5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NKJV)
There are dangers in factions within the Church that is the body of Jesus Christ. The tendency is to become attached to he who is teaching rather than He whom is taught about. This is the struggle in the church at Corinth. The believers of Corinth were attracted to different leaders for different reasons as we are attracted to our leaders now. What then is the purpose of the teacher and the subject? The Physics teacher may open our eyes and nurture an acute interest in atoms. However, the Physics teacher is a conveyor of information of the subject of our focus. It is the atom that holds our focus. The need in Corinth was to redirect focus to the Subject of Jesus and away from the ones who brought the message.
Paul and Apollos brought a fervent message about Jesus to the church. Paul seeks to prioritize the process for receiving a fervent message and focusing.
Receive and focus
We listen as the seed of understanding is planted. We read Scripture or hear a Scriptural message. There may be eloquence, good articulation, and passion of the speaker who delivers God’s word. What we absorb may be life changing. We may grow in our passion and enter a season of a deeper understanding of His word. However, the message is brought through and not from the deliverer. It is brought from God through the Spirit Who was promised to help us understand the wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit nurtures our growth in His wisdom. The Spirit directs God’s leaders to first convey and then praise the source. We should be mindful always of the source Who is God, the subject Who is Jesus Christ, and the purpose, which is Him dying on the cross so that we may be forgiven of our sin. Eloquence and articulation are not a substitute for His dying for us. Focus on Him
Paul brought a message and Apollos nurtured the message. The church received the word of the Good News of Jesus Christ. However, there was a lack of focus toward this message, thus this epistle from Paul. The Lord gave Paul his ministry as the Lord gives all leaders in church their ministry. The seed is planted in us and we respond with our committing our life to Jesus. Faith is born, faith is nurtured, therefore the seed that is planted in good soil is watered and there is growth. We are the good soil that is prepared and receptive to hear and see. We are watered and grow through the message. Our focus is on Jesus and the Spirit nurtures our understanding.
So our leaders? We respect and listen to those gifted in teaching. They are chosen by God to be in the position of understanding where they stand. We listen and process with their help and more importantly with the help of the Spirit Who abides in us. Each leader will receive from God according to his ministry but the increase in our wisdom is from God.
So, receive the message of Jesus Christ. Study it. Let God’s word become your sustaining daily manna. Jesus is the Word and He is the Sustainer. Lest we forget. His sacrifice and burden is our grace from God. We do not let any intermediary come between God and our selves. We do respect and listen-respect because those who teach in earnest are appointed by God and that is worthy of our respect. Jesus is our focus and all else is pushing, planting, watering, and nurturing in His direction. That is our focus. I pray to focus on Jesus.
December 9, 2011
Excellent Word, Rick. A former pastor of mine regularly told a growing and adoring congregation, “You must keep in mind that you are drawn to the ‘Jesus in me’, to my gift and calling, NOT to the person that I am. You are seeing what God does in me; never mistake that for the just plain old person that I am.” He kept directing people to Jesus and empowering the congregation to be strong in the Lord, not merely devoted to the man who was bringing the Lord to them.
Enjoyed this so much. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your comment. When I was first saved and zealous for Jesus, I tended to put my then-pastor on a pedestal. Needless to say, after awhile this came tumbling down hard. Still getting over it! It was God teaching me this passage in Scripture. In Christ, Rick