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. 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 Corinthians 4:1-5 NKJV)
This post was inspired by a sermon I listened to last week by a Calvary Chapel pastor, Damian Kyle from Modesto, California. This was a phenomenal sermon which he gave at a pastors’ conference. I received a copy from my church as part of a study on "Servanthood." This message ministered to in an awesome way, and I would love to share what I learned from this message with you. Below are the highlights from that message.
The Apostle Paul, a man who still praises God even after being unjustly arrested, savagely beaten and bound in chains, in a 1st century Roman jail. He was a man who rose up to his feet after being stoned and left for dead, only to make his way back to the city in which he was stoned. During his second missionary journey, he came to Corinth, “difficult nut to crack,” but he established a church there. Paul was not appreciated and was forced to defend himself. The people of Corinth did not like his simple preaching. He did not dazzle them with excellence speech or wisdom, but preached Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (See 1 Cor 2:1-2) People also did not like the fact he would not let them be comfortable in their sin. What is it that helped the Apostle Paul remain faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through all the trials and tribulations he faced? Thankfully the Holy Spirit gave us a glimpse into the heart and mind of Paul. Below are seven keys from the text in 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, which gives us some insight into this.
- “…very small thing that I should be judged by you…” (1 Cor 4:3) Paul was more concerned about what God’s opinion was than mans. He did not allow mans opinion of him get him down. We are not to let the unjust opinions of others drive us out from where God has called us to serve.
- “… In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself…” (1 Cor 4:3-4) Judging ourselves can be as dangerous as someone else judging us. He is not talking about examining ourselves concerning sin and holiness. What Paul is saying here is that he is unable to make an accurate opinion about the effectiveness of his own ministry and service. For example, one may think they did a most remarkable job sharing the message of Jesus Christ, yet it was not effective. Then what we thought was downright lame, was in fact, just the opposite. This was the message used by God to change someone’s life.
- “…but He who judges me is the Lord.” (1 Cor 4:4) Paul trusted God to all judgments for only God knows all things and He will bring all things out into the open. (See verse 5)
- “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ…” (1 Cor 4:1) Paul reminded himself he was a servant. When realizing one is a servant, it protects us from self pity. We are God’s servant to be used as He sees fit, which is our reasonable service.
- “…stewards of the mysteries of God…” (1 Cor 4:1) Paul was a steward of the mysteries of God. A steward is not free to do as he pleases with the wealth he is entrusted with, but to do with according to his masters desires. Paul would hear the voice of the Lord, and be faithful in obeying God.
- “…until the Lord comes…” (1 Cor 4:5) Paul always had an eternal perspective for he knew this would all end up in heaven one day.
- …Then each one’s praise will come from God.” (1 Cor 4:5) Paul was confident that at the end of his life, he would receive the greatest reward one could ever imagine. That is to hear, “well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” No life that does not hear this from Jesus can be considered successful. Think about that statement for a minute.