Cor. Chapter 4:1-21
verses for this week: 1 Pet 2:20 For what
glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take
it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it
patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Introduction: Last week in Chapter 3, Paul dealt with the carnal
Christian. We discussed
how this is a person who truly knows Christ as Lord and Savior but
is walking according to the flesh rather than the spirit.
He warned about desecrating the temple of the Holy Spirit
which is in us, and to not seek after the wisdom of men.
of God’s Stewards… not committed to men
1 Cor 4:1
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ,
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1 Cor 4:2
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found
ministers are to looked upon as ministers of Christ. This is a high calling, and should be respected by every
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please
men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was
preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it,
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
bible says these ministers of Christ are stewards of the mysteries
of God. We spoke
last week about how the church has been given the keys to heaven and
how we should do our best to reach those who don’t know the Lord.
The minister of the Lord is given the ability to understand
the mysteries of God which are the deep things of His Word.
The mystery of the gospel of Christ… the church… the man
of sin…the kingdom of heaven…the nation of Israel… the
resurrection… the rapture… the millennial kingdom… all of
these are mysteries of God that the minister of God is given
understanding that he might teach and preach with power and
are divine truths that are hidden from human wisdom, but revealed by
God to His own.
two says that the most important attribute and requirement of a
steward is that he be found faithful.
Not his ability to interpret scripture, his brilliance, or
any of the special gifts God may have given.
The most important thing is for him to be faithful.
This is concerning the things of God and his service in the
ministry. Many show up to work each Sunday, but how many are
truly concerned about how they are viewed by God.
Paul’s desire was not to please men, but rather to please
the Heavenly Father. Being
faithful seems rather simple, but the reality is that it is one of
the most difficult things to do.
The bible teaches that we will not be made stewards over
anything important until we are faithful in the little things.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also
in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous
mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another
man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
1 Cor 4:3
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged
of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
1 Cor 4:4
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified:
but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
appears from some of the things we read earlier, that the Corinthian
church had been judging their spiritual leaders based upon their
brilliance and ability. Paul
insists it matters little to him what the people though of him.
Until you and I reach the point that we are more concerned
about what God thinks about us rather than what man thinks, we will
never be effective in God’s work.
Being faithful is more than coming to the church when we are
scheduled to be here. It
also means to be obedient to God’s commands.
Paul said he didn’t know anything particularly negative
about himself in this regard, but he knew that did not justify him.
God is the one who truly judges, not man.
We may be judged by our peers, but it means little compared
to what God judges.
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh
evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the
law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a
doer of the law, but a judge.
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy:
who art thou that judgest another?
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of
Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of
Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
1 Cor 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come,
who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will
make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man
have praise of God.
the judgment seat of Christ, all secret things will be brought to
light. We read the
verse last week about how the “wood, hay, and stubble” will be
burned up, but the true works done in God’s way, the “gold,
silver, and precious stones” will come forth and give us a reward.
When Christ comes back this next time, it won’t be as the
righteous savior, but rather the righteous judge.
He will judges all the acts and motives of all Christians.
If we have labored for the wrong reasons, it will be brought
out. If we have
suffered wrongfully for the name of Christ, we will be rewarded.
For once, there will be righteous judgment with no partiality
due to name or stature. We
will stand alone at this judgment, and it won’t be anything that
we did that allowed us to enter heaven.
It will be about what Christ did for us that saved us.
1 Cor 4:6
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to
myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not
to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be
puffed up for one against another.
1 Cor 4:7
For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast
thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why
dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
1 Cor 4:8
Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings
without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might
reign with you.
did not name every teacher here that the people had gathered
themselves about to follow, but he tells them that they are wrong in
thinking that they should follow after men.
Paul and Apollos had set examples that they should follow, as
they followed the ways of Christ.
A faithful man is to be respected, but we are to follow after
Christ. He warns
to not think of humans “above that which is written.” If we do, we will wind up like they did and be puffed up
about the wrong things. When
I think of something being puffed up, the image of a big hot air
balloon comes to my mind.
While I’m sure they are fun to ride in, there is little
there to hold you up in the air.
When we think worldly, we get our heads out of proportion and
think more highly than we ought to think.
This will cause divisions in the church if we continue in
this carnal condition. Every
good and perfect gift comes down from God, and we need to remember
our position and where we stand.
These people imagined themselves as full and rich, reigning
like kings. Paul tells
them they are wrong and this is not true.
If Christ had returned, then they really could rule as kings,
and Paul would be with them.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that
is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to
think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every
man the measure of faith.
Apostolic Example of Humility and Patience
1 Cor 4:9
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as
it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the
world, and to angels, and to men.
