Encouragement – “see pg 289” could also be titled, Oh! By the Way…
There is no one church leader, prophet, apostle, pastor, teacher, marriage counselor, group, or Christian friend who has the power to solve a spiritual problem. There is only one Truth – the Master Jesus whom we serve. But in what manner are we to serve? Let it be willingly and humbly – with no one believer greater than the rest and none to be idolized.
Chapter 3 of I Corinthians is part of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. Dad actually circled four verses from chapter 3 on pages 288 and 289 of his New Testament Bible. I am not even going to try to unravel the mystery of it, and appreciate the context of the scriptures by commenting on the passage of verses 3-9. Chapter 3 was Paul’s way of dealing with a bunch of weak believers who Paul referred to as “babes in Christ”. He was exasperated with them. Evidently they were more focused on glorifying the missionaries than they were on growing their relationship with Jesus – a fleshly pursuit. The result was disunity – division and strife in the body of Christ. There have been multitudes of believers in history that have been sucked up into the same bowl of beans.
I am not at all categorizing anyone experiencing discouragement as a “weak believer”. Far from it! Paul wrote at length about his own discouragements and I would not consider him to be weak in the faith. Yet his strength came from faith in Jesus – not men.
I am also not saying that fellow believers are unworthy of your time when you need encouragement. They most certainly should be of help in pointing you to God’s Word for answers. There is power in the brethren praying for one another, no doubt. Seek their guidance, respect their calling, but listen to what Paul had to say:
“3For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? 4For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” Are you not merely men? 5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are fellow workers for God: you are God’s field, God’s building.” ~ I Corinthians 3:3-9
And by the way: When it comes to encouragement, God’s Word is The Authority. There is no one – NO ONE – more trustworthy than our Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the Living God. No matter what is going on in your life that is causing you to feel defeated, you can take it to Him in prayer for peace, resolution, and victory. Believe in His love, grace, and compassion; which is sufficient and matchless.
Another “By the way”: Although each believer is called, we are called to different purposes, according to God’s plan. So be encouraged not to try to be God’s yardstick. We stumble when we compare ourselves to fellow believers – be they great or small in our eyes. Apollos and Paul were merely “servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each” (emphasis added).
More “By the way”: Be encouraged by this: “but God gave the growth”. A famer plants the seed, and waters it, but only God produces the crop. That is supernatural power. The farmer does not own the crop, or other laborers in the field. God does. The farmer has no ability whatsoever to make the seed miraculously turn into a mature plant: “you are God’s field, God’s building.” The farmer is not to be glorified for just planting and watering. The farmer is doing that for his own benefit – nothing to idolize there! God owns the dirt. Man is dust. Don’t idolize dust! Seek encouragement in your daily walk from the Creator of dust through His Word. He will take care of you if you just believe, ask, and trust Him.
“21So let no one boast of men. For 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 Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” ~ I Corinthians 3:21-23
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” ~ I Corinthians 4:1
Oh! By the way: Remember that “you are Christ’s” and He is all powerful. Be encouraged that He is Wisdom and is our Counsellor, our Friend, our High Tower, our Healer, our Redeemer, and is Mighty to Save. No problem is bigger than Jesus. He takes our ugly and wraps it in His Beauty.
Final “By the way”: The world is watching. We are to be “stewards of the mysteries of God” instead of “behaving as ordinary men”. Pray for one another always.
If you are looking forward to discovering with me another segment of Dad’s message about encouragement, follow www.importantstuff.live and check out the next blog titled “Encouragement – “see pg 49”. God Bless.
Note: For another viewpoint on divisions in the early church of Corinth, here is a link to an article written by John Reed: “1COR3v18to23: THE CURE FOR CHRISTIAN DISUNITY”