Summary: To really come to grips with the ministry God wants for us is the great challenge of the Christian life.

(1 Corinthians 4:1-21)

How would you define ministry, particularly your ministry?

The apostle Paul is very serious about this aspect of ministry among God’s people. We have not been saved to be passive, but rather, to do the work of the ministry under the authority of God.

One basic aspect of ministry has to do with the opportunities that are before us. How do I recognize an opportunity for ministry?

Perhaps another important question would be, how many opportunities for ministry have I missed?

Being a servant of Christ is not an easy life. In fact, in our own strength it is absolutely impossible. What God wants to do through my life cannot be accomplished by my strength or even my wisdom.

Even David as a young person understood this particularly when he faced Goliath.

“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).

Ministry does not have anything to do with our ability or talent. In fact, these things get in the way of the spiritual ministry that God has in mind for us.

Theme… To really come to grips with the ministry God wants for us is the great challenge of the Christian life.

Paul uses the phrase here “Servants of Christ.”

It is important to understand that we are servants of Christ, not servants of people. If we are servants of people, we do them a great disservice because we are serving only on the human level.

As a servant of Christ, I am now serving on God’s level, having available to me God’s resources to do what God delights us to do.

If I am a servant of Christ and totally committed to serving him, I will find a joy in my life that nothing else could match.

Will there be troubles, trials and tribulations?

No doubt about that.

If your life is easy, it is probably because you are not doing anything, particularly anything for Christ.

The enemy will do everything within his power to distract us from serving Christ. This we can only deal with through the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.

One interesting thought here is, if our ministry is guided by human talent it can then be compromised and manipulated by the enemy. If, on the other hand, it is completely guided by the Holy Spirit the devil cannot touch it, although he tries.

How many people think they are doing ministry, but are actually being used by the enemy to lead people away from Christ? (Cults within the church. A cult mentality).

I want to make sure in my life and ministry that that is not happening to me. It is a continuous safeguard of my ministry to the Lord.

Paul lays down the framework for us to be servants of Christ.

I. Our Ownership (4:1-3)

Paul makes a very important comment here in verse one.

“Think of us as servants who are owned by Christ.”

It is important for me to understand this aspect of ownership. Who really owns me?

With some people, you can easily see that they own themselves. They are their own God and this is found even among some Christians who do not quite understand the difference.

Paul considered himself a “servant.”

If you go through this passage here you will see how Paul was so committed to Christ that he was willing to sacrifice everything even his own ownership.

The owner of the apostle Paul was Christ, as such he was accountable only to Christ.

“A servant must be faithful to his owner. This is expected of him.”

To know who the owner is, is the first step towards being faithful. If I do not know who my owner is, I am wavering in a sea of discomfort and delusion, not knowing where I’m going.

Paul emphasizes this in verse three.

“It is not the most important thing to me what you or any other people think of me. Even what I think of myself does not mean much.”

This is a remarkable statement in the light of what we see in the church today. Everybody seems to be very sensitive to what people think of them. Paul went a step further and said he was not even concerned about what he thought of himself.

He knew that he was absolutely surrendered to Jesus Christ and as such, he did not know everything that God was doing in his life, but he knew that God was working and he was faithful to the God working in his life.

If I am going to grasp what it means to be a servant of Christ, I need to understand this ownership aspect.

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