1 Corinthians 3, Beware Of Immature Comparison

1 Corinthians 3, Beware Of Immature Comparison
1. Comparison Hinders Your Spiritual Growth (v1-4)
2. Comparison Gives More Credit To People Than To God (v5-9)
3. Comparison Distracts You From Your Responsibility (v10-17)
4. Comparison Limits What You Receive From God (v18-23)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching 1 Corinthians 3, Beware Of Immature Comparison

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from 1corinthians on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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Here in first Corinthians chapter three, I've titled the Message This evening. Of immature comparison. Beware of immature comparison here. As Paul is writing to the Corinthians, he's writing this letter to answer some questions that they had asked him. He's also writing to share some concerns that he has for them and to bring some correction to them. And here in this chapter we find ourselves kind of right in the middle of something. He is correcting them in regards to that. He has heard about the divisions, the contentions and the the battles that are happening within them that really center around various ministers of the gospel. One saying I'm of Paul and one saying I'm of Apollos and some would say, well, I follow Peter and others say, well, I only follow Jesus Christ and 1st Corinthians chapter one. He kind of references that he addresses some things. Now he's picking it back up in Chapter 3 and really hitting home. This idea of comparison and really showcasing for us. How bad it? Is and so teaching us to beware of this comparison that arises in our hearts rooted in immaturity. Now I suppose it could be considered and there is somehow, you know, types of comparison that can be valuable when done well when done maturely. And so I'm not trying to slander all comparison, you know and in in regards to all things, but clearly here as Paul is addressing the Corinthians. There is these comparisons that are going on that are rooted in their cardinality or their immature. See, but they're related to things that are spiritual. And so it might not be immediately obvious that the comparisons that they are working through and talking about and super passionate about it might not be super obvious. To them that. These comparisons are something to be aware of. And so they're getting caught up in these heated discussions. They're, you know, gathering around these positions in regards to the different types of ministers that they are experienced with and and and receiving from. But Paul here is correcting all of that and saying you guys, you're immature and these comparisons, these kind of competitions where you're pitting different ministers against each other is evidence it's a symptom of your immaturity, your fleshly nature, your cardinality. And your inability to be led by and submitted to. The Holy Spirit. And so as we walk through this, the Lord wants to speak to us about those kinds of comparisons, and there are some things that can really take root in our lives, comparisons that can be built up that may not seem obvious as comparisons to us or that may not seem obvious as rooted in immaturity. Like what? The Corinthians we're dealing with here. And so there's a variety of comparisons that you should consider. Sometimes we compare spiritual leaders just like the Corinthians. And we like to prefer one spiritual leader over another spiritual leader. We like the the way this one addresses things or talks. Or we like the one that makes us laugh. We we have those preferences as we compare one to another as we think about you know the effectiveness of one versus the effectiveness of another and. And there's lots of comparisons that we can draw as we think about various spiritual leaders. You know, it makes it kind of easy for us, right. Because you have one on the radio and then the next one right after them and the next one right after them. And so you know, you can easily begin to start to compare. You can start to hold up to agents of. The Lord and start to try to draw conclusions about their ministry about their lives, about their effectiveness, about them, that the Lord would be challenging us to consider tonight is not appropriate and is in fact evidence of immaturity. We also can draw comparisons about things like spiritual. Tips and sometimes it's easy for us to look at a gifting in someone's life and then compare that to a gifting in somebody else's life. Or we can look at giftings in our life versus the giftings in other people's lives. The comparison sometimes is of two people outside of ourselves, sometimes comparison though. Rooted in immaturity is comparing myself to someone else and that is just as problematic and so looking at my spiritual gifts and comparing them to somebody else's spiritual gifts can very often be an evidence of immaturity and a real danger to us. But I would encourage you to consider this beyond those things as well. You know, sometimes you can look at your spouse and you compare them to somebody else's spouse and you say, well, you know this spouse is that way, and my spouse is this way. And there can be some comparisons drawn that are not healthy and not good and are rooted in immaturity and cardinality. You can talk about careers. You can talk about homes you. And compare physical appearance. You can compare anything that you want to any aspect of life, any aspect of your imagination and and Paul here. He's addressing, of course, this specific situation, but it really speaks to us about all kinds of comparisons and the dangers that it brings. And so we're going. To consider that. Tonight the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians again in Second Corinthians Chapter 10, has to talk about comparisons again as he's dealing with some false teachers who have come in and really established themselves as an authority in the church at. Corinth and verse 12 of Second Corinthians chapter 10. Paul says we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves, are not why? Paul says these guys comparing themselves with others