From Sucklings to Servants

Some News You Can Use from Shelby Center

Have you ever said, or been told, “stop acting like a baby!”? It’s painful, but it sure gets our attention doesn’t it.

What good comes from children who fight over toys or teenagers who compete for attention?

To watch them is to see what damage jealousy, rivalry, and disunity can do. Paul has been dealing with childishness in the church - not among children, but adults - and it must stop! It’s affecting the mission.

Camps, and conflicts cause believers who should be working together in the great commission to have a “come-apart”. Our spiritual thumb is in our mouth when envy, strife, and division are perpetuated.

Sometimes we foolishly take sides in disputes and act like – well, babies. Paul calls us on it! (From 1 Cor. 3:1-9).

1. The Carnal Conflicts & Camps (Acting Like Sucklings). 1 Cor. 3:1-4

· Believers, but babes: Young in the Lord (babes) but also acting like babies (carnal: governed by human not holy nature). He defines their walk - without diminishing their worth - and it needs work!

· The believer is not meant to be bottle-fed forever. We recognize the necessity of development but grow concerned when adults act like children (1 John 2:12-14, Heb. 5:11-14).

· God’s path to development and discernment is called discipleship. It causes us to go on and grow up (Heb. 6:1-2, 1 Cor. 13:11).

By pairing mature believers with babes, the church learns to cooperate and participate in meaningful ministry together and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

2. The Christ-like Cooperation (Acting Like Servants). 1 Cor. 3:5-9

· It is natural to place on a pedestal or give supremacy to those under whose ministry you came to Christ. But that’s not spiritual and we shouldn’t be taking “sides”. We are all servants together.

· While we differ in abilities, sensibilities, varieties, and responsibilities we were equally in need of saving grace and placed into the same spiritual body (Christ’s) to serve in cooperation / commission.

· Like farming, spiritual and church growth is a process. Division stunts development. It’s  dysfunctional, disabling, and creates spiritual Mephibosheths crippled by controversies and church hurt.

· Therefore, we engage each other frequently in the biblical process of spiritual development called discipleship; learning to serve Jesus together according to His word (Phil 4:9, 2 Tim. 2:2, Acts 2:46).

· We have many ways here you can get involved. We have both an opportunity and obligation to develop a healthy walk with the Lord and relationships with each other so that our ministry can be fruitful.

· Apollos, Cephas, Paul, and each of us all make important contributions, but not all in the same way: Some till, others plant, water, or weed... But it is the God we serve who brings forth fruit (Jn 15:1-5).

Division is detrimental to our development.

But when we see ourselves as ministers working together to do something meaningful, we’ll cooperate in the great commission to make disciples as we benefit from the great commandment to love God and one another as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.

My friend, have you been taking sides, in a dispute, or giving way to jealousy, rivalry, and disunity? If so, stop acting like a baby, take your spiritual thumb out of your mouth and let us help you take a step from being a suckling who is carnal to better spiritual service and cooperation.

Suckling or servant: it’s a choice.

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