Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as 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 men?
For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" ;
and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."
So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours,
whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours,
and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
1 Corinthians 4
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings--and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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