Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wed Night Lesson - 1 Corinthians 4:1-21

1 Corinthians 4 - How to Serve

  1. Serve Faithfully (1-5)
    1. (v1)
      1. Servants of Christ
      2. Stewards (managers/overseers) of God's Mysteries (unseen things)
    2. (v2) Qualities of a Steward
      1. faithfulness
        1. "found" - perceived/obtained
      2. Paul's goal in ministry (as should be all ours is to be found faithful.) No amount of labor or good deeds offers a counterweight to lack of faith.
    3. (v3) Judgment lacked importance - Paul was not trying to please men.
      1. Judgment of the Corinthian Church
      2. Judgment of the World
      3. His own Judgment
    4. (v4) The Judgment that mattered
      1. Paul felt like he was doing as the Lord would have him do.
        1. That didn't mean that he was.
      2. He trusted God for righteous judgement more than his own flawed judgment.
    5. (v5) So then
      1. Because of the previously mentioned facts
        1. All God's people are servants (v1)
        2. Faithfulness is our goal in ministry (v2)
        3. Only God's judgment matters (v3&4)
      2. Don't waste your time evaluating who is getting what in God's kingdom
        1. Wait until the Lord comes
        2. He'll shed light on unknown things (things we may be scarcely aware of)
        3. Our Heart's motives will be revealed.
      3. Then
        1. You'll have God's praise
        2. (What good is the praise of men anyway? Self praise, etc...)
  2. Serve Humbly (6-13)
    1. (v6) Applied (transferred in a figure)
      1. For the Corinthians sakes (for our sakes too)
      2. Not to elevate men too highly (Even Paul and Apollos)
      3. Not to become arrogant with each other
    2. (v7) We're all sinners saved by grace
      1. How are we different than each other? Saved the exact same way.
      2. Do you have anything that you didn't receive from God? The right answer is "no"?
      3. Why view yourself as a "self-made man." Be careful not to take credit for God's blessings and gifts.
    3. (v8) The Church had been affected by haughtiness
      1. fullness - perhaps they felt they had no more to learn... that they could not be any more spiritual
      2. wealth - Corinth was an affluent city. Problem of 'haves' lording over 'have nots'
      3. rule - had assumed a system of mock authority over one another.
      4. Sarcastic? If the church members at Corinth were wealthy kings, shouldn't Paul and Apollos be as well?
    4. (v9) The Corinthians Method stood in stark contrast to God's method
      1. Apostles held the "last" place.
      2. Men condemned/doomed to death.
      3. spectacle unto - God was using them to tell the story of his redemptive Love. This was his theatre.
        1. the world
        2. angels
        3. men
    5. (v10) Contrasting the difference between the Apostle sand the COrinthians
      1. Wisdom
        1. Paul had become a "fool" to the world.
        2. The Corinthians had maintained "wise" status
      2. Strength
        1. Paul was weak. He didn't go around twisting arms.
        2. They felt they were strong.
      3. Honor
        1. In and out of prison. Persecuted. Even stoned and left for dead. Paul had not enjoyed "honor" from men. Instead he was despised
        2. They were hanging on to their dignity.
    6. (v11-12a) The Apostles Lifestyle
      1. The Apostles Lifestyle - Their Conditions
      2. Hunger
      3. Thirst
      4. Beaten
      5. Homeless
      6. Labor
    7. (v12b-13a) The Apostles Lifestyle - Their Responses
      1. Reviled (vilified) - responded with blessings
      2. persecuted - they endured
      3. defamed/insulted/slandered - try to make peace
    8. (v13b) The Apostles Lifestyle - Their Status
      1. filth - think soap scum
      2. offscouring - the scrapings
  3. Serve as you are taught
    1. (v14) Paul's reason
      1. Not to shame - "Why do I want to go to Church to hear about how bad a sinner I am?"
      2. To warn - there were going to be consequences
      3. Loving warning to a child - why do you tell them not to play in traffic?
    2. (v15) Paul's History w/ them
      1. Apparently many had assumed the position of teacher - how many were qualified?
      2. Only one "father" ie person who communicated the Gospel to them and brought them to the faith
    3. (v16) Paul's request
      1. beseech - request, implore
      2. followers of me - Teach what Paul taught - (1Co 11:1) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
    4. (v17) How they could do this
      1. Paul sent Timothy for this reason
      2. Timothy had been taught and trained by Paul. Christainity God's way.
      3. Faithful to the Lord. Strong inthe faith.
      4. Remember Paul's teachings (apparently there had been some forgetting and some contradictory teaching)
        1. We have the Bible to to appeal to.
    5. (v18) The opposition
      1. Others had siezed the reigns of leadership, supposing Paul would never all them on it.
    6. (v19-20) Paul's intention
      1. Let the Power of God handle it.
      2. God would sift the error from the truth.
      3. Were these false teachers prepared to be measured by God's measuring stick?
    7. (v21) What was the Corinthians Desire?
      1. Did they want to clean their own house?
      2. Or let Paul take care of it w/ Apostolic authority

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