Summary: Paul wanted the Corinthian church to embrace who they were in Christ. We must make a choice and embrace our identity in Christ, and understand that we must express our faith because the message we have is of eternal importance!
Date Written: April 25, 2014
Date Preached: April 27, 2014
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: A Series in 1 Corinthians
Sermon Title: Make a Choice! Embrace Who You Are!
Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 [NLT]
Essence of the Text: Paul wanted the Corinthian church to embrace who they were in Christ.
Essence of the Sermon: The message of Scripture calls for all believers to embrace who we are in Christ
Objective of the Sermon: We must make a choice and live as we are called. We must embrace our identity in Christ, embody a life that reflects our choices and understand that we must express our faith because the message we have is of the utmost eternal importance!
Today we go backwards a bit in our study of the letter Paul sent to the church in Corinth. We have learned how much Paul loved these people, and BECAUSE of his love for them he was upset over how the reports he had heard about their actions and what they were allowing to be taught…
Last week we looked at how Paul re-emphasized the critical foundation for the christian walk and it IS our foundation in Christ – His life, death, burial and resurrection… which Paul calls the message of the Cross!
The world of Paul’s day saw the message of the cross as foolishness, and when we begin to speak of Jesus dying for the sin of the world today, we find that the response is the same for us…
Most people we speak with feel in their heart that the message of the Cross is foolishness… and there are those who want to believe, want to cling to God, but cannot see the Cross as something positive or necessary and for them it is a stumbling block!
The church in Corinth was in that situation… there were teachers who had come in and had began to teach that the cross was NOT central, in fact it was not even necessary, but that they had a special spiritual knowledge they could pass on… a knowledge that would bring them closer to God!
We have learned that Paul had already told them that even tho the world may see the Gospel as foolishness…we must be willing to be ‘fools’ for God if that is what it takes… and I am sure that the teachers in Corinth were ridiculing Paul for his position… They may have even been openly calling Paul FOOLISH!
But here in this chapter, Paul wants the believers to know that he does not care what these teachers are saying… in fact he embraces the identity he has in Christ!
In v1-6 we find that through his own example Paul is calling these beleivers to EMBRACE who they ARE in Christ…don’t try to be someone you are NOT!
Embrace Who You Are In Christ – v1-5
1So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
5So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.
In v1 Paul tells the believers in Corinth… “Hey don’t try to make into something we are NOT! Don’t try to ‘defend’ us to theses teachers! We are servants of Christ! We are doing the WORK of the Lord!
Paul wanted them to know that he made NO excuses for his stance, he openly confessed that they were SERVING God for HIS purposes… because this is what He had called them to do and he wanted to be faithful to the calling on his life!
Paul’s humility shows thru here… his focus was NOT on his authority as God’s emmisary here, but on his service to the God he professed as Savior!
Paul did not believe he should “Lord” his position over this church, as he understood God was the authority! His point here is, “…guys I am a servant, I have a calling from God… and I am going to be faithful to that calling!”
What was his calling? He describes it briefly here in v1 when he says, “…have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries...”
God had called Paul to share the message of the cross with the Gentile world (and the Jews as well, but his focus was on the Gentiles)