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. . . About Yourself, Others, and God’s Work

Our greatest problem is pride. It always has been, it always will be, and it is found in every man. A man who thinks he has overcome it, is simply manifesting his pride.

One of the main reasons Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian church was that they were idolizing men. In their pride they were saying, “Well, I’m of Paul,” or, “I’m one of Peter’s disciples.”

This was fostering pride in their hearts as they compared themselves to others. And pride has to be stopped, because it is the mother of every other sin.

God opposes the proud man and the proud church. Thousands of men and churches have been destroyed through the ages by this pride, and every man deals with this natural arrogance.

In 1 Corinthians 3 and 4, Paul sets this all straight for all time. He reminds us how this all works and what our proper place is in God’s activity.

  1. God makes the church grow, not man. Man can make nothing grow.

God was causing the growth … God who causes the growth (3:6-7 NASB).

  1. Leaders are simply servants and stewards of God, made so by the grace of God and the opportunities God gives.

What then is Apollos and what is Paul? Merely servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one (3:5).

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God (4:1).

  1. Each leader has a different role in a different season, for God’s ultimate purpose.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth (3:6).

  1. Each leader is nothing but a tool in God’s hand, made so by the grace of God.

Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth (3:7).

  1. Leaders are fellow-workers with God.

We are God’s fellow workers (3:9).

  1. The church is God’s field, God’s building. It belongs to Him and Him alone!

You are God’s field, God’s building (3:9).

  1. We work in this work according to God’s grace.

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it (3:10).

  1. We must be extremely careful how we build.

But each man must be careful how he builds on it (3:10).

  1. The work of each man is built on the work of those before him. We could never do our part if it were not for others who did their part.

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it (3:10).

  1. We must remember that the only foundation is Jesus Christ.

No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (3:11).

  1. We must be careful about the materials we use. We must use God’s materials that last, not man’s that will be burned up.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident (3:12-13).

  1. One day, every building method and every material we used will be seen for what it really is.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work (3:12-13).

  1. If a leader’s work stands the test, he will be rewarded. If not, he’ll lose everything he’s done. He will be saved, but not his work.

If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (3:14).

  1. This work (the building of the church) is the building of God’s temple, and the Spirit of God dwells in her. God will destroy the one who destroys His church.

Do you not know that you [plural] are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you [plural] are (3:16).

  1. If you think you’re smart about all this, you need to realize how foolish you are. If you admit your need of wisdom, you will have it.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the One who catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless” (3:18).

  1. We must never boast in any man, but in CHRIST ALONE! No one grows the church, and no one owns the church except God.

So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God (3:21-22).

  1. We must be found trustworthy.

In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (4:2).

  1. The one who examines us is the Lord. We can’t even judge ourselves rightly. God knows and tests the motives of our hearts.

But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God (4:3-5).

  1. So, do not compare leaders!

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other (4:6).

  1. Do not become proud personally, for everything you have is something you’ve received.

For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (4:7).

John Bisagno once said, “Whenever, in a church, you see man being exalted over Jesus … if you listen closely you can hear the hiss of the Serpent.”

Just a thought: It might be wise to print these twenty truths out and read them regularly.