CALLED BY GOD
1 Cor. 1:9-12, 3:4-8 NASB
The Corinthians self-image was of a spiritually mature congregation, endowed with all the spiritual gifts they needed, well taught and self-sufficient. In fact they were quite similar to many churches today, particularly those of an evangelical persuasion, let me say. They thought their learning and their experience of the gifts of God made them better than others. But as Paul looks at them he says "Mature? No!"
5 MAJOR REASONS WHY GOD CALLED US HERE
I. The first reason is UNITY (1:10-12)
Psalm 133:1-2- How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:14
The story is told about a man who survived for twenty years on a deserted island. When they found him they were astonished to see all that he had created. Left to his own, he had created a self-sufficient habitat with everything he needed to live comfortably.
As they toured the island they noticed all the impressive structures he made. In one corner of the island was a grand building overlooking the lagoon which he called, “Home.” Across the lagoon was a tall white building with a spire that reached up to the sky. ETC.
There’s a certain degree of truth to that story. It captures the spirit of Christian individualism. Our culture does not encourage commitment - not in marriage, not in the workplace and certainly not in the church. We live in a world where the only thing most people are willing to commit to is having things their way.
That was the problem at the church in Corinth. One group of people valued the leadership of Paul. They would say, “Paul is our man. He started the church. We like the one who started it all!” Another valued the gifts of Peter over Paul. They felt Paul was inferior. They claimed Peter is the “Rock.” “Why would you listen to anyone other than the man upon whom Jesus said He will build His church?” Yet another said, “You all have it all wrong! Apollos is the real man. He is cultured, he is an Alexandrian! He is gifted in ways Paul and Peter could never imagine.”
No, the people of Corinth allowed personal preference to get in the way of unity. The rescuer asked, “What’s that building?”
It’s a common but sad story. Churches all over the country are torn apart, not by issues of doctrine or theology, but the color of the carpet, the style of music or personality conflicts. And in the process the church stops being the church and looks more like a country club; a place where people gather together because of their similarities, they all cheered for the same leader. And in other ways they became more like a city council meeting; a place where everyone is intent on protecting their turf at all cost. “Oh,” the castaway said, “that’s my church.”
I am of
Matt. 12:25 “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
Every kingdom, city, country, home, church, etc. divided against itself will be ruined or will fall.
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL is a song by a man named John Dickinson in what is called “The Liberty Song” (1768). “Then join hand in hand, by uniting we stand, dividing we fall.”
Christians have differences of opinion about many things but they must work together as best for Christ.
The Lord’s church must be known for her love, not her fighting.
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Maxwell Perkins, editor, once wrote, "One of my deepest convictions is that the terrible harms that are done in this world are not done by deliberately evil people... They are done by the good people--by those who are so sure that God is with them. Nothing can stop them; for they are certain that they are right.”
One of the reasons for fighting in our churches is that certain people think they are always right about everything and they become very legalistic about it. “It’s my way or the highway!”
Story: A man who couldn’t swim went fishing with his friend and after awhile caught a really big fish. He was so excited about catching such a big fish that he leaned too far over and fell into the water. “Help! Save Me! Help! Save Me!”
His friend reached out and was going to grab him by the hair and get him into the boat. But the man’s toupee came off and he slipped back into the water. He came up again and yelled, “Help! Save me!” This time his friend grabbed him by the arm. As he pulled on his arm, it came off because it was an artificial limb. The man continued to kick and thrash around. The friend reached out and managed to grab a leg and as he pulled on it, it came off. It was a wooden leg. As the man continued to splash, calling out for help his friend disgustedly said, “How can I help you if you won’t stick together?”
Sometimes God has a difficult time helping us with teamwork because we have a hard time “sticking together” as a team.
Instead of fighting, warring, arguing, and criticizing, we must work at building the church. We must work at building up one another, not tearing one another down. We must eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive. We must focus on the positive, instead of the negative.
Heb. 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men…”
Rom. 14:19 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
We are admonished in Scripture “to make every effort” to be at peace, to promote peace, to build up one another in the church, to edify, to maintain unity in the church.
II. The second reason is DIVERSITY (3:4, 6)
1 Cor 12:12 says “The body is a unit made up of many parts; and though it’s parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”
Paul writes to the Corinthian church that each one who has made a commitment to Christ is a valuable member of the body of Christ.
These Corinthians were getting all puffed up as one person could do one thing and someone else couldn’t. They were putting themselves above others because they saw that their gifting made them more important than someone else.
Yet Paul tells them that the body is made up of many individual, different, unique, diverse parts and that each one is important.
That person is not the same as you. They don’t look the same, they don’t talk the same, they don’t smell the same and they don’t do all the same things as you. They are not the same as you. They are themselves.
Even so called identical twins are not completely the same, they are individuals.
Each one of us is unique. We’re unique in our appearance, unique in our character, unique in our gifts, unique in our maturity, unique in our abilities and unique in so many other ways.
And you know what? You are the best person to be You! There’s no-one else who could be you any better than you. In the words of Carly Simon’s James Bond theme, Nobody does it better, nobody does it half as good as you, you’re the best!
So resentment born of a feeling of inferiority or arrogance arising from a sense of superiority are both out of place. “Because God did not made us the same”
Our roles are different, yet equally important. And that’s why I like the model that this congregation follows of laity involvement. Each person doing a job in this church is just as important as the next person.
Joe Phillips said it in last weeks business meeting: if we don’t do it folks, it doesn’t get done!
Read 1 Cor 12: 15-19
III. The third reason is OPPORTUNITY (3:5)
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
“As the Lord has assigned to each his task.”
The Lord called us here to serve him? Now, I ask you, what is your part in this church?
I read this humorous story of a guy who prayed this prayer every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him. The bus was nearly empty but this guy sat next to our praying friend. The timid Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus. But before he could get very nervous about the man next to him, the big guy burst into tears and began to weep. He then cried out with a loud voice, "I need to be saved. I’m a lost sinner and I need the Lord. Won’t somebody tell me how to be saved?" He turned to the Christian and pleaded, "Can you show me how to be saved?" The believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, is this a sign?"
Are you looking for a "sign" to start serving God?
According to the survey, an average of 15% of the church are overwork while the 85% has no work!
But the Bible said we all have given abilities: “To each according to his several ability.” Matt. 25:15 (ASV)
IV. The last reason is GLORY (3:7-8)
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
We are called here to the Lord and others for the Glory of God! This is our purpose in going here!
1 Cor. 10:31 ”So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
In the other translation it it read: “God who makes things grow. He is the One who is important.”(NIRV)
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 NLT
Hindi tayo naglilingkod sa church because of someone lese. We are here to glorify God.
Louis XIV of France: One Sunday when he and his royal party arrived at church, no one was there except Archbishop Fenelon, the court preacher. Surprised to see all the vacant seats, the King inquired, "Where is everybody?" Why isn’t anyone else present this morning?" The minister answered "I announced that Your Majesty would not be here today, because I wanted you to see who came to the service just to flatter you and who came to worship God."
Paul "We are not trying to please men by God…"
1 Thess. 2:4
Why do so many people struggle to consistently give God glory in all aspects of their personal lives, relationships and activities?
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:16
We are here to seek to glorify God we give Him all our homage, service and devotion in all ways. Jesus said, "I have glorify you, Father, on the earth, having accomplished the work, you have given me to do." (John 17:4) We can best glorify God by completing His will for life.
So remember this, my dear brethren. Our purpose in this place is summarized in four words: UNITY, DIVERSITY, OPPORTUNITY, GLORY
I these 4 words are not present in your hearts and minds when you go in the church every Sunday then there’s something wrong within you.
To God be the Glory!