Grow Up

I Corinthians 3:1-9

Two gold fish are in a tank.
One looks at the other and says, “You know how to
drive this thing?!”
Two soldiers are in a tank.
One looks at the other and says,

Did you hear about the fire at the lettuce farm?
There was only romains.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Today we are going to examine the 3rd chapter of I Corinthians.
At the end of the 2nd chapter Paul makes a distinction between the
natural man and the Spirit filled man.
The natural man is unsaved and the spirit filled man is saved by God’s
grace through faith in Christ.

I titled today’s message “Grow Up” because Paul shares
2 Ways to Identify Immature Believers:

I Corinthians 3:1-3

Some people argue that there are two types of believers;
those who are surrendered to Christ and
those who are saved but still live for the world.
They call them carnal Christians.
Can there be such a thing?

If you are saved, you are saved indeed.
When you are saved the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you.
And transformation begins.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

If you are sincere in your confession, there WILL be a change. You
won’t keep on living like you did before you were saved.
But there is a constant battle between the spirit and the flesh.
Paul writes about it to the church in Galatia.

Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not
gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are
against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the
flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from
doing the things you want to do.”

It’s true that when we give in to sin we are living carnally, but for a true
believer it will be the exception not the rule.

Those who profess Christ and then continue living just like the rest of
the world have most likely NOT made a true confession. They have
not repented and received God’s forgiveness of sin.

The reason we can know that Paul is speaking to believers is because
he calls them brothers.
However, he also refers to them as babes in Christ.

They are Spiritually Underdeveloped.
This is acceptable for a short time after salvation because everything
is new. But the infancy should not linger.
You would be appalled to see a 7 year old still drinking a bottle and
not eating any solid food right?

What Paul is saying here is that these believers haven’t progressed in
their faith beyond the basics. They can’t eat meat, they are still being
fed milk, no solid food yet!!

Paul calls them people of the flesh.
They are still being influenced by the world.
They are still dependent on their leaders for nourishment.
They don’t seek it on their own.

What causes people to stop growing in their faith?
I believe it’s due to a lack of discipleship.
Spiritual growth is limited without discipleship.
Discipleship is simply coming alongside someone and living life with
them. Sharing in prayer, worship, and serving together.
Mature believers model their faith and live the Christian life for the new
believer to see and imitate. Later on in this same letter Paul is going
to urge believers to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
I Corinthians 11:1

I Corinthians 3:4-9

Paul mentions another problem with their spiritual immaturity.
They suffered from Misdirected Allegiance.

They were fighting over who they followed, which is divisive rather
than unifying.
This caused Factions within the Church.
The church should be working together seeking after the same
purpose, to glorify Christ and make Him known to others.

The problem with these immature believers is that they confused who
was truly in charge. Sadly this happens in churches today as well.
The truth is that people will always let you down.
God will never break a promise He makes.

Paul points out that he planted, Apollos watered and God caused the
growth. The focus of the church should never be about the pastor or
any of the leaders or servants, it should be Christ. Just like Paul
mentioned in the previous chapter, I know nothing among you except
Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Rev. A. J. Gordon, one of the founders of Gordon Conwell
Divinity School, told of being outside, walking and looking
across a field at a house. There beside the house was what
looked like a man pumping furiously on one of those hand
pumps. As Gordon watched, the man continued to pump at a
tremendous rate. He seemed absolutely tireless, pumping on and
on, up and down, without ever slowing in the slightest, much less
Truly it was a remarkable sight, so Gordon started to walk toward
him. As he got closer, he could see it was not a man at the pump,
but a wooden figure painted to look like a man. The arm that was
pumping so rapidly was hinged at the elbow and the hand was
wired to the pump handle. The water was pouring forth, but not
because the figure was pumping it. You see, it was an artesian
well, and the water was pumping the man!

Beloved, when you see a man who is at work for God and
producing results, recognize that it is the Holy Spirit working
through him, not the man’s personality or schemes that are
changing people’s lives. Our responsibility as believers is to do
our best for the Lord, keep our hand on the handle in laboring for
Him, and let the Holy Spirit empower our lives and bless our work If we fail to be responsible in serving Christ, we stop growing in
the Lord and start behaving like a bunch of babies.

Paul takes no credit for the salvation of the believers at Corinth.
He humbly admits that he was a vessel used by God for these people
to come to faith in Christ.

He understands that the planting and the watering are nothing without
God who causes the growth. Without God there would be no church,
there would be no salvation.


Feast on the Word

We can enjoy the pure spiritual milk that Peter writes about.
Also, as we mature, we will graduate and gain maturity and be able to
feast on the solid food of the word.

It takes dedication and desire to continue to be fed by the word.

Focus on Christ

We have to make sure we don’t get distracted by earthly leaders.
They are called by God to shepherd the flock, they aren’t God.
We don’t worship them, we simply follow them.
Our focus should only always be on Christ!!