Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ. Leanna and I want to thank you for stopping by this morning and I hope that those who have been joining us here on Paltalk and reading or watching this series on the Christian and secular sites have been gaining some knowledge on this epistle that Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth.
So if you turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 4 as we continue in this series "Who Are We In Christ?" based on the book of 1 Corinthians. For those who don't have a Bible with them, Leanna will be posting the scriptures as we go through this message, but I would suggest that you write these scriptures down and look them up later.
Today we are going to look at judgment of Christ’s servants not committed to man. Apostolic example of patience and humility. I think as you follow along, you'll notice that this chapter deals much with the leadership of the church then, as it should speak to the leadership of the church today.
1 Corinthians 4:1-3 KJV (1) Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (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.
So friends, let's start breaking down verse 1. Let's look at how some churches run and then see how Apostle Paul said it should be, and remember when we're reading from this epistle, Paul was being led by the Holy Spirit.
Because I've been part of different congregations. and even in leadership of some, I know that different churches have different ideas about this subject. Some church leaders have so much authority that they control the lives of their church members. Other church leaders seem to have no authority whatsoever. They must constantly obey instructions from other people in their church. One particular church that Leanna and I attended wrestled with both of these scenarios. Talk about a struggle and going through many splits.
I think as we look at this passage, we'll find that Paul had a different idea. A church leader’s most important relationships are with Christ and with the Bible. To explain this, Paul used two different words for ‘servant’ in this verse. Let's look.
Church leaders are servants of Christ. As we look at this verse, the word 'servant' means that they carry out personal duties for their master. They do what he wants them to do. Church leaders are stewards of God’s mysteries. A steward is a servant who has the responsibility to look after the master’s house. He must look after his master’s valuable things.
The word ‘mysteries’ has a particular meaning in the Bible, which doesn't match its usual meaning today. It means the plans of God, especially His plan to save His people. We saw this back in 1 Corinthians 2:7 and then I want to look at a passage in 1 Peter verses 10 through 12. Glory to God. Remember friends, we need to rightly divide scriptures with scriptures.
1 Corinthians 2:7 KJV But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
In the past, people didn't know those plans clearly. But now, through the Gospel (God’s good news), God wants His servants to declare His message. It's for everyone who will believe. Amen church?
1 Peter 1:10-12 KJV Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: (11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. (12) Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
As brother Jeff would say "Boom boom." Church, do we get this? Glory to God!!
Lets look at judging, and I know that there are those who are going to have eyes opened on both sides on how they believe, or should I say have been taught.
There are those believers who take the words "do not judge so that you may be judged" to mean that there shouldn't be any judging whatsoever. We've all heard this, right? So that would mean to be "nice" at all costs, even if it means ignoring behavior that's harmful to the rest of the church. Do we get that? Now, there are those who believe the totally opposite. They believe in a judgmental attitude. These self-appointed critics wreak havoc with their harsh words, possessing a righteousness that is nothing less than mean. Been their church? And these were the things that Paul was addressing to the people in Corinth. We should be dealing with them today.
As I read and studied these verses, I find that there must have been a large group of leaders. I think what was happening was that the ones that Paul had led to the Lord, and because Paul was not there to direct them, let their pride keep them from the mission that God had for them. Amen? And we see that happening today.
From what I get from this chapter was that the leaders of Corinth were so full of themselves that they became boastful and overbearing in their attitude towards Paul. As we'll see later, Paul cautions them to teach beyond what is written and to teach from Paul's example. We'll see that he warns them to not forget where and Whom the Gospel message came from. Christ Himself. Amen!!
In verse 3, Paul reminds the community that they're living in-between the times, just like us. Not only did Jesus come to earth to die for you and me, He's coming again. Glory to God! Christ's return has significant implications for how the community acts in the present and thinks about the future.
1 Corinthians 4:4 KJV For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
Do we get this verse? Paul scoffs at the criticism of the Corinthian church declaring that "it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you" and then says "I do not even judge myself".
