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God's Field, God's Building (message 2017-0212)

. 3 min read

11-12
Feb 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Psalm
133 (call to worship)
Matthew
8.5-13 (kids)
1
Corinthians 3.1-23 (message)
Pivot
point in the passage:
1
Corinthians 3:9
 For we are God’s
servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Grammar
notes:
      PLURAL “you” – field, building, temple
      Emphasis – God’s, God’s, God’s (primary
position in the clause)
            Corinth: self-obsessed
                  Toby Keith, “I like talking
about you, you, you, you …
                        But occasionally I want
to talk about me”
Two
metaphors for the people of God as a collective, the church
      Field, Building
As
individuals we are workers in the field, on the building
      Word for “work” is “work together” or “co-labor”

Paul
refers to the ongoing conflict in the church, and between the church and him.
      Do you value the foundation that Paul
laid? It’s not about Paul but about Jesus!
      You are immature, infantile – demonstrated
by your quarreling, jealousy, privilege, and factions.
      One of the underlying issues for the
conflicted Corinthians is OWNERSHIP. They view the church as rightfully theirs,
in a way that is inconsistent with the church belonging to Christ. There is
healthy ownership, but it is always set in the larger context of the lordship
of Christ:
1
Corinthians 3:21-23
 For all things are
yours,  22 … — all belong to
you,  23 and you belong to
Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Positive
ownership:
Two
boys who are inviting each other to church – my church is better! (a little bit
of factionalism creeping in)
Negative
ownership: (Read a story…)
      Employee who treats other employees as if
they work for them.
The
bad behavior Paul describes
      Quarreling, jealousy, factions
Rooted
in the idea that we are the owner (perhaps because we’ve got longer tenure or
we’ve put in the work), we are better (more Bible studies or more “church
work”)
Our
work on the field/building does not give us title to it – it is God’s and God’s
alone
      All that matters is Jesus
      God gives the increase/growth
Happens
in ALL areas of life, not just church conflicts
      My gardens … dug up and turned into lawn!!
      Teammates that fight each other
1.   These behaviors
are signs of immaturity
      Infantile! “milk, not solid food”
      Folks who go to church and Bible study
their whole lives but don’t become any more like Jesus
      Yes, a little cynicism here
      Paul’s point: No matter how much Bible you
know, your spiritual maturity does not exceed your emotional
      Those who are spiritually mature are not
self-centered, self-absorbed. They are Jesus-centered. “You belong to Christ,
and Christ belongs to God.” All about Jesus.
2.   These behaviors
harm God’s temple
(the church) and are subject to judgment.
1
Corinthians 3:13
 it will be revealed
with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.
We
do not have the privilege of ownership
We
have the role of servant
1
Corinthians 3:9
 For we are God’s
servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Are
we living as joyful servants or pseudo owners?
Key
difference: willingness to do the dirty work, the hidden work, the no-accolade
work with joy … without the need to control
      Sunday School teachers
      Karen helping in the office
      Wreaths on front doors
      Nancy watering grass seed
      Jerry weed wacking
      Steve hedge trimming
      Sally sending cards
      Children sending cards
      Nursery

      Cleaning up messes that aren’t ours,
without complaining