Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling: Eternal Reward, 1Co 3:1-17, part 1.

Class Outline:

Thursday January 21, 2021


Commencement speech by Denzel Washington in 2015: In reference to the world of text, tweet, and twirk that those young men and women grew up in he said, “Just because you’re doing a lot more, doesn’t mean you are getting a lot more done. … Don’t confuse movement with progress.”


He had been talking about life dreams to those college graduates. He said that dreams are nothing without goals, daily goals, and sometimes simple goals. In Christianity there is a similar danger. A believer might have the goals of being spiritually mature, but he never will be unless he has as his goal to every day follow God’s commands that apply to that day - to love, to have joy in whatever it is you do, to reject the temptations of the flesh, etc. To repeat his thought: just because you’re doing a lot doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done.”


As we have been stating concerning our Lord’s teaching on rewards, assimilating into the world, indistinguishable from it, is not the life of the disciple.


MAT 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”


We must all mature so that we openly live what we are and become witnesses to the world as salt, light, and the city on the hill.


We have completed our study of our Lord’s teaching on rewards and treasure in the gospels and now we turn to the teaching of reward in the epistles.


Occurrences of reward in the epistles: 1CO 3:8, 14; 1CO 9:17, 18; COL 3:24; 2Jo 8.


As is true in all cases of scripture, we must understand the bigger passage in general if we are going to understand the specific truths that are contained in it.


In our study of reward we are focusing on these two verses within this passage.


1CO 3:8

Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.


1CO 3:14

If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward.


This reward has withstood the perfect scrutiny of the Lord’s judgment.


1CO 3:1

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.


The word sarkinos (of flesh) refers to those who are ruled by the flesh and moved entirely by human drives. They are people who belong to the realm of the flesh and human self-sufficiency rather than depending upon the power and wisdom of God and His word.


“Living out of the flesh is the self-reliant attitude of the man who puts his trust in his own strength and in that which is controllable by him.” [Bultmann]


Many only see this word as referring to sensuality, thinking of Freud more than Paul. Sarx denotes persons in respect to their drive toward self-esteem, preservation, or success with no mind towards God and His spiritual life. Certainly, sensuality and immorality would come under the heading of “flesh” but it does not exclude people who don’t delve into sensuality but do delve into self-sufficiency. So then, we see the Corinthians to be moved entirely by human drives.


The phrase, “babes in Christ,” (those who are infantile) draws our attention to the contrast, those who are mature, and in the context, those who are mature are those who have given their lives over to control of the Holy Spirit.


1CO 2:9-16

"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,

And which have not entered the heart of man,

All that God has prepared for those who love Him."


10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.


Combining spiritual with spiritual shows us, as does this entire passage, that spiritual and natural (man in Adam, fallen) do not mix like oil and water. Spiritual man with spiritual truth with the Holy Spirit are wonderfully miscible.


1CO 3:2-3

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?


It would be an error to think that Paul wanted us to consider elementary doctrines as less important. All doctrines are important and we never stop learning more depth about them. We continue to always learn of the doctrines of salvation as well as doctrines of mature Christian living. All are a part of the mind of Christ and none are to be left our or left behind.


The problem with the Corinthians was not the types of doctrines they were taught, but their perspective. They learned to love creative, tantalizing, false doctrines.


When Paul arrived in Corinth he naturally had to deal with a lot of new converts. All they could handle was the milk, the foundation upon which they could build deeper understanding.


1CO 2:1-5

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.