I was asked to preach a 5 minute homily at a Service for Christian Unity on 23/1/05 entitled : "Humility in service unites"
1 Corinthians 3:1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" ; 20 and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." 21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
Tonto and the Lone Ranger were riding through a canyon together when all of a sudden both sides were filled with Native American warriors on horses, dressed for battle. The Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and asked, "What are we going to do?"
Tonto replied, "What you mean 'we,' Whiteman?"
The Corinthian church was divided. Over who they followed, over gifts, socially cf communion ( 11:17ff ).
Those who they claim to follow are 'servants, lit slaves. Unquestioningly doing the work of the master.
This is imitating Jesus. Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." cf washing disciples feet John 13
Paul was a great leader in the early church, but humble. He realised that it is God who brings people to faith and enables them to grow in that faith. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. Expand re seeds
We all have a different and important role in the church. There is no room for pride or jealousy.
We can only have access to God through Jesus who lived, died and rose again for us.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
To bring us to faith and to help us to continue in that faith God comes and lives in every believer by His Holy Spirit. 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? Incredible that God would not only come to earth as a man, but come and live in us by His Spirit.
We need to reject the worldliness of the Corinthians. To be united in Christ. Our unity and our service are to be humble. Realising that we have contributed nothing to our salvation. Inspired by God giving us life and the gifts that we need to serve Him and grow the church. Working alongside one another joyfully.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God; "Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship."