Summary: We have a privileged partnership with God. This message explores that partnership.
A PRIVILEGED PARTNERSHIP
1 Cor. 3:6, 8-9
INTRO: “I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it; but God made it grow....Whether they plant or water, they work as a team....We are God’s fellow workers.”
This is a thrilling text. It declares a privileged partnership--a partnership with God! And in this partnership, “we are dependent on God.” “God giveth the increase!”
Furthermore, we are in partnership with each other. “I planted...Apollos watered.” So we are also dependent on each other!
We hear talk about the self-made man. There is no such thing! We drink from wells we have not dug. We learn from books we have not written. We are blessed by institutions we did not build. We are reared in families we did not establish. We are always dependent on one another.
Even as we gather here to worship, this is a corporate and cooperative experience. Each person brings a spirit into this service. That spirit spills over to others on the pew.
But the thrilling implication of this text is that God is dependent on us. God needs us to plant and water. Whatever spiritual harvest is accomplished cannot be produced by God alone! He needs not only our faith and worship but also our active labor and support.
God can never make a great church out of a body of believers without the active covenant, commitment, and willing sacrifice of the members of that church.
Ours is a privileged partnership. In the fellowship of this church we can be fellow workers with God.
I. PARTNERSHIP IN MISSION.
Our mission is the commission to “be witnesses...in Jerusalem and...Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This mission starts at our doorstep, our Jerusalem. I believe in the providence of God that has placed us here at this point in time--to carry out His mission in our world where we are. It is not by accident but by the providence of God that this church is located right here on this spot in the world. Not by accident but by the providence of God, you and I are here, today, as members of this church.
The apostle Paul had this same sense of providential mission that everything that had happened in his life--jailings, rejections, shipwrecks, diversions--all were for the “furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1: 12) as God worked in him and through him in every circumstance of life.
Joseph, in Egypt, said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, “It was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:7-8). The providence of the living God has put you and me here, together, in this church, today, that He might commission us in this partnership in mission.
II. PARTNERSHIP IN MESSAGE.
All of our ministries focus on one ultimate objective, the message of the gospel, the good news in Jesus Christ.
Our message is unashamedly evangelistic. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and urge all persons to repent of their sins, believe on Him, and make a personal commitment of their lives to Him.
Ours is a message of reconciliation. Every activity, every function, every program of our church comet to focus on this ultimate declaration and demonstration of the message of good news in Jesus Christ.
III. PARTNERSHIP IN A METHOD.
In this privileged partnership as workers together, God has made a covenant with us and promised to bless us if we would use His method for accomplishing and carrying out the mission and ministry of His church.
We usually think of this as being our responsibility to tithe. This is true, but there is much more to fulfilling our partnership with God. The tithe is only one part of our partnership. We must bring our talents and abilities to God as well, and put them to use in fulfilling our partnership responsibility.
CONC: On December 22, 1899, the evangelist D. L. Moody lay dying. His first job had been as a shoe clerk in Boston, gathering eighteen ragged boys off the street to organize a Sunday school class. In two years the class had grown to fifteen hundred. In his lifetime Moody was to take two continents in his hands and shake them for God. As he died, he left this epitaph written on the flyleaf of his Bible, “If God be your partner, make your plans big.”