Yesterday, we noted some of the problems that caused the division in the church at Corinth. Ultimately, we learned that their problem was one of focus. Their focus was on the messenger more than the message, on immaturity more than increase, and on self more than service. We noted that their focus needed to be on Christ instead of on themselves.
Today, let’s look at the specifics of Paul’s solutions to these three issues.
1. They needed to put their faith in the power of God, not the wisdom of men.
The “preacher-itis” in Corinth would be fixed by a clear focus on the power of God’s word and the foolishness of man’s wisdom. This theme is clearly discussed in chapters one and two of 1 Corinthians. Later, Paul says, “Let no one boast in men” (1 Cor. 3:21). The message Paul preached was “not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12).
2. They needed to act their age.
This was the cure to their spiritual immaturity. They would accomplish maturation by doing three things. First, they needed to eat right. Paul says that they needed to get away from the milk and move toward a more adult diet (1 Cor. 3:1-2). Second, they needed to “man up.” Paul asked them, “Are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:3). It was time to act like men of God. Finally, they needed to put off the works of the flesh and put on the fruit of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 3:3, he says that they were involved in “envy, strife, and divisions,” all things that are found in Galatians 5:19-21 when Paul lists the works of the flesh. They needed to act their age.
3. They needed to learn their place as servants.
All Christians are servants. Too many of us are looking for what the church can do for us instead of what we can do for Christ. Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that they were nothing without God. He said,
For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Cor. 4:7).
The realization that we are nothing without God is a great cure to self-centeredness and arrogance.
Let’s wrap it up: We will thrive as the church today when we are together, united in our common bond of Jesus Christ. We will do that by putting our faith in God and His Word (not in human wisdom), by spiritually growing as God expects, and by learning our roles as servants together and servants of God.
Let’s thrive as God’s people!