Center Point Bible Study is excited to be back meeting in the Fellowship Hall from 6:46 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.. This study is open to anyone who would like to take part! We love you all dearly and look forward to the time when we can be together again! Pastor Colin and Buck Mills facilitate this Life Group. The New Creations Children’s Life Group also meets during this time for children 2 years old through 5th grade. CDC protocols are in place and masks are required for the children and adults.
The notes for the Center Point Study will be posted every Wednesday below with a link to the archived notes here, Center Point Archive.
We encourage everyone to dig into God’s Word together and share what the Lord is teaching them.
We endeavor to journey chronologically through the Book of Acts and read Paul’s Epistles as they fit into the narrative. We are currently going through the Letter to the Galatians.
This study is open to anyone who would like to take part! We love you all dearly and look forward to the time when we can be together again!
NOTES FOR CENTER POINT BIBLE STUDY
October 27, 2021
Buck Mills, Teaching Team
Man’s Flesh and God’s Spirit
1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (ESV)
But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
Verses 1-4: Some of those in the church at Corinth were brothers and sisters in Christ but had not yet matured the way Paul thought they should have. When he was with them initially, he had to speak in a way that was basic. That is because they had no foundation on which he could speak of deeper teachings. After Paul left, some teachers may have come to teach some deeper things and that left them asking why Paul didn’t.
Paul is not so much defending his initial teaching but pointing out that the way he taught them was accurate because they have not matured past the point in which he left them. They did not receive the teaching from those that came after Paul, but entertainment or just head knowledge.
These Christians, to some extent, are thinking and acting according to the flesh, not the Spirit. Of course, the flesh did not
dominate every aspect of their life, or they would then have no evidence of being born again. But Paul is addressing issues where they clearly are thinking and acting in a fleshly manner.
The mother and father relationship that Paul used in his letter to the Thessalonians (Isaiah 28:9) is here reverberated to the Corinthians. Unlike in Thessalonica, the Corinthians were not growing because of jealousy and strife. They were dividing themselves by their perceived source of power in the various leaders and their status, political, ethnic affiliations. They were focusing on the mortal figures when they should have been looking to the ultimate source of leadership and power in Jesus Christ.
Their fleshly desires promoted a personality cult mentality where the people were elevated above God. Paul did not accept any of their praise as his own but placed himself in a position of weakness so not to be raised up.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Verses 5-9: As one of many servants, Paul recognizes who the Master is. Jesus says that “No one can serve two masters.” Here He is speaking of money, but the love of anything other than God can be inserted for ‘money’. This includes fame, power, etc. Just like the Israelites, who upon seeing God’s power, made a golden calf, the Corinthians were ignorant to their pursuit of man-made idols in response to the work of God in their lives.
Paul and Apollos were not the ones to believe in for salvation. However, they did bring the good news of Jesus Christ. Does this make them worthy to be praised?
It is interesting that they both work for God’s glory, but it is God that makes the work mean something. Farmers plant and water their fields to receive a harvest. Yet they do not control the sun, rain, temperature, etc. The farmer merely participates in what God has put into place. It is not the planter that makes the seeds grow.
Paul does make note that there is a reward for good labor. This is also true of farming. One cannot plant seeds on rocky or untilled
soil and expect the same results as if it is planted on soil that is prepared. Seeds that are not watered appropriately may not grow as well as those that are. Given the right conditions, preparation, and care, a seed has a better opportunity to grow and mature to produce fruit.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus referred to the Word of God as the seed and the human heart as the soil (Matthew 13). Paul drew the parable out to include the many human hearts together acting as one big field. It is true that God causes the sun to shine and the rains to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous, everyone needs to hear the Word of God. For those who believe and become part of the field, their hearts must be cared for. How does this image of the church as a field apply to the special problems of the Corinthians?
The diversity of the laborers is evident also in the diversity of the hearts. Paul later describes the body of Christ, Church, as having many members. The uniqueness of care and consideration for an individual plant will result in increased growth. Growth and maturity are the targets of which Paul is speaking.
The ability of the laborers to work together in harmony among the diverse situations and areas requires humility. And it necessitates an understanding that it is God who puts the laborers in their unique places.
The imagery of planting and growth was rich in the history of Israel. In Genesis 2 God plants a garden in Eden. Psalm 1 speaks of a tree planted by streams of water. This theme appears in Isaiah several times including Isaiah 41:19, Isaiah 44:3-4, Isaiah 60:21, and Isaiah 61:3-7 (which also includes references to building).
Verse 9 highlights the dual identity of the church in Corinth as God’s field and God’s building, where he and fellow workers care for the field and help build. This phrase appears in Jeremiah 1:10 where he is told to build and plant. In Isaiah 61, Israel is the planting but is called to build up the ancient ruins. There are times when people plant and build, but there are times when people are the field and the stones of the building.
Paul is applying the terminology that God used for Israel, through the prophets, to the church in Corinth, and the universal Church in Jesus Christ. This brings us to a relational association between Jesus, Israel, and the Church. This is a major focus of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, but one that is also relevant to today. The greater understanding of the building is what Paul leads us into.
Notes / Applications / Prayers
Praises & Prayers