1 Cor. 4:1-21† Principles For Ministry
Intro: In 1 Sam. Ch.16 God tells Samuel to go the Beth. To the house of Jesse / anoint one of his sons as King.
A) 7 of his Sons line up / 1st one Eliab - tall-stout - good looking -
B) Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the Heart.
C) God is still judging his servants by that same standard - and man is still looking at the outward appearances - ministers & ministries
D) We saw in Ch. 3 that Paul revealed the building materials that ministers are to build w/. Gold silver & precious stone.
1) Represented - H.S. the Word & Prayer
D) Ch. 4 Paul reveals the Heart that those in ministry are to have - what God is looking for. mentions 3 things
1) Servant, Spectacle & a Father††† ††††††††††††††††††††† READ V. 1-6
Now The main point of the passage here still concerns the divisions over different ministers.† I am of Paul & I am of Apollos Ö..
A) The message is that servants of God should not be ranked at all, by others or by themselves.
B)All who are true to Scripture in their preaching and living should be treated equally.
1) Where there is sound doctrine and personal holiness there is no
††††† justification for ranking Godís servants.
C) Paul begins by giving us the Proper view of ministers & ministry!
1) What is a minister? A SERVANT!!!!!
Servants means literally, ďunder rowers,Ē It described the lowest galley slaves who rowed the huge Roman SHIPS
A) the ones rowing on the bottom tier of a ship. They were the most menial, unenvied, and despised of slaves.
B) Paul says we are not the captains of the ship but only the galley slaves who are under orders.
C) People have a tendency to glamorize ministry - I talk to people from time to time - I want to be a Pastor - I want to preach to multitudes
D) I spoke to a Pastor this past week - a guy who Pastors a small church in the Midwest - thinking of leaving - calling it quits
1) He went there feeling called to that particular city to minister & preach the gospel -† went w/ visions of grandeur.
E) Problem - w/ guys from Calif. - unrealistic - view what God is done here is not the Norm.
1) Average Church in the U.S. is 50 people - the average - Calvary is 143 pp. ( so we are doing better than the average but - many small)
F) So I was talking to this guy- understanding his feelings - been there - Wait - Did God call you there ? YES - CALL YOU TO BE?
1) Called you to be a servant!
G) Paul says that is what a minister is SERVANT - SLAVE
1) Unfortunately not the picture we see modeled by some today - big houses fancy cars - 6 figure salaries - DOESNíT MATCH W/ SCRIPTURE
SO A MINISTER IS REALLY A SLAVE - A SERVANT - WHO ARE THEY SERVING.†† Paul answers that quest. V.1
A) Servants of Christ - We are first serving Christ
B) Quote In everything they are subordinate and subject to Him. They are called to serve men in Christís name; but they cannot serve men rightly unless they serve their Lord rightly. And they cannot serve Him rightly unless they see themselves rightly: as His underslaves, His menial servants.
C) BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN EXACTLY?
1st I think it means that our first & foremost - ministry is to Jesus himself.††† Acts 13 Ministered to the Lord. Not for the Lord.
A) That means a minister needs to have a strong - prayer life & devotional life.†† Man of Worship -
C) See There is a difference between ministering to the Lord personally &
†ministering for the Lord!
1) Ministering to the Lord is that attitude that says God doesnít need me - privilege & grace that he uses me at all.
D) Heart that realizes that the first & foremost thing on Godís heart for me is that - I am in fellowship w/ Him!† He longs for from us
1) I donít understand why but He does.
E) So that Aspect of sitting at his feet - needs to be in place seeking to minister to Him in worship - devotion - fellowship
1) Before doing anything for Him - but There is a connection
F) As I minister to Him - I will be more directed - focused in my ministry for Him!† Joshua is a great example / Worship/ submission / instruction.
SO FIRST A SERVANT OF CHRIST IS ONE WHO SEEKS TO MINISTER TO CHRIST.
2ND HE IS ONE WHO MINISTERS TO CHRIST PEOPLE. TO HIS SHEEP - HIS BODY.
