1 Corinthians 3: 1-9 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 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?
Paul is writing to the church at Corinth to seek to correct some misunderstandings and problems that they had. In the church there had arisen divisions among the members, creating strife, and giving a bad name in the community around them. One of these divisions was the people had developed apparently a hierarchy of spiritual standing based upon who they placed themselves under. They looked at the teaching styles and presentations of at least these two men - and took sides as to who was more important. If a person was saved under Paul's ministry (at the start of the church) or under the ministry of Apollos (who followed Paul in leadership). He addressed this concern in 1 Corinthians 1: 10-17 (HCSB)
Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you. What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize—not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.
While the commission and purpose of the church was to bring people to Christ, these were busy taking sides as to who a person should believe and follow. Paul is going to stress to them the importance of placing Jesus first, and that they are to follow Him. He is going to talk to them in this section of the letter about what is most important - building the kingdom of Christ. In the next couple of days, we will see what he says about the importance of being Co-laborers with God.
Today, muse over the importance of following Christ instead of men. When we seek to do the work God calls us to, do we take sides - or do we go out and build according to the plans that Jesus gave us?