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Summary: In this chapter we have an account, of the constancy of the apostle and his fellow-laborers in their work.

October 4, 2012

Commentary on First Corinthians

By: Tom lowe

Lesson 2.8: Servants of Christ and Their Work

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4.1-4.4

1 Cor 4:1-4 (KJV)

All ministers are servants of Christ

1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

Introduction

In this chapter we have an account, of the constancy of the apostle and his fellow-laborers in their work.

• Their constancy is declared (v. 1).

• Their sincerity is affirmed (v. 2).

• An objection is anticipated (v. 3, v. 4).

Many Corinthian believers were rejecting both Paul’s teaching and his authority. Paul reasserted his authority over them, all the while emphasizing his role as “servant” and “steward” of the mysteries of God—the truths of the gospel. A “steward” (Gk. oikonomos) is the servant who is entrusted with the administration of his master’s business or property. Life, itself is a stewardship, so be faithful (vv. 1–5). We judge ourselves, and others judge us; but the Final Judge is the Lord. Live to please Him alone.

Commentary

1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

It follows from what was said in the previous chapter that the people should regard their ministers as the servants of Christ, and dispensers of the truths which God had revealed.

Let a man so account of us,

Although the apostle had said before that he, and other ministers of the Gospel, were not anything when compared to God, and, as far as the churches are concerned, they belonged to them; they were for their use—to lead and benefit them; however they were not to be trampled upon, and treated with contempt, but they were to be known, esteemed, and honored for their works' sake, their respective positions, and personal character; and although they were mere men, they were not to be considered as private men, acting in a private capacity, but in a public office, and as public preachers of the word; and they were not to be regarded as lords and masters over God's Christians, but as servants of the church. They are to listen to what they have to say, as if they were sent to them by God, which they were: they were to receive as it were at their hands the treasure of salvation which is drawn out of the secrets of God.

So account of us. Paul makes a request of the Corinthian believers; that he, and the other apostles (us) be regarded as servants. Paul had a real problem with the Corinthians; they tended to look down on him and not respect his apostolic authority. In carefully chosen words, Paul will show the Corinthians how to have a proper regard—not too exalted, and not too low—of him and the other apostles.

us--Paul and Apollos, and the other apostles.

as the ministers of Christ,

We are all “the ministers of Christ.” Every believer is a minister of Christ. Sometimes a member of a congregation will say, “There is my minister.” Well, I hope he is a minister of Christ instead, because he is responsible to Him. And you, as a minister of Christ, are responsible to Him. We are all ministers. You are a preacher whether you like it or not. Now don’t get angry with me for saying that. I heard this story from a preacher on TV. “There was a man living near our church in Pasadena, when I was pastor there, who was an alcoholic, a real sot. He lived with his mother who was a wonderful Christian lady, and she asked me to talk with him. One day when I saw him staggering down the street, I just sort of detoured him into my study. He sat down and I told him what a sorry person he was. He agreed with every bit of it. Then I said to him, “Do you know that you are a preacher?” Well, he stood up and said, “Don’t you call me that—I’ll hit you!” He didn’t mind being called a drunkard or an alcoholic, but he certainly didn’t want to be called a preacher! Well, we are all preachers. As I told him, ‘We preach some message by our lives. You are saying something to the world and to those around you by your life. You can’t help it. I live my life unto you and you live your life unto me. It’s just that way. We have that kind of influence.’” My friend, if you are a believer, you are a minister of Christ. What kind of message are you giving?

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