1 Corinthians 3: Servants and Coworkers

9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

The Church and Its Leaders

Evidence of Unspirituality

3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

The quarrels and bickering over leaders show the Corinthians are not “spiritual” but “worldly.”  God is the source of spiritual birth and growth.  Human leaders are only servants, each performing the task God has assigned.

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

The Divine Foundation

Jesus is the foundation on which every life and ministry must be built.  Certainly each person’s service is important:  it should be performed carefully and will be judged.  But the foundation for all is Jesus.

The judgment mentioned here has nothing to do with salvation.  It is to determine rewards which God will graciously provide for those believers who serve him.

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

[As a writer and an artist, it is hard to be recognized in this world.  Because my work reflects the values that are different from those of the world.  You can’t help but feeling like being a loser in the current atmosphere wherein everybody seems to be in a race to be  liked and outshine everybody else to boost their social credit scores.  Here, Paul is saying that there will be a day that will bring the quality of each person’s work to light – our work will be tested, revealed, and rewarded accordingly.  That’s good news because I know that God is a fair judge.]

The Divine Priority

It is not the builders (the leaders) who are important, but the building!  God places great value on each individual, for each of us is a living temple – a residence for the Spirit.  How foolish to exalt some believers over others when each of us is privileged to be a living temple and dwelling place for God!

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?   17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

[Apostasy of the current church leaders are destroying church members who constitute God’s temple individually and together.]

Focus on Jesus.

It is futile and foolish to make distinction between human leaders and boast about one or another.  In Christ all has been given to us — life, death, the present and future, and many different leaders are to serve us.  All this is ours because of Jesus.  He should be the focus of our lives and be the One of whom we boast.

21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours,  22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

[It’s good to have a leader like Paul.  God had grown him for us.  When the human leaders of our time fail us, we can always turn to the Bible and listen to Paul.]