Is it to me ministered to? In your mind, is the purpose of the sunday gathering of church family so that you might receive blessing, or that you be a blessing? As servants of Christ, our attitude should always be ‘what can I do for someone else?’. Through this, you will find yourself blessed and ministered to. We need to see each other as servants of Christ, mutually living and ministering to one another as God creates opportunity. We are not in competition, but rather in cooperation. One plants, another waters. But only God gives the growth. All are needed.

(A)

The awesome part of the church is that nobody is supposed to do exactly the same thing. We are all to use our uniqueness to plant and water. Embrace what gifts, talents and interests God gave you. Ask Him how you can use those to be a blessing to others. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

(P)

Lord you made us all so unique. Thank you for that. Show us today how we can use our own special gifts and talents to be a blessing. Help me understand what gifts you have given me and help me embrace them as the incredible gift they are. You are a mighty God, thank you for this day! In Jesus name, amen.

 

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