Summary: GOD’S SERVANTS NEED THE MARK OF MATURITY. Here are Three principles of godly service.

May 21, 2000 -- AM


1 Corinthians 3:1-9


(1) Religion Today 5/15/2000 -- The new "Christian Wrestling Federation" features the slapping, snarling, and bone-rattling body slams without the vulgar language and sex. "We do all the kind of wrestling you see on TV, but leave out the parading women and all the negative stuff," Rob Vaughn, CWF founder, told The Dallas Morning News. Vaughn, who wrestles as "Jesus Freak," is a former college football player and a Sunday school teacher. ...The CWF, a North Texas group of about a dozen wrestlers, made its debut May 10 before a screaming crowd of 400 teen-agers and their parents at the Family Cathedral of Praise in Mesquite, Texas. One match was an "anything goes" battle between Vaughn and "Apocalypse" that featured a garbage can, a table, and a baking pan as weapons, the newspaper said. Other wrestlers go by names such as "The Beast" and "Angel." ... Fans at the church seemed to love the show. "It’ll get people to come to church more often," said Stephen Cade, 16. "It’s fun to watch, and it’s for Jesus Christ." About 30 young people went up to dedicate their lives to Christ or receive prayer after the show. ...The Christian Wrestling Federation (see link #4 below) plans to hold matches throughout Texas this summer and is open to invitations, it says.

(2) This is not where I am in Christian witness. Body slams for Jesus is not sin but it is arguably a very immature tactic in evangelism. It is an appeal to the flesh with very possibly a muddled message in the Name of the Lord. We can laugh at the idea, but I submit that there are many worldly ideas and “fleshly” tactics employed by people who claim to be doing it for the Lord, and yet are effectively “body slamming” the people to whom they witness.


Here are Three principles of godly service.

I. Carnal BEHAVIOR indicates spiritual immaturity (1Corinthians 3:1-4).

A. Spiritual maturity does not occur immediately after rebirth. Nobody is born mature.

B. It is not bad to begin immature.

C. It is bad to remain immature.

Behavior, not ability or age indicates maturity. Knowledge of gifts is milk ( 1 Corinthians 12-14), production of fruit is meat (Galatians 5:22). Rejoicing in glory is milk, rejoicing in sufferings is meat.

It seems people are intent on killing families today. This past week a baby was abandoned on a train track near Elbe, WA. Here are fives ways to kill a family: 1) Selfishness 2) Neglect 3) Erosion of values 4) Disloyalty 5) Loss of purpose.

II. Human effort depends on God’s GIFTS (1Corinthians 3:5-7).

A. Some people labor with initiative (planting).

B. Some people labor with cultivating (watering).

C. Only God gives growth.

A couple of years ago (in the 1980’s), the Associated Press released a study done by an agricultural school in Iowa. It reported that production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land, in addition to the many hours of the farmer’s labor, required 4,000,000 pounds of water, 6,800 pounds of oxygen, 5,200 pounds of carbon, 160 pounds of nitrogen, 125 pounds of potassium, 75 pounds of yellow sulfur, and other elements too numerous to list. In addition to these things, which no man can produce, rain and sunshine at the right time are critical. It was estimated that only 5% of the produce of a farm can be attributed to the efforts of man. If we were honest, we’d have to admit that the same is true in producing spiritual fruit.

III. Mature servants labor with God in HIS Field (1Corinthians 3:8-9).

A. The local church is God’s garden.

1. This implies ownership (God’s not ours).

2. This implies association (to work on God’s project is to work for God).

3. This implies care (God wants the best for and from His church).

4. This implies responsibility (All church servants must give account to God).

B. Wherever there are people, there are potential fields for us to notice (John 4:35).

1. We are servants, but God alone is Master.

2. Servants can plant and water, but only God can create spiritual life.

3. Even the greatest servants amount to nothing compared to God.

4. Servants in the same field are not competitors.

You Know You’re in Church Planting When ...

A baby sneezes in the nursery, and the mother leaves the service to check his health.

You discover you’ve preached three sermons in the past month on "Commitment and Faithfulness through Church Attendance."

Your spouse is ill--and attendance dips 20 percent.

Your hymnals (copyright 1895), your pulpit (ninth-grade shop quality), your (dented) communion set, and your core members are all castoffs from Old First Church.

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