Summary: 1. Pay attention to the warnings in God's Word (vs. 14). 2. Set new goals for Godly living (vs. 15-17). 3. Get a hunger for humility (vs. 18-21).
How Can We Be More Faithful to God?
1 Corinthians 4:14-21 (Initial reading vs. 1-21)
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 12, 2014
*Please open your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 4, as we focus on being more faithful to God.
*Our God is faithful! Revelation 3:14 tells us that Jesus Christ is "the Faithful and True Witness." And God stresses this great truth many other times in His Word.
*He is faithful. -- And He wants His people to be faithful. This is God's main message to us in today's Scripture. Our main focus will be on vs. 14-21, but in order to get a better understanding, let's start by reading the whole chapter.
*God wants His people to be faithful. Does it matter? One of the people I am looking forward to seeing in Heaven is a lady named Katie Finley. Miss Katie lived in the apartment below us when we got married. We really didn't know her all that well, but I got saved that year. And we later learned that Miss Katie had been praying for us every day for six months.
*Katie barely knew the young couple upstairs. But she faithfully prayed that God would help us find a church where we could worship Him together. And I believe with all my heart that her prayers made a difference. I will be grateful forever for the faithful prayers of Katie Finley!
*No wonder God wants His people to be faithful. And if our hearts are in the right place, we will want to be more faithful to God. But how can we do it? How can we be more faithful? Today's Scripture shows us some key steps to take.
1. First: Pay attention to the warnings in God's Word.
*In vs. 1-6, Paul talked about God's requirement for us to be faithful, how we shouldn't be quick to judge each other, and how we shouldn't be puffed up with pride against each other. In vs. 7, Paul asked some questions to remind us that every good thing we have is a gift from God. Please listen again to these pointed questions from God's Word: "Who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?"
*In vs. 8-13, Paul talked about how easy the Corinthians' lives had been in comparison to the apostles. Paul stressed how much more he and the other apostles had suffered for Christ. Please listen again to vs. 8-13, this time from the NLT, where Paul said:
8. You think you already have everything you need! You are already rich! Without us you have become kings! I wish you really were on your thrones already, for then we would be reigning with you!
9. But sometimes I think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor's parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world-to people and angels alike.
10. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you are so wise! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are well thought of, but we are laughed at.
11. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, without enough clothes to keep us warm. We have endured many beatings, and we have no homes of our own.
12. We have worked wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.
13. We respond gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world's garbage, like everybody's trash-right up to the present moment.
*Paul was really trying to give them a wake-up call. Then in vs. 14 Paul said: "I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you." This warning came from Paul as a kind word of caution. It was a loving admonition that really came from God. God wants to warn His people, and we need to pay attention to His warnings.
*Now some warnings are worthless, even ridiculous. Bob Jones is the founder of "Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch". Each year his organization holds a contest to discover the most ridiculous warning labels found on products sold in the United States. Here's a small sample of the warnings they've found:
-A sleeping pill that warns "May cause drowsiness."
-A propane torch that warned: "Never use when sleeping."
-A printer cartridge that warns "Do not eat toner."
-And a 3-hook fishing lure that says, "Harmful if swallowed." (1)
*Many of man's warnings are ridiculous, but God's warnings are always worthy and wise. We must pay attention to God's warnings. And His Word is filled with warnings for us. For example, in Galatians 6:7-10, the Word of God says: