Bible: 1 Corinthians 3-4

Immaturity and Self-deception

3:1 So, brothers and sisters, 1  I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, 2  as infants in Christ. 3:2 I fed you milk, 3  not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, 3:3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. 4  For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? 5  3:4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human? 6 

3:5 What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us. 7  3:6 I planted, 8  Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow. 3:7 So neither the one who plants counts for anything, 9  nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth. 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, 10  but each will receive his reward according to his work. 3:9 We are coworkers belonging to God. 11  You are God’s field, God’s building. 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 12  3:13 each builder’s 13  work will be plainly seen, for the Day 14  will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire 15  will test what kind of work each has done. 3:14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 3:15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. 16  He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple 17  and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 3:17 If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

3:18 Guard against self-deception, each of you. 18  If someone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become foolish so that he can become wise. 3:19 For the wisdom of this age is foolishness with God. As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.” 19  3:20 And again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 20  3:21 So then, no more boasting about mere mortals! 21  For everything belongs to you, 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future. Everything belongs to you, 3:23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

The Apostles’ Ministry

4:1 One 22  should think about us this way – as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 4:2 Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. 4:3 So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4:4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this. The one who judges me is the Lord. 4:5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will 23  bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition 24  from God.

4:6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, 25  so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. 4:7 For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not? 4:8 Already you are satisfied! Already you are rich! You have become kings without us! I wish you had become kings so that we could reign with you! 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. 4:10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, we are dishonored! 4:11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads. 4:12 We do hard work, toiling with our own hands. When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, 4:13 when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner. We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.

A Father’s Warning

4:14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to correct you as my dear children. 4:15 For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, because I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 4:16 I encourage you, then, be imitators of me. 4:17 For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, 26  as I teach them everywhere in every church. 4:18 Some have become arrogant, 27  as if I were not coming to you. 4:19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power. 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline 28  or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

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