Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 4 months ago

The Kids Are Fighting

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

...and standing if you're, able and turnwith me to First Corinthians, Chapter Three: First Corinthians Chapter Three I'll be reading the first four versesof this chapter this morning, First Corinthians three versus onethrough four but ey brothers could not address youas spiritual people, but as people of the flesh as infants in Christ. I Fedyou with milk, not solid food, for you are not ready for it, and even now youare, you are not yet ready for you are still of the flesh, for while there isjealousy and strife among you are not. Are you not of the flesh and behavingonly in a human way? For when one says I follow Paul andanother? I follow a police. Are you not being merely human? My God bless his word to us. You may beseated. Have you ever been in a situation whereyou left the room for a moment and you came back in and there was a fight parents? Have you ever been in asituation where you left the room for a moment and you came back in and therewas a five kids have you ever been in a situation where you left the room for amoment and you came back in and all of a sudden there was a fight. I said whathappened here. I was gone for thirty seconds and everything's falling apart. One Minute, I ask you to fold thelaundry and next thing everybody's at each other's throats. Where did thiscome from? Where did this even happen? Something similar to that was happeningin Corinth. Men of God had come to proclaim theGospel, and indeed they did that they came to build up the church. They wereservants and messengers sharing the light of Christ. With these gentilesthey came in the truth of Christ to build up the Church in the love ofChrist and that's what Paul did and that's what a Paulas did and that'swhat others did and then Paul moved on Paul moved away, and then he gets thisreport. He gets a report in chapter one. He mentions it in verse, Twelve, thatchloe's people come to him or chapter one verse eleven. He says it has beenreported to me by chloe's people that there is quarrelling among you, mybrothers. What I mean is that each one of you says I follow Paul. I follow apolice or I follow Cephas or I follow. Christ passes. Why am I hearing about these things?What's going on, instead of imitating Paul, instead of imitating his fellowministers in their love in their doctrine, the Corinthians, aswe've considered before we're treating these men like public speaking rockstars like Social Media influencers and then dividing up in factions underneathbanners all over here Apollos over here they were choosing teams, they werealigning themselves and fighting, but there was never any competition. That's what Paul says in verse.Thirteen is Christ divided. The answer is, of course not imagine. If half yourbody decided to a line with your right...

...hand and half of the other half of yourbody decide to aline with your left hand, and then they were going tovigorously fight against each other until one one right. It would be maybe funny at firstto see you punching yourself, but then it would be scary if it wasserious and ultimately it would be deadly. This is what's happening in the body ofChrist. It's diving up against itself in a ways that it was never intendedfor. The body of Christ is not a competitive market place. It's notsports teams or armies at war, the body of Christ as well a body men to beunified and unified in Christ, and yet here are the Corinthians saying I fallPaul. I follow a Paulis and it's getting scary. If it continues on, it could even bededly and saw Paul after getting the stirs disturbing report from Chloewrites this letter and he appeals to them in love. He calls them brothers,but he does want to humble them in their pride. He tells them that all this jealousyand strife are not marks of advancing and spiritual maturity. It's just theopposite that strife and jealousy within the body of Christ battling itout against itself is immaturity its worldliness being brought into thebody of Christ. In worldly terms, it might look like they were progressingas one faction is gaining influence and authority over another faction in theeyes of Christ. To put it in a term we might use they're all acting like abunch of babies, they're being immature, they're, fighting and quarreling, and that's what Paul is addressing herein chapter three: It's what he's been addressingreleasing chapter one, and he brings this concern up after talking aboutsome other things. He brings this concern up again about who's followingwho- and this is good for us to hear us hereto day- it's good for us to hear this, because we need to be reminded of thesethings just like they needed to be reminded of them as long as we're in the world. We needto be on guard against jealousy against strife and the unspiritual divisionswithin the church, and so that we might be on guard sothat we might hear this warning in less an let's pay attention to what Paulsays here in these in these verses. The first thing to note is that Paul istalking to Christians. He's talking to Christians. That's important to say, because it'smaybe a little bit confusing the way he describes them as people of the flesh.Is he saying they're Christians are not. I want to really impress this pointthat he is talking to them as Christians. How do we know? Well? First, he calls them brothers andhe does that not because they are his members of his biological family but ofhis spiritual family. We also know that in chapter one verse,two, he writes this letter to the church to whom he's now speaking- andhe says to the Church of God that is imporant to those sanctified in Christ.Jesus called to be Saints Together in Chapter One, verse. Thirty, he says youare. He says you are in Christ, Jesus who became to US wisdom from Godrighteousness and sanctification and redemption in chapter three, thechapter that were in verse, Twenty Three He says, and you are Christ. Inchapter six, he says you were watched, you were sanctified, you were justifiedin the name of the Lord Jesus Christ...

...and by the spirit of our God, so veryclearly, multiple times in this book alone. We see how Paul identifies themand marks them out as Christians, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, so what's going on, then what is Paulsaying about them? If he's not saying that they aren't Christians. What is hesaying? Well Paul begins by talking about thepast right. He talks. You use these past ten verbs. He says, but mybrothers could not. This is in the past, could not address you as spiritualpeople. He is explaining that when he firstcame to Corinth, though they were Babes in Christ, he couldn't address them.Yet as spiritual people now, some people as I've said say this, becausethey didn't have the spirit, but clearly they did so. Why does Paul say it in this way? Ithink Paul is addressing them in this way because he's speaking to themaccording to their own vision of themselves, in other words, he's nottalking about them as those who are either regenerate or unregenerate. HeUses Babes of Christ and brothers and those sorts of things to talk abouttheir their regeneration, but when he says the word spiritual he's using itin the in the way that they thought about themselves, they were spiritual that is born of theHoly Spirit, but they thought of themselves as spiritual. They were proud. They were advancing.They were claiming apostles as their teachers. They were following these men.They were emphasizing that point and pointing that out to others. There was a lot of clamoring aboutwisdom, about place in the church, about authority and and and a positionwithin the Churchi, and in all of this they thought they were being quotespiritual. The pulses I couldn't address you asspiritual people, is truly spiritual as those who act as Christ did, because you weren't you're, still notspiritual. You are people of the Flesh as infants in Christ. They were puffed up and Paul is saying.When I came to you, you were still people of flesh and the proof is yourbabies in Christ acting in fleshly ways. The proof is that I fed you with milkand not with food, and what does Paul mean by this well he's not saying that he gave thema half portion of Christ, he's not saying that he gave them alittle bit of Jesus a here and a little bit of Jesus there, but not all ofJesus he's just saying he gave Jesus to them in a simpler form. Milk isnourishing it's intended to feed the baby to help it to grow. It's notpoison, it's not partial. He gave them what they needed, but he gave them in asimply gave them Christ in a simple form, and so because he gave them to the gavethem in the simple form. This way he's saying you see what I mean you weren't, that impressive youweren't, yet spiritual people you hadn't yet grown up and maturedinto the things of the spirit, although you were born of the spirit, so if I could put it really simply Paulis talking to them as Christians, but he's talking to Christians who are notacting like Christians. Have you ever known any one like that?Have you ever been someone like that? Clearly, this is a category that existson Paul addresses it here and we've experienced it ourselves, but thoughit's something that exists is a category that exists Christians notacting like Christians, the Christians,...

...doing fleshly things and going afterthe way of the flesh. That doesn't mean it's good notice, Paul's specific concern.However, his peips specific concern is not thatthey once needed milk, but that they still need milk notice. What he says. I Fed you withmilk, not with solid food, for you are not ready for it, and even now you arenot yet ready. Of course they needed milk when theywere Babes in Christ when they had come to them, and this church was justwarming when they needed to hear the word of God and they needed to grow up.That's what babies need. Babies need milk, no one fals a baby for needing milk.That's what how Babes advanced to solid food is by getting what they need, butthe problem is: Is that the Corinthians were not advancing. The Corinthianswere not growing. Paul is saying that they're not ready for it that theyweren't ready for it and then, when he hears this report some time later,they're still not ready for it. Now I don't want you to be confusedabout this image, because scripture does speak positivelyabout this babies and milk kind of image in terms of spirituality. The thing to remember here is and I'llgive you some verses along. Those lines is that one image can be used in multiple waysright. You could use a plant, for example, to it to make an analogy forone thing and for another thing and it's the same thing with babies andmilk, the scriptures do that, so we don't want to conflate these images. Ifwe do, we end up confused so, for example, first Peter to two says, likenew born infants, long for the pure spiritual milk that you may grow up inthe salvation right. Paul is not saying: Don't pay attentionto what Peter said he's talking about something else altogether. We shouldalways be like infants, and remember: Jesus tells us if we to receive thechildren of the Kingdom of God. We need to be as children the images here in Peter and withJesus's words are images of longing of trusting of sense of dependence and that's something we never grow outof that's something we grow into, but Paul is making a different point,though, with the same image he's talking about them being spiritualobbies who need to grow up, so it's important to keep them just indifferent categories and in your minds. Various members of the church werequite impressed with themselves, but Paul was not impressed with them. The Lord was not impressed with them in his essence, they were acting likebabies, and this reminds us that as Christians,we are called to grow up. We are called to grow into mature again. First Peter too, too says thatwhen we drink the pure spiritual milk of the word of God, we do it so that wemay, he says, grow up into salvation in second Peter Three. Eighteen Peterwrites but grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and save ourJesus Christ. Paul says in Second Corinthians threeeighteen and we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of God, are beingtransformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another in FirstCorinthians. Fourteen twenty Paul Rides Bill Brothers. Do not be children inyour thinking, be infants in evil, but in your thinking, be mature...

