Summary: Paul tackles the spiritual immaturity of the Corinthian believers...HEAD ON!
Date Written: February 28, 2014
Date Preached: March 02, 2014
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: A Series from 1 Corinthians
Sermon Title: We are a TEAM - Stay Humble
Sermon Text: 1 Cor 3:1-9 [ESV]
So far in our journey through this letter from Paul to the church in Corinth we have learned that it was a fellowship that was struggling with many things, mainly they had strayed from the directness and simplicity of the Gospel message.
Paul’s letter is one that takes them to task for their straying BUT it also a letter that reaffirms their faith and their walk in Christ! Paul calls them ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ and Paul lifts them up with his words of encouragement…
We find that Paul uses the term ‘we’ in regards to serving Christ which meant that Paul had NOT abandoned them… that Paul believed they were still a fellowship that could serve God in a productive manner!
How often do we look down on those in the faith who have struggled and have fallen to temptation or to the message of this world? How often have we written off someone we know in the church because they just were not living like we thought they should or because they strayed or stumbled in their walk?
We must look at the example here by Paul and we must act accordingly as LEADERS in the church and as a church fellowship as well. I know that as I studied this passage of Scripture I was highly convicted on what I have thought about and how I have acted toward several of you here in this very room…
For that I want to repent right now… I want to beg YOUR forgiveness as well as God’s forgiveness!
You see when we judge in such a way, we destroy the unity of a fellowship! When we judge in such a way it reveals our own immaturity of faith! Jesus was PERFECT and we find Him constantly encouraging and lifting up those who followed Him… He did not berate them or tear them down… he would admonish them when needed but he would do so in a loving manner!
This is what I see Paul doing here in 1 Corinthians! Many see this as a letter filled with anger, but what I see is love, what I see is a heart that cares for his fellow brothers and sisters!
Like Jesus, Paul led by example and thru love…and it is my desire that I lead this church in the same manner…and that we ALL treat each other with the love that is shown in THIS letter from Paul to his brothers and sisters in Corinth!
Turn with me now and I want us to look at the 1st 9 verses of Ch3 and see just how Paul led in a time such as this! Read all 9 verses here…
1But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.
We find Paul taking the Corinthians to task about their pettiness and spiritually infantile behavior. He paints a rather bleak picture about what WAS the situation, but Paul does NOT do this to grind them into the dust, but to spur them to repent and seek to live as they have been called to live by God. When I look at these 9 verses I see Paul writing about the immaturity of the believers in Corinth… Paul desired to:
1. Reveals their immaturity
2. Rebukes their immaturity
3. Recasts their immaturity in another direction… toward MATURITY
Let’s look at v1-3 and see how Paul reveals the immaturity of the believers in Corinth:
Immature Faith Revealed … v1-3
1But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?