Daily Devotional

March 27, 2019

Daybreak: 1 Corinthians 3:5 through 4:21

“Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Anchor bolts, tie down brackets, strap ties, and shear nails are all terms that have become much more common in the construction industry in recent years. Building codes in many areas have been made more stringent to ensure that structures are as resistant as possible to storms and earthquakes. In their effort to meet these requirements, contractors sometimes have been heard to grumble, “I guess the wind must blow harder now than it used to!”

As Christians, there may be times in our spiritual lives when we feel like the “winds of adversity” are indeed blowing harder than they ever have. Satan would like to destroy our spiritual buildings, and he will use any method he can to bring this about. In order to withstand his devices, our faith must be built on the only sure foundation — Jesus Christ. He will never fail! 

It is up to us, however, to be sure we are securely fastened to that foundation. Investigations of buildings damaged in storms and earthquakes have shown that the foundation usually does not fail, but rather, the building’s attachment to the foundation is what breaks down. As Christians, we must be aware that we live in perilous times, and anything that can be shaken will be shaken. We must make certain our attachment to Christ is secure. As we study His Word, obey His commands, and meet with Him daily in prayer, our connection to Him will be strengthened. Then, when the world around us is shaken and the winds of adversity batter our spiritual building, we can be sure it will stand — strong and secure, and fastened to The Rock, Christ Jesus.

Background

The geographical location of Corinth made it easy for all manner of religions and cults to integrate into the Corinthian society. The Apostle Paul saw this cross-section of life as a great evangelistic opportunity. After establishing the church in Corinth, he later found it necessary to remind the saints there of their deliverance from sinful behaviors and customs, and to encourage them in the Gospel.

Chapters 3 and 4 are Paul’s exhortation to the brethren in Corinth to put aside frivolous differences. It seemed that some factions within the church preferred Paul’s simple approach to preaching the Gospel, while others enjoyed a more philosophical approach. Some believed that liberty in Christ meant freedom from the Jewish customs regarding food, while others felt that all these rules must be followed strictly.

The influences of society had made their way into the church, and were contradictory to Paul’s message. Greek architecture was a source of pride for many of these people, and Paul chose the building analogy to demonstrate the need for the various strengths and gifts within the Corinthian body to complete the Gospel structure.

The Corinthians also saw opportunities for debate as a means to test and stretch the intellect. Paul warned them about such practices by telling them in verse 19 of chapter 3, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” Paul realized the danger of becoming vain and full of self. In light of Paul’s teaching of “dying daily,” the Corinthian believers needed to be careful about exalting each other or themselves in their own wisdom.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   Answer to reports
      A.   The problem of church divisions
            2.   The basis of the divisions
                  b.   A misconception of the ministry (3:5 — 4:21)
                        (1)   The nature of the ministry (3:5-17)
                               (a)   A farmer (3:5-9)
                               (b)   A builder (3:10-15)
                               (c)   The temple (3:16-17)
                        (2)   The challenge regarding the ministry (3:18 — 4:5)
                               (a)   The vanity of glorying in men (3:18-23)
                               (b)   The necessity of leaving judgment to God (4:1-5)
                        (3)   The application (4:6-21)
                               (a)   The spectacle of the apostles (4:6-13)
                               (b)   The prospect of his coming (4:14-21)

A Closer Look

  1. What is the requirement given for a steward? Give specific examples of what you think that means. 
     
  2. Why do you think the Corinthians divided into factions and favored some leaders over others?
     
  3. How did Paul say that the Corinthians should regard their leaders? How does this apply to believers today?

Conclusion

There is only one rock-solid security in this world today: Jesus Christ. As we endeavor to build our spiritual lives on that Foundation, we will enjoy true liberty and safety which only He can provide.

Reference Materials