and commending themselves as they draw favorable conclusions. You know, from those comparison. He says this is this is very foolish. It's a foolish thing to do, to engage in comparison that is not rooted in maturity but is rooted in cardinality. The external, the fleshly, and that is not rooted in the things of the Lord. And so beware. Of immature comparison, whether that be comparing people or things outside of you, whether that be comparing yourself with others. Recognize, as you begin to compare the symptom of immaturity that is on display as you begin to draw comparisons between those things and. So 4 points. We'll walk through tonight to help us be aware of immature comparison point #1 looking at verses one through 4 comparison hinders your spiritual. Growth here is one of. The reasons why we need to beware. Of immature comparison, because it can be a real hindrance to our development and our spiritual growth in verse one again it says, and I brethren could not speak to you as two spiritual people, but as to carnal as to babes in Christ. Paul is calling back to when he was with the Corinthians and they were New Believers at that time. They were babes in Christ. It was a fresh new work that was taking place there in Cori. But he goes on to explain the problem with the Corinthians is that they're still in this state of infancy and verse two, he says. I fed you with milk and not with solid food for until now you were not able to receive it. And even now you are still not able. So he's letting them know. When I was with you, I I was sharing the gospel to you. I was feeding you with milk. They're very basics of spiritual things, but I I couldn't tell you everything because you weren't ready to receive it. And and even now, Paul says now, it seems this letter is probably written to the Church of Corinth maybe five years or so after Paul had been in Corinth. And so some time has passed and Paul is. Saying here you you should be able to receive it now. There should have been some growth, but instead what I hear back. From the situation that is happening there in Corinth, is there is still this immaturity. Much like when I was first there and you were brand new as believers in the Lord. Now of course, first Corinthians Chapter 3 is flowing out of First Corinthians Chapter 2 and at the end of Chapter 2, Paul is talking about the natural man or the natural mind and the spiritual man. In verse 14 of second of First Corinthians. And two, he says the natural man does not receive the things of the. Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them. Because they are spiritually discerned. But he, who is spiritual, judges all things. Yet he himself is rightly judged. By no one. He's making some points there and considering the idea of the natural man versus the spiritual man. There's a difference between the natural man. The natural man is not able to receive the things of the spirit of God, but the spiritual man is able to. But here now as we enter into Chapter 3, he's introducing a third type of person, and that is the carnal person. So you have the natural person, the spiritual person, and the carnal person and. You can see as he kind of flips back and forth between cardinality and maturity, he's talking about this idea of being immature. Is being carnal in your relationship with the Lord. Carnal is related to the word flesh, right? So this is the idea of being governed by the flesh more than you're governed by the spirit. And so there is the natural man that can't receive the things of God. There is the spiritual man who can receive the things of God. But there is the carnal man who is spiritual but not submitted spiritual but not developing spiritual but not governed by the spirit of God, instead continues to be governed by. The sinful nature primarily. Or you could think. About it this way, the carnal. Person the immature person is one who walks by sight and not by faith, right? That just shall live by faith, not by sight. We we're to live by faith in what God says, trust in God and developing in our relationship with him, not based on what we see or how we feel. But the immature. Walk by what they can see, what they can calculate, what they feel, and how they can determine, and it's based on the fleshly things and more of themselves than of the Holy Spirit, and so it's caused the Corinthians to be in this extended state of infancy where they should have developed. The implication here in verse two, you weren't able to receive it then that was appropriate and proper. But even now, now it's improper. Now it's somewhat tragic. You are still not able to receive. The spiritual things. The developed doctrine. The insights of the Lord. You're stuck in this state of infancy, very similar to what the author of Hebrews said in Hebrews Chapter 5, where the author of Hebrews says by this time you ought to be teachers. You've been around in the things of the Lord long enough. You should be able to lead others and help them move forward and develop in their walk with God, but instead you find yourself in this place of infancy where you need someone to teach you again. The 1st Principles of the Oracles. You've come to need milk and not solid food. You're in this perpetual state, solid food, he says, belongs to those who are of full age. That is, those who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Those who are invested in the word of God, the things of God developing in a relationship with God, but. Those who partake. Only of milk, that is their only fed. The things of God, they don't feed themselves the. Things of God. Those are stuck in this state of infancy and immaturity. And that's where the Corinthians are in a similar state to the Hebrews. They're in Hebrews chapter 5. And verse three, he goes on to say for you are still carnal. That's why you can't receive the things of the spirit for where there's envy and strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like me or men. There's there's divisions within the church at Corinth. And there's envy and strife. There is these battles that are taking place. The church politics are going on and and the situation