Cor. Chapter 3:1-23
verses for this week: Isa 40:31 But they that
wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up
with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they
shall walk, and not faint.
Introduction: Last week in Chapter 2, we learned that the things
of God are spiritually discerned, and only the saved Christian can
spoke of how he had preached not with the wisdom of man but with the
power of the Holy Spirit. Chapter
2 focused on the differences between the spiritual man and the
natural man. Chapter 3
concerns the carnal man. A
carnal person is one who is saved but has not grown as a Christ.
The Corinthians were known as carnal Christians who walked as
men. When we live
this way, our testimony is negative and we are very limited in our
ability to bring others to Christ.
Carnal Corinthian Christians
1 Cor 3:1
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,
but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1 Cor 3:2
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye
were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
leaves little doubt about the condition of these people in the
Corinthian church. He
first speaks of them as brethren, denoting that they were saved
individuals. He then
calls the carnal and babes in Christ. They were born again, but still allowing the old nature to
control them. We
know when we raise our children that we must care for every detail
of a baby to allow it to grow and begin to walk and make decisions
on its own. The relationship is very similar in spiritual things.
We can come to know Christ, and fail to grow in spiritual
maturity, and wind up a “baby” in the things of God.
God’s desire is for us to nurture and uplift the young
Christians and by our example and teaching, bring them to spiritual
maturity. A carnal
Christian can not do this, as he or she needs to be re-taught the
“milk” of the word. As
a new born Christian, we are to desire the milk of the word.
But as we grow, we should learn and begin to digest the meat
of the scriptures. (the
deeper things of God and the Spirit.)
1 Pet 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that
ye may grow thereby:
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered,
seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need
that one teach you again which be the first principles of the
oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of
righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern
both good and evil.
see that the strong meat of the word is to belong to them that are
older Christians and by use and study have grown in the word of God. Nothing beats on the job training, and we get that every day
if we will but look at how God is molding and shaping our lives.
But if we never read our bibles, fail to seek the Spirit’s
guidance, we can remain in state of immaturity.
Paul was condemning those Hebrews that were in that
a period of time, we should all grow and be able to teach others. But they remained carnal and were totally ineffective in
their Christian walk. The
pastor has a duty to feed the church with the Word of Truth.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,
over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the
church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon,
son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him,
Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas,
lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I
love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest
thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time,
Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things;
thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
this teaching in John, Jesus points out how that there are both
“sheep” and “lambs.” The
sheep refer to the older, more mature Christians while the lambs
speak of those who have recently been saved.
There should be growth in every Christian while we remain
here on earth.
1 Cor 3:3
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you
envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as
1 Cor 3:4
For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of
Apollos; are ye not carnal?
that three things identified the carnal Christians.
of these are manifestations of the flesh, not the Spirit. All of these things are listed in Galatians as “works of
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of
the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
word “divisions” is translated as “seditions” in Galatians.
By grouping themselves after certain human teachers, they
would then argue and quarrel with one another rather than building
up one another in the spirit. We
are not to argue, but rather to exhort and encourage.
2 Tim 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
church is to follow the pastor as he follows Christ.
1 Cor 11:1
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken
unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For
it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not
with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied
Service Should be to God Only
Cor 3:5 Who then is
Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as
the Lord gave to every man?
Cor 3:6 I have planted,
Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
Cor 3:7 So then neither
is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God
that giveth the increase.
and Apollos were simply men who had planted and watered. If God had not given the increase, nothing would have been
forthcoming. All of
their efforts would have been in vain.
But when we do things God’s way, He is faithful to bless
and save those that hear the Gospel and believe.
Human channels in themselves are nothing, but working with
God, they can accomplish great things.
We read the verse last week and about the being a branch out
of the true vine. Without
God, we can do nothing. That
is exactly the opposite of the teachings of the world.
They teach that we are the center of the universe, and that
with enough self motivation, we can do great things.
In human endeavors, there may be some truth in this.
But when it comes to spiritual things, God must be the one
who gives the increase. There was no division among Paul and Apollos.
They both knew their human frailty and looked to God for
strength each day. These
cliques that had been established were by men, nothing that they had
attempted to do on their own. We
must be careful to keep our eyes on Jesus, and not on men. If we don’t, we can be very disillusioned when those
we respect so much fail. And
being human, all of us will ultimately fail without the grace of
Together with God
1 Cor 3:8
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every
man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
1 Cor 3:9
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's
husbandry, ye are God's building.
of us work together to accomplish the results of seeing the lost
come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We may go out and knock on doors, and never see that person
come to know Jesus. But
we may have been the one that planted the seed, then another comes
along and waters, then a third (or a fiftieth) comes along and
gathers the increase. And
sometimes, we get to be the one who sees the lost soul turn to Jesus
due to the efforts others have put forth for years. We truly are just labourers in the vineyard, seeking to
do the bidding of the master. Our
goal as servants of the Lord is to labor in the fields and bring the
fruits into the storehouse. Those
that reach others for the Lord are wise the bible says.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that
winneth souls is wise.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh
harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the
fields; for they are white already to harvest.
on the True Foundation
1 Cor 3:10
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a
wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth
thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1 Cor 3:11
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which
is Jesus Christ.
you lay out the plans for a building, you begin with a strong
foundation. If the
foundation is not deep enough and strong enough, the walls will fall
in. In the spiritual
context, the one and only perfect foundation is Jesus Christ.
And He is the one that we can build upon and accomplish great
things. Paul had
been the first one to preach the gospel in Corinth, and Paul knew
that if we want to build a church or build a successful life, we
must do it on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 3:12
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver,
precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1 Cor 3:13
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall
declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall
try every man's work of what sort it is.
1 Cor 3:14
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he
shall receive a reward.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but
he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
a person did not believe in eternal security of the believer, I’d
like to know what they think these verses teach.
This is pure, simple, and perfect teaching about how works
have nothing whatsoever to do with our salvation.
They come in to play in our rewards as we “work out” our
salvation. The “gold,
silver, and precious stones” speak of the things that pass the
test. These are the
things of God done God’s way and they will bring a reward.
The “wood, hay, and stubble” all speak of things done in
the flesh that can not stand the test of fire.
And those things done this way will
cause a “loss of rewards”, but praise God, even if no
works remain, we still shall be saved.
In other words, if we never do something for God, we will
lose a lot of rewards, but Christ will still be faithful to us.
2 Tim 2:9
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds;
but the word of God is not bound.
2 Tim 2:10
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that
they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with
2 Tim 2:11
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall
also live with him:
2 Tim 2:12
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him,
he also will deny us:
2 Tim 2:13
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny
Against Destruction of the Temple
1 Cor 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the
Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Cor 3:17
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy;
for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
see the entire church being pictured in these verses as the temple
of God. The Holy Spirit
comes in and takes up dwelling inside the Christian the day he or
she comes to know Christ as Savior.
And anyone who injures or mars this temple of God will have
to give an account to God one day.
1 Cor 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy
Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
1 Cor 6:20
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your
body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible had this to say about verses
16 and 17.
other parts of the epistle, it appears that the false teachers among
the Corinthians taught unholy doctrines. Such teaching tended to
corrupt, to pollute, and destroy the building, which should be kept
pure and holy for God. Those who spread loose principles, which
render the church of God unholy, bring destruction upon themselves.
Christ by his Spirit dwells in all true believers. Christians are
holy by profession, and should be pure and clean, both in heart and
conversation. He is deceived who deems himself the temple of the
Holy Ghost, yet is unconcerned about personal holiness, or the peace
and purity of the church.”
Thoughts of the Wise
1 Cor 3:18 Let no man
deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this
world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1 Cor 3:19 For the
wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He
taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
1 Cor 3:20 And again,
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
1 Cor 3:21 Therefore let
no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1 Cor 3:22 Whether Paul,
or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things
present, or things to come; all are yours;
1 Cor 3:23 And ye are
Christ's; and Christ is God's.
The apostle rebukes the
Corinthians for their love of worldly wisdom.
The love of worldly wisdom was producing unhappy divisions
among them. Paul
suggests that if any man thinks himself to be wise in this age, he
needed to change and become what the world considers a fool.
The world does not see the things of God for what they truly
are. We need to seek
God’s approval, even if we are considered fools in this life.
Simple childlike faith is what pleases God.
With God, the wisdom of the philosophers of this world is
utter and absolute foolishness.
He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel
of the froward is carried headlong.
The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
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