Eternal Church 1

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of the church.

Scripture

1 Corinthians 3:6-17

6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  7  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  8  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

9  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

10  According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.  11  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–  13  each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  14  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  15  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  17  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Observations

  1. Paul seems to seek a fitting metaphor to explain to the Corinthian church what the church is and what their respective roles are.
    1. What metaphors do Paul use in this section – what does Paul liken the Corinthian church to? [hint: verses 9 and 12]
    2. In these images of church, what roles do ministers like himself play?
    3. In these metaphors of church, what roles do God play?
  2. In these metaphors for church – does Paul refer to The Eternal Church or a local church? Why do you say that?
  3. Take two or three minutes and study verses 16 and 17; explain in your own words Paul’s thoughts and progression between these terms: God’s temple – God’s Spirit – vengeance for destruction – holiness – you/the church.
    1. What word or phrase can you think of that concisely summarize that argument?

Reflection and Application

  1. Why did people in Paul’s day go to a temple?  And what did visitors learn from the design and worship in that temple?  What does that imply about church as “God’s holy temple?
  2. When you think of your church – what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Explain why these come to mind.
  3. Do you see any correlation between “church as God’s holy temple” and your Sunday services or midweek small group/ Bible study group? Why / why not?
    1. What makes your gatherings “God’s holy temple” or not? (verse 16-17)
    2. Can you change the nature of your church (meetings) or will it always be “God’s holy temple”?
  4. If church (and its meetings) are “God’s holy temple” – how should you change your perception of going to church meetings? Why is that important?
  5. How can you change your experience of church meetings to resemble the fact that it is indeed “God’s holy temple”?

Prayer

Thank God for the men and women who labored to lay the foundation and build your church, and remember in prayer those who “built you” in into this church.  Then pray that the reality and life of the Holy Spirit of God will saturate your life, and the activities and relationships in your local church.  Wait on God – does the Holy Spirit put someone in your church on your heart?  Follow His leading.

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