A) This is where the ministry for Christ comes into play - because to minister for Christ is to serve HIS BODY / HIS CHURCH
B) Now if I am only seeking to minister to Godís people w/ out ministering to Him 1st I am not going to have Heart or mind for the sheep.
1) Frustrated - because people are not responding the way that I think they should. Not heeding counsel etc.
C) Moses - struck the Rock - 2nd time - God said - Moses I am not angry w/ these people.†††† †Misrepresented the Lord. - No promise land.
†††††††† 1) If my focus is on the Body and not the head - I am in trouble †
D) Sad some of the most frustrated people I know are pastors / frustrated at
way things are going / what is not happening / w/ People
1) †Lost sight of the fact itís Gods Church its Jesus ministry / And the most important thing for them is to have their hearts before Him!
E) When before Him comes the heart - mindset & the power to minister to his people.
THE NEXT THING PAUL REVEALS IS THE MEANS BY WHICH WE ARE TO MINISTER. and stewards of the mysteries of God.
A) Steward means - house manager - a person placed in complete control of a household.
B) The steward supervised the property, the fields and vineyards, the finances, the food, and the other servants on behalf of his master.
B) The word mysteries is as used in the New Testament, is that which was hidden and can be known only by divine revelation.
1)As a steward of Godís mysteries, a minister is to take Godís†††
†††† revealed Word and dispense it to Godís household.
b) He is to dispense all of Godís Word, holding nothing back. Paul could tell the Ephesian elders,
ďI did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks, Ö declaring to you the whole purpose of GodĒ
C) Spurgeon† May I beg you carefully to judge every preacher, not by his gifts, not by his elocutionary powers, not by his status in society, not by the respectability of his congregation, not by the prettiness of his church, but by this -- does he preach the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation?† If† he does, your sitting under his ministry may prove to you the means of begetting faith in you.† But if he does not, you cannot expect God's blessing.
D) Needs to be a student of the Word - loves to study the scriptures
1) Amazing to me of people I meet who want to be Pastors & yet they
††† donít like to study - donít like to read.
E) God can use you but not in that way !
F) Apostles - Acts 6 choose deacons - Give ourselves to the scriptures & to prayer -† Not above - serving in that way - but priority on word & prayer
†††† 1)† 75% of what I do here are† those two things
After sharing what a minister is attitude of His heart - A SERVANT & how they are to serve .
A) Paul then shares the actions of His Heart !†† FAITHFULNESS
2† Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
B) Is he faithful in ministering to Christ - in serving His people & preaching & teaching the word.
C) Again Spurgeon had an incredible quote on this
The true ambassador for Christ feels that he himself stands before God & has to deal with souls in God's stead as God's servant, and stands in a solemn place -- a place in which unfaithfulness is inhumanity to man as well as treason to God.
D) Those desiring to go into ministry - learn to faithfully serve in the little things - task & calling .
1) Fix a door - teach kids - run errands - do follow up. Etc.
Now the minister whose heart is in the right place, who is being faithful to serve J.C. by ministering to Him & serving His people -
A) preaching & teaching the word† is not going to be swayed or
††††† affected by the influences of men.†
3† But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court.
A) Paul says that it is a small thing to me to be judged by you - Doesnít mean you donít care - but that your not easily swayed.
B) Isnít suggesting that their opinion means nothing to him - but that he canít put a lot of stock in the criticisms or the praises
1) Been said to be a Pastor you need to be thick skinned - Like you one day & hate you the next.
C) One Pastor - People praying God would kill Him - told him.
D) Thick skinned but also need to be REALISTIC
†He is going to have a proper view of himself as well ! v.,43 In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4† For I know nothing against myself,
A) Paul wasnít one to be readying his own press clippings
B) THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERED TO PAUL - WHAT JESUS THOUGHT.
v.4 †but He who judges me is the Lord.
James warned 3:1† My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
C) Paul knew that was who he was going to have to stand before & he wanted to be faithful.
1) Wanted to hear - Well done Ö.. good & faithful servant!!!
