As Servants of Christ
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NIV
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
We, as believers in Jesus Christ, need to guard against idolizing other human beings, including making human preachers or church denominations our idols. We need to guard against being followers of humans over being followers of God. We need to guard against judging one another, too, by human standards, logic and reasoning, too. For, God does not choose like we do. Humans look at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
If we, by faith in Jesus Christ, have been made right with God by the blood of Christ shed on a cross for our sins, we have been forgiven our sins, and we died with Christ to sin, and have been raised with him to new life in him, then we are all partakers of the same vine. We are all part of the same body. We have different gifts and different assignments (roles) from one another within the body of Christ, but we are all just servants of Christ.
We can take no credit to ourselves for what God does in and through us, and for the gifts or assignments he has given each one of us within the body of Christ. We will have varying roles within the body, such as one plants and another waters, but it is God who makes things grow. He is the one who gives the increase. So, we should never raise one person above another who is serving the Lord with their lives, nor should we look down on one whom, by human standards, may not be who we think he ought to be.
The important thing here is that each one of us remains faithful to our Lord in being who he created us to be and in doing what he has called us to do. And, we trust the Lord with what he has given us to do and with our reputations. We follow him wherever he leads us in true humility of spirit, we go where he sends us, and we say whatever he gives us to say, and then we leave the results to him.
1 Corinthians 4:3-7 NIV
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Scripture does not forbid judging. It forbids the wrong kind of judging. For, we make judgments every day of our lives. We choose right from wrong, good from bad. We discern error, and we heed warnings, and we use wisdom in making decisions about various matters. In fact, scripture instructs us to test the spirits, and to test what we hear against the Word of God, to make sure it adds up to what scripture teaches.
If someone is caught in a sin, we who are spiritual are to restore such a one, so we must make a judgment about that person’s sin in order to restore him or her. We are to preach the gospel, which makes judgments about sin. We, as the body of Christ, are to make judgments regarding sin within the church. We must judge biblical teaching from humanistic teaching. We are to snatch people from the fire and save them, so that, too, involves judging. But, we must judge rightly, as God judges, not as human flesh judges.
The sense here is that we should not make premature judgments of others, or those without knowledge, whereby we judge the thoughts and motives of other people’s hearts, which we cannot know. We should also not judge by outward appearance or by our own prejudices or by human standards or by our culture, society, or as the world judges. But, we must make right judgments by the Word of God.
We should not be quick to either raise one person up or to disregard another based on our own human thinking, for we may end up following a scoundrel and casting aside a true servant of Christ. So, we must be careful to use the Word of God as our measure for what is of God and what isn’t of God.
The Scum of The Earth
1 Corinthians 4:8-13 NIV
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
Jesus said that, if we become his disciples (his followers), we will be hated as he was hated, and that they will treat us like he was treated. And, it will be for many of the same reasons, too, if we are Christlike in what we do, and if we are doing and saying the kinds of things Jesus said and did.
And, we must remember, too, who Jesus’ greatest persecutors were. They were not the people of the world, outside of faith in God. They were those who professed faith in God, many of whom were religious leaders within the temple of God. They were people within his own family, of his same community, and of his same faith. But, they were judging him by their own prejudice, by human standards, and by their own pride, because they were jealous of him, and by their own culture and human traditions and religious practices.
So, we should not be surprised when we are treated the same as he was, and by similar groups of people, too. We should not be taken back when we are treated as though we are the scum of the earth, like trash to be thrown away, misjudged, mistreated, and cast aside because we follow Christ with our lives, and because we hold on to the Word of Truth, and we don’t compromise with the world of sin nor dilute the gospel message to make it more appealing to human flesh.
But, we should stand strong on the Word of God, be faithful in service to our Lord, keep following him and doing what he says, and then leave the results to him. He will be with us through it all, and he will carry us through it, too. He will give us strength and wisdom and endurance to keep on keeping on in his love, his wisdom and in his strength so that we continue to spread the message of the gospel of our salvation far and wide until our Lord returns.
What the Lord Says
An Original Work / February 24, 2014
Based off Isaiah 43:1-44:5
This is what the Lord says to you:
Fear not, for I have chosen you.
I have summoned you by your name.
You are mine. I died, you to save.
When you go through your trials, so deep,
I will be with you; you will not sink.
You are so precious always to me.
Trust in your Lord, Savior and King.
This is what the Lord says to you:
He who gave salvation to you;
Who delivered you from your sin;
Takes your burdens now upon Him:
Forget the former things of your life.
Give of your heart not now up to strife.
See all the new things I have for you.
Walk in vict’ry. Trust in what’s true.
This is what the Lord says to you:
He who made you; who will help you:
Do not fear what humans may do.
Walk in freedom. Follow what’s true.
Drink of my Spirit given for you.
Trust in my mercy, for I love you.
I have a plan for all of your life.
Follow my ways. Do what is right.
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 2:44 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Help us, Lord, to be faithful in service to you and to not give way to fear of what humans may do to us or say about us.