Better Together

Better Together

 

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (ESV) ~ 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 yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

 

Paul is brutal with the Corinthians church in the first verse of this passage, he calls them spiritual babies. The reason? They were a divided church, unable to work together. We see in verse three, “you are still of the flesh. For there is jealousy and strife among you, you are not the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”

 

Just because we are believers, Christians, followers of Christ, do not mean that fleshy nature, carnality, can’t sneak back in and take over our lives.

 

The carnal man is characterized by division.

  • Carnality is clearly seen in envying and strife. Envy leads to jealousy, and jealousy leads to division. When people become jealous of one another, they become divided and begin to strive or argue and wrangle with one another. Envy leads to differences and strife, and strife leads to division. Such behavior is carnal, of the flesh, and it does not belong in the church.
  • Carnality is seen when believers begin to walk and act like men of the world. Men in the world live for the world, so they want and struggle for all they can get for the least amount of effort…
    • The best position
    • The most money
    • The coveted possession
    • The highest honor
    • The equal recognition
  • Carnality is seen when believers begin to follow men and form cliques.

 

Take a look now at verse 9. It says we are “God’s fellow workers.” The words “fellow workers” in the Greek is translated into “co-workers”. So let’s look at this for a moment.

 

“Co” does not imply equality. Paul is not saying we are on the same standing as God. He makes that clear in the previous verses. Within the context of this passage, co-worker means that God allows us to PARTICIPATE TOGETHER WITH HIM IN HIS KINGDOM’S work. Jesus said, in Matthew 28:18-20 ~ Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

 

This Great Commission is our unifying mission. It is God’s agenda, not ours and we work together to achieve our common goal. That’s what it means to be co-workers. We have the same objective and we are working together to achieve it.

 

  • God is the source of all in the church. All is of God; God is all in all. He is the Source of all that concerns the church: the source of both its ministers and its people. Neither the ministers nor the people are to be exalted or praised above one another. God alone is worthy of our attention and thought, our glory and honor, our worship and praise, our service and ministry.
  • Ministers are co-workers, and they work together with God. They work with God, carrying out His will and doing what He wants done. Their concern is not what men think and want. Their mission is to serve right along by the side of God Himself.
  • The church is God’s field and building. The church is to bear fruit, and it is to make new additions to its structure. A field does not exist to lie unused. It exists to bear a harvest. The same is true of a building that is supposed to have additions added to it. The building will not have additions—not the kind of additions it should have—if it becomes unsafe for the contractor (minister) to work within its walls.

 

Both ministers and believers are workers together with God. All have a part in God’s church and the crying need is for all to cooperate in building together.
 
 
Pastor Andy Lambert

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