So here we are already Thursday in our week. I hope that the Holy Spirit has been using Saint Paul's words to the church in Corinth in your life as he has in mine as we reflect this week on our place in his church.
Let's remember what is going on in Corinth. The small church that Saint Paul planted and then Apollos taught and discipled has grown and has many gifts, but there is a problem. Church members are beginning to speak and act out in jealousy causing strife, dissension, and division. They are playing right into the enemy's hands! In his book Screwtape Letters CS Lewis takes the perspective of a demon and addresses this subject.
The church is in real danger. Saint Paul makes the point that the Corinthians are following "human ways" and acting too much in the flesh (1 Cor. 3:3). They are trying to apply the world's ways to the Kingdom of God using the patronage system (you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours) and competing instead of working with each other. Because of this, the leaders are being arrogance and puffed up and hurting each other and the Church.
Saint Paul reminds them that they do not belong to themselves, and that the church is not theirs to mess up by creating factions and competitions.
We have all seen what Saint Paul is writing about on display in one way or another. Perhaps we saw these divisions hurt people at a congregation we loved. Maybe we were part of the situation. Perhaps we find ourselves a struggling with faction or even innocently creating them with exclusive friendships. This should not be confused with compromising God's doctrine or dogma, but is usually found in politicking and self-aggrandizment. As we continue to grow together it is always important for us to ask ourselves:
- What is the underlying purpose for how I am speaking or acting?
- How is my word or action going to affect others in the congregation or the the Church?
- Am I acting in "human ways" or am I acting in the Holy Spirit?
- What outside agendas am I bringing into congregational life? How can I bring offerings instead?
The fact is that we all impact each other. How are we helping each other along and working in God's will to advance Lakewood Anglican Mission?
If you missed the sermon or would like to hear it again or share it you can find it here: