1 Corinthians 4
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH US? It may not initially seem like this is very applicable to the issues and problems you will have today, but looking at its context will help you see that it does. Paul has been addressing a problem in the Corinthian church in which they were splitting up into factions that followed various preachers. Some followed Paul, others Apollos, and others just went off on their own. But here we are reminded that as members of the church we are people under authority. Certainly we are under the authority of Jesus, there's a delegated authority between us and Him. In the case of theses early churches like Corinth, that delegated authority were the apostles, and Paul is writing that since both he and Apollos were delegated by Christ, it makes no sense for Christians to categorize themselves.
Of course today the apostles are long gone. The authority of Christ still persists, but in the place of the apostles, we have the words they wrote to us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We don't just pick a few of the books we like and disregard the others, rather, we hold all sixty-six books of both the Old and the New Testament as being Christ's delegated authority in our lives.
WE'VE BEEN KEEPING SCORE WRONG: We live in a world that judges success in large part by the wealth a person accumulates, and even as Christians we are not immune from that temptation. Paul writes in v10-13 just a little bit of what his worldly reward was for being a successful apostle, and it looks nothing like what we would expect success to look like. Certainly having nice things isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but make sure that's not what your using to gauge your discipleship.
WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME: The Corinthian church had massive problems, and tomorrow we'll read about one of the ugliest of them. We're quick to think of the church as being a place of love and acceptance, which it definitely is, but we also must never forget the reminder Paul gives in v14-21 that a primary function of the church is to provide discipline for Christians who are living in such a way that injures themselves and drags the church down as a whole.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The one who reveals mysteries (v1) and who will praise us when He brings to light what is now hidden in darkness (v5)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Imitate the example given by Paul and the other human authors of God's Word (v16)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: