BABES IN CHRIST
1 Corinthians 3:1-8
“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” Hebrews 5:13
When we were born again, we were born into God’s family as newborns or babes in Christ. We were infants that needed to be cared for. The Lord then instructed us to drink milk so that we could grow out of infancy into adolescence, and then finally adulthood.
Sadly, however, some believers remain babes in Christ for all of their Christian journey. The verse above gives us one of the many characteristics of babes in Christ outlined in the Scriptures. It says babes are “unskilled in the Word of righteousness.” The word “unskilled” also means “inexperienced,” “unaccustomed,” or “unacquainted” with the word. Babes, therefore, are inexperienced at understanding spiritual truths and so cannot put God’s word to work effectively.
There are Christians who can only understand the message of repentance from sin because they still need to be reminded that sin is destructive. If you teach them deeper truths of Christ, it may sound strange to them. This is one of the signs of spiritual infancy. Do not remain at the same spot you were in when you became born again. God wants you to grow, just as every earthly parent want to see their children grow. Desire the sincere milk of the word so that you may grow in it and then start eating meat! Christians should become mature, both in understanding and in behaviour. The last reference to growth in the Bible applies to each Christian: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Lord, stir a hunger for spiritual growth in me and among my brethren. Amen.
TRIED BY FIRE
1 Corinthians 3:11-15
“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 Corinthians 3:13
Our work for God and His Church can be of a profitable nature. In this case, our work endures the test of the judgment seat of Christ and we are rewarded for it. There is another type of work which is useless and therefore, lacks reward. The nature of our service to the Lord is important. “The day” that shall declare or expose the nature or quality of our work is the judgment seat of Christ. This is where the work and service of every servant of the Lord will be reviewed. It is only service or work that has brought glory to God and blessing to man that will endure the Master’s scrutiny.
The work of the Lord is not to be done sloppily or shabbily. It is not to be done with an ulterior motive to promote self or personal agenda. It is not to be done for monetary gain or material acquisition. It must be done in God’s way and in a singular bid to give Him glory. It is an interesting thought to consider that the same word of God that will try our service at the judgment seat of Christ is available to us today. The word of God is sometimes referred to as fire (Isaiah 5:24, Jeremiah 23:29). If we are building or rendering service in accordance with the teachings of the Lord as contained in the word, then our work will stand His test on that coming day.
Dear Lord, please help to be faithful in my relationship with You and let my service count. Amen.
THE TEMPLE OF GOD
1 Corinthians 3:12-21
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
When the Bible says you are a temple of the Holy Spirit, it is saying that God’s Spirit lives in you. But understand that it is saying much more than that. God is saying that you are a holy place. That means you need to take good care of yourself spiritually, physically, and mentally. It is amazing that God doesn’t just exist outside of you in Heaven or in the Church building. His Spirit actually lives in you. When you prayerfully remind yourself that you are a temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you, it will transform the way you look at yourself and it will transform the way you see God’s purpose for your life.
When we think about being a temple of God, it can motivate us to be careful about where we go, what we eat, what we watch, and what we listen to. It can motivate us to keep His temple pure. It can also motivate us to ensure He is glorified in His temple, and that when people see His temple, they will see His presence shining through us.
Prayerfully reflect on the fact that God dwells in you and let this knowledge affect every area of your life.
SERVANTS AND STEWARDS
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” 1 Corinthians 4:2
In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul calls himself and Apollos “stewards” who have been entrusted with the most important thing imaginable; the “mysteries of God.” Like a fund manager, he is to protect God’s investment and work to ensure a return on God’s investment. God seeks stewards who are faithful. They are not chosen due to their eloquence, nor wisdom nor initiative, nor success; which are the natural standard requirements. Those who have been entrusted with the Gospel are to humbly serve the Master and seek His glory and honour alone. The leaders of the Corinthian church are failing in just this regard; they are seeking their own honour rather than the one who has called them. A steward in the context of our text is a servant entrusted with a task or a commission. He is a manager or administrator. This could be a servant put in charge of a household.
A common metaphor in Jesus’ parables is that of the servant—we are not called to be great as our culture defines greatness, but to serve faithfully. The words we long to hear on that final day are “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Serving is not something we do on occasion; it is a way of life. The Christian journey is not one of observation, but participation.
