Summary: Paul tells us that our success as ministers for Christ will be judged by our faithfulness, Not by man or even ourselves but by God. God will look into our hearts and examine our motives and we will receive our praise from him.

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1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (NLT)

INTRO: There was a man in a community that had the reputation for always being able to catch fish. Regardless of the time of the year it was, or whether anybody else was catching fish, this man was always managed to come back with a boat load of fish. His brother-in-law, who happened to be a Game Warden had always been amazed at the man’s success. So, one morning the man agreed to take his brother in law fishing with him. They went to a lake that was known for its poor fishing. The game warden watched his brother-in-law take the boat out to the middle of the lake and cut the motor off. The game warden was confused as he noticed that his brother-in-law didn’t worry about finding a ledge or brush-pile, or anything like that. Then instead of getting his rod and reel out, the game warden’s brother-in-law pulled a stick of dynamite out of a sack, lit it, and threw it overboard. A few seconds later, there was a big boom, and almost immediately the surface of the lake was covered with stunned fish. The Game warden couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. He immediately began reciting the fishing laws and regulations to his brother-in-law. But this didn’t seem to bother his brother in law in the least. He simply reached into the bag for another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it to the game warden and said, "You gonna talk, or you gonna fish?" The game warden noticed the fuse was almost to the end and He quickly decided to fish. (sermon central)

. The game warden quickly became a successful fishermen.

. We all measure success in different ways.

. If I were to ask ten people what being a successful person means, I would probably get 10 different answers.

. Some would say having enough money that you don’t have to worry financially.

. Some would say raising their children to be responsible adults.

. Some consider success as being important. Rubbing elbows with the important people.

. I’m sure you have heard this before. He who dies with the most toy’s wins.

. In our scripture this morning, the Apostle Paul writes about measuring success.

. How do you measure success as a minister or as a Christian.

. Paul is still focusing on the division in the Corinthian church regarding who to follow and he addresses how one looks at success in the ministry. While he is talking about himself and Apollos, this principle applies to all who claim Jesus Christ as their savior.

. Measuring Success

. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

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.

. The first thing we see here is that Paul says we measure success through:

. Faithfulness

. Look at verse 2 again

2Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

. A minister must be faithful. He or she is in control of their own lives and they must do what they are supposed to do. What God has called them to do.

. Paul is referring to his and Apollo’s ministry but this applies to all of us.

. We are all called into the ministry. Paul and Apollos just happened to be called as preachers. You may be called as a teacher, or song leader or choir member or nursery worker or sound room worker or bus driver or as some tell me, anything you need me to do pastor.

. We are all called to service and no one job is more important than the other.

. A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows." This puzzled the farmer. But he liked the young man, and hired him.

A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The young man slept soundly.

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