When you are preoccupied with God's servants, that will drive you apart.
When you are occupied with the Master, that will draw you together. They were preoccupied with the servants. Paul is trying to get them occupied with the Master.
We're one. It's God. We're serving Him. It's His Church.
The Church, sadly, is often plagued with division and infighting. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares why it's vital for you to work cooperatively with fellow believers to do God's work. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you get the most out of your Bible study times. Is your personal Bible study time frustrating? Do you need direction? You can study the Bible with a plan and see progress.
Listen to this from Skip Heitzig. All of us, we have trouble with certain parts of the Bible. Sometimes it's tough. But exposure to the Bible, a consistent exposure to the Bible, and I would add on a daily basis, with the consistent desire to obey it, will do more for you than any other thing that I can think of in your Christian life. Take the mystery out of studying Scripture with Pastor Skip's book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It. Our thanks to you when you give $25 or more to help connect more people with this Bible teaching ministry. Get the tips and tools you need to open your eyes, mind, and heart to God's truth. You don't have to be afraid of the Bible. Get your copy of How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It by Skip Heitzig today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we'll be in 1 Corinthians Chapter 2 for today's study.
So let's join Skip Heitzig. I used to drive my co-workers nuts. Not because I tried to be obnoxious. I tried purposely not to be obnoxious, but to be gracious. But I remember it was Monday and it was toward the later part of the morning.
I was working at a hospital in Orange County, California at the St. Joseph's in Orange, California. And I'm doing my work and I'm whistling. And my supervisor, she was just, she was kind of ornery.
I never really saw her happy or lit up about anything good. And so she just looked at me and she goes, why are you always whistling? You seem so, listen, and she said, you seem so happy. I said, well, I am happy. Well, I don't get it. I mean, we have so much work and then the da da da.
She's listing all the things that I should be unhappy about. Those are true. But I've got something deeper inside of me going on that goes above and beyond that. That's irrespective and unrelated to that. I don't get it. I understand because of this. You get it. They don't get you. They don't understand you. You're spiritual.
They're natural. But now we get to a third category in Chapter three, verse one. And I mentioned last week, the chapter breaks and verse numbers are not in the original manuscripts.
We just have the letter of Paul to the Corinthians. He didn't write Chapter three, verse one. He didn't do that. That came later on in chapter three. That came later on. And the guy who did it was well intentioned, but he got it wrong. He's not inspired of God.
He just came up. And it's very handy to be able to say, turn to Chapter three, verse one of a certain book. It's very handy to do that. But sometimes I think chapter breaks are better served contextually in different places than at others. But that's for another study. Let's just get into it. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people. He just talked about the natural versus the spiritual. I couldn't talk to you as spiritual, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. That's the third category. You have natural, spiritual, carnal. Succicos, if you want the original language, pneumaticos, and then this word carnal, sarcicos, or fleshly, or the NIV translates it worldly.
You are worldly. Sometimes Christians, scholars, commentators will say there's no such thing as a carnal Christian. There's only Christians and non-Christians. There's natural and spiritual. Well, I do believe there are carnal Christians for a number of textual reasons.
And we'll just confine ourselves to the remarks of this text. Because notice what he says, I'm speaking to you, not as spiritual, but as carnal. And then he defines it as to babes in Christ. They're still in Christ. They're Christians. They're related to Jesus Christ, but they're immature. They're babies. They're spiritually immature. They're carnal. They're worldly. They're between two natures, the old nature, the new nature, the world, the flesh versus the spirit. They're in between two kingdoms.
You might think of it this way. They have enough of Christ to be saved. All you need is to believe in Jesus Christ. You really trust that he died for you on the cross. You believe that he took your sins on the cross.
If you believe in your heart that, and that God raised him from the dead, Paul said in Romans, you will be saved. They have enough of Christ to be saved, but they also have enough of the world to be miserable in Christ. They're not really satisfied in Christ. They're not maturing as to babes in Christ. Think of it this way. They're saved, but they're stunted in their growth.
They're not as far along as they should be. I love evangelism. I do. I love seeing people get saved. I love calling people to faith in Christ, but so many of us just sort of make that the big event, the big deal, the culmination at a service. If you were to ask me, Skip, is evangelism your biggest joy? As much as I love it, and I should say probably yes, because I do want to see people go to heaven and not hell, but I think my greatest joy, I would echo the words of John the apostle in 3 John, who said, I have no greater joy than to see that my children walk in truth.
