Summary: Building or planting, you can be a snob or a servant. See the cure for snobs, and the cudos for servants.
November 18, 2001
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God¡¦s husbandry, ye are God¡¦s building. 10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man¡¦s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man¡¦s work of what sort it is. 14If any man¡¦s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man¡¦s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23And ye are Christ¡¦s; and Christ is God¡¦s.
Thanksgiving is again upon us. This year I trust we will not be like the young man who was slow, and the town council wanted to help him with his dignity in "earning" a living. So they gave him the job of polishing the cannon on the town square. Each day the young man polished for eight hours.
About three years went by and the fellow came to the town supervisor and told him "I quit." The super, knowing the young man¡¦s limitations wanted to know how he was going to support himself. "Easy," said he, "I have worked hard these past three years; and I¡¦ve saved my money, and this morning I bought my own cannon. I¡¦m going into business for myself."
The church at Corinth must have been full of ¡§cannon-polishers¡¨. They had made wonderful progress, but a divisive spirit had developed amidst the progress.
Paul made particular mention of their salvation, spiritual gifts, and wonderful reception of God¡¦s work among them (1 Co 1.1-9), but had to point out their factiousness:
„Y Some folks were saying ¡§We¡¦ve learned that following Paul is best; he¡¦s the one we ought to pattern our ministry after. Paul is the evangelism and church-planting king.¡¨
„Y Some were saying, ¡§No, Apollos is our man.¡¨ We like his brand of deeper-life teaching. Evangelism and witnessing isn¡¦t for us.¡¨
„Y Some said, ¡§Have you forgotten Peter? He¡¦s the real leader of the church. We need to stay with traditions Peter taught.¡¨
„Y There were even some who said, ¡§You¡¦re all nuts ¡V we follow Jesus only. We won¡¦t be accountable to anyone ¡V won¡¦t work with anyone. We¡¦ll just sit at Jesus¡¦ feet.¡¨
Sometimes progress is actually the cause of division.
In following Paul, you can get the idea (like the Corinthian ¡§Paul¡¨ group), that freedom in Christ allows you to do anything you like; liberty means license. People like that live morally-questionable lives that make unbelievers wonder what is so different about being a Christian.
In following Apollos you can become a learning freak, never doing. Most so-called spiritual giants are great at talking about how spiritual they are, and how immature others are ¡V instead of seeing how little they really do! That is religious snobbery at its¡¦ most dangerous.