This sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 4:14-21.
The Ministry of Apostles
…14I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
- Paul reminds the Corinthians that he is their Father in the faith.
- RELATIONSHIP – A lot of people can be guides, offering advice from afar – but there are few who are fathers who are involves in your life, loving and praying for you and helping you live out the gospel. Value such relationships.
- IMITATION – Get alongside those who are further along in the faith and see in them what Christianity looks like in practice and imitate their practice.
- HUMILITY – Don’t approach spiritual fathers thinking that you know better but be humble and willing to receive from them.
- OTHER BROTHERS & SISTERS – Don’t get locked into a dependant relationship on just one person. There are lots of people to learn and receive from.
- RELATIONSHIP – When you treat somebody like a project or problem it can be damaging. It starts with caring for them as a dearly beloved child.
- PROXIMITY – You can’t father at a distance. You need to share your life and give your time getting to know someone.
- EXAMPLE – If people are looking at how you live and imitating you, make sure your life is worthy of imitation. The power of the Holy Spirit should be shown in a cross-centred life.
- REDIRECTION – There comes a time to help people change direction in life. This should be done in love and gentleness rather than with the rod.