1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 22


Last week we saw that there is a great opportunity for those who follow the path of the cross to be able to hear from God and have Christ mind. This is a fulfillment of Romans 12: 1, 2 where we are called to renew our minds and change our thought patterns. Some have taken these verses to mean that they have deeper knowledge and revelation than others and nobody can teach them because their revelation comes directly from heaven.


  1. Paul is going to spend a lot of time correcting the Corinthians so it can’t mean we can’t be corrected.
  2. The path to this knowledge is through the cross so those that say leave the cross and live in the resurrection are missing the only path that will open up our lives to living in the resurrection.


  1. Division stops spiritual growth. Vs 1 – 4


They thought they were so spiritual that they didn’t need other teachers in their lives and in reality, this made them immature.


Here are the proofs that the spiritual truths are not being applied.


  1. There are no unspiritual christians
    1. Paul addresses them as brothers.
    2. There is such a thing as a Carnal Christian (or backslidden christian)
    3. Paul uses the term fleshly (One who should do different but doesn’t)
  2. Feed you (drink) is applied to the milk and the meat.
    1. Again some teach that there are some teachings that are milk and some are meat.  There are not two gospels.
    2. There are different tastebuds that are trained to eat different things.
    3. Are you receptive to the truths that are coming out.  This determines whether you are eating milk or meat.
  3. We said this before.  They are not just following different teachers but tearing down other teachers.
    1. They are tearing down leadership over them just like people in the world do.
  4. Paul is not calling them unsaved, he is just saying they are acting like it.


2. Leaders are just servants. Vs 5 – 9


  1. We are all servants Vs 5
    1. This really eliminates the idea that leaders are the head of the party.
    2. Remember in chapter 1, we are all called to our position (Paul called to be an apostle, we called to be where we are.  All callings are the same)
    3. Paul is not kind to his fan club either.
  2. The important thing is growth.
    1. There is not to be an emphasis on the watering club to the neglect of the planting.
    2. We are all people with a singular purpose (God’s garden would grow.)
      1. Your kingdom come, your will be done
    3. God is the one who makes it all grow.
      1. Jim Cymbala “God did not say he would build our church or we are not called to build his church.  He will build his church
      2. It doesn’t matter if you give the most money or do the most.  There is no place for special privilege in the church.
      3. Not “My” or “our” church
    4. We are called to be fellow workers in God’s great work he is doing.
      1. No task too small or to large for us to accomplish.


3. Call to care for what God is doing Vs10 – 17


  1. Paul was able to minister because of grace poured out on him.
    1. We are not ministering out of our own talents, but out of grace poured out over us
    2. We will see this more when we look at spiritual gifts and how they function.  They are not just talents we have.
    3. Paul says because of this grace he is an expert builder
      1. Remember 2; 3 how he came in weakness, timid and trembling.  He is an expert because of the grace of God flowing through him.
  2. Foundation is Jesus Christ
    1. This is the gospel which is the foundation of all we do.
    2. Gospel is the crucifixion ( See 1 Corinthians 2: 2)
  3. Materials we build with
    1. Gold, silver, precious stone (dealing with precious and enduring things)
    2. Wood hay and stubble (dealing with things that will not last or endure)
  4. A judgment day will happen for believers.
    1. This is not the great white throne judgement of Revelation 20: 11 – 15.  That judgement will find everyone guilty
    2. This judgement is a reward for our lives and how we built on the foundation of Jesus.  (See 2 Corinthians 5: 10 we must all stand before the judgement seat of Christ)
      1. This is not a test of the worker but of their works. (This is not purgatory)
    3. A survival of our works will lead to reward
      1. It does not mention what this reward is, it just says that the reward is certain.
      2. Loss is not salvation but being deprived.
  5. We are the temple of God
    1. Temple word known as a place where deities dwell
    2. Be careful about tearing down the temple
      1. It is a horrible sin to be a church wrecker
      2. Don’t criticize Jesus bride.  The local church is important to Jesus


4. The conclusion to the matter Vs 18 – 21


  1. Don’t think of yourselves as wise and beyond the small teachings of the cross.
    1. World considers cross foolishness not the church. (See 1: 23)
  2. No leader has all truth.
    1. Don’t strive for the praise of man, but the praise of God.
  3. Remember your position because of faith in Jesus.
    1. You are above all circumstances that may happen because you are eternal
    2. You are not just a victim of fate, chance, or Karma
    3. Even death is under us and has no control over us.
  4. We belong to Christ and He belongs to God so don’t strive for man’s approval.