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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#484 (18/11/21) SERVANTS THROUGH WHOM (1 COR. 3:5-9)

This week’s devotionals are based on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9.

'What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.' (1 Corinthians 3:5)

The Corinthians are grieving the Spirit as they divide over preferred leaders. Paul now sets them an example of the attitude that they should adopt.


Leaders are very important. Paul, Apollos, Peter… and all the prominent men and women in scripture are called and gifted by God to build the church and extend the Kingdom. God gives different gifts to different people to build His people up. God even tells us that we must not say of people with different gifts “I don’t need you!” (1 Cor. 12:21). The first aspect of our attitude that God wants us to adopt is that of respect. The Lord has 'assigned' different leaders to different tasks. We must respect God’s servants. We must avoid idolatry and celebrity worship, but we must respect God’s leaders.


Paul speaks of himself and other leaders as ‘servants through whom…’. There is both humility and dignity in this phrase: all leaders are God’s servants; we serve God’s people on behalf of God. We represent Him in how we serve: our manner and our aim must honour our master.

This phrase ‘through whom’ humbles us and whilst also raising our expectations: We are humbled as we remember that all success is due to God’s power at work in and through us; Our expectations are raised by realising that, as God’s servants, we can expect Him to do great things through us; our weakness does not limit God’s power. This is why Paul can say with such confidence,

‘…I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles’ (Romans 1:13).


Do we idolise leaders or view them with respect as God’s servants? Alternatively, do we criticise or have no leaders in our lives? Does your attitude to yourself reflect that you are a ‘servant through whom…’ Are you God’s servant, completely submitted to Him? Do you believe that He has gifted you and wants to work through you? If we are faithful, we will have a harvest, but it’s according to God’s power and timing.


I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.

'What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.' (1 Corinthians 3:5)

I find it helpful to use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

We have our second gift day on the 21st of November. Let's be praying for How the Father wants us to get involved.


2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?


2. Focus on the carol service

I'd like us to start by focusing on sharing, planning and praying for our carol service which is coming up on the 5th of December.

Let's watch this short video together (The image below is the link)

1. Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

2. Do you plan to do anything special to connect (SIV) with your friends outside of the church during this Christmas season?

3. Prayer

i) Let's spend some time in prayer for ourselves, that we would be courageous and invite people.

ii) Pray for our friends to be receptive.

iii) Pray for the carol service in general and Adrian in particular.

Here is the link for you to book ticket for yourself and your friends:

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday, Nev spoke from 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

‘Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.’ (1 Corinthians 3:1-9)

The Corinthians are dividing over many things; he tells them that they are infantile because there is 'jealousy and quarrelling' among them.

Nev, focussed on verse 9, where we see that the church is 'God’s field, God’s building'. The church, like any garden or building, should reflect the skill and design of the builder; therefore, love and unity that reflects the Gospel should be rich in every church.

Discussion questions

1. What is the 'milk' and 'solid food' that this text refers to?

2. Why does he tell them that they are 'worldly - mere infants'?

3. What do verses 6-8 teach us about the correct attitude toward leaders?

4. The local church is 'God's field, God's building'. How would our relationships with leaders and others be if we allowed God to build us as He would want?

5. As 'God's cultivated field', Nev challenged us with this question that we can discuss together: How do you ensure that you put your roots into Jesus each day?

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