ALL THINGS ARE YOURS
I Cor. 3:16-23
The Bible truth to be studied this morning is stated in I Cor. 3:21-23, “Therefore let no one boast in men, , for all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come – all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ's is God'‘s.” The subject of this passage is the infinite worth of the Christian religion, the valuable possessions owned by Christians and vast extent of property that belongs to the church. It appears from this letter that the Christians at Corinth were unhappily divided among themselves in their views of the preachers whom God had sent to teach them the way of salvation. One said he was of Paul, another of Apollos, another of Peter and another of Christ.
There were no greater preachers in the first century than these, and it would have been a marvelous experience to have heard any one of them. I am sure the gentiles glorified Paul to whom the gospel of the uncircumcision had been committed and who had converted them to Christ. The Jewish converts glorified Peter, the apostle of the circumcision. Others gloried in Apollos, probably, because was an eloquent speaker and a powerful preacher. He cautions them not to glorify men or exalt one preacher over another, for all sound prachers belong to the church. He goes on to say, “All things are yours, ” and then specifies what all these things are. All these things he specifies are possessions which the religion of Christian has given to the church. None of the “all things” specified here belong to people who are not true Christians. What are all these things which belong only to Christians? What are the title deeds of the church? All things are yours, says the Bible. What are they?
First, all things are yours whether Paul or Apollos or Peter. The meaning is that all sound teachers of the gospel are gifts of Christ to the church. Eph. 4:11 says that when Christ ascended to heaven He gave us these gifts: apostles, evangelists and teachers, and one and all belong to Christians. All true preachers and teachers were given to promote your best interests, to instruct, to comfort and to establish you. Some know more about the Bible than others; some are better speakers than others; some have more ability than others, but all of them belong to the church. Some are wise enough to write commentaries to help us understand the
Bible. All cannot be Pauls; all are not like Apollos; all cannot teach like Peter, but true preachers of all kinds are yours and belong to the church at large. We should glorify Christ rather than preachers, for Christ gave them the knowledge they have. Their talents, their station, whatever they possess, —all are yours. The church is not for preachers; preachers are for the church.
Secondly, the world is yours. The world here denotes the material universe and all its providential arrangements. All things in the world that are not sinful may be used for the happiness and progress of Christians.. You are allowed to use the world but not abuse it. This earth is maintained for the use of Christians and is ordered with a view to their welfare. The world, with all its forces and all its treasures lie at their feet. Jesus revealed this very truth in Matt. 5:5, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” All the beatitudes describe the character of Christians. This was a prediction that a new race of people was abut to arise on this earth to whom God would give the earth as a possession;. An inheritance is property received from an ancestor at his death. Jesus Christ created this earth ,when He was the Word, before He came to earth. It belongs to Him by right of creation. As a reward for his sacrificial death God gave him all authority in heaven and earth, and He gave this earth us. The meek inherited the earth in the first century A.D., and it has belonged to Christians ever since. The world is yours; it is yours by inheritance from Jesus Christ.
The critics who oppose Christianity might well say, “Just a minute preacher. There are some six billion people on this earth and it is a safe estimate that at least four billion people are not Bible believers. What about the rest of us? Doesn't the earth also belong to us? Not really! Romans 1:18 says, The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men...” In the rest of the chapter he identifies all the forms of human conduct that make people ungodly and unrighteous. In the last verse of that chapter the Bible says. “Those who practice such things are worthy of death.” God did not command that such people should be put death, but it simply means they don't deserve live on this earth.” All who are not Christians should thank their lucky stars for the presence of Christians on this earth. If it were for Christians, the whole world, with all it contains would be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus said the church is the salt of the earth. Salt is a preservative, and the world owes its preservation to the church. As salt makes food taste better, so God tolerates the rest of the world because the church lives here.
Thirdly, the Bible says that life is yours. Life, itself, distinct from all other gifts is a mighty gift to Christians. It is one of the greatest blessings we possess. It is sad to see some people who have this precious gift become so displeased with it that they end it by suicide. Life is a precious gift when a person knows how to use it, improve it and enjoy it. Your life is yours. It is different from anyone else's life. No two people are exactly alike. Each one of us is unique. We are one of a kind. Each one of us has his or her own DNA. That makes us feel good; it makes us feel important. We are important. I was glad to hear that the Bush Administration has declared that a fetus is an unborn child and will give medical help to poor mothers to their children into the world. Perhaps, the most precious thing about life is the possibility it offers of a life in heaven. In I Tim. 6:12 Paul said to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life...” We lay hold of eternal lie by fighting the good fight of faith. We should all be thankful today that our lives have been spared, while many others have been numbered among the dead.. I cane not what your age may be, many others of your age are numbered among the dead. I think we should feel that our lives have been spared for valuable purposes, that may live in Christ and glorify God by carrying on the worship of God and help publish the gospel to all. Christians serve a purpose on this earth that nonchristians do not serve.
