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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium


We all need it. Daily. 1 Corinthians 3

1 Corinthians 3 (7)

Pray Psalm 147.19, 20.

He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!

Sing Psalm 147.19, 20.
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
His Word He to His Church bestows—His promises and Law.
No other nation God thus knows: Praise Him with songs of awe!

Review 1 Corinthians 3.1-23; meditate on verses 5-11.

1. How did Paul refer to himself and Apollos?

2. What foundation did he lay for them?


Paul ended chapter 2 with the reminder that we have the mind of Christ. The problems that had arisen among the churches in Corinth were the result of thinking like men rather than like Jesus. They had exalted men to the place of highest esteem and looked down on those who didn’t agree with them. They vaunted themselves and their “tribe” as possessing ultimate wisdom, when in fact they were living like fools.

Paul exposed their sinful divisiveness and called them to turn from it and live like people who belong to God, not to men. In chapter 3, therefore, Paul began to reset the Corinthians’ view of the faith, of themselves, of one another, of those who lead them, and of their calling. All the men they had exalted as leaders of their tribes were but servants of God who worked hard to lead the Corinthians to Him. They laid the foundation of faith for the Corinthians—belief in Jesus, and Him crucified. Each believer must build on that foundation by growing in grace and doing good, so that Jesus may be made more visible, both in each believer and in their churches.

We belong to God, and He grants us every good and perfect gift that we may be the people He has called and saved us to be and do the work that shows we belong to Him.

So Paul called for a serious volte-face on the Corinthians’ view of things: Stop thinking and acting like people of the world. Accept that God has called you and purchased you to Himself through Jesus Christ. And strive to build toward and live like Him to Whom you belong.

The Spirit of God dwells in us to make us true temples of the Lord. We must not allow the spirit of men or the times to rob us of God’s best. We have the mind of Christ; we belong to God. Let those amazing facts renew and reset your soul every day.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Often in the Kingdom things might seem topsy-turvy. Or unusual. Or not quite what we expect. But that is the exciting thing about the Kingdom—it doesn’t make sense—starting with “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8).

Naaman traveled all the way from Syria to Samaria, with lots of reward money in hand, and a letter of recommendation from the king of Syria to the king of Israel, looking for an exotic and elaborate healing for his leprosy. As it turned out, word was sent to him from the prophet Elisha to go and bathe seven times in the Jordan river. This did not meet Naaman’s sense of decorum, so he refused. After counsel from his servants, he did what Elisha said, and was fully healed (2 Kgs. 5.1-15). God chose a way to heal that took all eyes off people and put all the focus on His glorification. As Naaman said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel…” (2 Kgs. 5.15). That is the way all Kingdom activity works.

In order to “live like people who belong to God” we need a mind reset. Nowadays it seems everybody gets a trophy. No one is supposed to feel unworthy, so even when producing mediocre work, yep, you get a raise! Or for the kids, your grades are not up to par, but “You’ve passed!” Thankfully, life in the Kingdom is not like that.

Jesus told His disciples an explanatory story, when they requested of Him, “Increase our faith” (Lk. 17.5).  He used the servant/master relationship as the theme: “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?

But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.

“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do’” (Lk. 17.6-10).

On the upside, Paul wrote: “Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1 Cor. 3.8).

Reset. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us how: “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Heb. 12.2, 3).

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2.5). Reset.

For reflection
1. What could you do, every day, to reset your soul to be a true servant of the Lord?

2. What do we learn from the Corinthians about what can happen when we fail to make this reset?

3. Whom will you encourage today to reset their soul for serving the Lord?

We should not put ministers into the place of God. He that planteth and he that watereth are one, employed by one Master, trusted with the same revelation, busied in one work, and engaged in one design. They have their different gifts from one and the same Spirit, for the very same purposes; and should carry on the same design heartily. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3.5-9

Pray Psalm 147.1-7.
Praise the Lord for the many gifts He has invested in you and the members of your church. Pray that church members will discover how much God loves them and how important their work is to His.

Sing Psalm 147.1-7.
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Praise God, for it is good to sing loud praises to the LORD!
With joy our songs of praise we bring to God and to His Word.

The LORD builds up His Church and He His people gathers in.
The broken hearts He tenderly repairs and heals their sin.

He counts the stars, He knows the name of every chosen soul;
His pow’r is great, and great His fame Who understands us whole.

The humble God exalts above; the wicked He casts down.
Sing thanks to this great God of love; let songs of praise abound.

T. M. and Susie Moore 

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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