(Have pictures of former pastors at front of church)
1. 1999 - the year of jubilee. This year we celebrate our jubilee anniversary as a church. And so the challenge I place before you this morning is to really make this a year of jubilee. In the Old Testament, every 50 years, all debts were to be cancelled and all land was returned to those who had held possession of the land but had lost it. This was a way of remembering that all the land really belonged to God.
2. We can make this the year of jubilee for FRC by forgiving others for all the past debts that we have incurred. By forgiving others for the sins they have committed against us. By confessing our own sins and asking forgiveness from those we have hurt. Then we will be freed from the sins of the past and free to thank God for the good things of the past. And free to remember that this is His church, not ours.
3. When we celebrate our anniversary we will have former pastor’s, these men, or representatives of their families, with us. In the history of our church, one of the most important relationships that we have is that between the spiritual leader, the pastor and the congregation. How was your relationship with these men whose pictures we see before us? Is their still unforgiveness, pain, or bitterness?
4. Today we look at the relationship the people of a church have with their spiritual leaders. And we know that these relationships have not always been good at FRC.
1. Well, they also were not always very good at Corinth as well. In our passage, Paul addresses this problem of the relationship between him and the church, the causes of it, and how they are to deal with it. And as we listen to him, we each, need to ask ourselves, "Is Paul talking about me?"
2. Paul had ministered in Corinth at least eighteen months. He had started the church. During Paul's ministry in Ephesus a series of disturbing events took place relative to Corinth
a. A party spirit arose in Corinth - factions. Different groups in the church who followed different teachers or leader.
b. A series of reports came to Paul, some by those of Chloe. These reports included attacks upon Paul (1 Cor. 2:1-10).
3. To deal with the problems, Paul sent Timothy. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus, expecting them to receive the letter before the arrival of Timothy.
4. He wrote 1 Corinthians to give instruction and admonition that he hoped would lead to the solving of the many problems in the congregation. All of the problems in chapters 1-14 were grounded in egocentric or self-centered attitudes in contrast to self-denying, Christ-centered attitudes.
5. Let us look at our passage. Paul first talks to them about ministers or their spiritual leaders. As we said there were factions in the church. Some followed Paul, some Apollos, some Cephas or Peter. At the end of chapter 3 he says that these men belonged to them - all are yours, but together they all belong to Christ.
6. The people had judged Paul quite strongly. Just as we can do with ministers. They said that he did not speak with eloquence or show enough authority.
7. Have we judged any of these men in a similar manner?
8. Paul reminds them what the role of an apostle or minister is.
a. First, we are servants of God. We have been given the duties of administering the affairs of God in churches he has placed us in. This is a humble position.
b. But we are also entrusted with the secret things of God. The mystery of salvation. And we must be faithful to the gospel. The criteria for what is preached and how a minister carries out his task is to be based on faithfulness to the word of God .
9. It would be interesting if we listed all the criticisms of your pastors over the years. Would they be based on this criteria (that is how faithful they were to the truth of God’s word) or would it be based on how well they spoke or other less important things.
10. Paul tells us, and this is something I as a minister need to hear, that my main concern must not be how you judge me. Or how any man judges me. Sure, I can learn from suggestions and am accountable to the elders. I am not above you or above guidance. But my main concern is not man’s judgement or measurement of my ministry, but how God will judge me when I stand before Him.
11. Paul says that his conscience is clear. He believes he has carried out his work faithfully. But even that does not make him innocent. For our consciences are not perfect.