Summary: This sermon identifies qualities that will keep you focused when other things distract you.
Do you ever find yourself distracted in your efforts to serve the Lord Jesus? Many things will distract you: people, conflict, time pressures, trials and the like. This is similar to what happens when a jet flies over a baseball field where a group of children are practicing baseball. In spite of the coaches best efforts he will be unable to keep those children focused. There must be times when the Lord is frustrated by our inability to focus as we seek to serve Him. What can we do? We find guidance in I Cor. 3:5-11. " Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." The believers in Corinth were distracted by (what I call) "preacheritis." The people were distracted by playing the game of favoritism. Many of them chose a favorite preacher and were divided by their loyalties. They were distracted. In the context of this passage Paul gives some solid Biblical advice that still stands today. I have identified three pieces of advice he gave.
1. The first piece of advice is: adopt a spiritual mind-set. In everything we do we have a choice of how we view it. Our view affects our mind-set. Our view will affect our behavior. In Corinthians Paul describes three mind-sets as it pertains to spiritual matters. There is the "natural" (1:14)mind-set. This is the view held by a lost man. There is the "carnal" (3:1-3)mind-set. This is the view held by the "carnal" Christian. A carnal Christian has accepted Christ but, in his immaturity, he thinks like an unbeliever. Finally, Paul describes the "spiritual" (2:16)mind-set. This is the person who filters everything through the mind of Christ. This is the WWJD believer. This person considers Jesus approach. What would he do in our situation?
2. The second piece of advice is to keep spiritual leaders in perspective. Paul taught believers to respect spiritual leaders but he also taught them to hold a proper view of spiritual leaders. In I Cor. 3:5-7 we find the proper view.
A. We should view spiritual leaders as a vehicle. Paul says that spiritual leaders are "but ministers through whom you believed." A minister is a vehicle whom God uses. A minister could be compared to a funnel. God pours his blessings through the minister.
B. We should view spiritual leaders as playing a role.
Paul said " I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." Every minister plays a role in our spiritual lives. Therefore, there should be no favoritism toward them. Each minister plays an important role in our lives.
3. The third piece of advice is to examine our foundation. " For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 3:11)
A. There can be improper foundations.
(1) Too attached to a spiritual leader
(2) Too attached to a particular church or
(3) Too affected by our circumstances- if our
circumstances are not right then we are not
An improper foundation will affect stability, character and our productivity.
B. The proper foundation is Jesus Christ. He must become our foundation, our focus and the filter through whom we view our world. There is much discussion these days concerning "world view." A proper "world view" places Jesus at the center of everything we do.
When we follow Paul’s advice we will be better prepared as we serve the Lord. We will stay focused!