1 Corinthians Chapters 3-4 by Pastor Don Moore
Hope you enjoy my notes from a Bible study taught on 1/6/12
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 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; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
The Corinthians were not acting as mature spiritual people, but rather as carnal, babies in Christ. In the Body of Christ there were divisions, strife, and envy. Instead of behaving as one Body in Christ, the people were acting as mere men.
1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
There are still divisions among them – following a charismatic leader instead of staying with the principles of faith..
1 Corinthians 3:5-6 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
Paul established ministries and then Apollos watered them, nurtured what Paul established. God is the one who gives the increase.
People have different ministries and together they serve the whole Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:7-8 So then neither 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.
God is the one who gets the glory and gives the increase. Those who plant (establish churches) or water them (maintain what was established) no one is more important than another. We are working for the whole body of Christ. Our rewards will come from God according to our labor for God’s Kingdom.
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
We look at the whole being – the parts become one together, God building and giving the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 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.
These verses are clear and speak for themselves. The foundation is Jesus Christ and we do not add anything to that solid foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; 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.
The “Day” mentioned here is the Day of the Lord’s Judgment, the Lord’s wrath. He will judge by fire, destroy by fire anything except the foundation that Jesus teachers. God will test the work we’ve done to see if it is in God’s will. If it is, it will remain and shine like gold, silver, or precious stones. If not, it will be destroyed like wood, hay, and straw is destroyed in the fire.
1 Corinthians 3:14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
The testing will reveal if what we are doing is in line with God’s will. Are our teachings and ministries accurate? If so they will be blessed by God and rewarded.
1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The things we teach will be challenged and tested by God. If they are not of God, they will be burned and we will suffer loss. We can be a believer, be saved, and teach bad theology or not listen to the Spirit of God. If we listen to false teachers, or wrong teachings, the whole Body of Christ will suffer loss. An example is Jimmy Swaggert who committed a sin that compromised his ministry. He has repented, turned his life around, but his ministry is diminished.
People will lose if they follow leaders who are charismatic, but teach false doctrines. There is judgment on earth and in Heaven.
God can and does postpone full punishment.
King David authorized a census not ordained by God. Many men died as a result of this wrong action on David’s part, but God was merciful and stayed His hand. David slept with Bathsheba and their first son died. David prayed, but the baby’s life was forfeit. Still God gave David and Bathsheba a son Solomon, who was to later build the Temple. God is merciful even when we mess up.
There will be an eternal judgment. God does not tell us when it will happen, but it will happen. We must be careful and not play around, testing God’s boundaries.
1 Corinthians 3:16-23 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
This is a powerful promise. ALL THINGS ARE YOURS. The whole earth is given to us. Adam messed up. But this is a sure promise that we should be holy. Righteous living can get you seventy years or more in this physical body.
Pastor Don told us that the original scrolls of the Bible had no chapter or verse numbers. So 1 Corinthians 3:23 went right into Chapter 4, no division.
We did a quick skim-study of Chapter four.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
The most important criterion is faithfulness. You can’t build much of anything without faithfulness and Christ Jesus. Anything else will be tested. Be confident that faith will sustain us.
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
The flesh attempts to judge people, but we cannot judge in the flesh. The only praise that matters is what comes from God.
1 Corinthians 4:6-7 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 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?
God gives the increase. We cannot boast or be proud, comparing ourselves to others. Words are water and Water is the Word. God puts something in us, and when the right words are spoken, the seed springs up. It is from God, not from any personality.
1 Corinthians 4:8-10 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
Grace, empowerment. Paul and Apollos have taught the Corinthians the basic principles of Christ and they are rich.
1 Corinthians 4:11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
Jesus Christ. If we change the Gospel we make it base. We cannot preach anything but Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:12-22 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
Cephas is Peter. Paul wrote the letter hoping the Corinthians would change so He could come to them in gentleness, not in correction. Also note that Paul can’t come unless the Lord wills.