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God Gives Servants For His Purposes: 1 Corinthians 3:5-7

April 24, 2022 Preacher: Bob DeWaay Series: 1 Corinthians

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:5-7

In 1 Corinthians 3:5, Paul uses two rhetorical questions to highlight the problem with schisms based on personalities.  Those who believed the gospel put their faith in Christ, not the personalities of preachers. By calling Apollos and himself “servants” (using the word often translated ‘deacons’) Paul deemphasizes status. In the sermon, we point out that throughout church history too much has been made of personalities. The Bible contains various metaphors for the church and some have taken that to mean that the church has fuzzy boundaries and can be made to mean many things. This is not the case. When the Holy Spirit-inspired author (in this case Paul) uses analogies, the meaning is fixed. When a field with workers is used, as here, we learn that various servants are given (assigned) by the Lord to various tasks. As various tasks are performed, God gives the growth. We also point out that terms such as “church” or “Christian” have been misused in church history to mean many things that have nothing to do with the Biblical definitions. One example is the idea of the progress of the gospel. In the New Testament, this means that the gospel goes where it had not been before and new people hear it (Philippians 1:12). It does not mean the “progressive” gospel in which the message changes based on human philosophies. The other important emphasis of this sermon is the Greek term translated “each one” which means individuals. This term is important because individuals matter. The false idea that is common in religious  and secular history is that the individual is not important, only the progress of the group. This devalues human life and misrepresents the message of Christ and HIs apostles. More will be said about this as we preach through 1 Corinthians.