Summary: The Assessment of Discipleship - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: email@example.com)
(1). The Family – Maturity (vs 1-4)
(2). The Field – Quantity (vs 5-9a)
(3). The Temple – Quality (vs 9b-23)
• A Hallmark Father's Day card contained these words:
• "Dad, thanks to your lectures I never change horses in the middle of a job worth doing,
• I know the squeaky wheel gets the worm,
• And I never count my chickens until I've walked a mile in their shoes;
• And you thought I wasn't listening!"
• TRANSITION: The apostle Paul must have felt;
• That the Christians at Corinth were not listening to him!
• Because they were not displaying any evidence that they had learnt anything!
• They reminded me of the little boy who came home after his first day of school;
• When they asked him how it went he said:
• “That was a complete waste of time,
• I can’t read, I can’t write and they won’t let me speak!”
• TRANSITION: Out of the mouths of….
• Or as one parent said : “Out of the mouths of babes and suckling’s…
• Came many things that should have stayed down!”
• Well, I guess everyone in this room has said it at some-time to someone;
• Those immortal words; “Grow up!”
• Or a similar phrase; “Why don’t you act your age?”
• Now there is nothing wrong with babies;
• They are – up to a point – delightful creatures.
• But the trouble with babies is they require a lot of care.
• They are messy, they dribble, they spill things.
• Quote: Someone has described babies as:
• “Alimentary canal with a mouth at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other!”
• Nobody minds when a baby acts like a baby – that’s normal!
• But when a child of 5, or 10 or 15 years of age;
• Still needs to be burped and bathed and changed and fed - something is wrong!
Now that is what the apostle Paul is saying in these verses:
• Spiritual babyhood is fine for babies;
• But it is terrible for those who should be spiritually mature!
• Growth of course is important to all of us:
• ill: From the moment you were born you were weighed and measured.
• ill: As children how many of you had a growth chart or marks on the wall/door frame?
• Growth is the sign of a healthy child;
• And if a child is stunted in their growth it usually it means that something is seriously wrong
• Growth and development is the first illustration used in this passage this morning!
• Before we look at that let me give you a few signs, evidences to gage where you are at:
• (They are of course tongue-in-cheek):
• 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
• You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
• You hear your favourite song playing…on an elevator.
• You watch the Weather Channel.
• Jeans and a jumper no longer qualify as being "dressed up."
• You're the one calling the police because those kids next door won't turn down the music.
• You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
• 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
• You listen to a list like this hoping for one saying that doesn't apply to you.
(1). The Family – Maturity (vs 1-4):
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings?”
• The apostle Paul came to Corinth in the winter of A.D. 50;
• He planted a church there and stayed about 18 months,
• (You can read all about it in Acts chapter 18 verses 1-17);
• He then moved on to Ephesus (Acts chapter 18 verses 18-19)
• And it was while he was still based in Ephesus;
• That six or seven years later he wrote this letter.
• As a city Corinth was not much different from our world today:
• It was populous, proud, prosperous, philosophical, and polluted.
• As the Church that should have stood out like a light in the darkness;
• Was sadly full of problems; full of disagreements and adolescent behaviour.