Paul described the church at Corinth as being enriched with all spiritual gifts and with a great deal of theological knowledge and other good things but also as being divided over loyalty to one leader or another within the church. There were people who said, "We follow Paul." There were others who said, "We follow Peter," and still others who said, "We follow Christ." The central point Paul makes as he deals with this problem is that ministers are servants of the church and that such divisions are foolish.

Paul is saying, "Look, if you have any responsibility as a minister, as a teacher, as a parent, be careful to build well. You do not have to build in a flashy manner, but you do have to build with solid material. You have to take time to do it. A person can throw up a straw building in a hurry, but then strong winds come and blow it all down. It takes much more time to lay bricks and to do it well."

We ended yesterday’s lesson by looking at an unbiblical view of living for Christ. That view states that you can be saved without any visible evidence of the grace of Christ in your life. I was appalled to have anybody suggest that. I was appalled theologically because regeneration has to mean that you are different. It is true we are justified by grace through faith, but nobody is justified who is not also regenerate. Jesus said, "You must be born again." If you are born again, there must be differences. The very fact that you are born again is one difference, and certain things have to flow from that new life of Christ.

There have been reactions against clericalism which John Stott calls "anticlericalism" - that is, if the clergy messes things up, as they do when they try to take over in a way they should not take over, then the proper thing to do is get rid of the clergy. So, there have been movements in the church that have done that. They have said, "We don’t want to have ministers - it's not biblical. We are all ministers." But that is not good either because the Bible has established the clergy for certain roles.

Yesterday's lesson pointed out two opposing views about regenerate people. When you put this dispute between the two camps in the context of what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 3, it is not all that difficult to reconcile them. First, what Paul is saying is that these Christians in Corinth were acting like unbelievers. I ask the question: don't you know of Christians who act like unbelievers? Of course you do. They are worldly; they act in a carnal way. That doesn't mean that there is a second, separate category of Christians, consisting of those who act in a way they should not be acting. What they have to do is get out of that. They do have to change, and if they are really born again, they will change.