Paul and Apollos, Servants of Christ (Day 6)

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-23
   Paul called the Corinthians infants in the Christian faith because they were not spiritually healthy and mature. The proof was that they quarreled like children, allowing divisions to distract them. Immature Christians are worldly, controlled by their own desires; mature believers are in tune with God’s desires. How much influence do your desires have on your life? Your goal should be to let God’s desires be yours. Being controlled by your own desires will stunt your spiritual growth. 
Paul planted the seed of the Gospel message in people’s hearts. He was a missionary pioneer; he brought the message of salvation. Apollos came along and watered the seed. He helped the believers grow stronger in the faith. Paul founded the church in Corinth, and Apollos built upon that foundation. Tragically, the believers in Corinth had split into factions, pledging loyalty to different teachers. After the preacher’s work is completed, God is the one who makes Christians grow. Our leaders should certainly be respected, but we should never place them on pedestals that create barriers between people or set them up as a substitute for Christ. 
    God’s work involves many different individuals with a variety of gifts and abilities. There are no superstars in this task, only team members performing their own special roles. We can become useful members of God’s team by setting aside our desires to receive glory for what we do. Don’t seek the praise that comes from people: it is comparatively worthless. Instead seek approval from God. 
   A building is only as solid as its foundation. The foundation of our life is Jesus Christ; He is our base, our reason for being. Everything we are and do must fit into the pattern provided by Him. Are you building your life on the only real and lasting foundation, or are you building on a faulty foundation, such as wealth, security, success, or fame? 
   The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. Paul laid this foundation when he began the church at Corinth. Whoever builds the church (officers, teachers, preachers, and others) must build with high quality materials – right doctrine and right living – that meet God’s standards. Paul is not criticizing Apollos but challenging future church leaders to have sound preaching and teaching. 
   Two sure ways to destroy a building are to tamper with the foundation and to build with inferior materials. The church must be built on Christ, not on any other person or principle. Christ will evaluate each minister’s contribution to the life of the church and judgment day will reveal the sincerity of each person’s work. God will determine whether or not a person has been faithful to Jesus’ instructions. Good work will be rewarded; unfaithful or inferior work will be discounted. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames. Unfaithful workers will be saved, but only by the skin of their teeth. All their accomplishments will count for nothing. 
   Just as our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the local church or Christian community is God’s temple. Just as the Jews’ Temple in Jerusalem was not to be spoiled, the church is not to be spoiled and ruined by divisions, controversy, or other sins as members come together to worship God. 
   In the church built on Jesus Christ, each church member should be mature, spiritually sensitive, and doctrinally sound. However, the Corinth church was filled with those whose work was wood, hay, and straw, members who were immature, insensitive to one another, and vulnerable to wrong doctrine. No wonder they had so many problems. Local church members should be deeply committed to Christ. Can your Christian character stand the test? 
   In verses 18-21, Paul was not telling the Corinthian believers to neglect the pursuit of knowledge. He was warning them not to glory in the wisdom of this age. God’s way of thinking is far above ours; He knows all the futile thoughts of the wise. The Corinthians were boasting about the wisdom of their leaders and teachers. Their pride made them value the messenger more than the message. We are not to put our trust in anyone but God. 
   Paul says that both life and death are ours. While non-believers are victims of life, swept along by its current and wondering if there is meaning to it, believers can use life well because they understand its true purpose. Non-believers can only fear death. For believers, however, death holds no terrors because Christ has conquered all fears (1 John 4). Death is only the beginning of eternal life with God.