Summary: This sermon outlines Paul’s 5 views of the church in 1 Corinthians 3 and empasizes what the church should be and what our roles should be in it.
We Are the Church
February 2, 2003
A. The Church has become so frantic in its busyness that it reminds me of the well-known definition of a fanatic: “A person who redoubles his efforts after he has lost sight of his goals.”
B. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul describes five views of the church; first…
I. The Church as a democracy.
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 (NIV), Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as 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 quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
A. This is what so-called democracy always boils down to: arguments, quarrels, and infightings.
1. Nowhere do the Scriptures suggest democracy as the means of governing a church.
2. Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that fights and quarrels are good.
B. Paul says that quarrelling proves we are still worldly.
1. Some say, “That’s just the way I am.”
2. Paul says, “The way you are is sinful.”
C. Paul says quarreling proves that they were still infant Christians.
1. They were immature because they were quarrelling and fight.
2. Paul expected them to grow up in their faith.
D. Notice they are saved by are still worldly.
1. They have not matured in their faith and are still acting like people of the world.
2. They have not developed the mind of Christ that he talked about in the previous chapter.
E. The church is not a democracy and the church is not a place for infighting.
II. The Church as a garden.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NIV), What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
A. Paul says that no human is THE source of Godly wisdom.
1. We should not subscribe to the teachings of any one man.
2. We should understand that everyone has his own responsibilities in the church.
3. Some plant seeds.
4. Some water.
5. But it is when we all do our part that God causes the increase.
B. And of course the purpose of gardening is multiplication.
1. When we plant a tomato seed, we intend to raise many tomatoes.
2. When we plant corn, we intend to produce many ears of corn.
3. When we plant the seeds of faith in peoples’ lives we intend to produce many converts.
4. Some won’t grow or produce fruit, but many will.
C. Paul says we are all fellow workers in God’s field.
III. The Church as a building.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NIV), By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
A. Now Paul uses a building as a metaphor for a church.
1. But notice that he does not say that the church is a building—he uses a building as a metaphor of the church.
2. Paul says that he laid a foundation for the church as an expert builder.
3. Paul says someone else built upon that foundation.
4. This is another illustration parallel to the one before of the garden.
B. Paul emphasizes that Christ is the foundation that must be laid first.
1. Sometimes we loose sight of that.
2. I believe I got this story from Bob George…
Mac was a hard driving, though businessman in his 70’s.