Summary: Part of a series working through the 3:16’s of the New Testatment.
I. It has been suggested by some that I have been speaking a lot, perhaps too much, about church growth, and church health lately.
A. I have tried to take those comments very seriously, and evaluate the validity of “too much.”
B. I will confess that I honestly believe that church growth and church health, cannot really be addressed too much.
1. After all, if as believers in Jesus Christ our focus is to be on the building up of the body of Christ, then the issues of growth and health are vital.
2. But there is perhaps another reason as well; the Bible spends a great deal of time speaking to the issue as well.
3. Please allow me to demonstrate.
II. Our base text this morning is 1 Corinthians 3:16 - 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
A. When I first read this verse, in preparation for this series, I looked at it based on it’s typical application.
1. “Your body belongs to God.”
2. “Since your body belongs to God, take care of it, or suffer the consequences.”
B. That application is certainly worth paying attention to; BUT, it is not really the point of this verse.
III. Please allow me to give you the most basic truth in biblical interpretation.
A. Never pull a verse out of its context and make application.
B. One of my professors put it this way, “Context determines meaning.”
1. When you read a word that you do not really know the meaning of; look at how it is used in the sentence, and the meaning will probably come to you.
2. In reading the bible the same principle applies.
C. When you are reading a verse of scripture, always look to the context of its setting to determine what it really means.
IV. The context of verse 16 and 17 are set squarely in Paul’s admonition concerning how the general membership of a local church should view its leaders.
A. Don’t make little god’s out of former leaders, at the expense of current leaders.
B. Build on the foundation that was laid, realizing that every leader will probably not have the same emphasis, with one exception, the Jesus is Lord.
Diversity of Method, Unity of Purpose (vs. 5-8)
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
I. The church of the Corinthians must have been some kind of church.
A. It was a church that had been greatly blessed by God.
B. It was evidently a large church, that had an abundance of spiritual gifting.
C. It was also a church torn by sin,
1. Sins of idolatry
2. Sins of immorality
3. Sins of disunity
4. And the list goes on and on.
II. Acts 18 is the story of Paul’s founding of the church of Corinth.
A. According to Acts, Paul preached and taught in Corinth for 18 months.
B. Paul was the founder of the church, and God increased the church greatly under his leadership, but Paul was no permanent pastor of any church.
C. After Paul left, it seems that Apollos gained a reputation and a following in Corinth.
D. Not atypically, Paul had his followers, Apollos had his followers, and some followed still other church leaders, and they all thought that no one could ever compare to the one they followed.
III. When I first moved up here, some 20 plus years ago, I attended a relatively new church.
A. This church was attempting something new in leadership form.
1. They had a co-pastorate.
2. Two very different men, with equal authority, attempting to lead one church body; and it was working rather well.
a. The church was growing,
b. People were getting saved,
c. Ministry was taking place, BUT
d. Within the church walls, were actually two churches.
(1) Some followed Mike, and thought he was great.
(2) Some followed Gary, and though he was great.
e. Eventually, there was a split between the pastors, which ultimately saw a split within the church.
f. Some in the body, I believe including the pastors, even while claiming to be followers of Christ, forgot to follow Christ.
B. These men were different,
1. They had different preaching styles,
2. They dealt with people differently,
3. Both loved the Lord, and the church loved the Lord, but style got in the way of substance.