JOHN RANDLES TAPE - WELL DONE - CRYING - That is what itís about!
See† Paul knew there was a proper time when Judgment is going to take place.
V 5† Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
A) Every Christian - every Pastor is going to stand before the Lord -
†††††† Judgment of rewards - what you have done - 2Cor. 5:10
B) Not the results but the motives of the heart - the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts
1) That is what the Lord is interested in because - He is concerned about faithfulness.
Not only is there a proper time where Judgment is going to take place - but there is also a proper standard which one is judged. V.6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
A) The only true basis for evaluation is ďthat which is writtenĒ† the Word of
B) The Bible clearly reveals what kind of life and service is required of Godís ministers. There is no need for us to devise new standards
Really if we are going to make any comparisons - we shouldnít be comparing ourselves w/ other ministers or ministries - but to the Lord
A) In the same way as Christians - Husbands - servants - How do we measure up to Christ!†† THATíS THE QUESTION
B) But because the Corinthians were hung up on men they were comparing men & comparing themselves w/ each other
1) Which produced in them the very thing that Paul wanted them to avoid - PRIDE - GETTING PUFFED UP
But Paul seeks to put them in their place in v. 7 by asking what do you have to be puffed up about anyway.
7† For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive?
A) Paul says essentially - all you have is a gift anyway - it is that which you have received by the grace of God -
†So if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?† ( WHY ACT LIKE EARNED IT OR DESERVE IT)
B) Calvary Chapel has been radically blessed as a movement - privileged to be a part of it
C) Careful - we donít think that we are it - the only way to minister
1) Chucks heart & philosophy - other ministries are valid - we are just fishing in a bigger pond -
D) Russia - Flavor - Vanilla - or Chocolate
Now in v. 8 Paul begins to speak sarcastically - w/ them 8† You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us; and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
This reminds me of what Jesus said to the Church of Laodecia - turn Rev. 3
14† "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
15† "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16† "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
The Church of Laodecia -had a weak witness in the world - No affect - not hot or cold - Pride was part of the problem 17† "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked
A) although they thought well of themselves & others of them - Jesus puke
B) Corinth was the same - had it all together - RICH - KINGS - especially in comparison to us
C) Paul referred to Himself not just as servant of Christ but also as a spectacle . v.9 ††
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.†††
LORD IS THERE A PLAN B
10† We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
11† To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
12† And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;
13† being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off scouring of all things until now.
Now Notice Paulís description of He and the apostles 1st Spectacles
A) When Paul called himself and other apostles ďa spectacle unto the worldĒ he was using an image familiar to people in the Roman Empire.
B) The government kept the people pacified by presenting entertainment in the different cities. The amphitheaters would be filled with citizens, eager to see men compete in the games and prisoners fight with the beasts.
C) (In fact, the Greek word translated spectacle gives us our English word ďtheater.Ē)
1) The Coliseum at Rome became the center for these
D) When the ďmain eventsĒ Gladiators were ended, - then the poorest and weakest prisoners were brought in to fight with the beasts.
1) Nobody expected too much from their performance - they were the spectacles & Paul says that is us.
What a picture of the Apostles of Jesus Christ!
A) But it forms the background for a series of contrasts that Paul presents for the purpose of trying to humble the Corinthians.
B) Paul contrast - You are Kings - we are Prisoners / Wise men full of philosophies - WE ARE FOOLS
C) Strong - we are weak / You are honored - we are despised
D) The question Paul was basically asking is donít you think that something is wrong when the world looks at you in such high esteem
1) And disdains us ! !† What does that say about you !?
E) Jesus donít be amazed or surprised if the world hates you - because it hated me !
Now at this point Paul is setting them up to begin to talk about some of the other problems that were amongst them.
A) Their divisions were keeping the world from wanting to be like them - because they couldnít get along - no love - who wants to join them
B) But they had other problems that made those in the world say - why should I go to Church there - theyíre no different from us
So Paul begins to move in that direction here in v. 14 - dealing w/ issues of church discipline - From a Fathers perspective!
Pick up next time