Thank you for joining me as we look at chapter 3 in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Corinth was at the heart of an important trade route of the day and like many cities then had its fair share of sexual immorality corruption and diverse religious beliefs. The church Paul had planted was floundering and needed a good dose of his loving yet firm hand. Perhaps, I should say pen?
Paul sets the tone immediately with the first three verses. “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready” (1 Cor. 3:1-3). He goes on to say there is jealousy and strife between them, letting them know they are in the flesh and not in the spirit.
As I read these words, I cannot help to think how little life has changed in two thousand years. As Christians, we still fight the same battles, we still are shackled by our ego the way we treat relationships with one another. A wise man once said that our hearts are Idol factories, churning them out around the clock. It is a painful and yet a true assessment of our innermost thoughts as well as our resulting actions.
Now, the good news is scripture supplies an answer for this dilemma. First, we should look at what the Word of God says and second put “self” into context. Paul says he planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase. All of the Glory goes to God, all that is good in us, all that we do for others in the name of Christ is because of the redemption in us. When we realize our part, that we need to make it all about him and not about us; things start to crystallize.
God allows us to be a part of the equation, but make sure you are quick to turn down the praise and point towards heaven. Lay a good and sound foundation of the Gospel and build upon that. That is how it will outlast time, and when judged by our Lord will be found to be good works.