1 Corinthians 3:1-23 Avoid Wordily Wisdom, Worship the King

The church in Corinth was under attack by the enemy. Believers throughout the region were losing focus on the mission to advance the gospel as they grew in Christ.

Paul describes the Corinthian’s spirituality as one not yet mature. As babes in Christ the Corinthians needed spiritual milk rather than meat, easier to digest and more in tune with their needs.

1 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?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Paul describes his type of preaching as spiritual milk targeted as spiritual babies not ready for solid food. Since he deemed the Corinthians church still a wordily group the apostle felt, because of their recent conversion, the Corinthians’s spirituality would require fostering and nurturing. The Corinthians were guilty of jealousy and quarreling which kept them from working out their salvation.

4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5 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.” (1 Corinthians 3:4-6)

Choosing to follow a church leader rather than Christ Himself showed the Corinthians were still struggling with their new found spirituality. Paul was a church planter while Apollos fostered the church planted by the apostle Paul in Corinth. Both were mere servants not to be confused with the true leader of the church which is Jesus Christ.

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.” (1 Corinthians 3:7-8)

Paul reinforces the fact both he and Apollos were servants of God, and just as ourselves, that would be rewarded according to their deeds as we are all saved by God’s grace and rewarded in heaven by works.

9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 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.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)

The apostle describes the foundation of the Corinthian church as one according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul warns anyone trying to build a church not based on the truth about Jesus and His almighty father.

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.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13)

Paul calls on believers to focus on the Lord as we push forward and spread the word of God. The apostle invites the Corinthians to work out their salvation and make certain to build themselves solidly as they prepare for the day of judgment when God will only give out rewards for works deemed worthy of God’s glory.

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.” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15)

A solid foundation built according to the gospel of Jesus Christ will be rewarded upon judgment day, so will works glorifying to God. Self-serving deeds however will be burnt up and not counted as righteous.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Paul describes believers as parts of God’s temple, from the Greek “naos” which means the actual building, referring to God’s temple in Jerusalem. Each Christian, in which lives the Holy Spirit is to be treated with he same respect as God’s most Holy place, His temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

Paul warns the philosophers of the time about wordily wisdom describing this wisdom as foolishness in God’s sight. To earn their rewards in heaven, the apostle calls on the wise among the Corinthian church to abide by the gospel, which at the time was regarded as foolish by the Greek philosophers.

21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

Paul declares the Corinthians saved from damnation and blessed by the grace of God. The apostle invites believers to push forward, armed with the word of God which is the gospel. Christians should proclaim the name of the Lord as King of kings as we work out our salvation through works glorifying to God almighty. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.