1 Cor 4:10
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we
are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
world does not see us as wise when we are willing to be sold out to
Jesus Christ. The
apostles did not care what the world thought, but were willing to be
considered fools for Christ’s sake.
They were willing to be considered weak and to be despised.
The Corinthians on the contrary, considered themselves to be
wise and strong. They
sought to receive honor in the world.
Jesus warned those that wanted to be considered highly that
it takes a heart of servant here on earth.
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the
princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that
are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great
among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
1 Cor 9:18
What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the
gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse
not my power in the gospel.
1 Cor 9:19
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself
servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
1 Cor 4:11
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and
are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
1 Cor 4:12
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we
bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
1 Cor 4:13
Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the
world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
goes into detail about how the apostles had suffered and some of the
things they had faced. Like
their Lord, they had no certain dwelling place.
They suffered both thirst and hunger.
Were reviled for standing up for God and were persecuted.
But they suffered it and counted themselves special to be
counted worthy to be persecuted.
Paul said in verse 13 that they had become as the “filth of
the world”, but believe me, this was only in the worlds view.
God knew all about the suffering, and one day they will be
1 Cor 4:14
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons
I warn you.
1 Cor 4:15
For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet
have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you
through the gospel.
wasn’t saying all of this to shame the Corinthians, but rather
used it to show his spiritual children what lengths he and the
others went to in their service of the Lord.
His desire was to warn them from the error of their ways, and
to see clearly what serving the Lord would do for them when it is
done with faithfulness. One
of my favorite verses in the bible is the one where Paul says he had
learned to be content in whatsoever state he was in. We would all be wise to be able to attain to this great
learning, and to know that we truly can do all things through
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every
where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be
hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Phil 4:13 I can
do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me
1 Cor 4:16
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
had been the first one to preach the gospel to those in this church,
and as their spiritual father, he calls upon them to follow his
example of humility and unselfish service to Christ.
When a man is sold out for Christ and lives Godly, he is
worthy of following. But
only as long as he follows the true teachings of the Lord.
1 Cor 4:17
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my
beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into
remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in
was sending a special blessing to the church by sending young
Timothy to remind them of the things Paul had taught and practiced. Paul was steady and consistent, and his teachings were not
just here in Corinth, but in every place that he went. Are our actions consistent in our day to day walk?
Are we as faithful to Jesus on Monday and Friday as we are on
Sunday. We should
Henry had these comments on Paul’s encouragement to the church
there in Corinth.
reproving for sin, we should distinguish between sinners and their
sins. Reproofs that kindly and affectionately warn, are likely to
reform. Though the apostle spoke with authority as a parent, he
would rather beseech them in love. And as ministers are to set an
example, others must follow them, as far as they follow Christ in
faith and practice. Christians may mistake and differ in their
views, but Christ and Christian truth are the same yesterday,
to-day, and for ever. Whenever the gospel is effectual, it comes not
in word only, but also in power, by the Holy Spirit, quickening dead
sinners, delivering persons from the slavery of sin and Satan,
renewing them both inwardly and outwardly, and comforting,
strengthening, and establishing the saints, which cannot be done by
the persuasive language of men, but by the power of God. And it is a
happy temper, to have the spirit of love and meekness bear the rule,
yet to maintain just authority”
Kingdom of God is not in Word but in Power
1 Cor 4:18 Now some are
puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
1 Cor 4:19 But I will
come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech
of them which are puffed up, but the power.
Paul very plainly states that
he is not afraid to come to Corinth and face them… this is not why
he was sending young Timothy.
Timothy was another that was saved under the preaching of the
gospel by Paul, and he was greatly beloved and Paul had great
confidence in the young man.
But Paul makes it clear that he was not afraid of those who
might be puffed up against him.
He intended to come to see them again shortly if the Lord
allowed him the opportunity.
The bible teaches us to not plan without regard to the Lord,
because unless the Lord allows it, we may never accomplish the thing
that we desire to do.
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into
such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is
your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time,
and then vanisheth away.
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live,
and do this, or that.
1 Cor 4:20 For the
kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
1 Cor 4:21 What will ye?
shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of
Paul explains the great power
of the kingdom of God. He
says based upon how their attitude was towards his message, he would
come either with a rod or with love in a spirit of meekness.
We all need to judge ourselves that God does not have to use
the rod of chastisement on us.
But if we are guilty of sin and refuse to correct ourselves,
we will be punished. This is because God loves His children so much and
wants the best for them.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you
as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the
Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every
son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons;
for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers,
then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected
us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own
pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Random Acts of Kindness. Each
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