• Matt Beaney

#485 (19/11/21) GOD’S FIELD (1 COR. 3:6-9)




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

'I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.' (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

i) DIFFERENT GIFTS AND ROLES

This text draws on the imagery of building and sowing and growing plants. If you’ve ever watched Gardner’s World, it’s clear that a garden reflects the wisdom and skill of the gardner. God wants the Corinthians, and us, to understand that the church is to reflect the wisdom of God who is our Gardner.

Paul says that one ‘plants’ and another ‘waters’. Whatever this is, it’s about having different gifts and roles to play in the local church and God’s mission. It’s important to pray about your part in the body of Christ.


ii) GOD HAS BEEN MAKING IT GROW

This text teaches us that any true spiritual growth comes from God. Yes, leaders - and each of us - are His Co-workers, but we cannot bring growth. If God is at work, it will be seen in the kind of growth that we see; the work of the Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit and not the spirit of the world.

This is an encouragement to be active in using our gifts, whilst remaining dependent upon the growth-producing power of the Spirit.


iii) ONE PURPOSE

It’s interesting that although we have different gifts and roles, we are said to ‘have one purpose’. Christians - no matter how they are gifted - are to share the same purpose. What is our purpose? What would you say is your purpose? It’s important that we are clear on this or we may find that our efforts are so dispersed so as to become less effective. The answer is found in verse 9, ‘For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.’ Our purpose is to use our variety of gifts in service to build the local church. We help people to become Christians; we mature people through discipleship who become ’salt and light’ in the places God has put them; some of them, in turn, will go to other places to take the gospel and start new churches.


iv) EACH WILL BE REWARDED ACCORDING TO…

It’s so important that we learn about our gifts and roles and then employ them in God’s purpose to build the church. As we do so, God promises that ‘each be rewarded according to their own labour’. You will be rewarded in this life and the next. Those who will invest in building God’s people will reap the reward of seeing people’s lives improved in many ways. Those who ’plant and water’ as God leads, will also be rewarded by God at the judgement day.


v) GOD’S FIELD, GOD’S BUILDING

I love these words about the church being ‘God’s field, God’s building’. God is farming us and building the church and we are His ‘co-workers in God’s service’. Jesus says, ‘My Father is the gardener’ (Jn. 15:1 ) but you and I - and Leaders in particular - are often the hands that He uses!


IN RESPONSE

Let’s continue to be prayerful as to how God wants you to ‘plant ’ and ‘water’ through us. Let's remain humble and expectant that God will cause people and initiatives to grow through our efforts.


OVER TO YOU - PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

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.

'I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.' (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

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?

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


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:

https://www.communitychurchputney.com/carol-service-2021



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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