Men's Workout #18 - September 9th

OPENING DEVOTIONAL
 
Pastor Dan led us in a singing of "Across the Lands" (hymn #198). Afterwards, we went through a devotion of 1 Corinthians 3.
 
As a group, we discussed and came up with the following prepositions:

  • Ministers of the Word are God's servants; they are not authorities in and of themselves.
    • It is interesting that it is Paul who says this. He could have said that he was an apostle and therefore he was special, but he does not say that. Rather, in verse 10, Paul says that the grace of God was given to him.
    • Paul is not denigrating the role that he has - he is a "master builder." Rather, he humbly understands the role of this work, and that God is the one who gave it to him.
  • God uses men as His instruments to cause growth in men. Or, to put it another way, ministers are God's instruments.
    • An instrument in and of itself can be valuable, but if it is not being played by a skilled musician, it is impossible to appreciate its true value.
    • For those who minister, this means:
      • We are utterly dependent on the Lord. Our confidence must reside in the Lord and not in ourselves.
      • We participate in God's work, but the glory is entirely His. All recognition should be directed toward God, and not toward us. God is doing the real work, all of its substance is always God's.
      • Paul planted, Apollos watered, but ultimately it is God who causes the growth (v 5-6). It is not any work of man that can cause change in people's hearts; only God can accomplish such a thing.
  • Our work will be tested with fire.
    • We should seek to build things that are eternal, not worldly. Christian labor can be wasted and result in worthlessness if they are not built on an eternal foundation.
    • God will evaluate our work, and He will expose its true eternal worth.
    • Not everything that is done in the name of the Lord is necessarily glorifying to God. It is feasible that one could even spend a lifetime pursuing the wrong aims and building the "wrong structures." Therefore, each man must be careful how he builds his works and honors the Lord through them.
    • We can "do church" in such a way that might seem exciting on the outside, but in reality it could potentially not honor or glorify God at all. If our motivations in our service and our works are not for the aims of glorying God and filling the hearts of people with that same aim, then our works are worthless and will be burned up.
  • The wisdom of man is foolishness before God.
    • Judge your works and pursuits against this qualifier: does this glorify God?
  • The church is precious to God.
    • Factionalism, division, jealousy, strife, and competition within the church demonstrates immaturity in the faith.
    • God destroys those who destroy His church.
  • Christ is the foundation that God has already laid.
    • Jesus Christ has finished His work. His foundation has once and for all been laid, and is forever finished. It is not continually being laid down. There is no further development needed.
  • There is no glory intrinsic to man
    • The one and only true glory is God's.
    • It is moral and right for God to love His own glory, for it is incomparable to any other glory.
  • Spiritual immaturity is unnatural.
    • Believers are spiritual people, not just fleshly. Believers who live like fleshly people, therefore, are unnatural.
    • Immaturity does not exclude the process of growth, but spiritual maturity should be a rapid process that is concentrated in the early stages of one's Christian walk. A good analogy would be to compare to how an infant develops rapidly over a relatively short amount of time; in the same way, a Christian ought to develop rapidly in maturity and understanding early on in his/her walk.
  • God uses man's work to build His church.
    • God can use our work for His purposes and His glory. It can be useful and have significance!

We also discussed the following questions:

  • Verse 9 says that "we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." Is this unique to the time and situation of apostles and laymen? Is there a distinction between apostles and the church?
    • This group of people being referred to is broader than just apostles, because Apollos is included and he was not an apostle.
    • We should understand "fellow workers" as any man who does the work of building on the foundation of Christ.
  • Verse 22 refers to "things belonging to us" (the church). How do all things belong to us?
    • Servants of God are not people to rally around; they are gifts of God to the church.
    • Benefitting from someone's ministry is not exclusive to any group of people; anybody can benefit from the ministries of any of God's servants.
    • All things in the church - the ministers, the world, life, death, present things, future things - they all culminate into a blessing of God's people for their good.
      • Similar to what is written in Romans 8, all things work together for good to those who love Him. The final good is the glorification of His redeemed people for all eternity.
    • This is why we are called "fellow workers".

MEMORY VERSES
We recited Matthew 7:13-18 together as a group.

  • Questions
    • Should there be a distinction between how we treat believers and unbelievers? (Matthew 7:12)
      • This is a principle of considering how we should treat others in general. We should treat others in the same way that we would want to be treated.
      • In general, we should always be aiming to do what is best for others. We should put ourselves in the other's shoes, yet we should not to go so far as to pamper other people either.
      • "This is the Law and the Prophets" - this statement is a corollary of the command to "love your neighbor as yourself."
      • However, there is a special attitude we should have toward fellow believers. Galatians 6:10 tells us to "do good to all people, and especially those who are of the household of the faith." This shows that there is a priority to love those in the church.

 

Next week's passage for memorization is Matthew 7:19-23.