“For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7). Jesus taught, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16). “Therefore, by beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). These passages are used for us to direct our minds and our thinking toward the thought that there are some things that we cannot do by ourselves!
We understand that we cannot save ourselves. God has done His part by providing His love for us. Christ has done His part by providing the perfect sacrifice. This love and sacrifice manifest to us the grace and the mercy of God which we also need.
Also remember, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). In another place we also learn, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). The preposition in the original language expresses the joint labor of teachers one with another as oxen in the same yoke. These teachers are under the direction of God, under His employment. Each of these workers performs that which is indispensable to the end of glorifying God. One of the workers is laying the foundation and another is building thereon. One cannot work by himself and get the work done. It takes both teachers. It takes both workers to get the job done.
The problem at Corinth was that some were following only one teacher. Some were following Paul. Some were following Apollos. Some were following Cephas, while others were following Christ (1 Corinthians 1:11). Yet each of these teachers played a part in the educations of these Christians. Each one of these teachers had added their part to the building up of the church. Understand that none was working all by himself, they were working together!
Paul said, “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye 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 plantethany thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1 Corinthians 3:4-7). We are to be doing our work, but our work should be in conjunction with the work of others. The workers were cooperating and working for the common goal of bringing others to Christ.
While constructing any building a person cannot do all of the work by themselves. Think about trying to hold a board in place and then trying to nail it at the same time. Try holding a bolt on one side of the building and screwing a nut on that bolt on the other side of the building. A person cannot do it. People need to work together to get the building constructed.
Think about trying to measure a hem on a dress with no help. You have the dress on, how can you measure the hem? If you bend over to measure the hem, the hem changes positions. It cannot be done without help.
The church is the same way. A person may think that they can do all the work by themselves but they cannot. A person may say that he does not need anyone one to help him in his work and service to God. Little does this person realize that with just a little help from others the Christian life would go so much better and easier.
Think for a moment about any job that is in the world. Few of them can be completely done without help. If you own an automobile can you do all the labor that needs to be done to it? Can you change the oil? Maybe you can, but what about the tires, can you replace the tires? This is not you calling someone else to do it, but doing the job yourself. Can you check the air conditioner? Think then about the work at home, can you fix any of the appliances? If the washing machine breaks can you repair it? What if the plumbing stops up, do you know what to do then? What if the computer has a melt-down, what do you do then? Do we not call for help?
Paul uses the illustration of a building many times to refer to the church. In 1 Corinthians 3 two times reference is made to the church and a building (verses 3 and 16). In the book of Ephesians Paul uses a building to illustrate how the church is to function. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye are also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
We need to be helping each other. We need to be supporting each other when one of us is weak. We need to be holding one another up when the way grows weary. But if a person decides that they do not need any help they are setting themselves up for failure. Let us work together. Let us get into the harness and pull together to get the work done and obtain the goal of heaven.