Some Things We Need To Know

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  3 : 16-23
Subject: Christian Living; Pride; Servants

There are different people in my life, my father, a friend, a fellow-laborer, who over the years have come to me and said that if I was going to follow a certain path that I needed to know some things beforehand.

As Paul is writing to this young church at Corinth, a church that has already been faced with the problems of defilement and division, he seems to emphasize in the last part of chapter three that if they are going to be a church and if they are going to be believers there are some things that they need to know.

I. We Need To Know Some Things About Our Behavior As Believers

A. Paul Mentions Discerning Behavior vs. 16a

1. He Asked A Revealing Question

(1 Corinthians 3:16) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

temple – this word indicates the dwelling place of God

2. He Asked A Repeated Question

(1 Corinthians 6:19) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

(The first question seems to be more corporate whereas this one is more personal)

See 1 Corinthians 6:8-20 (This entire section is dealing with the fact that God owns our body, so that fornication is grievous.)

B. Paul Mentions Destructive Behavior vs. 17a

(1 Corinthians 3:17) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1. Notice The Defiling Corruption

defile – Greek 5351. phtheiro, means to pine or waste; to shrivel or wither, to spoil (by any process) or to ruin, by moral influences, to deprave, to corrupt, to destroy.

2. Notice The Divine Consequences

destroy – Greek 5351. phtheiro, means to pine or waste; to shrivel or wither, to spoil (by any process) or to ruin, by moral influences, to deprave, to corrupt, to destroy.

If you want to ruin the church, God will ruin you.

C. Paul Mentions Dedicated Behavior vs. 16b & 17b

1. Dedicated Because God Dwells In Our Habitation (vs. 16b) the Spirit of God dwelleth in you

2. Dedicated Because God Demands Our Holiness (vs. 17b) the temple of God is holy

holy – Greek 40. hagios, means sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated).

(1 Peter 1:16) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

II. We Need To Know Some Things About Our Bragging As Believers

A. It Is A False Thing For Us To Brag vs. 18

(1 Corinthians 3:18) Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

1. A Reputation Of Worldly Wisdom Is Delusional

deceive – Greek 1818. exapatao, means to seduce wholly, beguile, delude.

seemeth – means you think they’re that way, or they have that reputation.

If any pretend or affect to be wise. This seems to refer to some individual in the church of Corinth, who had been very troublesome to its peace and unity: probably Diotrephes or someone of a similar spirit, who wished to have the pre-eminence, and thought himself wiser than seven men that could render a reason. Every Christian church has less or more of these. (From Adam Clarke’s Commentary) Paul could be referring to Diotrephes…

(1 Corinthians 1:14) I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

(3 John 1:1) The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

(3 John 1:9) I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

2. A Renouncing Of Worldly Wisdom Is Discussed

let him become a fool, that he may be wise

[Let him become a fool] Let him divest himself of his worldly wisdom, and be contented to be called a fool, and esteemed one, that he may become wise unto salvation, by renouncing his own wisdom, and seeking that which comes from God. (From Adam Clarke’s Commentary)

B. It Is A Foolish Thing For Us To Brag vs. 19

(1 Corinthians 3:19) For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

wisdom – Greek 4678. sophia, wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual).

craftiness – Greek 3834. panourgia, means skillfulness, i.e. (in a bad sense) trickery or sophistry, cunning, sneaky.

1. Your Wisdom Is Silliness As Far As God Is Concerned

the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God

foolishness – Greek 3472. moria, silliness, absurdity. We get our word “moron” from this Greek term.

You’re a moron if you think you can pull the wool over God’s eyes.

For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness

“It is written” – Eliphaz the Temanite said…

(Job 5:12-13) He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. {13} He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

taketh – Greek 1405. drassomai, the word has the idea of capturing; to grasp, to entrap.

* The extremely intelligent identity thief who got caught because of some stupid mistake.

