Acts + Letters Lesson 21 Day 4

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1 Corinthians 3

Questions for Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 21

Paul challenges the church to mature spiritually.

9. Brothers, I speak to you as immature infants.

Paul calls the readers brothers, so although immature, they are believers.

He pointed out two issues that let him know they are still spiritual babies:

They think spiritual truth is foolish. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

They quarrel like children—jealous, contending, and forming cliques. (v. 3)

Paul speaks about three categories of men. There is the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14), who is patterned after Adam and rejects the things of the Spirit; there is the spiritual man (1 Corinthians 2:15), who knows the things of God; and there is the carnal man who knows the things of God, yet in some significant ways is still characterized by the flesh. (enduringword.com)

“The carnal Christian is a child of God, born again and on his way to heaven, but he is traveling third class.” (Redpath) Romans 7 is a portrait of the carnal Christian; indwelt by the Spirit, but mastered by the flesh.

Evidence of spiritual maturity

God’s Spirit progressively dominates and governs spiritual believers. Carnal Christians react to what they see, hear, and feel with their fleshly senses.

A maturing believer learns to discern truth by the Spirit by depending more on God’s ability than their own.

“Incredible as it may sound, we who are spiritual have the very thoughts of Christ!” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 Phillips)

10. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation.

Some building materials like marble and granite withstand fire, but wood, hay, and stubble do not.

Paul seems to have in mind the building materials used in the construction of the temple. The “building” is what God builds in His people with the help of His fellow workers.

I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to stockpile materials for the sanctuary of God: a hundred thousand talents (3,775 tons) of gold, a million talents (37,750 tons) of silver, tons of bronze and iron—too much to weigh—and all this timber and stone. And you’re free to add more. And workers both plentiful and prepared: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, artisans in gold and silver, bronze and iron. You’re all set—get to work! And God-speed! (1 Chronicles 22:14, 22:16, and 29:2).

Personal calling

While I consider myself a fellow student and a writer, I suppose I could be considered a teacher because I’m called to share the answers from my study. I commit most of my discretionary time and some of my sleep time in this endeavor. It’s sobering to know that my efforts could burn up like hay and stubble. Lord have mercy on me. I pray I’m not doing this in my own strength for my own glory but through inspiration and guidance of your Spirit who searches the deep mysteries of God. I also pray that I never cause anyone to stumble.

11. The fire will test each one’s work.

An 1898 paraphrase of Paul’s epistles written by George Barker Stevens came to mind, so I dug it out of my book stash.

The day of the Lord’s coming will disclose what is abiding and what is transient. That day will test the work of these various teachers as fire tests the materials of a building. If any teacher has contributed something lasting to your church life, he shall be rewarded. But if any teacher’s work has not really advanced your Christian growth, it will go for nothing. The faith shown in good intention of the teacher will save him, but not his work. In the judgment he will be like one who should barely escape the flames which consume a building which he has built. (v. 11-14)

Sobering indeed.


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Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.
My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 21 Day 4