1 Corinthians 4:1-21 Church Leaders, Fools in Christ

As the Corinthian church grew it stumbled. Paul warns the Corinthians about judging each other revealing judgment was indeed up to God, not men.

1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

Describing himself and other church leaders as servants of Christ, Paul calls on deacons to prove faithful to God. Held to higher standards, leaders of the church should serve in humility as we advance the gospel of Jesus Christ revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Paul describes himself as guilty of sin though blameless in Christ. He also indicates believers should not concern themselves with the judgment of others or even our own assessment of ourselves rather we should focus on pleasing and glorifying our master, God almighty.

5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)

Leaving judgment to the ultimate judge, believers should concentrate on abiding by the law of Christ which calls on Christians to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. As we fulfill our mission in this life and walk the narrow path that leads to eternal life, we will one day meet our master. On that glorious day all believers will be praised for our faith in Jesus Christ, and rewarded for our works.

6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Paul calls on believers to not only abide by the word, as he and Apollos did, but also rely on scripture for ministering. Ministers of the gospel are careful to use the word to strengthen the church while self serving preachers distort the truth bringing division among the church.

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!” (1 Corinthians 4:8)

Paul describes the Corinthians as kings who have been enriched by the word of God. that through faith and works they would be rewarded as kings upon judgment day, Paul’s wish is that he too would be deemed faithful by God and rewarded accordingly.

9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!” (1 Corinthians 4:9-10)

Here Paul makes reference to public executions and persecution of Christians at the time. The apostle also reiterates the fact that faith in Christ was regarded as foolish to the Greek philosophers. This foolishness would prove to be the greatest asset of all in spite of the way believers were portrayed as weak by those in power throughout Greece.

11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13)

Abiding by the law of Christ, the law of love, Paul describes the suffering and challenges he was experiencing because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Ironically the scum of the earth, refuse of the world would become heirs to God’s kingdom.

14 I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” (1 Corinthians 4:14-16)

Calling on believers throughout Corinth to imitate him, Paul takes on a fatherly role identifying himself as the deacon of the Corinthian church. Armed with humility and driven by purpose, Paul fully understood his mission as a ministry leader as one coupled with great responsibility.

17 For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” (1 Corinthians 4:17)

The apostle had sent Timothy ahead of the letter by land, but Paul’s spiritual son would not arrive before the letter seeming sent by sea. Both Paul and Timothy were living in faith abiding by the law of Christ.

18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” (1 Corinthians 4:18-21)

Paul’s intention toward the Corinthians was not to rebuke but to love them hence his warning upon those in who were showing character unlike that of Christ.

Through this scripture believers are called to abide by the law of Christ which is to love others as we do ourselves. Christians are to refrain from judging each other instead leaving judgment to God almighty. We should cloth ourselves with humility as we prepare for persecution in the world which leads to eternal rewards in heaven. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.