Summary: Sermon for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany
1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 9 / Are You Ready For Solid Food?
Intro: A group of tourists had stopped to visit in a rather picturesque village. They happened across an elderly man who was sitting on a bench in the town square. One of the tourists asked, “Were any great men born here/” --- Without hesitation the old gentlemen answered, “Nope, just babies!”
I. When you were a child, didn’t it seem that it was taking forever to “grow up?” I remember a teacher in high school saying that our freshman year would seem to drag on forever; but, our senior year would seem as though we walked through the front door and out the back in the same day and from that day on each year would seem to move faster than the previous one. We don’t start life as mature adults. Neither do we start our Christian pilgrimage as mature Christians.
A. VS. 1 – 2 Paul questions the spiritual maturity of the people in Corinth. He points out that the people in Corinth are choosing up sides and pointing fingers at each other. There is dissension based on personalities and factions. They are acting like rebellious children.
B. Every church I’ve ever served has had an “elephant in the sanctuary.” By that, I mean an issue that no one talks about openly; but, everyone knows it is there which usually results in choosing sides and pointing fingers.
C. How we as individuals deal with it says a lot about our spiritual maturity. We don’t always have to agree on every issue. HOWEVER, WE MUST LEARN TO ACCEPT AND LOVE EACH OTHER AS CHILDREN OF GOD, AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST. When we are able to do that, we are mature in our faith. HOW MATURE ARE YOU?
II. VS. 3 Paul charges the Corinthians with immaturity because they harbor jealousy and envy.
A. A jealous person puts others down with harmful words and actions. A jealous and envious person rejoices when others hurt and feel hurt when others rejoice.
B. Spiritually immature people are entangled in quarrelling and strife. They are competitive, argumentative, trouble making. They may want to be in control or be recognized. They may be a diligent church attender or a church officer; but, they are not a person that honors God first and foremost. The spiritually immature person is easily upset and offended, quick to pout, quick to blame others for their problems, and must be burped often and handled with delicate gloves.
C. Showing kindness toward those who have hurt you or despitefully used you shows a sign of maturity. Our loyalty should not be to any one person or group. Those who are spiritually mature are they whose ultimately loyalty is to God. Every church I’ve ever served has had an “elephant in the sanctuary.” By that, I mean an issue that no one talks about openly; but, everyone knows it is there which usually results in choosing sides and pointing fingers. VS. 7 “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
III. What happens when there is no spiritual growth or when overtime we do not mature? What happens when we remain in the same condition we were in last year or 20 years ago? What happens when years after accepting Christ our lives are no different?
A. Spiritual maturity is a life-long process. But, it is easier to quit than to endure. It’s easier to walk out of an argument than to stay and work through the conflict.
B. It’s easier to do what you want to do with your life than kneel before God, turn your life over to God and wait patiently for God to lead you.
C. VS. 8 – 9 “The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Conclu: The mere passing of time brings neither secular nor spiritual maturity. Maturity has more to it than age, experience or education. Secular or spiritual maturity has to do with an attitude to life, with an ability to deal with the real world, to accept the limitations of life, and the variety of gifts that people bring. Until you are able to give your life over completely to God and let God do the leading, seeking God’s will above everything else, you are not ready for solid food nor are you spiritually mature.