As sinful human beings, we love complicating life and weaving an intricate web of ideology, rules, viewpoints, positions, and standards, especially when it comes to religion and religious leaders. Countless men and women have tried to add or remove parts of the Bible to better fit their self-constructed idea of who God should be and how the Christian life should work. However, that strategy has never worked and just leads to deception and sin.
Billy Graham, John Piper, Louie Giglio, Max Lucado. These are just a few men who were and are mighty men in the faith and leaders of the American church. They have done much to advance the kingdom of God and shape and mold church culture here in America. God entrusted them with a large platform and wide sphere of influence; however, at the end of the day, they are just like each one of us: servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.
As we looked at last time, we are God’s. His field. His building. Therefore, it is pointless for us to argue or identify ourselves with human leaders regardless of how great or spiritual they may be, for at the end of the day we belong to God and should identify ourselves with Him alone. However, we are not just any old building of God’s. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul makes it very clear how precious of a building we are to God and the high calling we have in Christ. For through the saving work of Jesus Christ, we are God’s holy temple.
One of the many points the Corinthians were dividing and striving over was which apostle they followed and identified as their leader. Some wanted to be known as followers of Paul while others called themselves followers of Apollos. While following a great Bible teacher and Christian leader is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, it becomes spiritually unhealthy when it becomes part of one’s identity and a point of division. At the end of the day, we should not be known as or claim our identity as followers of Paul or Apollos, Billy Graham or Louie Giglio, or any well-respected, biblically sound Bible teacher or leader. Rather, we must be known first and foremost as followers of Jesus Christ, for we are God’s.
At the end of chapter two, Paul explains how Christians have become spiritually alive through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and how salvation brings a new birth of mind and heart. He closes those thoughts with the truth that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). However, the Corinthians weren’t living out this truth. They were not walking as spiritual people with the mind of Christ, but rather, were living in the futility and carnality of the flesh.
At the beginning of chapter three, Paul makes some bold and pointed remarks about the Corinthians’ lack of spiritual maturity and petty divisions.
Spirituality is in vogue right now. People are fascinated with the spiritual dimension, seeking unity with their “inner beings,” enjoying meditation exercises that completely empty the brain of all conscious thought, and then claim to be spiritual. Thankfully, they don’t claim the title Christian, but prefer to be known as spiritual people.
But what does “spiritual” mean? In the context I was referring to, people often use it to signify the fact that they are seeking an experience that takes them outside of themselves and into a different realm of awareness. But is that what spirituality really is?
Before Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection and return to heaven, He had a lengthy conversation with His disciples and promised them many things including a divine Helper Who would come after Jesus returned to heaven. This divine Helper is the Holy Spirit that would teach all things and remind them of the truths Jesus had already imparted. Throughout the New Testament, we learn more about the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us to live and dwell within us, guiding us through life and directing us in the ways of God.
Here, in 1 Corinthians, we gain more insight into the role of the Holy Spirit, its place within the Trinity, and its important place in our lives as the revealer of God’s mysteries and divine wisdom.
The wisdom of God and contrasting it to man’s wisdom has been a central message throughout the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians. Paul makes it extremely clear that the two are not even closely similar and that God’s wisdom actually confounds the logic and reasoning of man’s. However, after making his points regarding the futility of human thinking when trying to understand the things of God, Paul makes it clear that as redeemed sons and daughters of God we have been given a new mind and heart and can, therefore, understand the wisdom of God. And not only can we understand it, but God has given to us the ability to comprehend His wisdom for our glory.