Summary: When a Christian is born again receives spiritual nourishment on the Word of God. As a baby is first fed with milk and latter in life as the baby grows starts eating solid food. Paul is telling the Christians of Corinth that their normal development stopp
Today we continue studying the book of 1st Corinthians
Last week we read that the Church of Corinth was struggling with a problem of division. People where tearing the congregation apart by choosing factions. Chapter one addresses this issue. Chapter 2 talks about the importance of the preaching of the gospel and the wisdom that God gives us by his Spirit.
Today we're going to study this book even deeper as Paul exposes the reason why there where divisions in the Church and establishes the need for Apostolic Authority as the way to re-establish order in the Corinthian Church.
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
3 for 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?
4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
A. Spiritual people versus People of the flesh
Paul is not very polite as he addresses the problem and calls things by their names. He tells the congregation that they are:
1. People of the flesh
2. Infants in Christ
When a Christian is born again receives spiritual nourishment on the Word of God. As a baby is first fed with milk and latter in life as the baby grows starts eating solid food. Paul is telling the Christians of Corinth that their normal development stopped and they remained as spiritual babies instead of allowing their spirit to develop to maturity.
Christian service is about partnership and not rivalry! Church is not a place to attend but a place to serve. We have too many Christians that “attend” to services but do not serve the Lord.
B. The Apostle builds a foundation then others build upon it
8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.
11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The foundation which is Jesus Christ is established by Apostolic authority. The Church is then called to built upon it.
This statement is not a doctrinal issue but a practical matter. There are plenty of situations in which a Church can have the wrong foundation.
- Churches with a fellowship foundation. Everything they do is centered in social events, dinners, tea parties, fellowship retreats, small group gatherings with the purpose of fellowship, etc.
- Churches with a "Bless me" foundation. All the activities are centered in receiving and getting. Receive the anointing, receive the gifts, receive prosperity, receive encouragement, receive deliverance. People are not encourage to give anything else than their money to support the ministry.
- Churches with a leadership foundation. Everything they do is centered in promoting the leaders
C. Tested by fire - God tests to approve and not to condemn
Paul then warns that their work for the Lord will be put to the test. After Abraham had walked with God for over 50 years, he was tested to go to a higher level. "After these things, that God did test Abraham" (Genesis 22:1). God still had lessons to teach him. There is a principle of approval. God did not test Abraham to break him, but to approve him. The Underwriters Laboratory tests thousands of products to demonstrate that they are good and durable.
12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
We read that God's reward is given after the test of fire. What is this test of fire?
Hebrews 12:29 "for our God is a consuming fire."
Deuteronomy 4: "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."