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Servant! What are you going to do about it

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Servant?!  What are you going to do about it?

 

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

            5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe -- as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (NIV)

 

3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe -- as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

 

The mature laborer for Christ does not involve himself in party dissension.  The men and women who God uses for work in His kingdom are really servants called to bring others to belief in Christ.  God had given each minister a particular work, ability, and ministry, which He used with the Word to bring the Corinthians to salvation.  The emphasis is on God.

Paul here asked the question:  “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul?”  Although a response of “nothing” might be expected because they were merely human instruments of God, Paul did not say that.  Indeed, Paul and Apollos were diakonoi (“servants” or “ministers”). 

Paul said in 2 Cor. 4:5 “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” I am your servant here today ministering to you,

 In 1 Corinthians 4:1 Paul also used the word diakonoi (“servants” or “ministers”) to describe his ministry.  “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.” (1 Corinthians. 4:1) Ministers “entrusted with the secret things of God.”


Here in 1 Corinthians the diakonos is used only in the general sense of servant (and probably not an exalted servant at that, since the word was also used of waiters!). 

By the time Paul had written the Pastoral Epistles, however, the word diakonos was a technical term denoting a specific function and office in the local church (“servant” or “minister”)(cf. especially 1 Timothy 3:8-13). (See Scriptures below)

Grammatically, the expression 5b“as the Lord assigned to each his task” means that the Lord gave specific tasks to each servant to perform (such as planting, watering, feeding, equipping, etc.).

3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  Paul supported his point by way of illustration. He called attention to the illustration of a farmer or gardener.  Paul had initiated the work; Apollos had strengthened and nurtured it. 

But these men had cooperated under the direction of God, God alone who gave the increase.  The first two verbs of this verse are aorist and point to the work already done

But God’s activity is in the imperfect tense and indicates work continuing after a specific beginning

You know, like the work God began in Central Congregational Church of Middleborough!

 Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created…”

3:7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.   Divisions such as were occurring at Corinth should not be allowed because leaders and laborers are merely instruments.  God accomplishes through them what He will.  The Christian worker must maintain the humility, submission, and unity that come from understanding that all men work in the place to which God calls them, and all are important under God.  God does not have “big” preachers or “small” preachers just faithful preachers.

3:8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.  All ministers and laborers then are on an equal plane.  The job does not make one person more important than another.  All share a common goal.  Therefore, the reward given to these co-workers will depend on their personal labor. 

The emphasis seems to be on the labor, not the success, on the faithfulness of the servant involved. 

There is progression of the “servant”        “minister.” Different offices! Sermon title Servant ?!

If man does his part in the work of the gospel, God will certainly do His part identifying who is who.

3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” that is, we are fellow workers who belong to God, and we are working with one another.  The emphasis is on God.  He is mentioned emphatically three times in this verse. We are, in keeping with the figures already suggested, God’s “field” and God’s “building.” 

“Field” conveys the idea of cultivation, and “building” suggests the process of construction.  God is cultivating and building the Church.  God’s possession then is in close view.  If these Corinthians came to see God’s proper place here… then they would also come to see His minister’s proper place. 

The problems in the Church seem to be caused when we have a faulty view of God and His work. 

The pastor that is called to this flock is God’s servant not your puppet to be controlled by the strings you pull or the idol you make of him.  Let him be God’s servant/minister.

The problems will be resolved if you can grasp God’s motive for doing something here in Middleborough.  Your focus will be to get out of God’s way and let God be God.

To summarize, three things would be accomplished:

1.                The Corinthians (and we also) would come to a true view of the true role of Gods servant/minister, and would listen to them but not to idolize them.

2.               We would not miss-treat God’s workers (ministers) because they belong to God.

3.               We would not miss-treat ourselves because we belong to God.

You see we are all God’s “handy-work” created from the beginning to be servants for his Glory, for his work, for his building. Whether you’re a servant laborer or a servant minister, you’re a servant for God.

The parking lot should be full, the pews should be filled, and ministry activity should be exciting.

Servant?  What are you going to do about it?

1 Timothy 3:8-13

            8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

            11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

            12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

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