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Better Together

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

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Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ. [2] I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were not yet able to receive it. In fact, you are still not able, [3] because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like ordinary people? [4] For whenever someone says, “I’m with Paul,” and another, “I’m with Apollos,” are you not [typical] men? [5] So, what is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. [6] I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. [7] So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. [8] Now the one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. [9] For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (HCSB)

 Paul is brutal with the Corinthian church in the first part of this passage.  He calls them spiritual babies.  The reason?  They were a divided church, unable to work together.  Verse three says, “because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like ordinary people?”  The following verses show the source of their division.  Some people were attaching themselves to Paul and others to Apollos.  They had rivalries.

The independent commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks reported that the rescue efforts were hampered by a “Rivalry between New York’s police and fire departments.”Their report said, “This rivalry has been acknowledged by every witness we have asked about it.”


Americans needed cooperation, not competition on that gloomy day.  We are at our best, when we set aside our own ambitions and throw all our efforts into the common good, instead of putting energy into unhealthy rivalries.

Earlier in the book, Paul wrote, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Cor. 1:10 (NASB)

I’m so glad that the Corinthian Church had this problem, because it allows us to have this beautiful teaching that Paul gives.  Paul makes it clear that he and Apollos were partners not competitors in ministry.  They are just doing their part in the Kingdom work, it is God, not them that gives the growth and is deserving of the glory.  The verse that follows this explanation is precious.  It says, “For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”

 This morning, I want us to examine the first of the three phrases Paul uses, “We are God’s Co-workers.” 
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