Are You Ever Going to Grow Up? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
Tammy stayed home for about three years with RJ and Wil. She worked at a public library, and she got home about two hours after school let out. She worked every Tuesday night.
On those Tuesday nights, I got to play “Mr. Mom” and I was horrible! Wil has a scar on his forehead from falling into the entertainment center on a Tuesday night. Wil fell at the YMCA one Tuesday night. He cried for a few minutes and complained about his finger. I didn’t take him to the ER—his finger was just hurt. It wasn’t just “hurt;” his finer was broken!
Many times, I was quite frustrated playing “Mr. Mom.” The worst was a time Wil was hungry. Tam was breastfeeding, but she had to run an errand. She fed him before she left, but she got held up. He cried and cried and cried—but there was absolutely nothing I could do!
I’m confident some of you other dads have experienced frustrations playing “Mr. Mom.” It’s good for fathers to be actively involved in a child’s life. But, God designed men and women differently—that’s obvious when it comes to parenting.
All parents get frustrated with kids’ behavior. Will they ever learn not to throw clean laundry in floor? Will they ever learn not to track mud through the house? Will they ever get out of diapers? Will they ever stop spilling Kool-Aid on the new carpet?
Paul is a very frustrated “Mr. Mom” in this morning’s text. Paul established church in Corinth (Acts 18:1-8) — these are his spiritual “children.” But, they aren’t growing! They are acting like a bunch of brats. He asked, “Are you ever going to grow up?”
That’s a good question to ask spiritually. Many times those who should be strong in Christ are babes in Christ. They might know the Bible but not pray. They might pray but not treat family right. They might treat family right, but they have a sin they just won’t give up.
Paul’s point here is “Children of God cannot be babes in Christ.” We don’t want our children to stay babies forever. Tammy terribly misses having a “baby” — but she doesn’t want RJ and Wil not to grow! Wouldn’t we promptly get our kids to the doctor if they weren’t growing?!
Why are we content to remain babes in Christ?!?! This morning, we want to examine Paul’s call for the Corinthians to grow up. We want to hear his words as a call for us to grow up!
Scripture (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
Before we examine the text, remember there are great “party” divisions in Corinth. Some believed Paul is best preacher ever, but others angrily argue for Apollos. Paul’s point up to this paragraph has been: “The message of the cross is far more important than the one who proclaims it.” Paul’s says here: “Being more concerned with who preaches than with the message is a sign of great immaturity.”
Paul addressed the Corinthians as infants in Christ, as people of the flesh, v 1. This was a group of spiritually inept individuals.
He gave them milk, not solid food, v 2. At one point in life, it’s acceptable to be given milk, not solid food. You don’t feed an infant steak! Yet, Paul – even though these brethren should have been ready for it – could not give the Corinthians solid food. They weren’t ready when he was writing this Epistle!
The Corinthians were behaving of the flesh, v 3. There was no growth on their part. Jealousy and strife should have been put off with the “old man.” Yet, the Corinthians are still living with the “old man.” They don’t even seem to be that concerned that they aren’t growing!
Paul almost screams, “Children of God cannot be babes in Christ.”
How aware are we of that truth? Are we growing in Christ? Do we still have acts of the flesh that need to be put off? Are we children of God but babes in Christ?
Because “Children of God cannot be babes in Christ,” what shall we do?
Paul implies the application in this text. “I fed you with milk, not solid food” (1 Cor 3:2). He was teaching them.
The Parable of the Sower implies the application: “Those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mk 4:20). “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child” (Heb 5:12-13). “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Pet 2:2).
If we wish to put away the works of the flesh, we absolutely must know the Scriptures. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:9-11). When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he responded, “It is written. . . .” (Matt 4:1-11).
If we want to be children of God but not babes in Christ, we need to study the Scriptures! Congregational Bible study is a great tool – Attend! Study your Bible this week. Read through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians this week. That won’t take long, and it will build you up in the most holy faith!
Where would the church be if we fully understood “Children of God cannot be babes in Christ”? We wouldn’t deal with jealousy and strife – Paul says those acts belong to the immature. We’d again be known as a people of the Book. We wouldn’t be so many congregations going into apostasy – brethren would know Scripture!