God's Judgment or Other People's Approval (1 Cor. 4:1-4)

Date: 1/26/2014
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Organization: All Saints
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1 Corinthians 4:1-5 - This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

The basis of God's judgment - Paul wants to be regarded as a steward and a servant. These titles contain the idea of someone who is in charge of managing an estate. This estate manager is responsible to answer only to the estate owner. Paul has been made a servant in the house of God, that is, the church. As a servant Paul will stand before God and answer for his work. What God is looking for is faithfulness. Was Paul faithful to Christ and the work that he was called to? Each of us has been called by Christ, and he demands the entirety of our lives. Are we being faithful to this call?

The futility of human judgment - Paul's statement in verse 4 almost sounds haughty. However, the Corinthians were judging Paul according to the standards of this world. They were judging him on the basis of status, lofty speech, and worldly wisdom. Not only are their standards of judgments completely worldly, but no human judgment can ever be ultimate. We are limited in our understanding and our judgments are often clouded by sin. Do we approach other people with a judgmental attitude, or an attitude of humility?

The ultimacy of God's judgment - Contrasted with the limited and cloudy judgments of humans is the penetrating and perfect judgment of God. God even discloses the secret purposes of the heart, something that man could never do. God's judgment has eternal consequences. Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. It is in light of this ultimate judgment that we should live, not pointless judgments of the world around us. Who is it that we fear? Is it man or God? Whose approval do we try to attain—the world around us, or Christ's?

Jared Micah McNabb Jared McNabb (M.Div. Westminster Theological Seminary; B.A. Lancaster Bible College) is the pastor of Christ Church of Morgantown, (CREC) in Morganton, WV. He previously pastored St. Paul's Church (Millers, MD) and has served as a Pastoral Intern at All Saints Church (CREC) in Lancaster PA.