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GOD GIVES THE INCREASE

(8)

Sermon shared by Seth Aryee

November 2000
Summary: For very obvious reasons, we are all members of society, and because we are, we are interrelated and interdependent. We are relational beings. The relationships we build have tremendous potential for development, or they have terrible possibilities for
Denomination: Methodist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
In writing to the Church in Corinth, Paul had to deal with basic fundamental problems. There was among that congregation issues around ENVY, STRIFE, AND DIVISIONS. These people were wrong in thought, word, and deed.

Envying refers to the state of their souls; they had inward grudges and disaffection towards each other.

Strife or ’contention’ refers to their words; they were continually disputing and contending whose grouping was the best, each endeavouring to prove that he and his group were right

Divisions refers to their conduct; as they could not agree, they contended till they separated from each other, and thus rent the Church of Christ

Thus the envying and grudging led to strife and evil speaking, and this led to divisions. This means, they were acting just as the people of the world, and have no more of the spirit of religion than the people of the world, whom they were expected to win for Christ

There were four main parties in Corinth [1 Corinthians 1:12]
· PAULIANS - followers of Paul, because he founded the Church [Acts 18:1-7] and because he was a special apostle to the Gentiles [Romans 11:13]
· APOLLONIANS - followers of Apollos because of his eloquence [Acts 18:24 - 19:1]
· CEPHIANS - followers of Peter, because he was the apostle of the Jews [Galatians 2:7-10]
· CHRISTIANS - followers of Christ, because they would have nothing to do with parties that followed men

Divisions may occur in the nation, Church, business, society, families, and any other relationships. There may be also sub-sets within the Church where such divisions may also be articulated. Matters of doctrine, tribe, creed, race, colour, language, status, position, wealth, personality, etc. may destructively also rear their ugly heads in any human endeavour

Paul traced the root cause of these divisions to immaturity associated with babies. We identify two basic characteristics of babies:
· Dull of hearing [Hebrews 5:11]
· Unskillful in the word [Hebrews 5:13]

As babies, they had a life in Christ but it was weak. From the low state of their minds in religious knowledge, they were incapable of comprehending the higher truths of the Gospel. Even as babies,1 Peter 2:2 exhorts us thus: "As new born babies, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby". We can only grow into maturity in our Christian life when we leave pettiness behind us

The Apostle Paul exposes to them the unwholesomeness of their conduct in pretending to judge him and Apollos while at the same time they failed to understand the need for each one of them to work for God and God alone

Paul also described the Christians in Corinth as carnal or fleshly because they contended, argued, and fought for their teachers who were only workers for God, to whom alone they must give account in the day of judgement. The flesh includes all feelings that aim not at the glory of God, and the good of our neighbour, but at gratifying self

In addressing the Church in Corinth, Paul examined two basic issues in the text that I have chosen today: "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase" [1 Corinthians 3:6]. He examined the human factor and the God factor

The human factor centered on the planting by Paul and the watering by Apollos. Although they each performed different functions, the two apostles received the same doctrine, preached
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