Summary: Message 11 in our exposition of Paul's letter to the Corinthians continuing the discussion of building the kingdom.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Serve as Partners for the Kingdom of God” I Corinthians 3:18-4:21
The church is not about location but relationships.
We love noth¬ing better than to erect buildings and develop sprawling ecclesiastical campuses. The church is not about locationships: It's about vocation¬ships and relationships. Christianity is at its core an itinerant and a relational gospel. Jesus walked and talked - "Can you hear me now?" - and the early church did its evange¬lizing in the marketplace.
Paul understood that and appeals for the church to take seriously the command of Jesus to love one another as He loves us. God established that one characteristic as the irrefutable evidence of a people connected to Him.
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) All are servants of the same Master 3:5 -- So keep focused on your part.
(2) God alone generates growth So make sure He gets the credit.
(3) All Play on the same team 3:8a So focus on kingdom growth
(4) Each servant will be individually responsible and rewarded
Paul made three points each individual servant should take into account.
? Be careful how you build.
? Be careful to keep humble minded.
? Be careful about judging one another.
(a) Be careful how you build 3:10-17
First! The careful builder builds on the right foundation.
Second! The careful builder builds with the right materials.
Third! Protect the building (temple).
(b) Be careful to keep humble minded 3:18-23
A faithful servant is not only careful how he builds but is careful to keep humble minded.
?Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS."
?So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.
We don’t have to be smarter, or wiser, or think we are better or have all the answers. The reality is that all human wisdom is foolishness before God. Boasting in men is not only futile but foolish. “Become foolish” has to do with giving up the notion that we can figure anything our and seek to apply the wisdom of God. Acknowledge that all wisdom comes from Christ. In Him alone are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. There is no competition in the body because we all share the riches of Christ together. All things belong to everybody and we all belong to Christ and there for no reason to squabble over “stuff.” There is plenty to go around. Only when we become proud and self-serving and greedy do struggles and divisions arise.
Pride started the whole mess in the first place. Paul in one grand stroke eliminates all ground for pride in the Christian community. We all have equal access to all things; we all belong to Christ who belongs to God. Paul describes a completely interconnected community.
The other half of not considering ourselves better than others is to not judge others as worse than ourselves.
(c) Be careful about judging God’s servants 4:1-5
We are all servants of God. We all must concentrate on our own faithfulness and not worry about others. Let God take care of His own servants.
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
Here are the three irreducible qualifications for service to Christ.
• Servant of Christ
• Steward of the truth of God
• Faithfulness - trustworthy, dependable
The only one to accurately evaluate these is Christ.
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.