I Corinthians 4
We are the church • Sermon • Submitted
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Good Morning and welcome to CCC. I pray that you all had a good week and that you are looking forward to family time this week as we approach Thanksgiving.
If you are one that holidays are hard for you I pray for comfort and peace. If you need to talk to someone about that I would be happy to sit down with you this week as I have the entire week off from school.
When I first read Chapter 4 to begin to prepare for this morning I was a little lost. Chapter 4 was hard to figure out in terms of what God wanted me to bring to you this morning. As I dug God began to open my eyes. He began to reveal to me His message for you this morning.
Paul is really using heavy sarcasm in this passage of scripture. Paul loves the Corinthians and wants to wake them up from their fleshly walk. Paul…like God…wants us to stand only on Jesus!
I don’t really have any numbered points for this morning. Today’s message began differently than most. Usually I read the section of scripture and as I read God floods my mind with ideas and other scriptures but not this time. I read it, re-read it and then on the third time of reading the scripture I began to take notes. Writing down what jumped out at me as I read. Then I began to look at cross-reference scripture and God took off!
I Corinthians 4:1-2
I Corinthians 4:1-2
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
Remember the Corinthians were struggling with following humans, Paul, Apollos, Peter and not Jesus. They were fighting over which human was better.
None. All humans are evil and wicked in their nature. The only good in a human is Jesus and that includes us, you and me!
Paul tells the Corinthians how they should view Paul, Apollos, and Peter and also themselves....
The word Paul uses here for servants refers to the “under-rower” The under-rowers were the slaves at rowing the ship on the very lowest level of the ship. This was the lowest of lows.
That is how we are to see ourselves by the way. Under-rower. Servant. So many today, even Christians, live like we are the king or captain of the ship and expect everyone to do the rowing for us but that is not coming from Jesus
That is the devil and sin. We are servants to the Most High King of kings Jesus Christ. If we refuse to die to ourselves and serve Jesus we will die and spend eternity separated from God in hell.
We are servants of Jesus and servants of not only God’s people, other Christians, but also the lost. Servant to the lost so the light and love of Jesus can shine through us.
A steward is someone in charge of someone else’s important and valuable things.
As Christians, children of God we are stewards of God’s important and valuable things.
First the Word of God. The Gospel. We are to look after it, protect it from attack. We are to spend time with it, reading it, memorizing it, looking to it for direction in our lives.
We should also be speaking about it. Every conversation we have should come back to God.
Now pastor I can’t openly speak about God at my job. Shame on your job but I understand. It depends on the person how direct you are.
Some people are hostile toward God, living in current rejection of Jesus and God. I am very subtle with those people. I usually speak the truth of God in a way that is not offensive but yet is still God’s truth.
Others I am more forward with and even give scriptures to them to look at etc
Then there are others that I can openly discuss God and His greatness without worry of retaliation or being attack. I love those conversations!
You are a steward of the Word of God but also everything He has given you, beginning with time.
How we manage all God has given us matters and in fact when we stand before Him we will have to give an answer for how we stewarded all He gave us!
Here in chapter 4 we begin to see what God told Paul was the issue in Corinth......Pride
We talk alot about pride here at CCC and I pray you truly realize how dangerous and deadly pride really is.
I mean if we are honest we all have suffered a great deal because of pride and that is just the consequences of our own pride, not to mention the consequences of other people’s pride
One thing God pointed out to me this week and I pray to you here today is pride is a result.
A result of flawed vision
I Peter 4:10
I Peter 4:10
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”
Everything we have comes from God. He has given us all that we are and all that we have. When we lose sight of that we become prideful
I heard Tony Evans talk this week about this concept and truth
“God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
What did God mean when He said I am who I am? He meant He was self-contained.
Not dependent on anything or anyone
I am therefore I am
You and I…we are dependent people
You and I didn’t create ourselves
Without food and water and oxygen you and I die and there is nothing we can do about that. We are dependent upon those things.
God is not dependent on anything and is completely self-sufficient
We forget who we are and become independent or at least think we are. When that happens be very careful because sin is crouching outside your door waiting to attack you
When we feel independent that leads to a very prideful, self-confident attitude that is the opposite of the Gospel and takes us away from God and leads us to sin
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
God hates pride. I want you to hear that again God hates pride.
