How do we grow? (1 Corinthians 3:1-9)

In this All Age talk, Claire takes us through Paul’s teaching on who has helped the Corinthians grow, showing it is not so much the preacher that matters, but the message of the gospel and the power of God.

Sermon as recorded at St. Luke’s Ramsgate

How do we grow 

It seems appropriate today to be talking about, and asking the question – how do we grow? 

It is great to welcome our baptism family to Saint Georges this morning. In baptism we are welcoming them into the family of faith. The promises that the parents and godparents are making this morning are all about this. About this child growing in faith.

Both of our readings this morning come from a place of wanting spiritual growth for those listening. In our reading from Matthews Gospel v33 Jesus says ‘strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well’ and Paul in the letter to the Corinthians is longing for them to grow in the faith

Paul’s letter

As a church we have been looking at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. He wants them to grow in faith, he’s heard about their quarrelling behaviour and he’s writing to address that. He wants them to know that because of Jesus – his death and resurrection – they are new people, they should no longer be reflecting the world or the flesh as it is also put, but they should be reflecting Jesus because they’ve got his spirit living in them. 

Two pictures of growth

In the verses we read from Paul‘s letter today there are two pictures of growth given. One is a picture of a child growing from infancy into maturity (to adulthood), first having milk before moving on to solid food, and the second is the image of seeds being planted in a field and growing.

Still infants 

In the first image Paul is saying to the church that when he first told them the good news about Jesus it was brand new. They were given milk because they were baby Christians. This new way of life was different to the way of the world that they had been living. But he would expect them to mature and move on to solid food, growing more mature in their faith. But Paul is saying that they’ve not grown up, they’re still infants, still needing milk. He says this because they’re still behaving by the worlds standards not by Gods standards. There is still jealousy and arguing. If they truly were letting Gods spirit work in them their behaviours would not be that of arguing and jealousy.

How does your garden grow?

The second image Paul uses is a field with seeds being planted.

If I wanted to plant something what would I need?

Paul come and help me please…

I need soil, an area to hold the soil, something to help me dig, water, and seeds. Also we need time. These seeds will apparently grow between 14 to 28 days. We need to wait. If Janet had come and planted seeds too. Is her plant likely to be any better than Paul’s? Maybe. But probably not. They would have used the same equipment, the same tools.

This is the arguement the church have been having . My faith is better because Paul planted the seed of faith in me….. mines better because Apollos taught me… Paul wants them to realise their arguing is stupid. Growth isn’t about who told them about Jesus or who continued to teach them, but is about God.

God vs their leaders 

Paul wants the church in Corinth to know that it Is God who gives the leaders their tasks, that its God who makes the seed of faith grow and that it’s God who is the one their trust is in. The leaders are only servants of God, they are sharing and teaching about faith, but compared to God they’re irrelevant. They are to be faithful to God’s teaching receiving recognition for that, but ultimately it is God that makes the seeds of faith grow. The church in Corinth Paul says are God’s field and God will help the seed of faith grow, whoever planted it and encouraged it, by the power of his spirit at work in the hearts of humankind.

You are Gods field. What decisions are you needing to make to help you grow?

Are we growing?

As Christian’s don’t we want to grow in faith, to allow Gods spirit to work in us changing our attitudes and behaviours and actions to reflect Jesus to the world. I would hope we would. That We want to be people that show love, even to the unloveable, that bring peace into situations, who show Gods joy even in times of difficulty, who remain patient even when we’re at our wits end, maintaining self-control. People of Gods spirit are to be kind and gentle, striving to do good – being full of integrity, and are faithful in what we commit to do and to God, living lives in obedience to him.

What areas do we need to grow more Christlike, to be more in step with Gods spirit?

God’s spirit is at work in us are we going to let him? Are we going to produce fruit, behaviours and actions that show we are of Gods spirit and not the world?

Baptism is a start of the  journey of faith, we trust God for growth in faith, let’s grow from milk to solid food and be a field that is full of beautiful plants, showing we are Gods people, people with his spirit. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: