1Co 4 Image






First Corinthians 4

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 23, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019

  1. First Corinthians 4.1 | Servants and Stewards

    1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

    1. Hasn’t Paul already made the point that preachers are servants of Christ?
      1. See 1Co 3.5.
      2. Why did he need to make sure that they got this point?
    2. As servants and stewards of Christ, what is it that they handle?
    3. Why does Paul bring up in this context that a steward must be faithful?
      1. The preachers should not be preaching themselves, but
      2. they should be preaching the mysteries of God as fulfilled in Christ.
        1. Christ is the message.
        2. Not preachers.
          1. Therefore, do not follow preachers or any other man, but
          2. follow what faithful preachers declare: Christ and Him crucified (See 2.2).
  2. First Corinthians 4.3–5 | Judging

    3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 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.

    1. Why did Paul bring up the issue of judging in this context?
    2. Paul mentioned three judges:
      1. The Corinthians
      2. Paul himself
      3. The Lord
        1. Which ones did not matter to him and
        2. which one did matter to him?
    3. Notice verse 4:
      1. We tend toward self-bias.
        1. Pro 14.12
        2. Pro 16.25
        3. Pro 20.6
      2. Since Paul knew of nothing against himself, did that justify him?
      3. Who is the judge?
    4. What did Paul mean not to judge anything before the time?
      1. How often do people judge before they have all the facts?
      2. Who will bring everything to light?
    5. When do we receive our praise from God?
  3. First Corinthians 4.6 | Do Not Go Beyond What Is Written

    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.

    1. Do you see how Paul was still addressing the issue of their division by following preachers?
    2. For what lesson did Paul use himself and Apollos?
    3. If they learned that lesson, what would they cease doing?
  4. First Corinthians 4.7 | Why Boast?

    7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

    1. Notice that Paul was still addressing the problem of following men.
    2. Who makes us differ from one another?
      1. God does.
      2. Therefore, God made Paul and Apollos to have different functions.
        1. One man was not better than another man.
        2. Each one has a part to play.
    3. What do you have that you did not receive?
      1. See James 1.17
      2. This is especially true in the church.
    4. Then what did Paul argue?
      1. He knew that they would all acknowledge that everything they had and everything that they were, they had received from God.
      2. Yet, they were boasting as though they had done it all on their own.
  5. First Corinthians 4.8–14 | Apostles and Christians

    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! 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. 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 offscouring of all things until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.

    1. How were the Corinthians doing, at least in comparison to the preachers?
    2. What was it like to be an apostle?
    3. What did the apostles do when persecuted?
    4. Why did he write these things?
  6. First Corinthians 4.15–17 | Imitate an Apostle

    15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.

    1. Why did Paul mention how many instructors they had?
    2. What was he to them?
    3. According to this context, what did he want them to imitate in him?
    4. What would Timothy do?
  7. VII.First Corinthians 4.18–21 | The Kingdom of God Is in Power

    18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

    1. How were some reacting to Paul’s absence?
    2. What would he find out once he arrived there?
    3. What is the kingdom of God about?
      1. Why did Paul make a distinction between “word” and “power”?
      2. How would the power of the kingdom of God manifest itself there?
        1. Would it not be by their humility rather than their boasting?
        2. Would it not be by their following Christ rather than men?
    4. Their behavior would determine how Paul went to them.