Are you faithfully carrying out your duties as a steward of God?
Dear Lord, please help me to be a faithful steward. Amen.
SIN IN THE CHURCH
1 Corinthians 5:1-12
“…Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” 1 Corinthians 5:6
The importance of disciplinary action in a church when a member commits serious sin of a public nature can be looked at from two very important perspectives. First, to retain the holy character of the Church in the eyes of the world. Second, so that the Holy Spirit may work ungrieved in the midst of the Church. The Church is the light and salt of the earth, so it must be the reference point for righteousness to the world. The Church in Corinth were mighty in words and gifts but were short in moral purity and attitude to sin. In his book, First Corinthians, Erdman noted, “They should have understood that the true glory of the Christian church consists not in eloquence and gifts of its great teachers, but in the moral purity and the exemplary lives of its members.”
We should be careful of our attitude to sin in our assemblies. The Corinthians were not remorseful but rather boastful. Perhaps they were proud of the abundance of spiritual gifts in their midst so didn’t pay serious attention to what had happened. Or they were more interested in numbers than holiness, so they waved off the incident and felt proud that they could tolerate the offender in ‘love.’ Their attitude was sure to have ripple effect in the assembly; because others will feel that sin, no matter how grievous and detrimental to the image of Christ and His Church, is not a big deal. Anyone who identifies as a believer and lives in sin should not be fraternized with so such a person doesn’t get a wrong notion of our high calling as saints. We are to judge sin among ourselves not the sins of those outside the church who are still held in satan’s grip.
What is your attitude towards sin? Is it remorse and repentance or boastful indifference?
Lord, let me be an agent of righteousness in the Church and let no sin reign in our congregation because of indifference and foolish haughtiness. Amen.
DISPUTES IN THE CHURCH
1 Corinthians 6:1-11
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” 1 Corinthians 6:2
Disputes and disagreements are bound to happen within a family unit. The challenge is in the handling of such matters when they arise. The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul gives us guidelines on how to handle such issues in the family of the called-out ones. First, we must appreciate the concept of family. We are all members of the body of Christ. We all belong to one body. We are saved by the same blood and we are on the same journey to Heaven. All disputes must be handled as ‘family disputes’ within the family. There are indeed wise ones in our midst who can help to resolve conflicts. Lawsuits between believers are an ugly blot on the Christian community.
Second, we must prioritize love, forgiveness, tolerance, and abide by the golden rule of doing to others as we want them to do to us. Letting go and accepting to be cheated doesn’t feel good to the flesh. But we are to live by the Lord’s admonition that we give our coat if we are sued for our shirt. God’s love in us can overlook any offense or hurt. An understanding of the different stages of maturity within the believing community may well help us “cover a multitude of sins.” To those who perpetrate these evil acts of cheating and deliberately hurting fellow members of the spiritual community, there is the stern warning of disqualification as citizens of God’s family. This is not our lifestyle. We were like that before Jesus saved us and cleansed us with His blood. We are now free to act right with one another as heirs of eternal life.
Lord, let me be a vessel of your love and peace in the Church family. Heal every hurt and cause repentance and righteousness among us. Amen.
THE NATURAL VERSUS THE SPIRITUAL MAN
1 Corinthians 2:10-16
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
Paul refers to the “natural man” in contrast with the “spiritual man.” You are either a Christian and therefore a spiritual person, or you not a Christian and therefore a natural person. The natural man is he who lives his life without any reference to spiritual truth. He could have common sense, academic acumen, or business success. But without the Spirit of God, he is without divine input, insight, or wisdom. He may ply his way through the world well enough, but there is no connection with God in any meaningful sense. The spiritual man is one whose life has been infused by the Spirit of God. In addition to and superseding the knowledge of the world that the natural man has, believers have a spiritual awareness that affects how they view everything. Their spiritual conscience has been raised from the dead. The natural man cannot understand this and may even see Christians as weird for what they believe.
The fact that the Lord has given us His Spirit to quicken us is what makes us spiritual and our walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) is what separates us from the natural man. The one who is controlled by natural or fleshy tendencies will always fulfill the lust of the flesh. But the one who heeds the Spirit’s leading will fulfill the will of the Lord.
Are you led by the Spirit or the flesh?
Dear Lord, help me to rise to the truth that I am spiritual and I have the mind of Christ.