1 Corinthians 3: All Are Yours
April 4, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Joshua 8-9, Psalm 75, Mark 1:35-45, 1 Corinthians 3
Paul now begins to address their conflict over human leaders more directly. In the process he establishes some very important principles that pertain to church health and dysfunction.
First, divisiveness in church life is a sign of a lack of maturity. We should be hungering for solid food (not milk) rather than quarreling over personalities. The solution is growing spiritual maturity. If someone is arguing for their preferences, it is a sign of basic spiritual immaturity. The solution is a desire for God’s Word—rather than a desire for their particular guru, religious leader, or religious preference to take first place.
Second, Christian leaders are only servants, each assigned a task. We can sometimes think of Christian leaders as more than this. But they are just servants. Each with a different task. In a very important sense, they are nothing more than that. Think of our Christian leaders as servants.
Third, spiritual growth is from God, not from people. Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. If we are pleased to see our ministries growing and developing, it is only because of God’s blessings. Too often there is a tendency to attribute growth to some human cleverness or communication, rather than simply attributing it to the mercy and grace of God.
Fourth, while there are different tasks, there is one purpose. There is a unity to the purpose of all true servants of God, to build up God’s house, God’s people. We should emphasize this common purpose.
Fifth, we should be careful how we build on God’s foundation, which is Jesus Christ. Paul does not specify exactly what it means to build with gold and silver (rather than hay or straw), but from the rest of his ministry and writings, we can know that he means building with truth, godly character, God’s Word and in the Spirit. That is, we are building with precious commitment to the gospel and a life that is in accord with that gospel.
Sixth, there is a judgment coming for our work. A real Christian will be saved, but still our work is going to be tested. This is a sobering and important reminder for all Christian workers. Not only are we working for the Lord, not for people, but our work is also going to be ultimately tested by the Lord, not by people. This should give us confidence to serve people without living in the fear of people, and also cause us to serve well and truly, with godly character and godly truth.
Seventh, boasting about leaders and the parties that immature Christians can gather around different kinds of leaders may seem wise, but it is really foolish. Be done with that, Paul is saying! Why? Everything is yours anyway. Foolish divisiveness in church life comes out of a lack of maturity, which is countered by a mature realization that in Christ: “all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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