Summary: If we do not grow, then we will not be able to build the things that God has willed for us to build.
GROWING AND BUILDING
Text: I Corinthians 3:1 – 9
In this passage of scripture Paul talks about both growing and building. Paul is telling the people of Corinth that if they do not grow, they will not make progress. Obviously, God did not intend for infants to be stuck in their infancy. As someone (Elisabeth Elliot) put it, “God wants no Dwarfs”. She explains that God let us encounter things to challenge our growth. She goes on to explain what Paul meant: God “… could have eliminated the loopholes, prevented all the schisms over morality and false teaching that have plagued His Church for two thousand years. Think of the squabbling and perplexity we would have been spared. And think of the crop of dwarfs He would have reared! He did not spare us. He wants us to reach maturity. He has so arranged things that if we are to go on beyond the “milk diet” we shall be forced to think.” (Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 2005, QuickVerse. All rights reserved.: Source of Origin: TODAY’S BEST ILLUSTRATIONS, VOLUMES 1-4. Compiled by Elesha Hodge). Paul was clear. If Christians do not move beyond the things or infancy, then they cannot go forward. Or, as Paul would say in relating Ephesians 2:10: “they would not be able to go on to do the things that God had prepared in advance for them to do.” It is easy to think of what Paul is saying as it was addressed to the people of Corinth. But, the question we must ask ourselves is how do all these things relate to us? Are there areas in our spiritual lives where we have not been weaned off our milk diet? What Paul is saying if that if we do not grow, then we will not be able to build the things that God has willed for us to build.
Paul addresses the source of the problems. 1) Problems: What are the problems? Are the problems personnel matters or personal matters? According to Paul the problem is both personnel and personal. 2) Flesh vs. the Spirit: Jealousy and quarrelling are matters of the flesh that can and will hinder the spiritual growth and potential of the Body of Christ!
Paul was telling the people of Corinth that it is God who gets the glory. 1) Misplaced Glory: Another problem that Paul points out in this passage of scripture is “misplaced glory”. Someone (Edith M. Humphrey) illustrated how the misplaced glory could be seen in a “mascot mentality”: “It is especially the lack of unity, and the cleaving to a particular human being as a “mascot” rather than to the Lord, that demonstrates how fallen humanity is still riddling the church (“I belong to Paul,… to Apollos”, v.4)”. (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. eds. Feasting On The Word. Year A, Volume 4. Edith M. Humphrey. “Exegetical Perspective”. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010, p. 353). 2) Glory in its proper place: It is beyond obvious that the glory belongs to God.
Paul tells us we cannot operate spiritually, apart from the Holy Spirit.