1 Corinthians 3. Forum Discussion

We plant seeds, others water them, God provides the increase

Picture this hypothetical scenario. A new Christian gets inspired and wants to spread the Gospel. They go out into the world and try a few things, but none of them seem to amount to anything. This new Christian gets discouraged and gives up.

Is this a realistic scenario? Can this happen with our attempts to spread the Gospel? Did Jesus experience rejection Himself?

The answer to all three of these questions is yes.

Helping people find their way to Christ is a team effort. Perhaps you have heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child?” The same is true in spreading the Gospel.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul remains focused on the divisions that were occurring in Corinth. People were saying that they belonged to Paul, or Apollos, and forgetting that it is the almighty God that is in charge.

Our focus passage today is:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 

There are three parts to this passage:

  1. Planting seeds
  2. Watering
  3. God providing the growth

Let’s look at these one at a time.

PLANTING:

God will provide opportunities for us to spread the Gospel. If we are paying attention, we will spot these opportunities, and then it is up to us to decide if we are going to act. Jesus knew that some people would accept the Gospel, and many more would reject it. Jesus speaks about this in Mathew 7:13-14:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Jesus’ own words tell us that only a few are going to stay on the right path that leads to salvation. He tells us this to manage our expectations. If we believe that everyone that we try to speak to about Jesus is going to embrace us with open arms, we set ourselves up to be frustrated and disappointed.

But if we realize that Jesus Himself repeatedly suffered rejection, we understand that planting those seeds is the beginning of a process, not the end. The apostles also experienced rejection in spreading the Gospel. How did they handle it? They got up, shook the dust from their sandals, and moved on to somewhere else where they would try again, just as Jesus taught them to do.

“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. ” – Mathew 10:14 

Let’s consider another hypothetical example:

Joe is a man of faith who teaches Bible class at his local church. There is a student in his class named Christopher. Christopher is always in class, but Joe wonders if he is making a connection and how much Christopher is really retaining.

Joe understands his role. He wakes up every Sunday excited to teach the Bible to Christopher and the other students in his class. As he plants these seeds early in life, he hopes that they will someday grow into mature followers of Christ.

WATERING SEEDS:

Our hypothetical Bible student Christopher grows up but is not particularly strong in his faith. In High School Christopher joins the school’s football team where he meets Coach Rick. Rick is a strong man of faith and he doesn’t hide it. Before every game and practice he brings the team together for a prayer. They form a circle, hold hands, and Rick leads them in prayer.

Christopher likes the feeling that he gets whenever he is around his teammates and especially Coach Rick. He notices how much Rick loves the players on his team and how he conducts himself. He does not curse, nor does he allow any cursing from his players. He takes the time to get to know everybody and is always interested about what is going on in their lives. Christopher looks up to Coach Rick. There is something special about him that Christopher respects. Christopher hopes that someday he can be like Coach Rick.

The seeds that Joe planted in Bible class many years ago are now being watered by Coach Rick.

GOD PROVIDES THE GROWTH:

Christopher is now all grown up and has a family of his own. He does not attend Church and has fallen on hard times. To try to dull the pain Christopher begins drinking and neglecting his family. He falls into a deep depression and is feeling like a failure.

One day while doing some shopping, Christopher runs into an old teammate, Rob. He had not seen Rob in many years. Rob asks him how he is doing, and Christopher can hardly make eye contact with him.

Rob sees that Christopher is hurting and offers to buy him a cup of coffee so they can talk about what is going on. At the end of their talk, Rob invites Christopher to church with him. Christopher accepts the invitation and goes to church that Sunday with Rob.

Christopher loves being at church with Rob. It reminds him of the unity he felt when he played football on Coach Rick’s team in High School. Christopher begins attending church regularly and reading the Bible. As his faith grows, Christopher is baptized and begins teaching his own Bible class.

In this hypothetical example:

Joe planted seeds when Christopher was a child.

Coach Rick watered those seeds in High School and Rob watered them again later in life.

Throughout Christopher’s life, God was working behind the scenes to bring people into his life that would help Christopher along the way. When Christopher was ready, he made the decision to follow Christ.

God has a plan for all of us. He will give us opportunities to plant our own seeds and to water seeds that were planted by others. When we trust in Him and follow Him, He will lead us home.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” – Jeremiah 29:11 

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 1 Corinthians 4. In chapter 4 Paul talks about the sacrifices that he has made in order to preach the Gospel. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

Comments

John

Starting Virtual Bible Study is my example. There are many people who planted seeds with me along the way. Through their teachings, example and encouragement, they sparked my love for the Lord.

Later in life, I did an online study with my Mom who lived in a different state and I saw how beneficial it was for me to have someone to share studying the Bible with every day.

I started posting a little bit on line and saw that people all over the world were also looking for this type of connection.

Since that time, God has blessed this outreach and people from countries all over the world continue to join in.

Thank you God for providing this opportunity and thank you all for participating@

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Michael

I always enjoyed teaching the youth group at church. Through Bible studies, youth trips, etc. we were blessed to plant many seeds. It is so exciting to see them grow up into faithful Christian adults. To God be the glory!

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