Who is Paul, and who is Apollos? I, Paul plant the seed of God’s word [lay the foundation]. Apollos waters [helping you grow stronger in the faith], but God gives the increase [wisdom, influence, power and knowledge].
Paul says: ‘I am only here as a servant of Christ to give you the secrets of Him who trusts me. As for myself, I do not care if I am judged by you or by any human court. You can evaluate whether you wish or not. I am a good follower of Christ according to what I know and what I have taught you to believe, if not then judge me. But only God knows a person’s heart, and He is the only one with the right to judge. The Lord is the one who judges me.
‘Whatever is in your hearts God will manifest it, He will expose it. Whatever you engage in, whatever you place your faith in, God will bring it to pass. If it’s your own thoughts instead of seeking God’s wisdom for your life you will know it. There will be a day when the Lord will return and bring to light the things now hidden in the darkness of man and will disclose [reveal] the purpose of the heart of all. Then each one will receive commendation [praise, recognition and thanks] from God for the life that you have lived as a servant of Christ. Be it good or bad.’ (1 Corinthians 3:5-6)
“Brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself as examples so you could learn through us the meaning of the saying, follow only what is written in the scriptures. Then you will not be more proud of one person than another. Who says you are better than others? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why do you brag as if you did not receive it as a gift from God?” 1 Corinthians 4:6-7.
Paul says it is so easy for you to become attracted to a spiritual leader who has help you. It’s natural to feel loyal when someone has helped you grow in the Lord. But he warns them against having such loyalty in man that you cause a problem among the people of God. Whatever you do, don’t look to man or any true spiritual leader as a representative of self not Christ. He or she can only offer what God has given them to give to you.
“Remember what I said to you when I hear you say ‘I am of Paul’; and another say ‘I am of Apollos’—whose ministry do you believe,” 1 Corinthians 3:4.
We are laborers together with God. So don’t look to us, but look to God. And don’t look to man, for if you do there will be fighting, slander, broken relationships, dishonesty, power struggle and more. Make sure that your deepest loyalty is to Christ and no one else. If you spend all your time looking to man instead of declaring Christ’s message, you don’t have Christ in you. He is not your top priority. Look to Christ because we are only here for your sake—that you might learn in us not from us. To learn in us is to receive the Holy Spirit and the mysteries of the word of God. To learn from us is to learn the ways of man and what he thinks, and what he says. Know the word, and know truth. So don’t think of men above that which is written. No one of you be should be puffed up one against the other. Man is not and will not be greater than God and His word. So receive the word. It is a gift from God to you. Take care of it and don’t brag as if you did not receive it as a gift. God gave His word to you, so take care of it (1 Corinthians 3:9).