is there in Corinth, where it's exposing really the immaturity, the cardinality of the Christians there. As he says in verse. Or for one says I'm of Paul and another I'm of Apollos. And so he asked them to consider. He's really asking them to respond. It's a rhetorical question, but but he's asking it to help them think through this for themselves. Are you not carnal? When there is this kind of envy, this kind of division, this kind of separation, when you have this kind of bitterness between you and another believer, when you have, you know these situations where you cannot fellowship with or serve with or be alongside other believers within the body of Christ where where you have these separations. Envy, strife and division. Don't you understand that that is a? Of cardinality. Your comparisons. Caught up on. The external comparing this servant with that servant. Has contributed it's. I wouldn't suggest the only thing that has kept the Corinthians in this condition of infancy. But it's hindered their spiritual growth. Where now they have. Argued over and divided into camps of who their favorite minister was or who is the one who, in their estimation, did the best ministry and taught the best way and said the best things that it's kept them from really developing in the things of the Lord. Now apollos. Was kind of around the Ministry of Paul, but not directly related to Paul. We are introduced to Apollos in acts chapter 18. And they were introduced to him when Aquila and Priscilla, companions of Paul. Pull Apollos aside, they hear him preaching. They recognize this guy is gifted by the Lord, he's preaching, he's passionate, he's very persuasive, but he also doesn't fully understand the whole truth of God's word. And so they pull him aside and they walk him through. Through a better understanding of the doctrine of the things of God, and then he's equipped and now he's able to continue that same preaching ministry that he was involved in and now in a much better way, having been trained by Aquila and Priscilla. And so Apollos was around there during the time of Paul he ministered. In Corinth as well as Paul, and so they had exposure to both and they thought, hey, I like, you know, this one or I like that one. And they were dividing over which. Was their preference, which and it's not just like a, you know, kind of a light preference, it was like causing divisions. And so if you like Roman to teach on Sunday, sit on this side of the sanctuary. If you like Jerry to teach on Sunday, sit on that side of the sanctuary and and causing this separation within the body of Christ because. Of their comparisons. And so they were stunted in their growth because they're focused on. These people, rather than being focused on the Lord, I thought Thomas Constable had some insightful things to say about this, he says. All the philosophical schools in Greece, which is where Corinth was, had their chief teachers. There was keen competition among these teachers and there were strong preferences. Among the students as to who was the best. However, this attitude is totally inappropriate when it comes to evaluating the Servants of Christ. It is completely contrary to the mind of Christ who himself stooped to raise others. We need to understand that there is this. In society, this natural bent to and really encouragement for comparison, right. And we're divided into camps. We're pitted against each other around every issue imaginable, or every sport that can be made-up or thought up. You know, we're we're encouraged to choose. Sides and to favor one over the other. And and that's natural in society. It's natural in our humanity. But in Christ, we need to understand that is immaturity, that that it is not natural in Christ. It is not a spiritual thing in Christ it is. A carnal thing, a thing of the flesh. A thing of the sinful nature. And so fostering that catering to that. It's no surprise it hinders our spiritual growth. And we can find ourselves in a perpetual state of infancy if we are bound up in this idea of compare. Comparing spiritual leaders, comparing spiritual gifts, comparing ourselves to others, comparing our spouse to others, comparing jobs, comparing homes, comparing physical appearance, comparing, comparing, comparing, comparing. It holds us back. It takes our focus away from where it needs to be. And puts it on things that keep us stunted in our spiritual growth well. I think this will become more and more clear as we walk through, so let's continue on versus 5 through 9 for point #2 comparison gives more credit to people than to God. This is one of the great problems with comparison. It really exaggerates how much credit people get for what it is that we are seeing or experiencing. Check out verses 5 through 9, it says who then is Paul and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed as the Lord gave to each one. I planted, apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So that neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters. But God, who gives the increase? Now he who plants and he who waters are one and each one will receive his own reward, according to. His own labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field. You are gods building. Paul goes on to address this issue here of comparison specifically dealing with Paul versus Apollos. And he calls the Corinthians. He calls us to consider. Who are these people that we're comparing? Who is Paul? Who is apollos? And nothing more than ministers through whom you believed. And how did they come to minister? How is it that they were the ones? Who stood before you to give the gospel message or to impact you in that way? He says it was the Lord who gave. To each one. This is the problem with comparison. All this talk about Paul, all this talk about Apollos, it neglects the reality. It's the Lord. Who did the work? It's the Lord who gave. To each one. The servants are nothing more than servants of the Lord, the master, the master is the one who deserves the attention and the praise and the adoration and the celebration. Back in First Corinthians, chapter one. When Paul introduces this