1 Corinthians 4: Unrespected Servants

How do you think Christians should want to be seen by others?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:1 People should regard us as servants of Christ and teachers of God’s hidden truth.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

If workers don’t do a good job, what will happen to them?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:2 Those who work for others are required to do a good job.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Among customers, observers, co-workers, supervisors, bosses, and the company owner, whose judgment of our work matters most?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:3 What you or the world thinks of my work doesn’t matter much. I don’t even judge myself.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:3 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.

How can our judgment of ourselves be fundamentally flawed?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:4 Although my conscience is clear, I lack the knowledge to judge myself. Only the Lord has the ability to judge my motives and my work.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

What is the danger of premature judgment?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:5 Judging now, before the Lord returns, can’t be accurate, but he will bring to light what was hidden in the darkness. Because he judges the thoughts and intent of our hearts, we will receive the appropriate commendations.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

What problems might be created when we compare ourselves with others or rank one person above another?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:6 Fellow believers, I have used myself and Apollos to illustrate an important lesson for you. Respect the Scriptures and never see one of your leaders as better than the others.
4:7 What gives you the right to discriminate? All you have are gifts from God. Since you received them, you have no right to give anyone preeminence as if they were not something received.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

How can feeling we are doing very well be a problem?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:8 Full and content, you think you have everything you need. Like kings on their thrones, you have no need for us. I wish it were true, because then we could reign together.
Revelation 3:17 While you say, “I am rich, my business is thriving, and I have everything I could want,” you don’t realize how pitifully poor, blind, and naked you are, spiritually destitute.
3:18 You should seek treasure from me because my gold is 100 percent pure, of the highest value. Then you really will be rich. Buy my finest garments, and you will be free from embarrassment and shame. Accept my prescription for your eyes, and you will see clearly.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Why are God’s messengers not always recognized and respected?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 13:57 They did not trust his actions or what he said. Jesus said to them, “A prophet has honor everywhere except in his own country and in his own household.”
John 16:2 People will put you out of their synagogues. In fact, there will be a time when they will kill you and think they have pleased God.
16:3 They will do those things because they do not know the Father or me.
1 Corinthians 4:9 God seems to have set up his messengers to receive the least respect, as if we were outcasts condemned to death—destined to hang on a cross for everyone in Heaven and on Earth to see.
King James
Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
16:3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

If we get no respect, what should we do?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:10 n our serving Christ, we look like fools while you appear wise. We’re weak. You’re strong. We get no respect, but you are highly honored.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.

What kinds of sacrifices can God’s messengers make, still with no recognition?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:11 Right now, we hunger and thirst, have no clothes to protect us from the cold, and are treated harshly, with no place to call home.
4:12 We work with our hands to the point of exhaustion, blessing those who curse us, enduring persecution.
4:13 Unjustly accused, we offered a good defense, but the world sees us as garbage, trash to be disposed of. It’s still that way today.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

How should we be motivated to make our sacrifices known?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:14 I’m not writing these things to make you feel bad, but to make you aware—as a father would advise his son.
4:15 You might have ten thousand advisors telling you what Christ would have you do, but you don’t have many who care for you like a father loves his son. I am your spiritual father who brought the good news about Jesus.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

What characteristics would make our example be worth following?

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1 Corinthians 4:16 That’s why I urge you to follow my example.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

What character trait do you think deserves the greatest respect?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:17 Because I care for you so much, I have sent Timothy to you, my dear son in Christ and faithful follower of Jesus. He will remind you of my commitment to serving the Lord, which I teach in every assembly.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

How would you describe the difference in talking about someone when that person is either present or absent?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:18 Some of you have become pridefully independent, as if I will never visit you again.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

Of what value is an announcement of what is coming?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 4:19 Rest assured, I will come soon, the Lord willing, and you will know the power of God’s truth, not boastful speeches,
4:20 for the power of God’s kingdom is in the walk, not the talk.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.