I love seeing God's people maturing, growing, getting along in their walk, and in their faith with Jesus Christ. But I couldn't speak to you as spiritual people, but as to carnal to babes in Christ, he further says in verse 2, I fed you with milk and not with solid food, for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able. One of the characteristics of a immature Christian is their diet. Like a little baby, you give a baby baby food. It's easily digestible. You don't give a baby steak and onions and whole vegetables. Their system can't take it. It's not easy to it's not easy for a baby to digest such material.
So you give them something that's easy for them to digest. Same spiritually, there are basic truths of Christianity. And Paul said, look, when I was with you, I could only go take you through the ABCs of Christianity. I wanted to go deeper, but I couldn't.
You weren't able to take it. Jesus even said to his disciples, I have other more things that I want to tell you, but you are not able to bear them. The writer of Hebrews in chapter five said, for when you ought to be teachers, you have need that somebody teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. And you need milk instead of solid food. So one of the characteristics is that of diet.
They just need easily digestible truths. Paul said, when I was with you, rightfully so. You were just saved. I couldn't go deep into eschatology. I couldn't go deep into a lot of things.
So I just kept it very simple. But here's the deal. It had been four years since the church at Corinth had been founded by Paul. And Paul says, I'm still not able.
You know, four years down the line, you should know something. You should be pretty adept at basic Bible doctrine. And he tells them why. I fed you with milk, not with solid food, verse three. For you are still carnal, fleshly, worldly, sarkakos. For where there are envy, strife, divisions among you, that's a whole Paul, Apollos thing. Are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are you not carnal?
Doesn't that prove your immaturity? Who then is Paul? And who is Apollos? But ministers, servants, through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one. I planted, he started the church in Corinth. Apollos watered, he came along later and also taught them truths. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants, and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
This might may be helpful. In Corinth, a Greek culture, they were used to schools of philosophy. They came from their sister city of Athens.
Philosophers and schools of philosophy dividing and pooling over loyalty to their favorite philosophical teacher. They were used to that kind of party spirit. But that was Corinth, that was the world. The right assessment in the church is not to be like that. The right assessment of workers in the church is you're all servants of Christ. And so that's why he says, who then is Paul?
Who is Apollos? But ministers, and again, the word means servants. So I planted, he's using the art, agricultural imagery here. I planted, I planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who gives the increase. Now let's say you're a farmer, and you plant seed, and somebody else comes later on, you have a hired hand or something coming later on and water it.
You can take pride in your work, but you can't boast that you really did that, because God created the earth and put seed in it. And so it all comes from him. Ultimately, he's the gardener. Remember what Jesus said in John chapter 15? I am the true vine.
My father is the husband and the farmer. So it is God who gives the increase. So I love what Paul is doing. He's taking it out of a worldly model of comparing one teacher to another teacher, one leader to another leader, and says, look, let me tell you who we really are. We're slaves, we're servants of Christ, doing our part, exercising our individual gifts, but it is God who is giving the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. When you are preoccupied with God's servants, that will drive you apart. When you are occupied with the master, that'll draw you together. They were preoccupied with the servants. Paul is trying to get them occupied with the master.
We're one. It is God. We're serving him. It's his church. Verse nine, for we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field.
Now he changes the imagery a little bit from a field where a farmer plants seeds, now to a building. So look what he does in one verse. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field. You are God's building.
Now he's changing the metaphor, and he continues that in verse 10. According to the grace of God, which was given to me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Paul calls himself not just a builder, but a master builder. Not just a master builder, but he calls himself, I'm a wise master builder. You say, well, is that being arrogant? No, again, the Greeks love the idea of wisdom, sapphos.
We talked about last week the word for wisdom, sapphos, and we told you the word philosophy is lover of wisdom, philosophy, so they love the idea of that kind of wisdom. When Paul calls himself a wise master builder, he's using this term, sapphos architecton, architect. The reason he calls himself a wise master builder is because he laid the right foundation in Corinth. He didn't put the foundation on him. He didn't put the foundation on Peter or on Apollos or anybody else.
The foundation was Christ alone. No other foundation can anyone lay than what has already been laid, and that is, he says, Jesus Christ. If you try to build a church on any other foundation, it's a faulty foundation. If you try to build a church on church traditions, you're building on sand. If you try to build it on a person like Peter, I'm building this church, this is the church of Peter, you're building on sand because that dude was a weak dude. If you're building it on felt needs, it's a weak foundation.
If you're building it on worldly wisdom, it's a weak foundation. It has to be on the simplicity and the singularity of life in Christ, Christ and Christ alone. I've determined that I know nothing among you, he wrote earlier, except Jesus Christ and him crucified, the simple, pure truth of his sacrifice and resurrection. Now, verse 12, if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become manifest, for the day will declare it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test each one's work of what sort it is.
