1 Corinthians 4

1Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I believe this means to be faithful to the calling that God calls us to. Every Christian has a duty to submit themselves to the Holy Spirit's guidance in all we do for the Lord. We must be faithful to the word and to what the Lord desires us to do. In some cases it may be to work with the local church as a teacher or some other capacity. In other cases it may be a neighborhood bible study. Some may be called to teach, preach, visit the hospitals, sing in the choir. Some may feel God's wants them in the church nursery. We all have different calling and all of us can't do the same things but we need to be faithful in that which God directs us. A steward is a faithful worker.

In pointing out these things though we must be careful not to get others to work in the calling we are called. In other words we may be called to work in the nursery but do not have the time so we enlist someone else who may have no desire or calling in that area.  I've seen people guilt others into doing what is on their hearts and it turns out to be disastrous for those that have no calling or inkling in the area others have called them to do.  I've had this done to me when I was younger and didn't understand that I can say no without guilt if my calling is in another direction.  What I'm talking of here is not temporary emergency situations but full time work for the Lord.  In order to do things full time, we must be called and have a desire to fulfill that calling.

I certainly would not want someone taking care of my nursery age baby if they hated it and resented being in that position. Guilt is the wrong motive for doing anything for the Lord. Love is the motive we must strive for.

In all things though our first faithfulness is to the Lord Himself and to the word He gave us to live by. We can do all the above things I mentioned and not be faithful to Christ and the word which would make all good works be for nothing.

1Co 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.

1Co 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

1Co 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.

We need to be very careful with judging. Naturally we have to judge sin and compare the word of God with our lives to see if we are living by the standards contained in the word. Adultery is sin and open adultery should not be promoted within those that call themselves followers of Christ. In some things however, such as "What shall this person do do?" "Why aren't they out doing this or that?" "Sister so and so hasn't been attending church as much as I think she should." "She should do as I do, not as she is doing." "He sings to show off." "She dresses too fancy." All these are judging and leads to legalism.

There is no way we can know the motive of a person's actions. If however, they live in open sin that the bible is clear about, we can judge righteously that the person is probably not living according to God's word.

Some things have to be left until God comes to judge. We can easily uproot the wheat if we in ourselves try to pull out the tears ahead of schedule. 

There is a big difference between saying, "Stealing is a sin" than saying, "I have a suspicion that so and so is stealing."

One is taught in the word and the other is assuming and may be false accusing.

There is a difference in saying, "That doctrine he preaches is not according to the word." and saying "That person preaches to be seen of men and doesn't really care about souls."

How do we know?

We can judge false doctrine but we can't always see the motive of everyone who preaches either truth or false doctrine. Assumptions can really cause a lot of pain for those being accused. We must not judge by outward appearance but judge righteous judgments. This is not always easy but if we want to walk in love we must be careful to not desire to believe the worst in our fellow Christians. Sin should grieve us and our motive should be restoration, never condemnation. Our spirit should always be in meekness, never in holier than thou.

1Co 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.

If we remember the words of Jesus that tells us never to lord over one another but be as servants, we could avoid this temptation to exalt one above another. There really should not be too much distinction between clergy and laity. To exalt one high above the other is similar to the Nicolaitanes mentioned in Revelation. We who are not in public ministry need to hold our own idolatry in check and make sure we love our pastors, not idolize them and puff up one over another.

1Co 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?

This is the main point when it comes to puffing up one person over another person. Who makes us different? Who gives us the gifts? If we just could remember who to give glory to. It never should be us because we have never earned one thing. God gives, we receive and then we are to give what we receive. We can't keep this gospel to ourselves.

1Co 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.

Yes, those that dare to stumble upon the truths in God's word and live thereby is truly rich. It is not the riches of the world that is true riches for "things" pass away. The true riches are spiritual and eternal.

I communicated with someone yesterday and came up against unbelief that I wasn't use to facing. After I began to think on the topic, tears welled up in my eyes and I thought, "Wow, how rich we really are compared to those that abide in unbelief and do not recognize the authority of God's word. We have access to spiritual wealth that can't even compare to the wealth of this world. It is all in a volume of a little book called the bible.

Since I haven't had time to compare versions, the only one I can recommend at this time is the King James. I don't want to be guilty of taking someone else's word for another version that may or may not be good. Since I haven't examined them  myself in depth, I can't recommend any other version for now.

1Co 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.

1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised.

The gospel at that point in time seemed foolish to those that heard it. Especially among the highly educated. Whoever heard of dying for sins or saving people from sins? They thought they were God's chosen people and didn't see any sin. We seemed to have come full circle and with our present day high education what was believed for years is being questioned and it again seems to be foolish to preach the gospel of repenting from sin and being cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus.

Some are departing from this teaching and are teaching a watered down form of the salvation message like, "Accept Christ", or "Be happy". Repentance and holy living are greatly being laid aside in order to draw the crowds. Perhaps they hope to sneak the gospel in later, I don't know since I do not attend that kind of church.

Yet we can't be ashamed of the gospel. We are not to be ashamed at the name of Jesus or God will be ashamed of us on the day of judgment.  The gospel is repenting from sin, trusting Jesus to save us from sin and knowing that His blood cleanses us from sin.  It is also believing that Jesus died, was buried and then rose from the dead and is now at the right hand of His Father. We must not be ashamed to speak of it.

Do we want to please men or God? We could water down our message to please the crowds and be popular in this life but in eternity, that stuff will be considered wood, hay and stubble only to suffer loss.

Shouldn't we strive to please the one who died for us? Shouldn't we much rather obey the one who really loves us rather than a fickle bunch of people who only love us when we say what they want to hear?

1Co 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;

1Co 4:12 And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

1Co 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.

These precious beloved apostles suffered thirst, hunger, persecution, beatings, and death in order to spread this gospel. Surely if they were willing to die for the gospel's sake, it couldn't have been a myth. Who would knowingly die for a lie? They would have known if Christ really raised from the dead and were willing to die for that truth.

1Co 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

1Co 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.

God is our father. Except for earthly natural fathers, we should not look to any other as a father. There is one mediator and that is Christ. No other. We need to be careful of tithes and desiring to be called, Rabbi, rabbi, Bishop, or Doctor so and so.  Brother so and so is good enough.

1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

1Co 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, 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 every church.

Follow godly leaders only as they follow Christ. The minute they depart from the truth, we must continue to follow Christ.

1Co 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

1Co 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.

1Co 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

This is not turning away from the importance of the word here for another place states that the word is exalted above His name. The word though has to be accompanied by the Spirit of God which implants that word within the believer. We are "born again" by God's spirit. The word pricks our heart, we hear and the spirit changes us on the inside as we hear the word preached or as we read the word.

If I stand and just read the word in front of others, some may hear with their natural ears but not with the spiritual ears. Then the word will do nothing for them because faith to make the word come alive is not within that individual.

Others though will be pricked by the Holy Spirit and the word brings a change in their life when they believe what they hear. The word and the spirit work together to perfect us and bring to us the righteousness of Christ. This will result in holy living if we continue in the word and allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to work within us.

1Co 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Paul was trying to warn and correct before he came in person to see them. They had lots of problems, fighting and a carnal attitude. He was hoping for their repentance and change before he came.

If everyone had their eyes on Jesus, they would have less time to pick and grumble against one another.

1 Corinthians 5

 

 
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