1 Corinthians 3:3,4 “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings?”

    It’s human nature to want to follow charismatic people.  We feel protected thinking that the one we idolize will never lead us the wrong way.  When we please our idol, we can bask in their approval and when we fall out of approval it’s easy to re-establish ourselves.  We just have to ‘toe’ his or her line and appear contrite.  When we elevate any personality, especially a charismatic one, in the church we make an idol and go against God.  Jesus is the Head of the church, no one else! (Colossians 1:18)

     No matter how much good a person has done in ‘their ministry’ it is very dangerous to allow others to make you into their idol.  It is especially dangerous to the idolized person’s spiritual health.  The seduction of being an idol erodes a person’s relationship with Jesus.  Pride grows unchecked in this kind of spiritual illness.  Jesus is squeezed out and becomes an afterthought or self-justification – ‘I follow Jesus and the rest of you should listen only to me because no one else knows Him better than I do!”    The end result of this kind of spiritual rot is for a leader to come to believe that the particular ministry field they are working in belongs to them and not God.

     Paul acted very quickly to confront this disturbing trend in the Corinthian Church.  He reminded the people; “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:8,9)  The Forerunner Commentary summarizes the situation; “The division and confusion taking place in the Corinth church was proof to Paul that they were still following and submitting to their old nature, formed under the influence of Satan and his world. They were doing what comes naturally. They were therefore disloyal to the values of the God Family and to the Head of the church of God.”

     Any ministry work in this world is laid upon a foundation that has already been set down; “ For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)  Any minister claiming the work as their own will be accountable; “. . . their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.” (1 Corinthians 3:13)  Ultimately we all share in Jesus’ ministry on earth; “So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

     The Bible tells us clearly who has the last word; “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things . . . ” (Hebrews 1:1,2)  Scripture tells us God’s will in this; “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!'” (Mark 9:7)

     Let’s listen to Jesus and follow Him alone. Let Jesus have the first and last Word in our lives!

     Praise the Lord!