subject of these contentions and things that he's heard about, and verse 12 of First Corinthians one, he says each of you says I'm of Paul or I'm of Apollos, or I'm of Cephus, or I'm of Christ. Then he goes on to make the point in verse 13 of First Corinthians, one is Christ divided. You're you're circling yourselves around these different people. Is Christ divided? Is that an accurate reflection of the body of Christ divided into these different camps of the person who? Each group favors. He goes on to ask was Paul crucified for you? Listen, the only people that you should be. Celebrating to that extent are the people who were crucified for you are the people who. Died on the cross to save you. Were you baptized in the name of? Paul, he says. No, you weren't baptized in the name of Paul. We we are. Not to be that devoted. To any of the servants, no matter how big, of an impact they made in our lives, because they served the Lord, they ministered the Lord to us. It's the Lord we receive, not. The instruments. And so he says in verse six I planted, Apollos watered, but God. Gave the increase. We came into the city at different times. There was different works to do. And when I was there, it was more of a planting work. When Paulus came along, it was after I had laid some foundations. And so he's doing some watering for the seeds that were already sewn. That's not a. Hierarchy of you know value or preference of which one is better. That's just a chronological order. What happens, right? If you're planting seeds in the ground, it's hard to water the seeds before you plant them, right? So chronologically you have to put it. In the soil. And then you can water it and then it begins to grow and it grows in verse six, he says. Because God gave the increase. Now it's kind of interesting to think about this because. Apollos and Paul kind of crisscross in their ministry. In acts chapter 18 at the tail end of Paul's second missionary journey, Paul is there in Corinth. And at that time, Apollos is in Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila, being trained and more accurately in the. Ways of the Lord. So pausing Corinth. Then he leaves Corinth. He goes back to Antioch to conclude his second missionary journey. Meanwhile, in Ephesus, Apollos is sent by the Brethren from Ephesus to Corinth. And then in acts Chapter 19, as Paul begins his third missionary journey, he makes his way to Ephesus, where Apollos was. And at that time, Apollos is in Corinth, so they kind of trade places. Paul is planting. In Corinth. While while Apollos is planting in Ephesus. And then a pollis goes in waters. The seeds that Paul planted, and Paul goes in waters the seeds that Apollos planted. Interesting the way that the Lord works that out. There's different segments of work, different types of work done at different times in different seasons. It's not always one person always doing the same kind of ministry. Sometimes there's planting, sometimes there's watering, and sometimes there's a focus. In the call of God of one over another, and for different seasons of each person's life. But to focus too. Much on Paul or Apollos, or the specific work that. They were doing. Neglects the point that Paul is making here in verse 6. But God gave the increase. It's not so important that it was Paul in Corinth and then later in Ephesus or Apollos in Ephesus, and then later in court. That's not really that important. If it wouldn't have been one of them, it would have been somebody else that God would have sent. And if they would? Have said no. And, you know, fled to Tarsus, like Jonah did. Then God would have sent somebody else. Any old instrument God could use to do the same work that Paul or Apollos did. The individual servant wasn't so specific that God. Was required for them, you know, to be used in order for the increase to happen. God gave the increase. They were just the servants, the instruments who were in the Masters hands following what the Lord called them two verse 7. So then, neither is, so then neither he who plants his anything, nor he who waters. But God, who gives the increase. That's where your focus needs to be. And this can be so challenging for us because. We see what is there right in front of us. And it is. Kind of an automatic reaction many times. To give credit to what we can see, you can think about it on the inverse right where Paul says we don't battle against flesh and blood. Against principalities and powers, right fusion Chapter 6, the the spiritual warfare that is going on that the person in front of us is not the enemy, but it's so hard to remember that when the person in front of you feels like the enemy. In a similar way. When we are so impacted and blessed and ministered to. It can be. Easy for us. To give credit to the wrong place. Because we're. Were impacted. And it seems like it's not even imaginable. It could be any other way, but the reality is any other servants could be in that place. It's not really about the servant. It's about you being where God wants you to be and God meeting you where you're at through the agents that he has in place. And we could compare, you know, churches we could compare. Teachers, we could compare worship leaders. Right you go. Ohh. Wow, I love it when you know. This worship leader is up there or. Or you could compare worship songs like ohh man, that's the greatest worship song in the world and it always, you know, sets me at the throne of Jesus and and we're comparing the next song which that is not my favorite song. That is the worst song. I don't know why they keep insisting on singing that song. It is just so terrible, right? We're giving too much credit. To the song. To the instrument, to the worship leader, to the teacher, to the pastor, to to the one who is impacting us. We're giving too much credit and we're betraying the immaturity that we can't see beyond the physical and understand the Lord is the one who is doing the ministry. He's the one who's ministering to us. He is the agent of growth, he. Is the agent of increase. And he uses. Servants, but they're just conduits. They don't deserve the credit. Neither is