1Corinthians 3:4-9 For while one said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that give the increase. Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building.
‘I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos.’ Four main parties in Corinth: Paulians – followers of Paul, because he founded the congregation (Acts 18:1-7), and because he was a special apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13). Apollonians – followers of Apollos, because of his eloquence (Acts 18:24-19:1). Cephians – followers of Peter, because he was the apostle to the Jews (Gal. 2:7-10). Christians – followers of Christ, because they would have nothing to do with parties that followed people (1Cor. 1:12)
‘God that give the increase’ – regardless of our talents and labours they will not be fruitful unless God gives the increase by His blessing. Three times here it is stated that God gives the increase (3:5, 6, 7).
‘One’ – both Paul and Apollos were the same in doctrine, labour, design, spirit, and service. Both were consecrated to the same end in life and had no part in fostering party spirits in Corinth.
‘According to his own labour’ – all will be rewarded according to their works (3:8-15; 2Cor. 5:10; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 14:10-11). Rewards are not given according to success of labour, but according to motive and faithfulness in service (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16).
‘We are labourers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building.’ Ministers are co-labourers of God. Believers are God’s husbandry or farm. They are His building (Eph. 2:19-22).
Jesus Christ is the true foundation (1Cor. 3:11). The apostles and prophets have also been made part of the foundation of Christianity. Others are built into the structure of the first congregation at Jerusalem. All of them are the temple of God and a habitation of God through the Holy Spirit.
Christians can backslide, tearing down the foundation of repentance that is already laid. Should they ever again be admitted into Christ, they will have to build again the foundation of repentance and do their first works again (Heb. 2:1-4; 6:1-2; Rev. 2:5).