God Gives the Growth

1 Corinthians 3

June 4

One of the greatest examples of humble service in the Bible is that of John the Baptist. John knew that his role was not to be the savior of the world, but to point people to the savior of the world. John’s vocation was to make a clear and unhindered path that leads to Jesus Christ. We now share in the same work as John the Baptist. Our job in this life is to point people to the Lord of glory and to show the magnitude of having a personal relationship with him. John said it best in the phrase “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). John knew that he was simply to give the world more of Jesus and less of himself.


This ideal of leading people to Jesus and not to ourselves is something we always have to keep in the forefront of our mind. Paul addresses this very issue in 1 Corinthians 3. The church at Corinth was interested in making divisions by which person they were following.


“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?” (1 Corinthians 3:4).


Paul and Apollos, for all intents and purposes, were celebrity pastors in the first century. People were bragging about following Paul or Apollos, and they lost sight of what both Paul and Apollos were doing and their roles in the church. The roles of both Paul and Apollos were to share the gospel message and to realize that it was God that was working through them.


Paul makes it clear by saying: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).


Whatever our work and role is in the church, we should not be asking people to follow us, but rather we should lead them to God. What we do in the church and for the church is nothing without God providing the growth. Our job is not to change hearts and save lives, but to lead people to the one who can. Our role is not to draw attention to ourselves or lift ourselves high, but rather exalt the Lord Jesus. We must decrease and he must increase. We must plant and water, but remember that God causes the growth.


Let us not fall into the trap of saying we follow this person or this person. Let us follow Christ and lead people to him. Let us make sure that we realize all the work that we do is supplemented by the growth that can only be caused by God. Let’s live our lives in such a way where we always point towards God and never to ourselves.

-Nathan Massie


Application:

  1. Realize that our job is to point to Christ and to the work that he is doing and not to ourselves.
  2. Realize that our work in the church is important, but it is ultimately God that causes the growth to occur in the church.
  3. To make sure we are following Christ and his teachings and to not get caught up by the earthly people that we follow.

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