We have now moved from the season to be jolly to the season to get busy. We’ve had our celebration now it’s time for change. It’s the time for resolutions and lists. We decide that in the same new year we are going to work harder, get thinner, become healthier, and grow spiritually. This will be the year that we finally see the change that we want in ourselves. Isn’t it amazing that in a matter of days we go from rejoicing in the One who has come to save us to resolving that we can save ourselves? We spend the beginning of the year convincing ourselves that we’ve got what it takes to produce growth that only God can provide.
Paul had a difficult task in writing to the Corinthian church. There were many issues that needed addressing from gross sin and disorderly worship to spiritual growth. Resolving to read your Bible more, start a Bible study, or attend church more regularly are all great things but it is important to know where your growth is ultimately going to come from. Many of the Corinthians were accrediting their personal growth as Christians and the growth of the church to individuals. There were some who said, “Paul’s the reason” and others who claimed that it was, “Apollos.” Paul responds in 1 Corinthians 3:5 with this, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.” Paul stops the Corinthians from raising anyone to a position they should not have. Paul points out to them, “Apollos and I were just servants. We were just a tool that God used to bring about your belief. We didn’t cause the change in you but God gave the opportunity!” He continues to confront the Corinthians for accrediting Apollos and he for doing anything more than they actually did. Verse 6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” All Apollos and Paul could do was care for the seed in the way they knew how. Paul proclaimed the Gospel. Apollos followed up with encouragement and reinforcement on the truth of God’s Word. Neither of them had any control over the seed. Neither of them could make any individual grow or bring about a harvest of plants. “…God was causing the growth.” Jesus refers to Him as the “Lord of the Harvest” not Paul, Apollos, or any of us.
We would all love to see ourselves grow. I’m sure many want to see themselves grow closer to the Lord than in the past. We would also love to see our church grow. It would be exciting to see Pike busting at the seems with people but we must remember where this growth is going to come from. As strong as our resolve is or as hard as our work is- these things are no guarantee for growth. God is going to cause the growth so if we resolve anything we must resolve to depend on Him. Yes, we work. This is what Paul told the Corinthian church in verse 9, “For we are God’s fellow workers.” He shows them that there are those who plant and those who water but these gardeners of God must dependently obey, trusting Him alone for the growth. This is what I am praying for 2017 that we would see growth as a church; Growth in our love for the Lord and others, growth in our knowledge and trust in God’s Word, and growing numbers in who we see coming to Christ and following Him. I pray that God would be the cause of this growth in 2017! Will you resolve to pray this with me this year?
Trusting The One Who Causes All Growth, Pastor Rudy