All In It Together

In chapter 3 of I Corinthians, Paul rebuked the Corinth church for their carnality as they divided over the personalities of different church leaders—Paul, Apollos, and Peter. He reminded the believers in Corinth that Jesus Christ is the one foundation as he wrote, “And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (3:23).

In chapter 4 Paul began by imploring the Corinthians to consider him and others spiritual leaders as simply servants of Christ, bound to their Lord and Master. This Greek word was used to describe a galley slave, those that would spend their lives below the decks of Roman warships, tirelessly rowing for the "good" and "glory" of Rome. They were the lowest class of all slaves in the 1st century. They were not to be exalted. Paul was stating that you do not exalt one slave over another slave, we are all simply servants. 

He then described himself and other leaders as “stewards.” This implies a responsibility. Paul stated that they were responsible for the mysteries of God—the revelation of God and specifically the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel and the believer's responsibility to propagate its message was to be the focus of both individual and church life.

Paul finally declared the true test that every servant and steward of Christ ought to be judged by and accountable for—faithfulness. God does not want education, brilliance, personality, or popularity from His servants. He simply wants faithfulness.

So what can be learned and applied to the lives of those that hold themselves accountable to Faith Baptist Church as members? Three principles immediately come to mind.

1. In Christ's church, no one is better than another. In Paul's words, we are all galley slaves unworthy of exaltation above a fellow slave. Regardless of spiritual gifting, personality type, or even leadership position every believer can only claim the status of a servant. Automatically, this puts our wants and needs on the lowest shelf. This ought to humble us and help us recognize our dependence upon God's Word for direction.

2. In Christ's church, the Gospel ought to be preeminent. Paul declared himself and others as stewards of the Gospel. He would later write that all believers are given the ministry of reconciliation. While Scripture provides both explicit commands and implicit principles to guide our life, the Gospel is to be the primary principle we live by. Whatever can be done to propagate the Gospel without circumventing clear teaching of Scripture ought to be prayerfully considered as an avenue of personal and corporate ministry.

3. In Christ's church, faithfulness is what matters. Paul laid out this simple requirement of stewards and servants. When we recognize our rightful place as servants and actively strive for the Gospel, the results can be left to a sovereign God Who will work all things for His pleasure and glory. What counts is how faithfully we "row" together as the body of Christ to share the message of Christ.

I invite you to join us as faithful "under-rowers" of the Gospel. Recognize your place that is no greater than anyone else in the family of God and seek to faithfully spread the Gospel alongside fellow believers at Faith!

- Pastor David

Paul Norton

Faith Baptist Church, 4215 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek, OH, 45440