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[1 Corinthians 4:1-21]
This is a great Word God has laid on my heart for this upcoming week of preaching. Paul has just gotten finished telling people not to separate themselves into “Paul’s People” and “Apollos’ People.” In doing so, he instructs the church on how to view both he and Apollos. Rather than Apostolic “Rock Stars,” he wants them to be considered as servants. This is a really cool passage for preachers. Paul calls us people who are entrusted with the great task of “explaining God’s mysteries.” What a high calling! And what a high price. Paul makes a statement in examining the stakes of be a preaching, that I think also applies to all believers.
1 Corinthians 4:4-5 - “4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. 5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
There are a couple of principles that jump out at me here. (They’re not all preach-ery yet)
1. Just because you feel like it’s ok doesn’t mean its ok. [verse 4a] I’ve seen a lot of people who justify their actions because they “haven’t been convicted yet.” I believe that Jesus Christ has saved us for freedom. However, scripture makes it clear that the goal of our freedom is to serve one another…not to serve myself. I think that is a critical difference. This also clearly points out the difference between the pursuit of holiness vs. legalism. Legalists will eventually find a way to approve of everything they are doing. Legalists follow a law, but the problem is too many times, they are the author of that law. The pursuit of Holiness acknowledges that we are on a life-long journey of sanctification. According to 1 Thess 5:24-25 and Phil 1:6, this is the work of the Lord. However, I gotta get out of His way! That is the pursuit of Holiness. It sounds like David’s prayer, “Search me Oh God and know me…see if there be any wicked way in me.
2. I’m not an accurate judge of others OR of myself. [verse 4b-5] Romans 12 talks about the world’s great self-esteem problem. The problem is that often times, we have too much! When we are the judge, too often, we become the standard. That is a scary thing unless our name happens to be "GOD.”
3. It may inconvenient to deal with our Blind Spots now, but it will be heart-breaking to deal with them later. [vs. 5] The purpose of our person holiness isn’t perfect. It is the Glory of God. Our lives are meant to matter for the sake of the Gospel to His Glory! 2 Corinthians 5:10