1 Corinthians 3:1-11 NLT
1 Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?
5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
God has ordained all members of Christ's body-- the Church-- to become humble servants to others and bearers of Christ's image as a testimony to the Christless world. The enemy of God, however, has tricked us into competing with each other. We try to out-promote other churches. We accept people to leave one church and attend ours because they can increase our numbers and donor base, perhaps. Ministers, church leaders, church members all can be misdirected by the enemy's evil and become like these new believers in Corinth. Paul reminded them that they were still carnal, trapped in their sin nature centering on pride and arrogance. Their very church affiliation was the false idol they worshipped. Some worshipped at the name of Paul's Class. Others worshipped at the name of Apollos' Class. The ones thinking they were most spiritual claimed to be of Christ, though they looked down upon the others, revealing a very non-Christlike nature within them.
Pride, arrogance, and self-importance have no place in Christ's followers. We are to ask the Lord to help us become selfLESS instead. We are to promote Christ the Redeemer, God the Forgiver of all sin, the Holy Spirit, the nature of God willing to plant Himself within us and influence our new growth until we look, talk, and act as Jesus did and live for God's purposes rather than our own. Rather than allying ourselves with one or another of our pastors or preachers, we must align ourselves with Christ. Instead of promoting the name and organization of the particular local congregation where we are fed and equipped for ministry, we should promote ministry of the Name of Jesus Christ to everyone who does not yet know Him. Rather than criticizing the leaders and members of that 'other kind of church' we should be rejoicing that they are, like us, redeemed from sin and ready to be commissioned as God's workers.
How about you this morning? Are you yet controlled by that sinful nature of pride where names and organizational personalities are concerned? You don't have to be, you know. You can be set free from all sin, if you would just ask the Lord to do that for you and fill you with His Spirit. Are you building your new life upon the foundation of Jesus Christ alone?
Your servant in the Lord Jesus Christ