1 Corinthians 4   Paul is continuing to deal with the divisions that are in the Corinthian Church   Divisions are important to deal with as you can see Paul devoted three chapters to them.

  1. Christ’s servants will give an account to The Lord Vs 1 – 5


  1. Servants of Christ.
    1. Two words for servant
      1. Subordinate who is in charge of the master’s household
      2. Under rower one who rows on a galley with Christ directing the course.
    2. Servants of the Mystery of Christ.
      1. Mystery is those things we can now understand because Jesus has come to us
  2. Must be faithful on day of Judgement Vs 2
    1. God is looking for faithfulness not success.
      1. God does not want to flunk us on the day of judgement.  If he did, who could possibly pass?
    2. Paul is going to compare this to people who call themselves super apostles.
  3. Paul knows about judgement Vs 3, 4
    1. This stops arrogance on his part
    2. Paul does not even trust his own conscious
      1. We are either too hard or too easy on ourselves.
      2. The idea that we do not feel guilty or feel too guilty does not make it right or wrong.
    3. Paul does not care what other people say about him in judgement
    4. God is the only one who matters
  4. Jesus perfect judge Vs 5
    1. He knows all the facts about a situation
    2. Man’s day will come to an end then the only thing that will be important is what God thinks about us.  This is when praise will be given out

2. The Marks of a True Apostle Vs 6 – 13

  1. Paul is pointing people back to what the bible says about judgement Vs 6
    1. The divisions of following certain leaders has lead to other sins.  Contempt and Pride
  2. Rhetorical Questions Vs 7
    1. What gives you…judgement?  Who do you think you are?
    2. What do you have…not given? Everything is because of grace
    3. Why boast?   This leads to self sufficiency and no need for God.
  3. No need of anything, we have arrived.  Vs 8
    1. A church that is self sufficient  (Note see Laodicea in Revelation 3)
    2. This would be a church that changes to attract those outside.  (Changes of the message, not the method)
    3. There is a direct conflict between the pride of the Corinthians and the message of the cross of Jesus.
  4. Feel if we attained, we should be reigning, but instead we suffer problems Vs 9
    1. The end of the parade was for those who were conquered and about to be killed.
  5. Paul’s life a conflict with Corinth Vs 10
    1. The idea is the Corinthians thought they had box seats at the event while Paul states we are the event.
    2. They were looking down at Paul’s problems with the attitude that if you were like us, you would not have these problems because we attained.
  6. Tribulation list of Paul’s Vs 11 – 13
    1. The path of the cross is not a pleasant one.
    2. Which position looks more like Jesus in Isaiah 53: 2b – 3  The call is still there to take up the cross and follow.
    3. Challenge for us is we want the middle of the road.  We want recognition, but not too much.

3.  Paul, the father, appeals to his children  Vs 14 – 21

  1. Not writing to shame you  Vs 14
    1. Paul not about beating the Corinthians up, but challenging them to change.
  2. They have a lot of teachers but only one father Vs 15
    1. There are a lot of spiritual teachers in Corinth and Paul is not speaking evil of them.
    2. None of them would have relationship with Jesus if not for Paul’s work among them.
  3. Imitate me Vs 16
    1. Being a disciple maker does not give you the right to be authoritative over someone.  We need to lead by example.
  4. Timothy sent Vs 17
    1. A good example of a servant.
  5. Paul’s not coming Vs 18
    1. There were some who thought that Paul sent Timothy because he was afraid to come himself.  They thought he did not want to deal with them or was afraid of them.
  6. Paul is Coming Vs 19, 20
    1. See if these people have power or not.
    2. This is not a display of miracles but are lives being changed.
    3. Many call revival things that are only touching the saints.  The gifts they had were not affecting the community they lived in.
    4. Paul is saying the real mark of a leader is lives changed by the power of the cross. (See 1 Corinthians 1: 17)
  7. How will I come? Vs 21
    1. A shepherd leans on his staff and guides his sheep.
    2. He uses it to direct them like a rod.
    3. How do you want me to come to you

Paul is confronting a real battle in the church

  1. How to correct without being too harsh
  2. Getting rid of the fear of what others think
  3. How to get people to conform without thinking too much of themselves.
  4. This is showing the incredible need for the Holy Spirit in our lives.