he who plants anything, nor is he who waters Pastor John Wesley put it this way. The ministers are still surely instruments in God's hand, and depend as entirely as ever on his blessing to give the increase to their labours. Without this, they're nothing. With it, their part is so small that they hardly deserve to be mentioned. They hardly servants hardly deserve to be mentioned. Boy, we don't always believe that that is a a struggle sometimes. Now sometimes it's not so bad, it's. Kind of easy. To like. Yeah, no problem. I don't have to mention them that great. I don't want to mention that. Sometimes we get so. Captivated by the servants. We end up giving credit to people rather than to God, and God is robbed of glory. Because we have overemphasized the part and the place of those who are involved. It's God who gives the increase, he says. God gives the increase. He's the one who does the work. It's him that deserves the focus, Pastor Warren Wisby says, because the Corinthian believers gloried in human teachers and human wisdom. They robbed God of the glory that rightly belonged to him. This is an aspect of immaturity. Giving credit to the wrong police that it's God who's doing the work, but here the Corinthians are giving the credit to no it was the way that Paul spoke and the way that he, you know, he always pulled in those illustrations and they were just really good and man a Paulus came along. He just did not do as good of a job as Paul did in the illustration. I wish Apollos could spend some time with Paul and learn how to be a better teacher, and then others were like, no, no, Apollos. You don't, under. Again, like he really makes me laugh and and he makes me laugh so hard that I'm laughing and. Laughing and laughing. And then the truth just kind of like gets stuck into my heart like a knife. And then and then I I'm able to to receive it. And it's just like, so powerful the way that he brings it forth. And and it's amazing. And yeah, really Paul could really learn to lighten up a bit. You know, Apollos is so much, you know, kind of cooler and funner to to listen to, easy to listen to. And Paul, you know you know Paul like preaches sometimes and people fall out the window because they fall asleep like that. That's not. That's not an admirable quality, right? Paul should learn from Apollo and the others are saying no Apollo should. Learn from Paul. And a complete distraction. On its God, who has done the work, God who gives the increase, robbing God of glory with so much attention being given to the servants involved. Verse he who plants his. Sorry, now he who plants and he who waters are one. And each one will receive his own reward, according to his labor. This is another aspect of this comparison issue. It ignores the fact that they're on the same team. Apollos and Paul are not divided, they're part of the same body. They're not at odds with one another. There's not a competition between them. They're on the same team. Hugh plants and Hugh Waters are one. They're different segments in the process, different chronologically, you know, different places in the growth of the Corinthians. But they're on the same team. They both wanted the same thing. They were both agents. Of God at the right place at. The right time. And you'll notice here in verse eight they do get some credit, right? Each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. God does promise to give reward. To the servants. To the agents. So not to take it too far, you know, they should barely be. Mentioned right? Well, no, no. There there is room for credit, but it's just we have to be careful. We have to be mature about this and not. Exaggerate the credit. Because really it's God who will give the credit, he'll reward. We are completely incapable. The sooner we get this to our heads, the better. We are completely incapable of assessing the reality that is even right before us. If you're ever involved in, you know, any kind of service. You go do an event. You give a Bible study, you teach a message, you serve in Sunday school. You know, inevitably someone will ask, well, how did it go? And you're expected to answer how it went right. But on some level, we should all be able to recognize I am not capable of really assessing how it went. I really can't tell you how it went. Only God knows. Was I faithful to what God called me to? And maybe it didn't feel like it. Or maybe it felt. Like it maybe I? Have an exaggerated sense of how faithful I was. Or maybe. I have a. Diminished sense of how faithful I was. But that's not the point. God knows, and he's. The one who rewards. There is credit, but it's God who gives the credit. Not not us, who are incapable of and ill equipped to evaluate such things. Verse nine, he says, for we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field. You are God's building. We're on the same team. We're God's fellow workers. We belong to God. We are his agents, his instruments. We're on God's team. Working in his field, not my field, not police's field like God's Field God's building using two illustrations here to make that point. The problem with comparison is it gives more credit to people than it does to God. It robs God of glory. When you compare spiritual leaders, spiritual gifts. Walk it through your life when you compare spouses, jobs, homes, appearance, worship leaders, worship songs. Bible passages, right? We compared this passage that I really like this one. I don't like that one. Puts so much emphasis on us and our evaluation and our wisdom. It distracts. From God. And his glory and his ability to work through all instruments however he pleases. Well, moving on to verses 10 through 17, we get point #3 comparison distracts you from your responsibility. Talking about the Corinthians being immature. They're so caught up in comparison, they've been completely distracted from their responsibility to grow spiritually. They've been focused on these battles and winning their case winning, you know, their debates. That they have not. And pursuing the Lord and seeking the Lord in the way that they need to. Let's read here verses 10 through 15. It says according to the Grace of God, which was given to me as a wise master builder. I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he. Builds on it. For no other foundation, can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ? Now, if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear for the day will declare it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test each one. 