Summary: The Assessment of Discipleship - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(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.

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