Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 4:6-21 regarding his coming to accountability of the church to do what he told them in the first 3 chapters
Text: 1 Corinthians 4:6-21, Title: Just Wait Till Your Daddy Gets Home, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/29/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: Talk about working for Craig Belitz, and everyone trying to look busy when he came
B. Background to passage: Again, Paul is bringing his argument regarding division, factions, pride, and personal allegiances to “wisdom” to a conclusion. And he gives them a stern warning, although he says it is not to their shame, but just a warning for their edification…I am not so sure.
C. Main thought: Paul warns them to get to work fixing it, because he is coming.
A. Don’t Miss the Comparison (v. 6-7)
1. First thing that Paul says is to not miss the comparison that he is making b/t himself and the teachers/leaders that are leading the factions that have formed. He has already instructed that Paul, Apollos, and Peter are simply table-waiters, under-rowers, and house managers of the gospel. And so he says, “just in case you missed it, I was talking about your leaders too.” He says that they know they are on the same team, and not in competition or arrogant toward one another, so the Corinthian leaders need to adopt the same attitude. To bolster his earlier statements, he asked them who makes one of them superior over another? And which of them has gifts that they earned and were not given? Answers are that only God makes one superior over another, and the only way that happens is by His giving certain gifts to one and others to another. The point is that they are not superior, but anything that they are is simply a gift from God Himself, therefore it is inconsistent to boast, while accepting a gift.
3. Illustration: wouldn’t it be crazy for a child to get a gift at Christmas time and go around bragging to others as if he had gotten it himself,
4. Don’t miss application of truth because you are listening, reading, thinking for someone else. God doesn’t speak to hear Himself talk. On Sunday’s He knows whose here, and has a word for each one of you. If you leave the service “getting nothing out of it,” it’s not because of Him. He doesn’t speak on the other six days a week to you in your devotional time or in the car or in a book that you are reading, as though He wanted you to relay His message to others (although that does happen, but the message always goes through the messenger first). He is speaking to you! Apply the text to yourself first. Not to do this is the error of the Pharisee. When you begin to walk down the road of comparing yourself as superior (don’t act like you don’t, give some examples), remember that if you have it, accomplished it, understand it, gained it, are good at it, etc, it is only because God has allowed/brought it about. You are wholly and completely in debt to God for any good and perfect gift that you have.
B. Don’t Miss the Proof (v. 8-13)
1. Later he says that this is NOT for their shame, but it is hard to see how. He very sarcastically tells them that they have become kings in his absence doing whatever they wanted; full, needing no food; rich, having need of no resources; wise, having no need of instruction; strong, having no need of aid; fully clothed, retired, and thought well of. And he says that the apostles/teachers are the opposite, which we know that Paul doesn’t really believe. He even brings in this picture of the apostles as criminals being lead in the rear of a procession into the arena b/c they were condemned to die. Word was used of those fed to the lions. And then here, as in 2 Cor, he lists some of the proofs of real Christ-followers: they labor to the point of exhaustion, hunger and thirst (probably for food as well as righteousness), wearing rags, and scars and scabs and bruises, and having no permanent dwelling place, bless in return for reviling, patience under persecution, comfort and encouragement in return for slander and defamation, and are considered the scum of the earth, and the scraping of one’s shoes.
2. Rev 3:17, Philip 2:3-4, Gal 6:3, Rom 12:3, 16, Isa 5:21,
4. Stern warnings, even sarcastic ones are used by believers to rebuke those who they love and have a fatherly relationship with. So don’t always chalk up difficult, even sarcastic and harsh words to sinful responses, therefore not applicable. He says that he gives them these comments not for their shame and demolition of their self-esteem, so remember to look for elements of truth in criticism and admonition. Also remember that our own self-evaluation of our own righteousness and need is usually inaccurate, picturing ourselves much better than we really are. What if every time we evaluated ourselves in response to a supervisor or a sermon, we knocked it down two rungs just for good measure? Finally do our lives bear the marks of genuine Christ followers? Do we hunger and thirst for righteousness? Wear rags? Have scars and bruises for our service for Christ? Constantly on the move for Jesus? Labor to the point of exhaustion for the kingdom? Bless when reviled? Endure persecution and suffering well? Comfort those who slander us? Are we considered the scum of the earth for our witness?