This sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 4:1-7.
The Ministry of Apostles
1This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
6I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
THE FAITHFUL LIFE
- In Corinth people were judging Paul and Apollos by their own worldly standards.
- Paul was unconcerned about this. It is God’s verdict that interests him.
- We should all seek to be judged as faithful by the Lord.
DO NOT GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN
- The Corinthians weren’t just weighing teachers against the Bible, they were looking for some special extra revelation.
- It is always tempting to find teachers who will tell us what we want to hear.
- The Bible is God’s revelation to us – he cannot lie and is never wrong. It is one cohesive story that is centred on Jesus and that contains everything we need for salvation, life and godliness.
- Going beyond what is written may start by de-emphasising the meaning of the text and focussing on what we ‘feel’.
- It may involve picking and choosing which sections of Scripture to accept.
- It may involve changing the meaning of things to make it more palatable.
- It could involve putting too much weight on tenuous theories or even on prophecies. Prophecy is real and good but must be weighed by Scripture.
DO NOT GET PUFFED UP
- Whatever we have isn’t self-made. It is all what we have received.
- Much of what we have is from the privilege of birth. Where we have privilege we should use it to serve others.
- Everything that we have is from God’s providential common grace. We should cultivate an attitude of deep thankfulness in our prayers.
- As Christians we have received God’s special saving grace. We should never lose focus on the Gospel.