Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We should follow the leaders God gives the church.


I Corinthians 4:1-13

S: Leadership

Th: Live the Difference


?: Why?

KW: Characteristics

TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 4:1-13, two characteristics that demonstrate why we follow the leaders God gives.

The _____ characteristic is…



Version: ESV

RMBC 22 February 04 AM


Have you ever wished you had a comeback that would stick?

ILL Notebook: Comeback (lawyer and police)

There was a defense attorney who was cross-examining a police officer during a felony trial and here is how the questioning went:

Q. Officer, did you see my client fleeing the scene?

A. No sir, but I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender running several blocks away.

Q. Officer, who provided this description?

A. The officer who responded to the scene.

Q. A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?

A. Yes sir, with my life.

Q. With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a locker room in the police station - a room where you change your clothes in preparation for you daily duties?

A. Yes sir, we do.

Q. And do you have a locker in that room?

A. Yes sir, I do.

Q. And do you have a lock on your locker?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, that you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with those same officers?

A. You see sir, we share the building with a court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.

With that, the courtroom erupted in laughter, and a prompt recess was called.

Once in a while, it is that touch of sarcasm that effectively makes the point.

When other methods don’t work, it is often that bit of irony that most effectively communicates.


We will find in our text today that sarcasm is a tool that Paul uses to drive his point home.

He uses it because the Corinthians have failed to have the correct perspective when it came to themselves, the leaders of the church and even God.

They had failed to live the difference.

And how about you?

1. Are you living the difference the Spirit makes in you?

The Corinthians were failing miserably in this area.

Instead of living lives characterized by dependence, they were bragging about their self-sufficiency.

Instead of depending on the Holy Spirit, they were satisfying themselves with their own wisdom.

Instead of recognizing God’s work in their lives, they exalted their own superiority.

The Corinthians were filled with self-importance, and in so doing, their thinking was distorted when it came to the leadership of the church.

And what they prove is that…

2. We can lose perspective on the leader’s role in the church.

We have noted in our previous studies that the Corinthian church was dealing with factionalism.

There seemed to be many rivaling parties, vying for superiority within the church hierarchy.

As a result, disunity was prevalent.

The problem that the Corinthians were having is that they had a distorted view on how leaders ought to be viewed.

Because a desire to dominate and jealousy over the loss of influence can easily work themselves into any given situation, the way leaders ought to work can become a point of dissension instead of unity.

As a result…

3. We can either raise them too highly or attempt to bring them down to size.

And churches have been known to do this…

We can raise one leader to the point of unblemished sainthood, while we rake the next one over in such a way that we have made him the devil’s cousin.

Neither way, of course, is realistic or biblical.

And neither is it the thrust of Paul’s writing to this church.

Paul encourages us all to have a proper perspective when it comes to our leaders.

And he calls us on to not forget this essential when it comes to the subject of leadership…


During last week’s study, we understood that each of the leaders that had influence in Corinth…Paul, Apollos and Peter…came from God.

And Paul said, “All are yours.”

They all belonged to the church.

And it wasn’t matter of superiority.

It was a matter of teamwork.

Today, we are asking the question, “Why?”

Why should we follow the leaders of the church?

Why was Paul even making a case for himself in this regard?


5. We will find in our study of I Corinthians 4:1-13, two characteristics that demonstrate why we follow the leaders God gives.

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