Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 4:1-5 regarding the stewards and servants: Paul and Apollos
Text: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Title: Pleasing the Man, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/22/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: Semper Fidelis, video from Marines.com
B. Background to passage: Explain why we are skipping 3:18-23. Paul now adds one last little note that relates to how the Corinthians view him (and Apollos and Peter), and this will go through the remainder of the chapter. So, still making a bridge from disunity to immorality and license, He speaks about his role and responsibility. Main thought: we see Paul encouraging correct thinking about people, apostles, ministers,
A. Simply Menial Managers (v. 1)
1. Paul again highlights the proper assessment of the importance of ministers: servants. This time he uses a different word than he did in chapter three; there he used diakonos for table waiters. Here he uses hyperetes, which means under rowers. These were the lowest of slaves on a rowing ship. They were the most menial, the most despised, the hardest worked, most cruelly punished, least appreciated, and the lowest ranking of slaves. Paul says, “that’s who we (Paul, Peter, Apollos) are.” Don’t view us as exalted leaders to follow or oppose, but simply esteem us as common servants, doing what we can to please Christ our Master. We are striving for the advancement of the Word of God for your edification. Paul also says to think of us as “house managers.” This word was used of servants who were entrusted with the property, money, and interests of the master, and instructed to carry out his will. He says that these teachers are simply Christ’s stewards that have been entrusted with the gospel (the mysteries of God). They were stewards, commissioned to manage and oversee the distribution of and application of the gospel and the bride of Christ. Their work is important, but their rank is low.
2. 2 Cor 6:4-7, 12:9-12, Ps 84:10, Philip 2:3-4,
3. Illustration: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord than mingle with the top brass in the tents of the wicked,” "I would rather be a servant in the house of the Lord than set in the seat of the mighty." –Barclay, church foreclosures in ATL,
4. Remember that Christian leadership is not an authority thing, although authority is there; it is a servant thing. If you want to be great, serve the most. Get the least appreciation and the harshest treatment, deal with it. If our Lord received it, why do we think that we deserve better? We are to view pastors, teachers, missionaries, and all believers as under rowers, laboring to make known the gospel of Christ because of His command. This has a big impact on how we view ourselves, and the person sitting beside you in the pew. Because in actuality, all believers are menial managers working together to take care of the bride and the gospel. Proper view of ourselves with this perspective brings humility. If I asked five family members, and five coworkers if you were a humble person, thinking little of self, and much of others, what would they say? As a manager, how are you managing your stewardship of the kingdom, the church, the family that you have? Are you building up those around you, serving them as an under rower for Jesus?