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1 Corinthians 3,18-23

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1 Corinthians 3:18-23

January 20, 2002

Intro: Competition is such a part of our nature and society.     

A-  It is what our personal and national economy is based upon.

1-   It motivates us

2-   It drives us

3-   And the fruits of it can be very rewarding to us.

a-   Next month we’ll see competition at its apex.

-         The winners (most competitive) will receive a metal.

4-   We see instances where competition can get out of control.

a-   Microsoft (monopoly)

b-   Cheating is athletic competition.

c-   Donny More

5-   We see instances where competition very easily causes pride to well up.

a-   The Athlete dancing in the end zone.

b-    The parental fighting in children’s sports

-         None will play professionally.

c-   Myself and board games.

-         How I was trained in sports.

B-  This attitude (of competition) applied to the church brings about a back sliding rather than advancement.

1-   Paul recognized a problem of competition (contentions) and pride that has arisen in the church at Corinth.

a-   This attitude does not work in God’s economy.

-         Do we compete against other churches for people.

·        I need to help you determine God’s will for where you fellowship.

-         Do we compete against each other for position with-in the church.

·        I need to help you determine God’s will for where your area of service is to be.

-         As we saw last study in Corinthians, If there is competition in the church it comes from our flesh and the attraction of the world.

·        I’ll come to church, if nothing better is going on.

Read to Mark 9:33-37

2-   Where do our contentions come from PRIDE

a-   We think we:

-         Know better

-         Are better

-         Or are better able

b-   He who is better gets down on his knees and lifts up the weaker.

1 Corinthians 3:18-19,  Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;

Warren Weirsbe: The world depends on promotion, prestige, and the influence of money and important people. The church depends on prayer, the power of the Spirit, humility, sacrifice, and service. The church that imitates the world may seem to succeed in time, but it will turn to ashes in eternity.

A-  The church is the book of Acts did not use:

1-   Demographics (study of human culture) to determine:

a-   How people desire to worship

b-   What they want to hear

c-   People were not separated racially.

2-   The church owned no property and had on building

3-   They took an offering but had no bank account, money was not their focus.

Acts 3:6,  Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

4-   The 1st Pastors did not attend seminary, where of no denomination, and were a reflection of those they ministered to.

5-   The only “church program” they had was preach the Gospel.

a-   God was their God and the result was

Acts 17:6,  “They turned the world upside down everywhere they went.

B-  According to Verse 18 the best our wisdom can do is deceive us.

Proverbs 14:12,  There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

1-   If you allow man’s wisdom to have a place in the church then a decision is necessary whose wisdom is to be followed.

a-   At this point it turns into a pride contest, there exists a atmosphere of competition and contentions arise, division occur and then you have the church at Corinth.

-         Remember this is the 1st issue that Paul is dealing with.

·        All other issues will spring from this one.

1 Corinthians 3:19,  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; (Job 5:13).

A-  We first encountered this word (foolishness) in verse 18 or chapter 1.

1-   Foolishness = Mor-ee-ah = Moron

l- Which way do you want to go.

Ø With man

1 Corinthians 1:18,  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…

Ø With God

1 Corinthians 3:19,  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…

Turn to Jeremiah 17:5-10


1 Corinthians 3:20-21,  and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:

Psalm 94:9-12,  He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct, He who teaches man knowledge? The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile. Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, And teach out of Your law,

A-  The best example I heard the other day on the radio.

1-   Look at the contrast between America and Russia.

a-   Man had an idea: Communism

-         All would share in everything equally

·        Turned out to be foolishness, man always wants a little more (pride)

b-   God had an idea: Democracy

-         As Godly men desired His direction our nation has been blesses by the Democratic process.

·        The blessedness of this country has continued in direct purporting to the desire of the people to seek after God.

c-   Man has another idea: Take Russia and do away with communism and apply Democracy.

-         What happened it’s not working any better than communism did for them

·        They forgot the God part (look at your money).

2-   Apart from God there is no difference between

Communism and Democracy.

a-   They are both the wisdom of man.

Read verses 21-23

A-  There is to be no competition between us because in the sight of the Lord we are all equal and all things are ours.

1-   A gifted teacher is a gift of God to the church.

a-   Take possession of the message but not the messenger.

2-   Verse 22…  (World)

a-   Life; physical, spiritual, eternal

b-   Death; Vehicle to God

c-   Things present, things to come

Galatians 3:26-28,  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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