Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #214 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Corinthians 3 today and our focus is on How Do We Help People Become Mature and What is the Foundation of the Christian Faith? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today we are learning about Planting and Watering for the Kingdom of Jesus. Jesus used several metaphors for sharing His message, seeing people saved by Him, and teaching them to follow Him, what we might call discipleship now, and what Jesus commanded us to do in the Great Commission. You know about His fishing metaphor – follow me and I will make you fish for men. Today, we will a two more metaphors for reaching and growing people in Christ:
Follow Jesus, and He will make us Farmers for People. And Follow Jesus, and He will make us carpenters of people. Planting, Sowing, Watering, Gardening – Paul is going to use this farming metaphor to talk about our call to work with God in the mission of planting the seed of the good news of Jesus, and watering that seed by teaching people God’s Word. And then laying a foundation, building, measuring, cutting and finishing – Paul is going to use both the gardening and the carpentry and house building metaphor to talk about our call to build up followers of Jesus.
5 What then is Apollos? 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 he who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it.
Think about this strategy and metaphor: the Corinthian people went from those who had never even heard the name of Jesus to becoming a church and people dedicated to Him in a very short time. How did that happen? Paul planted the seed – meaning He shared the good news of Jesus with those Corinthians, and many believed. His friend Apollos came along later, and taught the people more about Jesus and God’s Word – they grew and matured – he WATERED them. What’s the point? Some of us are like Paul – you plant seed, meaning you are more gifted in initially sharing the good news of Jesus with people. and some of us are like Apollos – we water people by teaching them, encouraging them, serving them, helping them and building them up in faith. That’s how the Kingdom of God works – how it grows, and how it reaches new people. Paul also discusses this dynamic in Ephesians 4, giving us the official church growth strategy of the Bible (which is quite different from most modern church growth strategies):
Ephesians 4: 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
We are called to build people up with truth and love in the same way a builder builds up a building with bricks and sticks and concrete, etc. Do it wrongly, and that building will collapse, like we tragically saw in Miami a few weeks ago. How do we ‘build a person up’ wrongly? Paul says our foundation is Jesus and His teachings and God’s Word. If we teach other things – our opinions, some forms of moralism – lots of dos and don’ts, our human traditions, etc – we will build up a person in the wrong way, and the building of their lives will burn up because it wasn’t based on Jesus and what HE has done and what HE has taught.
Let’s read our passage and then discuss Jesus as our only foundation a bit more.
I love what John Newton writes about Jesus as our one and only foundation:
A Christian is the child of God by faith in Christ: he draws near to God in the name of Christ: he is led and supported by the Spirit of Christ: Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, of the faith, hope, and love of every believer. From him alone every good desire proceeds: by him alone every good purpose is established: in him alone any of our best performances are acceptable. Let us beware (it is a necessary caution in these days) of a Christianity without Christ. I testify to you in plain words, that this is no better than a house without a foundation, a tree without a root, a body without a head, a hope without hope; a delusion, which, if persisted in, will end in irremediable destruction: “for other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, Christ Jesus;” he is the cornerstone, “chosen of God and precious.”…If this is the Scriptural doctrine, let each one examine on what ground you stand. Has God appointed one way of salvation, and will any of you dare to propose another? This would be both wicked and dangerous: “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ*.” You may please yourselves now with what you account your good works; but when God shall “lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plum line,” none will be able to abide his appearance, but those who can plead a righteousness perfectly answerable to the law’s demands, which can only be found in Jesus Christ, the righteous one.
John Newton and Richard Cecil, The Works of John Newton, vol. 2 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 558.
John Newton and Richard Cecil, The Works of John Newton, vol. 2 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 297
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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