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March 3, 2019

1 CORINTHIANS 3-4     


Focus Verse for Today: 1 Corinthians 4:6

On today’s Journey Through The Bible in A Year, we are journeying through the city of Corinth, specifically visiting the church at Corinth.  Our journey reveals that churches have harmony issues.  Churches are a body of people.  It is difficult for people to gather without people vying for position which leads to positioning, forming cliques, leading to conflict.  Let’s see how the Apostle Paul teaches them to restore harmony.  


Before we get started on this journey, a very practical one for the church goers among this crew, let’s take a moment at ask God in prayer, to help us understand His true meaning of this teaching and to help us grow our faith through it.  Now open up your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 3-4 and read.  Ready!  


1 Corinthians 3 describes contention developing between members of the church at Corinth.  The dispute centered on whether the church should follow the teaching of Paul or Apollos.  At this point in the Church at Corinth’s history, it appears, that no one challenged Christ’s teaching as differing between the two men; only, which should be designated as follower of the church.  (Some reading between the lines took place here)  It appears some people like Apollos more than Paul.  It appears some people liked Paul more than Apollos.  (1 Corinthians 3:1-15)  Paul clarifies that each person is the temple which contains and maintains their individual relationship with God.  It is a warning as well as a clarification.  It is important that we nourish our relationship with God, bundling a firm foundation for our relationship with God through His word.  (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)  We will conclude chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians with this scripture passage.  Pay close attention to the highlighted part:


18Do not deceive yourselves.  If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.  19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.  As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21So then, no more boasting about human leaders!  All things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.  (1 Corinthians 3:18-23,NIV)  


This is not today’s focus verse.  Look at our world today.  Take a real good look at it.  People are addicted to fame and adulation of the masses.  It is a drug that drives them, allowing them to lose sight of their original purpose and find themselves protecting their fame at the price of honesty.  The Apostle Paul was aware of the dangers of this, to this newly formed group, “The Way,” (more later), refocusing the church at Corinth back to God’s word: Christ is the Leader of the Church.


In 1 Corinthians 4, the Apostle Paul continues and concludes his teaching on church discord over leadership with our focus verse for today:


6Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.  (1 Corinthians 4:6, NIV)  


Paul knew the importance of keeping everyone focused on the written word to protect the new church from false teachings that were on the rise, through charlatans of Paul’s day.  The world really hasn’t changed much in 2000 years.  (1 Corinthians 4:1-7)  The Apostle Paul shares the cost of discipleship with the Church at Corinth.  Paul tells them that true discipleship is serving the Lord regardless of the cost.  There will be times of suffering, ridicule, hunger, and possible loss of life.  True discipleship comes at a price.  (1 Corinthians 4:8-13)  Paul sends Timothy to shepherd the church at Corinth.  Corinth was a new church.  A church of young Christians.  A church that needed guidance in their growth as new believers, followers of, “The Way.” (1 Corinthians 4:14-21)


As you were reading today it may have occurred to you that people, for the most part, need something to hold onto, something material to guide them.  In this case, it was Apollos or Paul.  Why not Jesus?  


Today’s journey was difficult for the people of the church of Corinth.  It is still a difficult journey for us, as believers today.  Take out your journal!  Warm up your brain!  Your personal journey has begun.  Is your faith relationship with your pastor, another person, no one, or with Jesus?  Think it through before you answer.  Who do you really worship?  What do you really worship?  People in Corinth may have been looking for someone to tell them what to do.  People in Corinth may have been seeking someone to excuse what they were doing.  Where is your life as it relates to these two questions?  The only correct answers to all the questions you may have are contained in the Bible.  (1 Corinthians 4:6)  Please journey through it with us.  Godspeace!


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