"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Fellow Workers With God (3:5-15) INTRODUCTION 1. In the church at Corinth, some had an improper estimation of preachers... a. Resulting in strife and division - cf. 1Co 1:10-13 b. Manifesting a spirit of carnality - cf. 1Co 3:3-4 2. Paul wrote to correct their improper estimation of preachers... a. They were simply servants - 1Co 3:5 b. They should be regarded as such - 1Co 4:1 [In revealing the proper estimation of preachers, Paul mentions that those who share God's Word with others are "Fellow Workers With God" (cf. 1Co 3:9). In our text, we learn of God's role...] I. GOD PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY A. GOD OPENS DOORS FOR PREPARED WORKERS... 1. God provides the opportunity for those who serve Him - 1Co 3:5 2. The Lord opens doors of opportunity to be of service
- 1Co 16:9 3. Especially for those who have shown themselves ready - Re 3:8 4. Even when sometimes it is not used - 2Co 2:12-13 5. Our roles may not be the same (some plant, others water)
- 1Co 3:6a -- Shall we prepare ourselves to be useful to the Master? - cf. 2Ti 2:20-21 B. SEARCHING SOULS WILL FIND THE TRUTH... 1. The Lord seeks to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to Him - 2Ch 16:9 2. Those who hunger and thirst will be filled - Mt 5:6 3. Those who seek shall find - Mt 7:7-11 [Indeed, the providence of God is at work. Let us pray as we sometimes sing: "Lord, Lead Me To Some Soul Today". As we cooperate with God's providence, we also take comfort in knowing...] II. GOD PROVIDES THE INCREASE A. THE POWER IS IN THE SEED... 1. It is God who gives the increase - 1Co 3:6-7 2. His Word is powerful, and will accomplish its intended purpose - Isa 55:10-11; He 4:12 3. Especially in regards to the gospel of Christ, God's power to save - Ro 1:16-17 4. The results will depend upon the soil - cf. Lk 8:11-15 -- We must make sure that the weapon we use is the Word of God! - cf. He 4:12 B. THE PLACE OF THE SOWER... 1. We are really nothing; just seed throwers and water boys! - 1Co 3:6-7 2. God can use even 'defective' seed throwers - cf. Php 1:15-18 3. Just as he used Moses and Paul - cf. Exo 4:10-12; 1Co 2:3-4; 2Co 10:10 -- We must stop making excuses for not doing whatever we can! - cf. Mt 25:24-30 [Finally, from our text (1Co 3:5-15) we learn that...] III. GOD PROVIDES THE REWARD A. ACCORDING TO OUR LABOR... 1. God will reward each one according their labor - 1Co 3:8 2. The more we sow, the more we shall reap - cf. Ga 6:7 3. Those we lead to Christ will be a source of great joy - cf. 1Th 2:19-20; 3Jn 3-4 -- The key is to build on the right foundation: Jesus Christ! - 1Co 3:9-11 B. EVEN IF OUR WORK IS LOST... 1. The materials (i.e., souls) with which we build vary in quality - 1Co 3:12 2. Only time and the judgment will reveal the true quality of those we reach - 1Co 3:13 3. If our work endures to the end, there will be great reward (joy) - 1Co 3:14 4. If our work does not endure, we are still saved - 1Co 3:15 -- Like Jeremiah, we might serve many years with little to show; but the Lord knows and will reward our efforts! - 1Co 15:58 CONCLUSION 1. During His earthly ministry, Jesus manifested concern for the lost... a. He was moved with compassion - Mt 9:35-36 b. He called on His disciples to pray for laborers - Mt 9:37-38 c. He then sent His disciples throughout Israel - Mt 10:1,5-7 d. He later sent them into all the world - Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-16 2. What of us who are His disciples today...? a. Do we have compassion for the lost? b. Do we pray for the Lord of harvest to sent out laborers into His harvest? c. Do we whatever we can do...either to go or to send?
- cf. Ro 10:13-15 The Lord is still working to save those who are lost. God will provide the opportunity, the increase, and the reward. Are we willing to be "Fellow Workers With God" today...?