God hates independent people
Why because God says I am all you need.
I am will give you all you need
I am who I am
When we forget that our fall is rapidly approaching
I Corinthians 4:3-6
I Corinthians 4:3-6
“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
Paul then reminds them and us that only God’s judgement matters
Man’s judgement doesn’t matter
Our own judgement doesn’t matter
Only God’s judgement matters
Again who are we looking to for approval?
The only one that matters is God
I Corinthians 4:7
I Corinthians 4:7
“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Paul really gets after them here and gives them and us 3 questions to identify and defeat pride
For who sees anything different in you?
Any differences in you comes from God not men
What do you have that you did not receive?
everything you and I have is has been given to us by God
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
That is pretty straight forward and eliminates the American dream or the fight to be self-made and self-confident!
3. If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
We are nothing
We have nothing
We can’t produce anything
All we have is from God
When you claim a gift of God as your own product or something you worked to achieve
Or something you deserve
You better be very careful because pride is preparing you to fall!
I Corinthians 4:8-13
I Corinthians 4:8-13
“Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
Paul again lays on sarcasm here
Not to belittle them but to get them to realize how prideful and wrong the were!
Look at 8-9 again.
Sounds exactly like a modern church. We get so caught up in being rulers and kings and queens we start to believe that is who we really are
Without Jesus we are trash....we are nothing....we are selfish....we are prideful....we are self-centered…we are sinners bound for hell!!!!
That is who we are without Jesus!
You and I live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Our poor are rich anywhere else in the world.
We are blessed beyond measure
Most of us have been uncomfortable sure and there are those in this country how are living in true poverty I am not saying that but for the majority of Americans we are wealthy
Now it is not God’s fault if those blessing become curses because you and I go out on our own and rack up a bunch of debt by buying things we don’t need on credit. Or by getting so many obligations we have to be a slave to a job because there is a certain amount one must make to make the ends meet. That is on us not God
Paul reminds them the apostles were hungry and thirsty and poorly dressed as he wrote them this letter
Reminds me of
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Paul here reminds us that he knows true poverty
He also knows what it feels like to truly not know where your next meal is coming from
He also knows how to live blessed by God from a material standpoint
Both require one to keep their eyes on Jesus
God through Jesus is our strength
When you lose sight of Jesus you are blind
You lose sight of your only chance in this world!!!!
I Corinthians 4:14-15
I Corinthians 4:14-15
“I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Paul reminds them he is not writing to tear them down but put in mind....what should be in all of our minds as Christians....JESUS
Christian leaders are responsible for teaching and leading and rebuking and admonishing those God blesses them with not for any other reason than helping them walk with Christ and not walk in the flesh.
In fact in the next several weeks the leadership here will be asking you to step out of your comfort zone as we minister to the youth.
We are currently praying about how God wants that to look like here at CCC. There will be some changes head our way in order to serve, remember the servants and stewards that God calls us to be, the youth that God will bring to us when we finally get serious about reaching them
I challenge you to begin praying about where God wants you in this ministry and process
I Corinthians 4:16-21
I Corinthians 4:16-21
“I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?”
Imitate Christ but also imitate godly people
Surround yourself with godly people
Your key people must be godly
Your key people are those people who truly speak into your life....those folks must be godly people
Listen. Here on earth we will always be around the lost. In fact we must be intentional about building relationships with the lost so that we can point them to Jesus
However, the lost cannot be who you surround yourself with.
The lost cannot speak into your life as a Christian
Never seek counsel from the lost
Never allow the lost to dictate or influence your decisions
Never imitate the lost
Who we surround ourselves with is who we become!
I think many Christians are where the Corinthians were when Paul wrote this letter.
They have lost sight of Jesus and become so arrogant
They lost sight of Jesus and were walking in the flesh
They lost sight of what their first love should be.....Jesus
What about you this morning? Are you arrogant? Not your definition of arrogant but Gods.
Are you walking in the flesh and claiming gifts as your own work
Are you so arrogant you have lost sight of Jesus and pride is about to destroy you?
Where are you this morning?
For invitation this morning we are going to do something a little different.
I have a video that is going to play and I pray during this video you ask God to search your heart for pride. Are you walking in the flesh? Are you portraying someone you are not?
If God lays something on your heart won’t you come give it to him this morning?