Sermon: Don’t Destroy The Church With Divisions

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Levi Durfey





We have covered three chapters in 1 Corinthians and, primarily, the theme that we have seen is that of divisions in the local church at Corinth. The apostle Paul pleaded with them “that there be no divisions among” them (1:10). 


We learned that some of the divisions in the church came about because some of them decided to follow Paul and some Apollos and some Peter. 


They thought themselves to be wise for figuring out the best person to follow, but they were rebuked for following such worldly wisdom. The only wisdom worth anything was and is today, the cross of Jesus Christ. 


The cross is foolishness to the unbeliever, but for believers, it’s the thing that draws us together—it’s what we must focus on more than anything other thing. 


More than all the moral and political issues of the day, it’s the cross that caused Paul to say, “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (2:2) That’s to be the core of our doctrine, the core of our very lives. 


When Christians don’t live for the crucified Lord, we live, Paul said, carnally, that is, just like the unsaved person. 


That causes more divisions in the church because, instead of solving our differences like Christians should, with love, and looking out for those with weaker consciences, we rely on worldly tactics—for example, we push policies through with majority votes and tell others, if they don’t like it, they can leave. 


We need to realize that God grows his church and we are to be humble servants in his field.


Another result of not living for the crucified Jesus Christ is that believers can lose rewards that God promises to them that build on his foundation with good materials. Oh, those Christians will still be saved, Paul said, just that he or she will suffer loss, “as by fire” (3:15).


Paul’s frustration with the Corinthian church reaches a fevered pitch in the next couple verses before he shows them how to quench the divisive attitudes among them. 


16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 


18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 


21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:16–23)


First, in verses 16 and 17, we find…


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Sermon: Building For Eternity

1 Corinthians 3:12-17

Levi Durfey







Why should we be interested in living for the Lord as Christians? We have our salvation. We are Heaven-bound. If we sin, we have forgiveness and grace just a prayer away. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).


Why should we live for the Lord at all? There are multiple good and correct answers to that question, including what I see at the main one—the Christian serves the Lord because his heart is full of love and gratitude for what Jesus did for him on the cross.


But alas, we are human, and often that love and gratitude gets buried under the the weight of self-centered laziness. Our immaturity causes us to be bored with serving the Lord. So God provides more than one incentive to motivate us to serve and live for him.


Paul reveals what that motivation is in 1 Corinthians 3. He has been talking about how it not us who grow the church, but God. We are to be involved, however, planting and watering. We are to be involved as builders, building on the foundation of Jesus Christ. So Paul says…


12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12–15)


The motivation to serve Christ that is revealed in this passage are rewards given to us for the quality of our service. These rewards are not given immediately, but on a certain day, and will affect the rest of our eternity.


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Sermon: Water From A Rock

Exodus 17:1-7

Levi Durfey





Sometimes Christians wonder about where Christ was during the Old Testament times. Hopefully, I’ve done an adequate job of pointing him out as we’ve journeyed through Exodus. As one commentator wrote:


We saw [Christ] in the birth of Moses—the baby in the basket who was born to be the savior. We saw him at the burning bush, where Moses met the Great I Am. We also saw him in all of God’s signs and wonders. The finger of God in the plague of gnats pointed us to Jesus and his miracles. The plague of darkness reminded us of the black hours he suffered on the cross. Then we saw Jesus at the Red Sea, where God’s people were baptized from death into life. We saw Jesus in the wilderness too. The sweet desert springs refreshed us with his living water, and the manna tasted like the true bread from Heaven that gives life to the world. The history of Israel’s deliverance is the story of our own salvation in Christ (Ryken, 446-7).


So once again, as we head into another story from the book of Exodus, we’re going to find spiritual lessons for our daily walk with Christ—indeed, we’ll find Christ himself.


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Sermon: The Testing Of The Manna

Exodus 16.1-36

Levi Durfey



The Israelites had seen God’s miracle of the Red Sea and the healing of the bitter waters of Marah, yet they still had trust issues.




Exodus 16:1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. 

Exodus 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 


Who were they complaining against? It appears to be “Moses and Aaron,” but they are only the physical, visible targets of their complaints. Our discontent is really always against God, isn’t it? Moses nails it later:


Exodus 16:7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us

Exodus 16:8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.


We may complain that our boss doesn’t give us a raise, but it’s really that we aren’t content with God himself. Complaining is an dashboard warning light that something is wrong with our relationship with God.


Complaining is saying that we really don’t trust God with some aspect of our lives. It says that something could be better for us, and God has failed to bring that “better” thing to us.


The Israelites were so convinced that God had held out on giving them the “better” that he had promised, that they were willing to go back to Egypt.


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Sermon: Who Really Grows A Church?

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Levi Durfey





From a human point of view, it often seems to us that great churches come from great leaders. You get a Charles Spurgeon, a John MacArthur, a David Jeremiah, or whoever—you are going to have a big, growing church.


I don’t want to discount the need for good leaders in the church, but sometimes we place our faith in those leaders and not in the one that is truly growing the church. The Corinthian church had that problem and it was tearing them apart. 


Some had declared Paul to be the greatest thing since sliced bread (which is strange because sliced bread wouldn’t be invented for another 1900 years), while others held up the eloquent speaker, Apollos, as the leader that every Christian should follow. 


Paul would write to set things straight. He said:


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Sermon: Carnal Christians Cause Congregational Clashes

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Levi Durfey





What causes divisions among Christians? There are several answers to that question, but the one that Paul gives in chapter three has to do with Christians being immature and acting like non-Christians—


1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1 Corinthians 3:1–4)


What does it mean for a Christian to be carnal and why does that cause divisions among Christians? What is the solution?


Let’s look at what Paul says about the Corinthian Christians and how it led to divisions within their church.


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