Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke
When the Lord begins to work in the hearts and lives of people, there are many issues which must be confronted. The real need is for the new convert to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. As this occurs, many problems just seem to fade away. Until this growth is achieved, however, there probably will be needful and important conversations with the Pastor.
This forms the basis for this particular discussion. The problem: The real problem with the church at Corinth is that spiritual growth had not yet reached the point of maturity. Paul really wanted to help them reach the next level in Christ, but they were unable to receive his message. (1Co 3:1-2) “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” They are told their hearts are yet filled with envy, strife and divisions. This was the situation Paul dealt with in our previous lesson, but he now lets them know the real problem is the failure to grow out of these things and become spiritually mature.
The response: Paul’s method of dealing with this was to approach the situation directly and show the process of God’s plan of salvation.
Acts 18:1-18 tells the story of the founding of the Corinthian Church.
Paul had a great revival and marvelous move of the Spirit in the city of Corinth. He stayed perhaps as long as 2 years. In Acts 18:24-28 we are introduced to a mighty man of God named Apollos. He is described as being “mighty in the scriptures” and also as “eloquent.” He spent time in Corinth after Paul left.
Such a powerful minister was quite a contrast to the style of Paul, one who “came not with excellency of speech” (I Cor.
2:1). It was only natural that some would prefer Apollos’ style of preaching to that of Paul. Thus, in order to change the focus from men to God, Paul writes the following words: (1Co 3:5-7) “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” The Apostle Peter saw the same weaknesses in the people he worked with and gave them a similar message (I Peter 2:1-3).
May God grant us spiritual growth!