Monday, April 28, 2014
My Favorite Preacher
It is incomprehensible to me that with ALL of the problems that the New Testament Church at Corinth in the first century manifested . . . preacher worship was perhaps the most destructive . . . and the one that the Apostle Paul addressed first, and most heatedly.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas (Simon Peter); and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
Paul was vexed!
Every spiritual leader in his list (Paul, Apollos, Peter, and Christ) was exemplary . . . and each would cringe to know that they were being used as fodder for division and disharmony in the Corinthian Church. NOTHING that any of them ever did fostered this human idolization and its resulting division . . . they were all uniters . . . not dividers! This problem was a carnal invention of the members of the church.
Imagine any Christian saying, "My spiritual condition (presumably good) is all due to Paul!" or "The reason I am a lousy , Carnal Christian is because of Apollos!"
The truth is . . . if I am saved . . . it is only because of Jesus . . . and if I am not being the kind of Christian I was saved to be . . . it is only because of ME.
Paul said, "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius." I Corinthians 1:14 Can you imagine such bad behavior and belief that the Apostle would say, "Boy, I didn't baptize many of you guys, and I'm glad that I didn't. You're an embarrassment!" "Christ did not send me to baptize any of you. He sent me to tell you have to be saved through the Gospel."
In I Corinthians 3, Paul continued, "I planted, Apollos watered . . . but God gave the increase." We are just co-laborers and fellow workers. We are NOT competitors for your attention, your adoration, your worship, your praise, or your blame!!"
Paul taught them, "Jesus is the foundation that we laid when we founded your church . . . THAT'S what God used us to build. What have YOU built on that foundation? Gold, silver, precious stones? Or wood, hay, and stubble?"
Paul called them "fussy babies" (I Corinthians 3:10) Whenever you are hungry or wet or dirty - all you know how to do is cry, complain, and fuss. All you are doing is fussing and fighting and dividing the church. Everything that you are producing from your fleshly fussing is trashy wood, hay, and stubble . . . and NONE of it will face the fires of Christ's Judgment. It will all turn to ash when it is tested by fire.
The difficulties, divisions, anger, bitterness, and pettiness were evidences of God's judgment on the Corinthian Church. Their problems and disappointments were NOT to be laid at the feet of their spiritual leaders.
Paul (in I Corinthians 3) was saying, "THIS is what WE have done because of our calling to be Masterbuilders and Stewards in the Work of Christ . . . what have YOU done?
All God expects us to do . . . is be faithful (I Corinthians 4:2) . . . to HIM . . . not faithful to our spiritual leaders.
Each of us striving to hear these words when we arrive in the Presence: "Well done, good and faithful Servant, enter in to the joy of your Lord (Matthew 25:23)."