Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We follow the servant-leaders God has given us.


I Corinthians 4:14-21

S: Leadership

Th: Live the Difference


?: Why?

KW: Needs

TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 4:14-21 five needs that servant-leaders provide.

The _____ need we have is…


II. DEVOTION (14-15)

III. DESIGN (16-17)



Version: ESV

RMBC 29 February 04 AM


Have you ever wondered what you were good for?

ILL Notebook: Father (what do we need him for)

Four-year-old Little Johnny asked, "Mummy, where do babies come from?

"The stork, dear." replied Johnny’s Mom.

"Mummy, who keeps bad people from robbing our house?" Asked Little Johnny.

Johnny’s mother answer, "The police, dear."

"Mummy, if our house was on fire, who would save us?"

"The fire department, dear."

"Mummy, where does food come from?"

"Farmers, dear."


"Yes, dear?"

"What do we need Daddy for?"


I have wondered if the apostle Paul must have felt this way when it came to the church of Corinth.

He was their spiritual father, yet it was clear that they felt that they had outgrown him.


This particular issue speaks to a larger issue that we must confront within ourselves.

For it is easy for us to develop a sense of complacency about our faith.

There are issues in our life that we just don’t want to be bothered with anymore.

Sometimes this happens because of laziness.

Sometimes this happens because we are tired.

Sometimes this happens, as it did with the Corinthians, because of pride.

We don’t think it applies to us anymore, that we are beyond it.

But, it is here we must understand that…

1. When we believe that we have outgrown God’s provision, we fail to “live the difference.”

This is so much a danger in our lives that we must have the courage to examine ourselves to see if it is true for us.

For example…

I believe that an area that begs consideration is the matter of prayer.

I know that many of us struggle in this area.

We find it a chore rather than the delight it is designed to be.

And as a result, we somehow come to the conclusion that we don’t need to pray.

Now, we may not say that out loud, but if we are not praying, we are living that conclusion.

We are acting as if we have outgrown the wonderful gift of prayer.

Then we wonder why our faith, at times, seems so artificial while others seem so real and vital.

For the Corinthians…they had settled for the illusion that they were everything God wanted them to be.

Many had become anxious to reject Paul’s teaching of the gospel and move beyond it.

It was their conclusion that they had moved beyond the cross.

It was their conclusion that they just didn’t need him anymore.

They had matured and outgrown him.

It is at this point that I want to repeat our concluding points from last week’s message.

The first is that…

2. We need to think righteously when it comes to those in leadership.

Have you noticed that we live in a world that doesn’t trust leadership?

Many times, leaders prove that they are not worthy of trust.

And when we are particularly skeptical, we tend to think that people unnaturally rise above their level of competence.

Indeed, I have often wondered this about myself.

Lately, and I don’t know why particularly, but I have had an unusual amount of requests for counseling.

Frankly, I don’t consider my aptitude in this area very high…I mean…I wouldn’t come to see me…

Well, I digress…

For the Corinthians, their view of leadership had gone askew.

They were being picky about who they would listen to when it was clear that God has provided them with many voices, many teachers.

Instead of seeing them as an integrated whole, they had split into factions, favoring one over another.

And as a result, they were thinking and communicating in a way that was displeasing to God.

In this particular chapter, Paul is trying to get them back to where they belonged.

He wants their thinking to be holy, not critical.

He wants their thinking to reflect on God’s provision, instead of their own preferences.

So, in the verses we studied last week, we understood that Paul encourages us to recognize that…

3. We need to submit to leaders that demonstrate faithfulness and humility, encouraging them to fulfill God’s call in our midst.

We must not be caught adopting worldly principles when it comes to leadership.

For Scripture points to other priorities…

Leaders demonstrate success, not with numbers, but with faithfulness.

Leaders demonstrate success, not with flashy programs, but with humility.

Leaders that demonstrate these traits are to be followed and encouraged.

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