Summary: Message 10 in our exposition of Paul's first 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”
NOTE: Since we failed to complete the material from last week’s message I will not reproduce it all here but only include some new thoughts not in last week’s notes. If you want the whole thing you will need last week AND this week.
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) We are all servants of the same God. 3:5
Everybody has a job to do so keep focused on your part.
(2) Only God generates growth
Only God generates growth so make sure He gets the credit.
(3) All the servants function as one in the mission. 3:8a
(4) Each servant will be individually responsible and rewarded
Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 1 Cor. 3:8-9
Even we are partners in ministry for God; each one will be individually responsible and rewarded according to his own labor as well as gifting and heart motives. Jesus’ expectations always coincide with his gifting. Jesus rewards are for our labor. Those granted greater gifting shouldn’t assume they are more successful than others because their output seems greater. They may not be operating according to the full potential of their gifting. Those less gifted or at a different point in life shouldn’t assume that they are substandard or failing. They may be serving beyond God’s expectations. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and keep our focus on serving Christ to our greatest potential, there will be far less opportunity or inclination to squabble or criticize one another. Paul continued his discussion about him and Apollos by referring to them as fellow labors with each other at God’s direction. We are God’s workers. Their job was to work in the field (the Corinthians) and construct the building (the Corinthians).
“For we are God's fellow workers (laborers); you are God's field, God's building!”
They weren’t Paul or Apollos’ field or building. They were God’s field and building. Paul and Apollos were merely God’s paid laborers in the field. Paul continued to demonstrate the fallacy of developing cliques around individuals. It’s God’s project. It’s God’s workers.
Only if all of today’s ministry workers would get a grip on this truth and stop trying to build THEIR ministry, lead THEIR people, build THEIR building, establish THEIR monument and legacy.
God had some harsh words for shepherds who fed off the flock for their own personal gratification in Ezekiel 34:2-10. People are like a field that bears fruit for God. People are like a building that serves a special function. When we keep our focus on our own faithful service there isn’t time to worry how others are doing. Paul specifies what kind of faithful service is required and rewarded.
(a) Be careful how you build 3:10-17
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Therefore Paul urged EACH PERSON to be a careful builder. Yes Jesus said HE would build His church but we are His workers and must carry out our assignment with care.
First! The careful builder builds on the right foundation.
But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Every aspect of the kingdom must be founded on Jesus Christ; His person, work, and teaching. Jesus left instructions to His disciples, his Laborers, His builders to disciple people of all nations, baptizing them and teaching His truth. Any ministry must be firmly founded on Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If the foundation is off the building is off. Some ministries today build on foundations other than Christ. They may use His name and sing about Him but he isn’t the foundation of their existence. Even though we partner with one another as laborers in God’s field and building there is individual responsibility and reward for faithful service. Part of faithful service is to build everything around Jesus Christ. Every aspect of what we do on this earth should draw attention to Christ not individuals. God’s chosen vehicle to reflect His glory is the church; believers, Christians.