1Cor 3 “The Danger of Holy Huddles”
The church at Corinth was birthed under Paul but now left to their own they have become divided into Paul camps and Apollo camps. This is a warning to us about this happening to our churches and even para-church organizations. No matter how it comes about, know this; these “holy huddles’ divide. As Paul hears about this, his heart is grieved. This is the sin that grieves not only us but more importantly the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s response to the Corinthians goes something like this: you still are acting and reacting as if you never met Christ or were made righteous! You are behaving like one who is unregenerate and the evidence is front and center. This is not evidence of one who has a relationship with Christ and has become righteous, sanctified and redeemed!
Fast forward to today. If Paul could come to our local body of believers would he see the same thing? Listen to yourself, listen to your fellow congregants and see for yourself. Are we guilty of putting the pastor on a pedestal and not Christ? What happens when one of the church staff falls from grace? That very action reveals where our priorities were and are. Some of those who were followers of that person may also fall away too because they focused on them not Christ who became for us wisdom from God.
How does this happen? We need to look no further than what Paul noted. It happens when we revert to fleshy actions and attitudes. It should be a reminder of what Jesus told Peter: “You are a stumbling block to me because you are not setting your mind on God’s interest but man’s.” [Matt 16]
We have heard it said over and over and over: you are judging. Now to be sure there are times when we are to judge and to judge righteously when we discern doctrinal error. However, in this chapter, Paul over and over and over is trying to get our attention that when we judge or criticize another’s spiritual walk we have crossed the no-man’s zone of hypocrisy.
Paul asks “who are you to judge the servant of another?” and “why do you judge your brother?” And in the context of this discussion, Paul is referring to three non-essentials of food, days and drink. Some insist we must follow the Feasts of Israel and another says no. One says it is OK for me to drink wine but another comes alongside and says no you shouldn’t do that. Another says I celebrate Christmas and another says that is a pagan holiday and you shouldn’t celebrate it.
Beloved, NOT one of these will keep us from heaven’s door but alone or together our attitude and our words may cause a brother/sister to stumble in their walk with Jesus. The problem is us not them. We have this urge to change others rather than accepting them as they are. Instead of a gentle quiet spirit, we become a gonging cymbal as we beat our drum of “no, no, no” all the while forgetting two essentials:
- We all will stand before God to give an accounting
- We will give an account of every idle word we have spoken
What we need to remember is that God looks not on the outward man as we do but on the heart. Let’s let God do the judging regarding these areas. We are not to be a stumbling block but a solution lest we scar hearts God has already healed.
Government has been instituted by God; He placed it to keep anarchy from reigning supreme. Not all leaders will be honorable as history attests. If we resist governing authorities we are in essence resisting God for He established and allowed each to exist for His purposes. We must not fear governing authorities for God will use them to bring wrath upon those who do evil—even if it seems that God is delaying. Go read Psalm 73:17 to see what Asaph gleaned from his time wondering about this topic.
How do we submit and obey when we are faced with governing authorities who are evil? Joseph submitted yet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego resisted. God blessed them each lived under brutal dictatorships. The key is this given by the prophet Daniel “It is He [God] who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings”
Some principles to remember: “We must obey God rather than men” [Acts 5] and especially so when it becomes an instrument for evil, violating the explicit will of God as outlined in Scripture…” [G. Herrick.] Ask yourself, are you praying for the governing authorities God has placed over you? Also, remember we are not to revile them no matter how evil they may be: “Do not curse a king even in your thoughts.”[Eccl 10:20] Follow the example of Christ who when reviled did not revile in return. Lastly, leave the results to God so that He alone gets the glory for His plan is perfect.
We know that we are living in the last days and oppression and wickedness will continue to escalate. We must pray not only for ourselves but for those in nations that are exceedingly opposed to Christianity. How faithful are we to pray and are we prepared?