Friends, today we see in typical males sin is arrogance and we also see that females struggle more with self-worth. I know this because many write and call and this is what I hear. There are so many in churches today and on Christian social networks who are extremely hard on themselves. They're convinced that they aren't smart enough or not thin enough. Not pretty enough. To me, they live on the edge of shame, secretly harboring the conviction that they must be some kind of divine mistake. Anyone else notice this? And there are others who are so stuck on themselves that they're unbearable to be around. I know we've all been with this bunch.
Here's what Paul's saying and church, please get this. Dismissal of our ability to accurately judge ourselves can be liberating. He insists we simply lack the lenses to gain an objective picture of who we are. When you and I, my friends, spend time in our Bibles, we see the truth about ourselves only emerges from our relationship with God. Amen someone? We can't get an accurate picture on our own because we tend to over or under estimate. What does Paul say? It's the Lord who judges us. That may mean we need reminding that we're fundamentally here because God wants us here - we're created in God's image. Or for some it entails hearing that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."
So 'should we judge' is the question here. I believe the thought that Christians should not be judgmental of others is completely unrealistic. It would be harmful if followed literally. There's a sense in which Christians must not judge, but that has to do with our eternal destiny and not with how we're to conduct ourselves in our life together.
When we look at this whole epistle we see that Paul feels it's important to judge matters here on earth. It's all about their actions. Do we get this? But my friends, and I share this often, when I'm helping other brothers and sisters who have issues with other brothers and sisters...... we need to pay attention to the way that Paul judges the church, just like we have to be careful how we judge.
Paul also reminds us that there's a day coming when the Lord will return and bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
Please turn to Romans 2: 16. We'll see that Paul saw a day of judgment coming in the future.
Romans 2:16 KJV In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Also, lets look at 2 Corinthians 5:10.
2 Corinthians 5:10-11 KJV (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Does this scare you, friends? For many of us this day of judgment has been imagined as a time of terror and doom. Christ coming at the end of time and separating the saved from the damned.
Paul doesn't seem to share the feelings of dread and despair that accompany many Christian thoughts on the second coming of Christ. As we'll see in the last verse we'll be looking at today, that God will bring to light things now hidden. All of our secrets will be revealed. That might be a cause for fear and trembling. but, we are to have confidence that God will strengthen his saints to the end, so that they might be blameless.
We read that in 1 Corinthians at the beginning of this series.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 KJV (8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 4:5 KJV 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.
Are we seeing this my friends? Paul's confidence is rooted in the fact that the end of time is in the hands of one who was crucified for His sins for you and me. Jesus. The Christ. The anointed One. The coming Judge Himself has been judged. Praise God For our sake God made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Actually, let's look at those verses.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 KJV (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The Christ coming to meet us has already died our death. Thank You, Jesus! No songs of doom on the last days. There is joy in the air as earthly shadows give way to a blinding light. Praise the true Living God.
Next week, God willing, we'll finish up with this chapter, and then we're going to get into the sins that were happening in the church then, same as it is right here in our day now. For some, it may open up their eyes.
I'm finding it very interesting, yet disturbing, that many of those who claim to be Christians don't know that some of their choices they're making are sin to God. No joke. I've had those who ask me if dealing with horoscopes are wrong. Tattoos, piercings. Living together as unwed couples. Getting commode hugging drunk on the weekends. Then we have the gossipers and those who cause strife amongst other brothers and sisters and so on and so on.
We thank all of you on Paltalk for joining and we hope that you'll join us next week and invite your friends. Thank you Lokey Sisters, Far From Normal Faith Ministry, Mylook Online for sharing these Sermons. We thank those of you who read and watch on the J and L Ministries website and both Cross Roads Fellowship sites and also those who've been following these on Google+.
Our friends, we love you and hope that you have a blessed week in the Lord.