If anyone's work, which he has built on, endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Now, what we just read has a couple of applications.
One is the secondary application, not the primary application, that is, it's not the main point. And let me give that to you first, if you don't mind, because this is where most people go with this verse, and there is this application, but it's not the primary application, it's the secondary application, it's the secondary application. The secondary application is that it refers to all Christians, that we're all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. That's usually how this verse is sort of, look, we're all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5 says, we will all stand, all of us believers, stand before the bema seat, the reward seat, the judgment seat of Christ, that we may receive rewards for the things that were done in our bodies, each according to his own work.
And that Paul is referring to that here, is if you build with silver, gold, precious stones, or wood, hay, and stubble or straw. It is true, we are going to give an account to God and we're going to stand before Christ, not for our sin. We will all be evaluated for our service to the Lord as believers, and we'll be given rewards or we'll lose a reward.
That is true. We are never going to be judged for our sin. Romans 8,1, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, period, period, period. That judgment is passed. Jesus took our judgment on the cross. You will never be judged for your sin, but as a Christian, you will be judged for your service to him. If you are faithful to the gifts and callings God gave to you, and talents God gave to you, and time God gave to you, and treasure God gave to you, if you were faithful to that, and if you did it with a pure motive, all of that will be weighed before him and you and I will be judged because of that.
And though that's true, and it is a secondary application, that is not the primary application here. The primary application is to Christian workers, evangelists, and teachers. He's talking about Paul, Apollos, and some planting, and some watering, and some doing the work of the ministry.
So he's talking about those who are building the spiritual house, who are fellow workers with God, those in ministry like himself, and Apollos, and Cephas, etc., who are building the spiritual house. And what they give, what they do, it will either endure and you'll get rewarded for it or not. In other words, some ministry, some teaching is valuable and worthwhile and has lasting value.
Others has little value or none whatsoever. And God will determine that and reward based on that. So, since he is talking about spiritual work and building churches, let me just tell you, there's a few ways that you can establish a church.
If you're thinking, I'm going to be a church builder or a church planter, there's a few ways you can do it. And all of them have been tried. And there are many more.
I could give you a longer list. But let me just sum it up this way. Number one, sensationalism. You can build a church, build a ministry on sensationalism. It's, we're going to have a miracle service. And pretty soon you have to start defining what a real miracle is or is not. Because I felt a little woozy before the service and now I feel a bit better is a far cry from a New Testament miracle. Because last time I checked, miracles are like dead people rising and bones that are fractured instantly being healed.
True miracles. But we're going to have a miracle healing service or we're going to cast out demons or some sensational supernatural signs and wonders. Or we're going to talk about prophecy updates. Everything is a prophecy fulfillment somewhere. And when you build a ministry on that kind of stuff, there are pros and cons.
Here's a pro. It will grow quickly. Because people are always interested in where the fire is burning. And if there's a fire burning in that barn, we're going to go watch that fire burn.
That's exciting. But there's a law of diminishing returns. And so here's the con. You, once you build on that, you have to keep building on that and your fire has to get bigger and bigger each week. Or you're going to lose credibility and you're going to lose people. That's one way to build a ministry. Another way to build a ministry is by strategy. We're going to take surveys of the neighborhood. We're going to find out what the felt needs are, the medium income, the desires professionally, and we're going to strategize and build according to that. And so we're all geared up to reach that segment, that demographic. These things can work. The problem with that is I find people who approach ministry that way get burned out very, very, very quickly.
They crash and burn hard. Because it's always about their insight and their strategy and their work and working around. There's another way to do it. And that is through the systematic teaching of God's word. Teaching the Bible. Okay, listen, listen, but listen, it gets real boring.
Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, Genesis to Revelation, all 66 books. That's long and laborious. Now here's the downside of that. The growth will be slower usually than the sensational ones, but it will be solid. That's the plus. That's the positive.
It'll be solid growth. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound First Corinthians. Now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's word.
The Bible tells us that every day draws us closer to the return of Jesus. One day the Lord will return, and that means our time to reach others with a gospel is urgent. People need to hear the good news that changed your life and mine. So today I'm asking for your help to reach more people around the world with these teachings from God's word. Here's how you can partner with this ministry to make that happen. Your generosity helps keep this biblical encouragement coming your way, and help change many lives around the globe. And we invite you to visit connectwithskip.com today where you'll find even more of Skip's messages. Over 3,500 teachings that unpack the Bible verse by verse to help you tackle life's toughest issues. Once again, that's connectwithskip.com. Next week, Skip Heitzig shares how you can be a faithful steward and helper in the body of Christ. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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