Summary: A sermon on growing up spiritually in Christ.
“God is in Charge of the Kitchen”
Many have noted that we live in a culture that does not want to grow up.
People dread the mere idea of aging.
Yet, if you just happen to be blessed to live another day, you will get older.
Many parents forsake their role as being “the grown up in the room” in order to be “buddies” with their children.
And who pays for this?
The children, but the parents as well.
I mean, since when was it a great thing to remain a naïve, immature, self-seeking youngster all of one’s life?
Last time I checked, being a teen and a twenty something wasn’t all fun and games.
It was often painful.
And at those ages all we wanted to do was grow up!!!
In our Scripture Lesson for this evening, Paul is addressing a Church that doesn’t want to grow up.
He says that they are “worldly—mere infants in Christ.”
As a matter of fact, they are so immature that Paul has to feed them milk from a bottle rather than “solid food” such as filet mignon and barbeque ribs.
That doesn’t sound like much fun does it?
Kinda puts things into perspective.
It’s good to grow up.
And in order to grow up, we have to go through changes.
For instance, as a small child you might enjoy and receive much stimulation from playing with matchbox cars and Barbie Dolls.
And board games such as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders will entertain, excite and keep you happily occupied for hours.
As an adult, this stuff is boring.
But that’s a good thing.
Because we change and move on to more substantial things…
…more challenging things.
Stuff that makes a bigger difference in the world and stimulates and challenges us in the process.
In our Scripture Lesson Paul writes,
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”
If this is true, what implications does it have on the way we approach growing spiritually?
Have you ever been frustrated by how little you seem to grow, or how slowly?
How many times have you found yourself in the same old kind of mess you were dealing with 20 years ago, and had to ask yourself: “Haven’t I learned a thing?”
In our Scripture passage Paul has just been talking about the difference between the person who is spiritual, and who can therefore understand spiritual truths…
…and the person whose interests and goals don’t go beyond physical life, and who, therefore is unable to grasp spiritual truth.
And Paul now is accusing the Corinthian Christians of still being in the physical stage!!!
Of course, we are all made of flesh, but we are not to stay that way.
Now what does that mean?
It means that we, who are made of flesh, need not be dominated by the flesh if we have the Spirit of God living in us by faith!!!
And flesh is much more than just a physical thing.
Flesh is human nature apart from God…
…it’s that part of us, both mental and physical, that provides the point of entry for sin.
And sin is what separates us from God, from God’s purposes and stunts our growth!
Say a person becomes a Christian as a teenager, but fails to live according to God’s Spirit…
…perhaps they try every once and a while, but they keep sliding back into the same habits, hatreds, jealousies, selfish actions and so forth.
That person could go their whole life needing “spiritual diapers.”
There is no need to waste it in the Crib.
Paul tells the Christians in Corinth that they have allowed the lower side of their nature to dominate their outlook and actions.
They’ve broken-up into clicks.
But you can’t grow that way!
Some of them claim to be followers of “Paul” and others of “Apollos”…
…and they fight about who is greater.
And nothing gets accomplished.
You see, Paul founded the Church in Corinth and then Apollos came encouraging those who had become believers through Paul’s work.
But Paul is telling them that he and Apollos are merely “servants, through whom” they came to believe.
And the word for “servant” which Paul uses here, unlike the word “slave,” can mean “the one who waits at table.”
In other words, Paul and Apollos are simply the waiters at the table…
…the people who serve the food…
…While God is responsible for choosing the food and cooking it.
And you shouldn’t make a fuss about which waiter brings the food to your table.
What matters is that God is in charge of the kitchen!!!
And this is extremely important, because Paul is basically saying that “you can tell what a person’s relationship with God is like by looking at the way that person interacts with others.”