...and again Paul and Ephesians forfourteen. He gives to US apostles and prophets of Angeles teachers so that wemay no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about byevery wind of doctrine by human cunning by craftiness in deceitful schemes. That's why Paul came Paul came to to bring this effect about to help themto grow, so we want to be chill like we want to be like babies and we don'twant to stay like babies. We always want to stay like babies in the sensethat we're always dependent we're always in need- and we want the purespiritual milk of God's word, but we don't want to be like babies and staylike babies and that we never mature and never mature in the Lord never grow. What does maturity look like in arecent book called the Vine and the Trellis? The author summarize maturity.I think in the three helpful memorial categories. They talk about conviction,character and capabilities. Maturity is knowing what we believe andwhy we believe it it's not being blown about by every wind of doctrine, it'sknowing the truth and being solid in it, but maturity isn't just knowledge. It'salso character, it's not just having theological knowledge knowledge of God, but it's also actinglike his children being like his children. That's having those true seepdown into our hearts that cause us then Um to act accordingly, there's conviction and there'scharacter and there's also capability. Maturity is putting ourselves in theservice of God and in the service of others and growing in it in worship andhospitality and mercy, and these are things that we makeprogress in. While we are here on earth- and so it's worth asking from time totime, am I growing because this is a goal.This is a goal, Paul States for this church. He wants them to be growing,and so it's right for us to ask. Am I growing, am I growing in my convictionand my knowledge of the faith in the depth of it? In my heart? Am I growing in my character andintegrity and in godliness, and I growing in my capabilities, my abilityto serve and to use the things that God has given me as a good steward and ashis child here the Corinthians are not growingand Paul describes. One way that looks it looks like jealousy and strife Christ loved US first, so that we mightlove him and love others, and when that takes root in our hard, it flows outinto action. We know what that feels right. You know what it feels like whensomebody is truly loving, generous and there's forgiveness. Listening helpingpatience, kindness, long suffering, indeed, Paul- will spend some timetalking all about how love looks in chapter thirteen and other chaptersin this book, and when that comes when we cut when weknow the love of Christ, but when we separate ourselves fromChrist and when we put ourselves at the center, what happens, strife and jealousy divisions. Whenit's all about me, what I want right now, my hopes, my fears, myfrustrations. I need it right now. Then we get these kinds of divisions. Kelvin says that they were undervaluingthe apostle and is preaching, and we parepare moreto listen and pay attention to the subtle and showy ways...

