Summary: Message 9 in our exposition of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians continuing a discussion of partnering with others in the building of God's kingdom.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Serving in Partnership with Each other” Careful Construction
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
A. Reproof concerning divisions 1-4
1. Opening appeal for unity 1:10-17
2. The Biblical foundation for Unity 1:18-4:5
a) Focus on the priority of Christ and the cross 1:18-31
b) Depend on the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit 2:1-3:4
c) Faithfully serve as partners for the Kingdom of God 3:6-4:5
(1) We are all servants of the same God. 3:5
Everybody has a job to do so keep focused on your part.
(2) Only God generates growth
Only God generates growth so make sure He gets the credit.
(3) All the servants function as one in the mission. 3:8a
Everyone plays for the same team so focus on the growth of the kingdom.
We must learn to serve as partners embracing ONE mission under ONE Commander.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Ephes. 4:1-7
How can we live worthy of our remarkable enlistment on the winning team?
1. By forbearing one another in love
2. By being eager to preserve or guard the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The manner is…
• With all humility
• With all gentleness
• With long suffering
Why, because we all part of the SAME body.
Poke your eye out and the rest of the body feels it.
Slam your finger in the door and the rest of the body feels it.
Neglect your part in the body and the rest must compensate.
One part of the body allows infection and the rest is in jeopardy.
We must forbear the other members. We must protect the unity of the whole.
We cannot ignore parts of the body because we think we are more important. (Humility)
We cannot run roughshod over other parts of the body and treat them harshly. (Gentleness)
We cannot be short-tempered with the other parts and cut them off. (Long suffering)
Failure to walk in love only damages the whole. We only hurt ourselves.
Like baseball, errors are a part of life. Over time, errors are expected. We seek to improve our walk. We encourage one another when we mess up. We try to maintain team morale in the face of loss and error.
IN the body of Christ we are spiritual connected to one another so that…
He who plants and he who waters are one (team).
Even though we are one team and each member holds a different role on the team…
(4) Each servant will be individually rewarded for faithful service
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 1 Cor. 3:8-9
Even though God unites us in partnership in the mission, each one will be individually responsible and rewarded according to his own toil or labor. If God gifts more, God expects more. God enables you to invest $10 a month for the kingdom. You feel guilty because you see someone else investing $1,000 a month in the Kingdom. What you may not realize is that God actually wanted to channel $5000 a month for kingdom investment through that person and they only channeled $1000. You gave all of the money God asked you to give. Who will have the greater reward? Not only will you have the greater reward but that person was actually stealing from God.
Jesus reinforced this very same principle in Mark 12:42-44. Jesus also taught this same principle in the parable of the ten talents. Jesus’ expectations always correspond with his gifting. Those who are greatly gifted shouldn’t assume they are more successful than others because their output seems greater. You may not be fully operating according to your gifting. Those who are less gifted or at a different point in life shouldn’t assume that they are substandard or are failing. You may be serving beyond God’s expectations. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and keep our focus on serving Christ to our greatest potential there is much less opportunity or inclination to squabble or criticize one another.