Read I Corinthians 1 -- 4
In Today’s Reading:
The grace and faithfulness of God; church problems at Corinth; God's power and wisdom; Jesus, the only Foundation; Christians, the Temples of God; authority of the apostles.
The church at Corinth was divided over who was the most important spiritual leader. Some preferred Paul, others Apollos, and still others Peter. But these men were only servants of Jesus Christ. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planted any thing, neither he that watered; but God that gives the increase. . . . and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor (I Corinthians 3:5-8). Because they were all servants of God, who enabled them to minister to His people, all praise should go to God, the Giver of all gifts. This illustrates how all of us need each other, as together we can fulfill His will in the Body of Christ through our prayers, tithes, gifts, talents, and witnessing to others. No one should feel either indispensable or inadequate.
Our foremost concern should be: "Am I doing all I should with the opportunities that God has given me to use my time, talents, and possessions for glorifying Him?" It takes every Christian to make up the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Everyone, without exception, is needed: For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread (10:17), and we are laborers together with God (3:9).
A body has many parts, each with different functions, but each part and function is necessary for the health, strength, and usefulness of the whole body. Learn . . . not to think of men above what is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who makes you to differ from another? and what have you that you did not receive? . . . if you received it (from God), why do you glory (boast), as if you had not received it (but had gained it by your own efforts)?
Should we give greater recognition to those who have "outstanding ability" than we do people with less-prominent responsibilities but who are equally faithful in doing their best? All praise should be given to the Lord, who alone qualified us for His service. This leaves no room for envying another person's ability or usefulness. Jealousy dishonors Christ and destroys the spirit of unity. My brethren, have not (do not hold) the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons (partiality) (James 2:1-4).
The true effectiveness of any Christian witness is dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Without His blessing, the most well-performed service will be spiritually ineffective. But, with His power working through us and His blessing upon us, we can confidently say: I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
Thought for Today: We should not boast -- or complain -- about the gifts or abilities God has bestowed on us or on others.
1:21 the foolishness of preaching = foolishness, to unbelievers; 2:6 perfect = conscience is clear of all intentional unfaithfulness; 3:1 carnal = worldly; 4:5 counsels = motives; 4:11 naked = poorly clothed; buffeted = beaten; 4:16 followers = imitators; 4:18 puffed up = proud.
For I Corinthians 1:19: See Isa. 29:14. I Cor. 1:31: See Jer. 9:24. I Cor. 2:16: See Isa. 40:13. I Cor. 3:19: See Job 5:13. I Cor. 3:20: See Psa. 94:11.
Government Official: Rep. Chet Edwards (TX) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Ecuador (13 million) in South America, crossed by the equator · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 91% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that people will come to a knowledge of the Lord God (Kings 18:36-37).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 6:11