TMS Challenge: Week 13a, 1 Corinthians 3:16

Welcome back to The Topical Memory System, as we start the first week in Series C, “Rely on Christ’s Resources.”  The study guide suggests that this might be a good time to go back and review the “Principles for Memorizing Scripture” on page 15.  It also asks us to review all the verses from Series B, “Proclaim Christ.”  Let’s do that, filling in the “Bridge Illustration” as we go.

Seriously… go do it.  The rest of this can wait!

OK, so onward in this journey!

His Spirit: 1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

This is a great verse (aren’t they all?) but one which, along with the similar words repeated a couple chapters later (1 Cor 6:19) that is so often thrown around without really contemplating the meaning.

So, remembering that text without context is pretext, let’s begin by reading the entire chapter, verses 1-23.

What was this chapter about?  Our bodies as temples?

No, it concerns some problems with the church in Corinth, problems that we deal with 2000 years later in the United States: division.  This division seems to stem from a group of causes:

  1. Immaturity (vv 1-3).  People are still spiritual infants who have not grown in the faith.  This immaturity has manifest itself with self-centered jealousy and strife (v 3).
  2. A focus on man rather than God (vv 4-9).  Instead of looking to the one God whom all of us serve, we often elevate his workers to the level of idols.  This happens today just as it did in Corinth.
  3. Pursuit of vanities rather than Spiritual fruit (vv 10-15).  Last Sunday, one of our elders spoke to these verses.  It’s worth a listen!
  4. Pride (vv 18-23).  This has been such a stumbling block since the garden itself!

Throughout this discussion, the apostle Paul starts with an analogy of farming – planting, watering, and growing (vv 6-7).  In verse 8, he moves into the analogy of a building.  This is the work to which Paul and his fellow workers have been called: to work God’s field, and to build God’s building (Temple).  Both the field and the building, he writes, are those who have been called to be disciples of Christ Jesus.

Paul sees his fundamental calling as cultivating and building disciples.

God has laid the foundation.  He has called us to salvation and we have responded.  Praise Him for that!

Yet if we go no further, we remain as spiritual infants, stunted in our growth and unable to produce fruit.  We may survive as though through fire (v 15), but we will not produce the spiritual fruit that Paul refers to as works of “gold,” “silver,” and “precious stones.”

How do we mature?  Sure, we start by drinking milk like an infant.  But then, as our disciple-maker provides solid food, we graduate to that.  And soon, we are feeding ourselves rather than expecting to be fed.  Instead of merely hearing, we also read, study, memorize, and meditate upon Scripture.  We begin a regular time of prayer and Scripture.  We join in Spiritual Fellowship, and learn to be witnesses in the world.

And as this happens, God brings joy to the disciple-maker who has invested in our growth.  So, rather than boasting in worthless and selfish things, the disciple-maker exclaims as Paul did in his first letter to the Thessalonians:

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming?  Is it not you?  For you are our glory and joy!” – 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

What kind of Temple has been built in your life?  Is it set on the only true foundation of Jesus Christ?  On that foundation, are there bricks of gold, silver, and precious stones?  Or is it a rickety lean-to of wood, hay, and straw?

Is the Temple of your life one that is fitting for its occupant, God the Holy Spirit?

His Spirit: 1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

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