Formations lesson for Feb. 17: What Causes Division?
February 1 2002 by Steve Zimmerman , 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Formations lesson for Feb. 17: What Causes Division? | Friday, Feb. 1, 2002

Friday, Feb. 1, 2002

Formations lesson for Feb. 17: What Causes Division?

By Steve Zimmerman 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Teaching is always a challenge. Ask any teacher. One of the frustrations in teaching is communicating to the students on their level.

At a recent discipline workshop conducted at our church, an assistant school principal made a point to parents about the amount of time that children watch television. Too much time can have an adverse effect on their discipline of learning. She shared with the group about a teacher who asked a student what 4, 12, 18, 26 and 32 were. Instead of getting a math answer, she heard him say, "CBS, NBC, HBO, the Weather Channel and Cinemax."

Baby Steps(1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

The apostle Paul was wise when he went to Corinth to begin the new converts on the milk of the gospel. Much like new babies, their spiritual bodies could not handle, at first, the enormous blessings that were in store for them as Christians.

As any parent, Paul thought that by now they would be growing in their spiritual bodies. They could take on more lasting nourishment for their souls. That was not the case here, though.

Paul, the teacher, writes some frustrating remarks to the young church. Yes, they are new to the Christian faith, but they needed to have been further along in their faith. Somewhere along the way, they lost sight of what they were supposed to do.

The signs of immaturity Paul points out in verse three are jealousy and quarreling. As any parent of a preschooler would tell you, the times when one baby wants another child's toy usually results in both kids screaming and hollering. In their world, as they see it, everything revolves around "me." These Corinthians were now behaving much like little babies.

In verse four Paul tells them they were living life as if they had not received divine transformation from God. When God calls us to His family, an inward change should have taken place - a new birth.

Also in order for the church to function properly, the attention does not need to be on any one person for guidance. The only focus should be on Christ. He is the only one that will cause us to be mature.

Servant vs. Lord(1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

Unwarranted holiness crept into the church. Misplaced loyalties arose. Church members were now placing Paul and Apollos on the same pedestal as Christ. Their spiritual well being was amiss.

The apostle tried to correct this wrong perception by using a farming metaphor. Any good farmer knows that they are basically caretakers of the land. They do their part in planting, watering and tending the crop. But even the best-trained and educated farmer knows he has no control over the ultimate outcome of the harvest.

The similarities are obvious. We are mere servants for the heavenly kingdom. Our work to build a church is important. However, in the end it is God who brings about growth and not us.

Faithfulness to the Labor(1 Corinthians 3:8-9)

Faithfulness to a task in the church is paramount to the unity of the church's life. Although we are not gifted to do everything that is needed to keep the church healthy, we are gifted to do our part. Paul sees the problem of disharmony in this early church not being their talents, but their lack of faithfulness. Does this sound familiar in today's churches?

Even in the midst of discord, Paul reminds us that God will reward our faithfulness when we apply our labor. The immediate benefits of our servant leadership may not be seen in what we do, but we are not out to bring forth a huge success. God is in charge of that process.

We are called to do our faithful part in the kingdom's growth. When we come to understand that aspect of our spiritual growth, our churches will be known for their harmony rather than their frustrations.

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2/1/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve Zimmerman , 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 | with 0 comments
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