'S work of what? Sort it is. If anyones work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned. He will suffer loss. But he himself will be saved yet. So as through fire. Now Paul here is. Launching out into some new discussion based on the illustration that he's giving here of the field of God and the building of God that both him and Apollos are working in, but as you walk through this passage. Try not to think of it as like Paul's changing subjects. Paul's not really changing subjects here. He's going to get back to this. Comparison issue after these verses as he as we get towards the end of the chapter, he's he's still talking about the issue of comparison. As they're talking about Paul or Apollos, and which one they favor, he's explaining in verse 10. Look, when I was there. As a wise master builder. By the grace of God, remember Greece. God's fever that's undeserved. I didn't deserve to be there. I didn't deserve to be the first one there to lay the foundation, but. By God's grace, he called. Me there. He put me. There, as Roman was sharing on Sunday, it was God who counted me faithful. I wasn't faithful, but God counted me faithful and put me into the ministry. And so obedience to the Lord being where God called me to be as a wise master builder, I laid the foundation. And then another builds on it. I moved on, Apollos came in and he built on that foundation of the gospel message. That Paul had laid there in the. City of Corinth. So he's using the building illustration that he began in the preceding verse. To say we're united together. We're one team. This is all about God. And then now he turns it to the Corinthians. And he says now you need to understand your part in this. I did my part lead the foundation. Apollos did his part, and he builds on it. But now you need to think about your part. Let each one take heed how he builds on it. We've passed the baton on to you. Now at this point. Now you have a responsibility. To build on that foundation and that work that God has done in your life through those instruments that he chose for that time. But the building isn't done. The growth is not complete. And now you have a responsibility. Let each one each individual. Just Paul, not just Apollos. He's he's not just saying make sure Apollos, that you take heed how you build on it while you're ministering there in Corinth, he's he's pointing all his fingers, as many as he can muster at the Corinthians and saying all of you. You take heed how you build. On it. You have a. Responsibility to continue that work that God began in you. That is in you as a church, but also in you as an individual, you have a responsibility. To build. To continue the work that God has begun. Verse eleven. No foundation. Can anyone lay then that which is laid which is Christ Jesus? It's all based upon the work of Christ, so don't deviate from that. Don't try to go back to Workspace relationship. That's the letter of Corinth, Galatians. We'll see that later, right? They they try to do that. But on the basis of Christ on the foundation of Christ, let's build. And let's draw near to God. Let's develop our spiritual life. Rooted in Jesus. Now if you do that, he says in verse 12 and you build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones. But also available to you as. Wood, hay and straw. Now whatever building materials you choose. It might not be obvious now and here again we get to see and be reminded we are very ill equipped to discern and understand and evaluate the reality that is right in front of us. But that day, the judgment day, when we stand before Christ. It will be clear exactly what each one of us has done. In building. The work of God in our lives. And in the body of Christ that God has attached us to the day will declare that we will be revealed, revealed by fire and fire. Will test each one's work of what? Sort it is. Did you use good materials in that building? In your immaturity and cardinality where you misusing those things where you pursuing the wrong things, was your heart in the wrong place. Your motivation in the wrong place? Pastor Warren Wisby says a mature Christian uses his gifts as tools. To build with. While an immature believer uses gifts as toys to play with or trophies. To boast about. How did you build? How did you use what God gave you? Toys to play with, things to celebrate and boast about, or tools to build with, and to do the masters work because it pleased him because you wanted. To please him. Your work is going to be tested by fire. Your conversations with people are going to be. Tested by fire your. On a church, property or service and any other capacity is going to be tested by fire. Your devotional life is going to be tested by fire. Your times of worship are going to be tested. By fire. Your life is going to be tested. Did you really seek the Lord? Did you really pursue him? Were you really developing and growing? And did you really? Have a heart. For the Lord, did you really do those acts and and take those courses because? Your heart was there to please the Lord. It will be revealed it might be hard for us to look and see now, and even to know of our own hearts, because our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, right. But one day it's going to be clear. And whatever is tested by fire and endures, Paul says in verse 14. Then you receive a reward. God does want to reward. His people for serving him. For being part of his work for. Being devoted to the work of the Lord, that pleases him. And if you do that. He has a great reward for you. But if your work is burned, he says in verse 15, you'll suffer loss. Now this is an interesting verse to consider, so this is not talking about the judgment seat of Christ in the sense of the Great White Throne judgment and heaven or hell is at stake here. This is the judgment seat of Christ, Second Corinthians. Chapter 5. The bema seat, the. Reward judgment or the reward seat. Where rewards will be given as the work is tested and it's like, hey, you got a six or an 8 or A10 or A2, you know that you'll be rewarded according to your performance. But if you. Performed poorly. He says you'll suffer loss. Seems to indicate loss of reward. But not loss of salvation, he says he himself will be saved. Yet so is through fire. And so there's this idea that it's not about losing your salvation here, that the performance here is not to be saved. But it. For the reward. For the work. That God has called. Us too. But if your work is burned, there will be a loss of reward. And he says he will suffer loss. It's kind of a little bit weird for us to try to picture right? How can you be? In the presence of the Lord. And feel lost. But that's not consistent, right? To wipe away every tear, you know? Like, how is that going to work? Well, we. Don't know but. But there's something there and you need to understand there will be a. Sense of loss. If you. Are not faithful in your responsibility. To do the work of God. To pursue the things of God, to be involved in what God has called you 2. Verse 16. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the that the? Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone defiles the Temple of God, God will destroy him for the Temple of God is holy. Which temple you are now. Here again 2 verses. Be careful here. Paul is not saying OK, close the chapter there new subject. Let's talk about something completely different. You are the temple of God and what this means is you shouldn't smoke cigarettes because that's defiling the temple of God. You know the Lord. Could use that to speak to somebody. I suppose. I wouldn't say that God could never use this verse in that way, but that's not what Paul is saying here. He's saying, look, you're the temple of God. You need to be responsible and faithful to do the work that God has called you to do because your work is going to be tested. And so if your work is shown to be. Well, not work done with valuable materials, but done with. Wood, hay and straw. You've forgotten the spirit of God dwells in you. You're defiling the temple of God. There's going to be a sense of loss. Temple of God is holy. Which temple you are you plural? The church. You're part of the church. Part of the body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 4. The whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies. So you contribute to the church, the Temple of God, your advancement in your spiritual life and your growth as a believer in the Lord impacts. The body of Christ that you are attached to, and so it is an awareness of a consciousness of the reality that you are part of the body of Christ. You are the temple of God. And these comparisons Paul is telling. The Corinthians has distracted you. From your responsibility. So you've been neglecting the temple. You've been not faithful in developing yourself. You've been stuck in this immaturity. And not grown the way that you need to. And so you're not honoring the. Temple of the Lord. Comparison distracts you. From your responsibility. The intention here is to focus instead on how you build. Don't focus so much on comparing teachers. Focused on one or versus another, choosing sides, having preferences of this or that. Not teacher. Comparing, you know, compared against teacher not comparing self against others or gifts against gifts or styles against styles. The focus really needs to be on how how can I be faithful? To honor the Temple of God. To steward my spiritual growth. And my contribution to the body of Christ. Not comparing. Myself to somebody else. But taking myself to the Lord and saying, Lord, where do you want me? What do you want me to focus on? How do you want me to develop? What do? I need to lay down. What do I need to pick up? How can I honor you? Comparison distracts us. From our responsibility to the Lord and to the. Body of Christ. Well, point #4 to finish up in verses 18 through 23. Comparison limits what you receive from God. Verse 18 says let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is. Foolishness with God. For it is written, he catches the wise in their own craftiness, and again the Lord knows the thoughts of the wise that they are futile, therefore. Let no one boast in men for all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world of life or death or things present, or things to come, all are yours. And you are Christ. And Christ is God's. Paul ends it with some pretty powerful thoughts for us to consider. Let no one deceive himself this. Let it just resonate for a moment. There is the potential to deceive yourself. That's why Paul says. Let no one deceive himself. In this idea of comparison in this cardinality and immaturity, sometimes we can be quite convinced we are really mature and spiritual and be completely the opposite. That was the condition of the religious leaders that Jesus. Dealt with, right? Let no one deceive himself so. Open the door a little. Bit to the idea that you might be deceiving yourself. You might consider yourself wise in this age and capable of estimating and evaluating comparing ministers, worship leaders, songs, giftings, spouses, jobs, whatever you you might feel very capable in that. And you think of yourself as wise in this age, he says. Here become a fool. I'm very wise. Let. Me tell you why I subscribe. To Paulos and not Paul. I'm very wise, no? Let's all confess. I really don't know. I'm not good at evaluating the unseen. I can't. See the fruits. Of a ministry. I can't see the reality of a heart. The motives and intentions within. It distracts me. Puffs up my pride. He quotes from a couple verses there in job Chapter 5, Psalm 94. The thoughts of the wise are futile. The the wisest of the wise. Their their futility when it comes to the Lord. The wise are caught in their own craftiness. According from Job 5. The wisdom of this world, this foolishness, the the wisest wisdom that we