I am continuing my study on 1 Corinthians. I will be dealing with chapters 3 and 4. The title is 'Jesus is the Foundation.'
"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." (3:1)
I am not sure if Paul is talking to newly saved people, or people who aren't saved yet. Yet for either class, the basics must be explained. No one can expect to reach people by promoting some detailed doctrine. Yet, be careful not to downplay the importance of sin and Christ's sacrifice. For newfound believers, keep it simple and straight.
"I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." (2)
The meat is the real deal. Once a solid belief in the milk manifests itself, the meat can begin to be expounded on. For mere babes, the meat would confuse them.
"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (3)
A very similar topic as the last verse, yet this time, Paul mentions divisions. There are so much divisions in today's churches, that it isn't funny. One of the main reasons is because of legalism and/or heresies.
"For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?" (4)
I find this amongst the debate between one man's theology and another man's theology. They both stand by their MAN, and forget about Christ in the meanwhile.
"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?" (5)
Paul and Apollos are just ministers of Christ.
"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." (6)
God did the ultimate work. Paul and Apollos did the preliminary work.
"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. (7)
We don't do the planting or the watering. We just do the work. The next verse will tell us just Who does the planting and the watering.
"Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." (8)
The one who does the planting and the watering is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. He plants a seed inside of our hearts, which is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit waters our lives with Godly fruit. We then do our labor as Christ guides us to. [This is my opinion. You are free to disagree.]
"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, and ye are God's building." (9)
We are the Church, and the Church is the bride of Christ.
"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." (10)
The Holy Spirit worked within Paul so he could build the foundation of historical Christianity. Jesus Christ used Paul to build His own foundation, to be exact. We are to build upon it, yet we are to discern what we build upon it, for if it is not of God, we are corrupting the building.
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is lad, which is Jesus Christ." (11)
As the title of this study says, Jesus is the only true Foundation.
"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble; 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." (12 - 13)
Man's doctrine shall be tested in the end of days, to see if it was of Christ or not of Christ.
"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." (14)
Anyone who keeps to the doctrine of Christ shall receive a reward.
"If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (15)
Anyone who strays from the doctrine of Christ shall suffer a loss of reward, but shall be saved nevertheless. [No Christian will get their doctrine as perfect as Christ wants it to be.]
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (16)
We are all temples of Christ. I would suggest that we must represent God as well as we can, through the Spirit, for He dwells within us.
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (17)
I am not sure if this means that God will literally kill us if we stray too far into sin, but that is what it looks like. We are to be holy.
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise." (18)
Worldly wisdom makes men fools to God. We are to let our presuppositions and preconceptions down if we are to be wise in Christ.
"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." (19)
God despises the worldly wise men. Their 'wisdom' is as filthy rags, fueled by self-pride.
"And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." (20)
Worldly wisdom is the epitome of vanity. We could know 'War and Peace' cover to cover by memory, but God looks at it as a futile waste of time.
"Therefore let no man glory in men. For al things are yours." (21)
Do not take pride in being named after a man. Be a Christian, not any other name.
"Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ's is God's." (22)
Simply said, we are of Christ.
"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." (4:1)
We are stewards of the Gospel, entrusted with it.
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (2)
We are to be faithful as stewards of the Gospel. We are not to stray.
"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self." (3)
As the next verse says, we are to be judged by the LORD.
"For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord." (4)
Paul was entrusted with Christ's pure knowledge.
I apologize, but I am going to skip to verse 10, because these verses are pretty meaty, even for me. I want to simply make a point, not go over every verse possible, although I try to.
"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised." (10)
We are to be foolish for Christ in the world's eyes, for we are then truly wise.
"Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; and labour, working withour own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer in it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." (11-13)
Paul is describing the monumental hardships that he and his followers went through to preach the Gospel of Christ.
"For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." (20)
Not by fancy words does the Gospel get most effectively preached, but by God's holy power.
I apologize for skipping verses, but I don't want to veer off into a tangential topic.