Summary: Are the people in your church playing games? Paul has the solution.
GAMES CHURCH FOLK PLAY
INTRO: Some victories are too costly — a Pyrrhic victory! Pyrrhus was king of Epirus about three hundred years before Christ’s birth. Had he been born in a powerful country, he may have stood out today as does Alexander the Great and Napoleon. However, one of his victories over the Romans cost him dearly in men and equipment. Another battle like that would have wiped him out. A Pyrrhic victory means you lose even if you win!
In Corinth, problems abounded. Many folks were playing games that can only mean Pyrrhic victory. They need to remember Solomon’s words (Prov. 18:19). And Jesus’ words in Mark 3:25. The war games of Corinth church meant heavy casualties. Let us look at the games in context and as they apply to us.
I. THE FAME GAME (1:12; 3:21-23).
These early Christians aligned with their human hero. It is easy to allow ministry to be personified by individuals with charisma rather than by Jesus. Some folks like the last pastor, some like a favorite evangelist who led them to Jesus in a revival meeting, others prefer the TV personality, and still others can’t wait for the next pastor. Paul called this immature childishness. Let’s serve Jesus and love all His servants.
II. THE BLAME GAME (3:9-15).
When things go wrong, it seems we naturally take heed how others build on the foundation rather than examine self. We are apt to call the work of others — merely because it is different — wood, hay, stubble.
III. THE SHAME GAME (4:10-17; 12:14-17).
The reason for this game is the struggle of weak and strong Christians. Instead of helping one another, some issue leads to “sides.” The weak must be built up. The mature are supposed to disciple, not just convert men. The immature cannot exempt themselves totally from service. There are the “little things” which must be done in faithfulness (cf. Luke 16:10).
IV. THE NAME GAME (1:26-29; 12:20-21).
The power struggle of pride causes many casualties. For example, the “eye” convinces himself of his superiority every time he looks in the mirror and, thus, he tries to convince everyone else when the church gathers. The old advice of Paul seems appropriate, “No flesh should glory in his [God’s] presence” (v. 29).
V. THE SAME GAME (1:10; 3:6-9).
The people of God must love one another. The Christian who desires to be faithful plays by the rules of the “same game.” The premier rule is that love shall cover the multitude of sins (James 5:20), for love is the greatest.
Out of love comes worship, witness, and work which pleases Jesus. When we glorify the Savior and use our gifts in service, the saints will grow in spirit.
CONC: Brothers and sisters, “We are laborers together with God!”