...of other teachers, or looking only toPaul to be to be a fancy speaker and then a D, and then in not onlytreating him poorly and treating the doctrine of Christ forley. They thentreated others poorly. We see in Corinthian in the Corinthianletters that that wasn't just a problem with the apostles and the otherteachers, but there were problems with the Lord's supper problems with makingother people stumble and difficult ethical situations. Fighting aboutspiritual gifts is just one thing after another after another, when we readabout all these problems in the Corinthian church, it's a little biteasy to shake our heads and judge Elas Corinthians man. What a mess glad Ididn't belong to that church, but isn't that just a sign of our ownpride to look at struggling brothers andsisters even from long ago and to mock them shake our heads at them. What doesthat say about our own hearts? What does that say about us and whatabout our brothers and sisters that are alive today in our own congregation andanother churches? Do we love them as we ought, or do we puff ourselves up overthem? Do we even do in it spiritual things calling ourselves spiritualwhile at the very moment exhibiting great amount, great amounts of pride? This is not to say that there's nodifference between Rit doctrine or wrong, both doctrine or right practiceand wrong practice. There is, of course, differences between these things and weought to make those distinctions if we are to hold fast to Christ, but when does good doctrine or goodpractice excuse bad behavior. Never is the answer to that. It neverdoes. In fact, a failure to show humility really shows a failure totruly understand and to truly believe and be convicted about. The grace thatwe have received in Christ is perhaps the most ironic thing in theworld for a Christian who has experienced the grace of the Lord notto show that grace to others. Christian had US thinking the othernight. From God's Word About The servant, who was forgiven so much? Let me ask you: Did that servant inJesus as parable there did. He know that he was forgiven, I suppose so right he had been forgivena lot. He seemed to be: There's no sense that he wasn't aware of it, but that knowledge remained in his head. It didn't penetrate into his heart, andso that's why he goes to this other man and demands so in such a strong way. Solittle at least comparatively and that's what immaturity looks like maturity is sort of starting it's sortof knowing it's having a beginning, but not moving forward, not flower and notcoming into the thing that we are called to be and that's what God's desire for us isbeloved. He wants us to grow, not just in one part of the Christian life, but inall of the Christian Life God's desire for us is just like yourparents desire for you. They wanted you to grow up, and Goddesires the same now on pointing out these things and inintentionally calling us all to humble ourselves a little bit and maybe even alot. I don't want to overly wound you or overly depress you either. We need to be warned and we need to beon guard against complacency and self centeres. It's true. They seep in. Theyattack our hearts. They hold fast to us and these things don't align with theGospel.

But it's because of the Gospel that wealso don't have to despair. It's because of the Gospel that, evenwhen we feel we are so controlled. Why by our Self Centeres, when we strugglewith envy, when we struggle with jealousy when we find ourselves gettingin fights all the time getting in arguments all the time, it's because of the Gospel that we havehope it's because of what God has done for us and his work. His spirits workin us that we have hope. None of us have advanced to perfectmaturity yet, and none of us will until the Lord returns, but in this life, as we are humbled and reminded aboutthese things, we can also turn to the Lord for forgiveness and forsanctification beloved these things sting. It hurts tothink about the divisions within the body of Christ. It hurts to think aboutthe ways in which we ourselves have caused them, but the Lord causes thesting he prods us to drive us to the cross. He does it so that our pride might behummed so that we might see how much we need him and not ourselves. You seeit's his work of sanctification in us. He wants to show you how much you needChrist so that you might cling to Christ and not yourself, and when welook to Christ, who went to the cross for us who didn't grasp and hold on tothe glory of God or try to claw after it any way, but simply submittedhimself out of love for us and went to a cross and died for our sins. When wethink about those things when we think about what he's overcome when we thinkabout like that servant should have how much we've been forgiven. How big andbroad God's love is how vast heow vast the separation is between us and oursins when the Lord forgives them, when we think about how this Gospelcomes into our lives and takes people who are once clamoring and fighting andalways struggling and striving against one another to make it to the top andthen the Lord comes and says I give you everything you don't need to do thatany more! You don't need to fight. You don't needto claw. You don't need to clamor. I will take care of you. Every hair inyour head is numbered. You are so valuable to me so precious to me thatmy own son has died for you when we come to remember those thingsbeloved and we come to believe those things. The Lord begins to dissipate the feelings of strife and selfcenteredness that are in our hearts. He works in US and reminds us that wedon't have to clamor anymore. We don't have to fight any more. We don't haveto prove ourselves any more because we have all that we need in Christ and, as we begin to realize thosethings, as we begin to believe those things to put faith in those promises, we will grow one of the good things about the Gospel.The Greatest Things about the Gospel is it's not all up to us when the Lord chooses us and and eachflocks us out of all of this misery in which we've thrown ourselves into hedoesn't just set us loose and say we'll figure it out. He works in us, even as he is doing inyou this morning. So trust him put all your trust in himand he will care for you and care for...

...the whole body, bringing healing andrest, let's pray that God would do that andthat we would accept these things receive them by faith. All.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (562)