2. Your Wisdom Is Senseless As Far As God Is Concerned

(1 Corinthians 3:20) And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

vain – Greek 3152. mataios, means empty, profitless, vanity.

C. It Is A Forbidden Thing For Us To Brag vs. 21

1. There Is The Forbidden Act Of Bragging

(1 Corinthians 3:21) Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

glory – Greek 2744. kauchaomai, means to boast; to vaunt.

2. There Is The Forbidden Aim Of Bragging

(1 Corinthians 3:21) Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

III. We Need To Know Some Things About Our Belongings As Believers

A. Notice The Scope Of Our Ownership vs. 21b

1. The Expanse Of This Vast Fortune

(1 Corinthians 3:21) Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

2. The Explanation Of This Vast Fortune

(Romans 8:16-17) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: {17} And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

B. Notice The Specifics Of Our Ownership vs. 22

1. We Have Been Given Gifts

(1 Corinthians 3:22) Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

(Ephesians 4:11-12) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; {12} For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

2. We Have Been Given Glory

(John 17:22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

Specifically, the world is ours, even now His main point is that, in the millennial kingdom and throughout eternity in the new heavens and new earth, we will possess the earth in a richer way (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21). But even now the universe is a possession of God’s people. It is ours. Our heavenly Father made it for us. It is still in the grip of the evil one (1 John 5:19), but it will someday and forever belong to us, not to him.

Joseph Parker reports an interesting story about his first pastorate:

“I began my ministry in Banbury, and my upper window looked over the vast estate of a wealthy man. It was I, really, who inherited that estate. Oh, I did not own a foot of it, but it was all mine. The owner came down to see it once a year, but I walked its miles day after day.”

(John F. MacArthur, Jr.)

C. Notice The Sequence Of Our Ownership vs. 23

(1 Corinthians 3:23) And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

1. We Belong To Jesus

2. Jesus Belongs To God


John MacArthur tells this story on pages 241-42 of Our Sufficiency in Christ:

A poor man had wanted to go on a cruise all his life. As a youngster he had seen an advertisement for a luxury cruise, and ever since, he had dreamed of spending a week on a large ocean liner enjoying fresh sea air and relaxing in a luxurious environment. He saved money for years, carefully counting his pennies, often sacrificing personal needs so he could stretch his resources a little further.

Finally he had enough to purchase a cruise ticket. He went to a travel agent, looked over the cruise brochures, picked out one that was especially attractive, and bought a ticket with the money he had saved so long. He was hardly able to believe he was about to realize his childhood dream.

Knowing he could not afford the kind of elegant food pictured in the brochure, the man planned to bring his own provisions for the week. Accustomed to moderation after years of frugal living, and with his entire savings going to pay for the cruise ticket, the man decided to bring along a week’s supply of bread and peanut butter. That was all he could afford.

The first few days of the cruise were thrilling. The man ate peanut butter sandwiches alone in his room each morning and spent the rest of his time relaxing in the sunlight and fresh air, delighted to be aboard ship.

By midweek, however, the man was beginning to notice that he was the only person on board who was not eating luxurious meals. It seemed that every time he sat on the deck or rested in the lounge or stepped outside his cabin, a porter would walk by with a huge meal for someone who had ordered room service.

By the fifth day of the cruise, the man could take it no longer. The peanut butter sandwiches seemed stale and tasteless, he was desperately hungry, and even the fresh air and sunshine had lost their appeal. Finally, he stopped a porter and exclaimed, “Tell me how I might get one of those meals! I’m dying for some decent food, and I’ll do anything you say to earn it!”

“Why, sir, don’t you have a ticket for this cruise?” the porter asked.

“Certainly,” said the man. “But I spent everything I had for that ticket. I have nothing left with which to buy food.”

“But sir,” said the porter, “didn’t you realize? Meals are included in your passage. You may eat as much as you like!”

As ridiculous as it may seem, we believers in Jesus Christ generally do exactly the same thing as the man in that parable. We live as if we are in spiritual poverty, when actually we already possess infinite resources through union with Christ.