Sermons

Summary: This sermon shows us some important things in preserving unity in the church.

Some Cures For Divisions In The Church

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you? [17] If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. [18] Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. [19] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “{He is} the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; [20] and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” [21] So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, [22] whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, [23] and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” (NASB).

In this third chapter of First Corinthians, Paul continued his discussion on divisions in the church. In verses ten through fifteen, Paul let his readers know that all workers in the church will be rewarded for their labors. However, all workers will not be rewarded at the same level. This is so because all workers do not produce the same quality of work.

There are some workers who produce a superior quality of work that may be pictured as gold, silver or precious stones. There are others who produce an inferior quality of work that may be pictured as wood, hay and straw. There will be some whose works will be so inferior in quality that their works will be burned in the day of judgment and the worker will be saved. The saved worker will however, have the smell of smoke in his clothes. This means the worker will be barely saved.

In our efforts to produce works of gold, silver and precious stones, we must be sure that we have the right motives for doing what we do. If we do a right thing with the wrong motive, the good of what we did will be ruined in the sight of God.

Paul wanted these Corinthians to know that there will be many things done in the name of God that will not stand in the day of judgment. There are many things that will be done in the name of God that are inferior in quality based on God’s standards.

There are many works that seem to be of high quality that are in reality wood, hay and straw. This is so because the workers are doing things that are outside of God’s will for their lives. This is a reminder of the fact that God does not honor our work just because we are sincere and hardworking. God honors that work that he has assigned to our hearts and hands.

I. Properly Evaluating The Church, 16-17.

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you? [17] If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”

In verse five of this chapter, Paul began to try and redirect the focus of the Corinthians from church leaders to God. Paul said to the Corinthians that he and Apollos were only instruments used by God to lead them to believe the gospel. Here in verses sixteen and seventeen, Paul was trying to raise the level of understanding of the church in the minds of the Corinthians. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that the church is the temple of God.

Paul asked the question in verse sixteen because the Corinthians had not perceived who they are and their relationship with God. Paul asked, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Every Christian is a temple of God (6:19). Therefore, every church is a temple of God. Paul was warning the Corinthians against defiling the temple of God with inferior materials. The temple of God is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Those who destroy the temple of God will be destroyed by God. This is a further statement concerning the lack of rewards for workers who produce inferior works.

This means that members of a church must be very careful how they bring about division in the church. God will not allow them to go unpunished. The church belongs to God and any divisions people bring into the church is an act against God.

II. Properly Evaluating Self, 18-20.

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. [19] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “{He is} the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; [20] and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.””

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