can come up with. It's silliness foolishness. It's not worth anything, and so he says in verse 21. Therefore, let no. 1 boast in men. That is in ourselves or anyone else. Later on, Paul will say if I'm going to boast in anything, the only thing that makes sense to boast. In is Jesus. I'll boast in the Cross of Christ, but then notice what he says here at the end of verse 21 for all things are yours, and I would ask you. To think about that for a little bit. All things are yours. Here you are Corinthians. Fighting over. Which one is better, Paul or Apollos's? And the whole reality, the whole point that you should have received is they're both yours. If you get to benefit from both of them, you don't have to choose one or the other. They're both yours. You can receive from both of them. He makes that point in verse 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Sephus. No matter who ministers. Can receive from them. You can benefit from them even if in your immaturity you would say, well, I would prefer I have a kind of a preference for Peter, he's more simple and down to Earth, you know, and Paul sometimes can be kind of lofty and hard to follow and so I'd much rather listen to Peter and. And so yeah, maybe you have that. Preference, but at the same time. You get to receive from both and God puts both of them in your life so that you can learn how to receive from both. But it's not just teachers that he's saying. Look, all things are yours. Let's give some spiritual leader examples there. Paul gives those, but then he goes on to say, or the world, or life or death. It's all yours. The things that you encounter in the world, it is part of God's ministry to you. Part of God's teaching you part of God's leading you. But the world's crazy, and it's inspired by the devil. And yeah, yeah. And the Lord allows that in your life. The chaos and the craziness and the. Attacks for your benefits. Going back to Romans 82028, we know. God works all things together for good. It's all for you. The world or life? Or death. Continuing to live or ceasing to live, it's for you. It's for your benefit. It's for your growth. It's for your advancement. Things present or things to come. It's all yours. Paul says in verse 22. It's all part of God's work in your life and and comparison. When you're so focused on having to choose the the favorite or so focused on it, it excludes from your vision all of those other things that God intends to use in your life to benefit you, to develop. You to grow you. And so you can selectively choose certain things, but you're selectively choosing to receive unlimited set of the things that God has provided to you. He says you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God and all. Things have been given to you. Life, death, things of the world, this minister, that Minister, this worship song, which you're not so fond of. And this worship song which you love so much. And so you're going to say, well, I'm going to. Choose the song that I love to. Sing over and over and over and over and over and over over again. But sometimes the Lord saying, yeah, but I also gave you this other song. I know you don't like it so much, but you really need it. It's valuable. I don't like to listen to that guy well. Too bad you need it. Eat your vegetables. It's good for you. Can't just have cake all the time. Comparison limits what you receive from God and you're picking what you prefer, what you favor, trusting your own wisdom and your preferences. Instead of trusting God to feed you to lead you to guide you, to give you what you need and develop you. For the situation that is at hand. Beware of immature comparison. It hinders your spiritual growth. It gives more credit to people than to God. It distracts you from your responsibility to develop and grow and contribute to the body of Christ, and it limits what you're able to receive from God because it. Keeps you selecting those things that you prefer instead of receiving the things that you need from the Lord, and I'll close with this quote from Pastor Warren Wiersbe. Perhaps we cannot help. But have our personal preferences when it comes to the way different men. Minister, the word. But we must not permit our personal preferences to become divisive prejudices, in fact. The preacher. I may enjoy the least may be the one I need the most. But I pray that you would help us. To be able to identify and recognize when comparison has taken roots. In our hearts. Where we've allowed our thoughts and our evaluation and what we can see and calculate and our wisdom. To take a higher precedence. Than it really should. Lord, may we? Instead, humble ourselves and become fools to receive from you that we might become wise. But it's not that you want to keep us in a state of foolishness, but. We can't. Achieve wisdom through our efforts through our wisdom. There are thoughts and methods. We need to submit ourselves to you and surrender to your ways. And so, Lord, would you help us to recognize where comparison has kept us in that? Perpetual state of infancy. Locked us out of things that we need from you, things that we need to. Receive from you. Distracted us from our responsibility to grow and receive, even from those that we don't like to receive from and. Participating and serving in ways that maybe are not our favorite but are. Important parts of how you want to develop us and grow us. Utilizing gifts. That are not the most popular gifts. Reaching out to people that are not the most popular people. Receiving from those that. Are hard to receive from. Or may we? Lay down. These comparisons that are borne out of our immaturity. That we might accept. What you have given to us? Would you help? Us to hear from you. To receive from you. To benefit. Because we know everything in our life. You've placed there. You've allowed. And you have a way of working out good in the midst of it. So may we trust you?

To do that.

Humble us Lord that we might receive from you. No matter the source that we might serve you, no matter the task. But that we would be surrendered and submitted to your plans and your will. We pray this in Jesus name.