Fourthly, death is yours. All of the things mentioned in this passage stand for something good to Christians, but what could it mean that death is ours. Death belongs to everybody, the saint and sinner alike. However, the death of Christians is far different from those w ho are not Christians.
Paul gave this command to Christians in Thessalonica, “We would not have you ignorant , brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you do not sorrow, even as the rest, who have no hope.” We are commanded not to sorrow when our Christian loved ones pass away like people sorrow when their loved ones pass away w ho are not Christians. The command is not to sorrow, for it is only natural to be sorrowful when people we have known and loved for many years are taken away from us. It is right to sorrow, but we must not sorrow like those w ho have no hope For us death is not the end of us; it is a conquered enemy. Christ overcame it and assures us that we will overcome it. Death is over-ruled for our good. It is my faith that at the moment of death there will such a vast increase of knowledge that it will be absolutely astonishing. To us death is the way to glory and immortality. We may die a lingering death or be removed by a sudden
stroke, but in whatever way the enemy approaches us, or in whatever way it brings us down to the dust, all will be well with the faithful Christian.
Fifthly, we are told that things present are yours. The conditions of our present life may be easy or hard, pleasant or distressing. It is ours to serve us, if we will only let it do its work and turn it to the best account. However, I think the chief meaning refers to something that is good to us.
Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those w ho are the called according to His purpose.” All our present things are under the oversight of God for the good of the church. I Tim. 4:8 says, “Bodily exercise profits a little, bu godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” The blessings promised in the life that now is, refer to its enjoyment in peace and happiness. in living the abundant life. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that more abundantly. Those out of Christ are not really living; they are just existing. Christians receive the best of two worlds, the world that now is and the world that is to come.
The sixth possession that is said to be yours is things to come. God has many blessings in store for Christians while they on earth, but heaven will crown us with glory, honor, peace and eternal life. The apostle John said, “Now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”(I John 3:2). The future is still hid from us, but it can bring us nothing which shall not be for our good. Whatever form the things to come may take, we are assured that they are ours. The things to come include the happy state of our souls after death, the resurrection of the dead, the honors of the church on the day of judgment and the eternal life which will follow that decisive day. All those things are yours. They have been bought for you by the precious blood of Christ In view of all these precious promises, Peter summed it all up beautifully when he said, “Therefor gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13).
Seventhly, in addition to all these things that are said to be yours it is said, “And you are Christ's.” These words mean we belong to Him. We are Christ's because of relationship. He created us all. Because of Him we have two birthdays, the day He brought us into the world by our earthly
mother and the day He brought us into the family of God by the new birth.. “Yu must be born again,” He said, and we have been born again, born of the water and the Spirit. Furthermore, we are Christ's because we pledged ourselves to Him as Savior and Lord.. We have vowed unqualified obedience to His teachings. He has redeemed you; you have yielded yourselves up to Him; you are not your own. He is your Shepherd, and you are His people, the sheep of His pasture. He is your Master, and you are faithful and obedience servants. He is a Bridegroom, and you are His bride. He is King of Kings, and you are His loyal subjects. He acknowledges you as His friends, and where He is there you shall be also. When the pleasures of the world allure you, boldly say, “We are Ch rist's. When the desires of the body tempt you, say, without hesitation say, “We are C hrist's and Him we will serve.”.
Finally, the word of God says, “And Christ is God's.” Christ is God's by relationship. He is the beloved and only begotten Son of God.. When He was on this earth, He was “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” God sent Christ to reconcile the world to Himself so that He could save the world. God loves Christ, glorified Christ and “gave Him a name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”(Phil.2:9-1)
On the whole, let us thank God for our high privileges, never forgetting that we owe them all to the love of God in Christ Jesus. None of these things are yours, if you have not been born again, if you don' have two birthdays, if you have not pledged yourself to serve Jesus all the days of your life. And always remember that today is the day of salvation. Today is always the time to let Christ save you.