Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Scripture

You are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are still controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

Observation

Paul says that when he was with the people in Corinth, he could not talk to them as to spiritual people. They were too worldly.

The church was divided into factions- one group following Paul, another Apollos. This, he says, is worldliness, sinfulness. The heroes they are following are just doing the work the Lord gave to them to do. It is God’s work. One may plant a seed, and another water it, but it is God who makes the plant grow.

Application

The sin of denominationalism was present in the early church.

Wherever people gather, there is a tendency to group into cliques of similar interest. The problem arises when we allow these smaller groups to become our focus.

These people who claimed to follow Apollos or Paul were not claiming to follow Jesus. They had truly lost the plot.

Today many people take pride in the label at the door of their church building. “I am Anglican”, “I am Catholic” and so on.

If the denominational affiliation of our congregation is our focus, then we are not looking to Jesus. We will never go beyond the most basic of teaching because we are not open to the spiritual things.

Churches, pastors, leaders, and in fact every member of a church, must always remember that while denominations are a convenient tag, Jesus must always come first.

To build up “my” church at the expense of Christ is idolatry. The Church belongs to Jesus, and He will build it in His way.

I am thankful for the variety of flavours of church (worship styles, governance etc) in my town. I am thankful for the other pastors who have gifts and callings that I don’t have. I rejoice when they are blessed, and I feel their hurt when they are set back.

There is only one church. We follow Jesus.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for your church. May I always be faithful to Christ, seeking unity in the faith. Amen.

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