Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-22
Stained glass windows have long been used as artwork in local churches. Their purpose may be as simple and beautiful as allowing light into the church in a kaleidoscope of colors. Or they often also serve as the purpose of illustrating biblical stories or truth.
In that regard, we can perhaps view 1 Corinthians 3 as stained glass windows for our church or any church today. Paul uses three different word pictures that serve to illuminate those of us in the church still today, and these pictures also illustrate for us what the church is like. Let’s pause briefly to take a closer look.
A (grain) field. In our human tendency to orient around human spiritual leaders, we can elevate them beyond what we should. And this can also lead to factions within the church because people follow different leaders. Paul was quick to point out that he and Apollos were mere farm hands. He had planted and Apollos had watered. It was God, however, who had caused the growth. Are you quick to give God credit and praise for your spiritual development?
A building. Just as a building has a foundation, the only foundation for the church is Jesus Christ. Any other foundation will give way. Meanwhile, volunteers and paid staff build on that foundation. Not just any building material will do. Those who serve in the church (and all of us are called to do that) must be very selective in how we go about it. We must go about it in purity, godliness, and according to the Architect’s plan. When it comes time for building inspection, will your contribution pass the test?
A temple. In the Old Testament, the temple had served not only as a place of worship but also as a place where God’s presence was manifested. Somehow, the omnipresent Creator of the universe dwelt in the Holy of Holies. Today, God’s presence is not manifested in a specific church building or in a sacred place in a church building. Instead, in the person of the Holy Spirit, He dwells in those that comprise the church. Workers within the local church must serve with that reality in mind!