Summary: Paul asks the Corinthian church to consider him and Apollos as galley slaves of Christ. Stewards of the mysteries of God. And a stewrd must be found faithful


A. A wealthy Texan was in the habit of giving his dad unique gifts on Father’s Day. One year it was lessons on hang-gliding. The year before that it was the entire record collection of Slim Whitman’s hits. But this past year he felt he had outdone himself. He purchased a rare kind of talking bird that could speak five languages and sing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” while standing on one foot. The talented bird cost ten thousand dollars, but he felt it was worth every penny. This would be a Father’s Day gift his dad would never forget. A week after Father’s Day he called his father. “Dad, how did you like the bird?” His father responded, “It was delicious!”

1. Lets turn to 1 Corinthians 4:1 - 2

II. Body

A. First: Count ministers for what they are

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV)

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. {2} Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

1. This should say

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV)

Let a man so consider us, as slaves of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. {2} Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

a. The word translated servant or slave is a Greek word which means under-rower

(1) This refers to the slaves who sat below deck and manned an oar

(2) This was the means by which a ship was pushed through the sea

(3) In the movie, Ben Hur, Judah Ben Hur was sentenced to be a slave on such a ship

(4) The slave rower was chained to his oar

b. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the master of the ship

(1) All the slaves on the ship are His property

(2) Their one function in this life is to serve the ship master

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV)

Let a man so consider us, as under rowers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. {2} Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

c. Paul considered himself, here calling himself an under-rower, the lowest cast of slave

(1) And then only one of many under-rowers in Christ’s ship

(a) Think of me as just one of many under-rowers, galley slave

(b) One of many slaves to the master of the ship

2. Then in the next phrase Paul calls himself a steward

a. A steward was a household slave, but a slave who was intrusted to manage the master’s household

(1) Lets turn to Genesis 37:36

(a) We have to understand that Joseph was sold to traders, Midianites, and then sold to Potiphar

Genesis 37:36 (NKJV)

Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.

(b) Go on to Genesis 39:1-6

(c) Joseph was elevated to steward over Potiphar’s house, and this is what it says about Joseph

Genesis 39:1-6 (NKJV)

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. {2} The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. {3} And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. {4} So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. {5} So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. {6} Thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

b. Ministers are stewards of the mysteries of God

(1) The mysteries of God are those things previously not revealed in Scripture

(a) Turn to Matthew 13:11

(2) But, are revealed in the New Testament

(3) Jesus spoke of the mysteries of the kingdom

Matthew 13:11 (NKJV)

He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

(a) Turn to Romans 16:25-27

(4) Paul reveals the mystery of God in this passage in Romans

Romans 16:25-27 (NKJV)

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began {26} but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith; {27} to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

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