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I Corinthians 3:1-10

In 1 Corinthians 3 the apostle Paul shares with us five specific warnings about "Serious Pitfalls to Spiritual Progress". Last time we learned that if we are going to progress spiritually, then we must avoid the pitfall of carnality. Today we are going to see that we must also avoid the pitfall of complacency. What is complacency? I discovered a single word definition -"smugness". Smugness means to be self satisfied. The Corinthian Church was impressed with themselves. Their hearts were filled with pride. Spiritual Complacency is one of the great pitfalls of the 21st century Christian. Just as carnality hinders our spiritual growth and causes spiritual immaturity, spiritual complacency in the church hinders involvement and contributes to more immaturity in the church. The spiritually complacent Christian has the attitude that he doesn't need to come to Bible Study like someone else does because they already got everything figured out. "I don't need to get involved"; "I don't want to get involved"; "I'm fine, I don't need to grow; I've arrived". That is a dangerous spot to get in. In our text we find four insights that we need to apply to our lives so we can avoid the pitfall of complacency. The Corinthians got into trouble because they lost sight of these important principles. First of all, we must not lose sight of...

I.          OUR PLACE IN GOD’S WORK (VV.4-5)
Look if you would back to chapter 1 for a moment. Notice verses 11-13...there was division over leadership. Notice what Paul asked in verse 13. They had a problem understanding the ministers in God's work. They were taking sides. Look at verse 4 and 5 in our text. Paul reminds them that there was no need for division for these men are nothing more than "ministers" or servants of Christ. Paul was stressing that they were just servants. The ministry of Southside works because everyone takes their place - then souls are birthed into the family of God. Let's be willing to get involved... let's take our place in God's work. Don't fall into the trap of losing sight of the importance of your involvement.  And don't get so smug as to think... I don't want to get involved! If we are going to avoid the pitfall of complacency then we must keep in focus our place in God's Work.             

Secondly, we must not lose sight of...

All of us can look back to those that the Lord gave to us to encourage us to come to Christ. ( 1:17 )... Paul understood his purpose. He kept it in proper perspective. He did not desire to be placed on a pedestal. All he wanted to do was be faithful in preaching the gospel. He knew that the gospel is what men need. We too must keep our purpose in focus. There are many things that need to be done in the Lord's work, but the over riding purpose must be that people would come to know Jesus. The reason Southside Baptist Church exists is so that souls can come to know Jesus Christ. We are here because there is people in our community that need to hear the gospel of Jesus. The complacent Christian loses sight of that. I am sure the Corinthians were not winning anyone to Jesus. They were more concerned about who was the most significant and who was the most talented. If we are going to avoid the pitfall of complacency, we must not only not loose sight of our Place in God's work, or our Purpose in God's work, but thirdly, we must not loose sight of......

Paul talks about in verse 6, how he planted, and how Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. He says in verse 7.....in other words, it is not the preacher or the worker, but it is God the gives the increase. God deserves the glory. 

A.                 There Is A Unity In Ministry (8a)

There are differences in the way we might do what we do.  But when we understand our place and purpose, there is a unity.

B.                 There Is Encouragement In Ministry (8b)

Paul is trying to encourage the Corinthians, and us. Though others may not appreciate the labor that goes on, God will recognize the faithful work of His servants. And please note God rewards not on the basis of our success, or on the basis of our results, He rewards on the basis of our labor. That is significant... if God gives the increase then I cannot take that responsibility. I am responsible to faithfully labor. (Illus: Missionaries: one served 40 years with few converts and one just a few years with many. Who was more successful? Seen in the O. T. as well: Jeremiah and Jonah. On one hand you have a man who gave his heart and life and soul and had little results. On the other hand you have a man who could have cared less, and he had a lot of results. The only way to explain that is this, God gives the increase! God is the one that knows the heart and soul of the laborer.  He knows the work.  He is the one who will accurately judge the quality of work. May our desire be to faithfully labor for Jesus, so one day we may hear His well done. How precious that will be. I hope that is the longing of your heart.

Finally, we must not loose sight of...

IV.       OUR POWER IN GOD’S WORK (VV. 9-10)
Many times I have had people say, "I can't do...such and such." I hope that deep down they don't mean... "I won't do...” Moses was a famous I can not’er.  God called him and he began to make excuses. What we need to understand is that God never asks us to do anything that we can't do through His power. We can witness, we can exercise our gifts in the body... so that others might come to know Him. All through this passage, Paul gives God the glory.  He is the one who is giving the increase. In verse 9 he reminds us that we are laborers together with God. Let's work with Him not against Him. In verse 10 Paul calls himself a master builder. What he did was "according to the grace of God". God gives grace to sustain us, to enable us to serve. Don't say I can't or I won't.  Instead say... by God's grace I'll do what He wants me to do!


Conclusion:       Complacency has a cousin by the name of apathy. The attitude that says who cares. The church cannot afford to fall into that pitfall.  The price is too high. The cost is souls. I'm glad for God's grace that will enable us to do what God wants us to do. Today if you don't know Jesus as your Savior, God has grace for you as well. Grace that will save! Christian if you are in the pit of complacency, come to the Savior today and let Him refocus your vision for you.