Faithful in God’s Service

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”

The Corinthian believers were putting their trust in human beings over their trust in the Lord. They were raising up some ministers of the gospel above others as though they had some superiority to others who were of equal standing in the sight of God. But they were judging by human standards.

So, Paul set out to correct their thinking and to help them to understand that all those who are the Lord’s ministers, in truth, are not so because of their own wisdom, but they are so only because of God’s calling on their lives and because of their dependence on the Lord Jesus in all things.

He let them know, too, that as ministers of the gospel, each had their own assignment from God, but that God was still the source of all gifts and ministries. One may plant and the other may water, but it is God who causes all things to grow, so our confidence should be in God, not in men (humans).

They were not to judge these servants of the Lord by human standards or by the wisdom of this age, for the wisdom of the world is folly to God. They were neither to raise them up above others nor were they to devalue them by lowering them beneath other servants of the Lord.

Now, this is not to assume that all those who call themselves ministers of the gospel are such as what they profess. For, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing in today’s pulpits, and on TV, and on the internet, who are spreading lies like gangrene, and their purpose is not of God.

And this is not to say that we should not be testing what we hear against the Scriptures, in context, to make certain that what we are hearing of these “ministers of the gospel” is indeed of God and aligned with his word. We most certainly should be diligent in these matters.

But we must be careful to judge as God judges, and according to his word, and not according to our human thinking and reasoning. For many who call themselves “ministers of the gospel” are truly servants of Satan who are doing his bidding, and who are literally opposing the Lord.

Nonetheless, regarding those who are true servants of the Lord, we are to regard them in that way, as though what they have, they have received from the Lord and not from themselves. But each must be found to be faithful to their calling and not as those who are self-serving.

1 Corinthians 4:3-5 ESV

“But 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. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore 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.”

So, what is this saying? What is it not saying? Well, first off, Paul is referring to human judgment, that which is of the flesh of man and of the world. He regards that of a small matter, for he is to answer to God, and he is to do the will of God, regardless of how humans might judge him.

So, he will not concern himself with what other humans think of him if they are judging him by themselves, and by the flesh, and by the thinking and reasoning of this present world. For what they think of him makes no difference to him. He must answer to God and to God alone.

Does this mean, thus, that we are to make no judgments of ourselves or of others while we live on this earth? No! But he is saying that God is the one who judges justly and that no matter how we might judge things in the flesh on this earth, God has the final word, and his judgment is true.

But did Paul then consider himself to be above all judgment? No! And was he suggesting that we not judge others or our own selves? No! For, we are instructed in Scripture to restore those caught in sin, and to keep watch of ourselves lest we fall into temptation, and that if anyone wanders from the truth, we are to bring that person back, and so save his soul.

And we are to judge the practice of sin within the church and those who are making sin their practice, and we are to grieve over such rather than to allow it to go on unchecked. And we are not to associate ourselves with those who call themselves “sister” and “brother” who are living in sin.

As well, we are not to try to take a speck out of another’s eye while we have a log in our own. First, we remove the log from our own eye and then we can see clearly to take the speck out of another’s eye.

And we are not to judge by appearances, but with a right judgment. And we are not to judge according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit and according to the word of God. And we are not to judge hypocritically, i.e., we are not to judge others for doing what we are doing ourselves.

But we are to judge ourselves so that we do not fall under God’s judgment. We are to test ourselves to see if we are of God. And we are to examine ourselves to make certain that we are indeed following the Lord Jesus and not the flesh, so that we are not deceived.

And we are to test the spirits to see whether they are of God, and we are to examine against the Scriptures the words of those who say they are ministers of the gospel so that we do not fall into deception and then wander from the faith.

[Gal 6:1-5; Jas 5:19-20; 1 Co 5:1-13; 1 Co 11:27-32; Matt 7:1-5, 15-23; Jn 7:24, 51; Jn 8:15-16; Rom 2:3; 2 Co 10:12; 1 Tim 6:3-16; 1 Jn 4:1-6]

1 Corinthians 4:6 ESV

“I 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.”

The Word of God is to be our measuring stick for all judgments. We are not to judge ourselves or others by human thinking and reasoning, by our own prejudices, by our own standards, by our own customs and traditions, by our culture, by the patterns of this world, or without knowledge, hypocritically, and/or by appearances, but only by God’s Spirit and by the Word of God.

We are to see ourselves and others through the eyes of God and through the lens of his word alone. And we are not to let the human judgments of others discourage us in any way from doing the will of God and from being the Lord’s servants and messengers. So, be faithful to God in all you do.

Servant of the Lord

An Original Work / July 26, 2012
Based off Romans 1:1-17

Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
Servant of the Lord,
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.

You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ.

Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.

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