Friday, May 24, 2013

1 Corinthians 3 - Grow Up!

Corinthian Column
(see attribution below)
LINK: 1 Corinthians 3


BACKGROUND


The message of Jesus is not just about being saved (redeemed and justified). It is about going through the process of maturity from infancy to adulthood and from being controlled by sinful desires and belonging to this world to being controlled by the Spirit and living in light of an eternity with God. This is the process of sanctification. Paul used the analogy of going from milk to solid food. 


In Paul's metaphor, the field represented the church, Paul planted the seed and laid the foundation of the church in Corinth, and Apollos was watering by building upon that foundation, but the Corinthians were still infants, worldly and divided. They focused on the ministry of men rather than God and were dividing into camps based on their loyalty to Paul or Apollos.


Paul switches metaphors from a field to a temple with Jesus Christ as the foundation and the place where God's Spirit dwells (3:16). The teachers that came after the foundation was laid were to build with materials of enduring quality and not with "wood, hay, or straw" that would eventually crumble. Sound doctrine "built" into people's lives is what is implied by materials of enduring quality, and false doctrine is what is implied by the valueless work materials. The doctrine that comes from the Word of God is the food for the family of God, the seed for God's field, and the material for God's temple!


Paul concluded by saying that no one can boast in the men who lead them but that their boast must be in God alone!


REFLECTION


My mom and dad were excellent mentors when it came to buying things. While other moms and dads would buy cheap things that would eventually break or wear out and need to be replaced, my parents would buy good quality products that were a little more expensive but lasted a lot longer.


The only way we can have a walk with Christ of enduring quality is by "spending" our costly time digging deeply in the Scriptures and mining out the precious jewels it offers.  As my friend Beth says, "If you want to have a godly life, you must log the time in God's Word."  It is the only way to grow, and it will definitely cost you something. There is no "cheap" way to do it. 


And do not be fooled into believing that you can grow through "predigested milk." Hebrews 5:12-14 says: 
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
I just read a book by a very popular Bible teacher talking about insecurity. The concepts were biblical but elementary, and it was mostly her thoughts from her time in the Word. It was "predigested" advice for her readers.  Wouldn't people be better off spending time in God's Word and asking Him to heal them of their insecurities rather than reading her material as a substitute? He has wonderful things for us if we will soak deeply in His Word rather than relying on someone else to do it for us. We sometimes forget that it is GOD who causes the growth and not the "Apollos" of the day (3:7). SIGH!
"Because some haven't paid the price of time and discipline to study God's Word for themselves, they are babes and followers of men. Their doctrine comes from men, rather than from the Word of God. Therefore, they value one teacher above another, or pit one person's teaching against another's, without taking the time and making the effort to study God's Word themselves." (Kay Arthur)
APPLICATION


Are you willing to pay the price of time and discipline to study God's Word for yourself and not just rely on the wisdom of others?  What will be your plan for Bible study this summer?  


PRAYER


Lord, thank You for the precious quality of Your Word. Help us to grow to full maturity in You by spending time in it. Amen. 

Picture by David Bjorgen (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Post a Comment