Although we have the Spirit and should be able to understand spiritual things and obey God, it doesn’t mean we do. The Corinthians were having trouble. Paul says that they should be eating solid food, but instead he has to give them milk. They should be mature, but they are babies, and the fact that they are exhibiting jealousy and division reveals their immaturity.
They shouldn’t be divided. God has given people different talents, abilities, and ministries. Paul’s discussion here foreshadows his later discussion about spiritual gifts. Everyone has a part to play in the growth of the church, and the parts are different. Paul laid the foundation in Corinth, but others built upon it, and that’s ok! However, he makes clear that the only foundation that the church can really be built upon is Jesus Christ, and that the building materials have to be things that last. Jealousy and dissention are representative of things that don’t last. Our works will all be judged one day, and if we build with what lasts we will receive rewards. If we don’t then we won’t, but we are still saved: “If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (3:15). Good works follow salvation; they don’t cause it!
The church is the temple of God and His Spirit dwells in the midst of it. If we are guilty of causing damage to God’s church, we will be judged. Engaging in hero worship and causing divisions damages the church. It’s the world who follows people. We are not to be like the world. God is the one who has saved us, enlightened us, and empowered us. God has given us all things through Jesus Christ, and we belong to Him (3:21-22). We serve Jesus, just as He serves the Father (3:22).
Who do you follow? It’s not wrong to have a teacher you like, but that teacher has to be held up to the Word of God. And that teacher should be the very one who is continually pointing you to Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and Lord! We boast in Him, not in man!
1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.“