Following Christ In Obscurity: 1 Corinthian 4:5-13

Christ has called HIS followers to follow Him…not to seek recognition

Beware performance ministry…Church Planter: ‘Cover Boy’ / Culture of Stories

This kind of Christian Culture elevates our flesh, not being like Christ

Audience: Immature Christians making the church standards the world’s standards.

Are you ok with obscurity, perhaps even mistreatment?

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. (Last Week)

  • No Judgement until Judgement day
  • If we are not judging each others motives we can love in from grace
  • Almost all of Matthew 6 Jesus is laying down what Paul is saying here

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.

  • These things: Unity / Christ = Wisdom / Spirit Revelation / Mature Leadership
  • Mature Christians applying Scripture benefits the Body (healthy relationships)
  • Stick with what God Says, not what the world says
  • Grounding in Scripture keeps you humble and from being part of cliques

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

  • Did some leader provide your salvation?
  • Did you make it happen yourself?
  • If God did IT ALL why do believers start preforming & posturing in the body?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!

  • People were considering themselves ‘Arrived’, not needing discipleship
  • People were thinking they already discovered all the riches of Christ
  • People were saying they knew better than God’s Apostles and Leaders
  • Paul is saying they (Apostles) are reigning (Not by the Worlds measure)

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.

  • Those who are fully living as God intends us all to live are not honored
  • Why would someone live like that?

We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!

  • Paul is being Sarcastic…is God using sarcasm to make a point?
  • Who is honoring the Corinthians?

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands.

  • Earthly rewards…NOPE!
  • Answering God’s call on you life is rarely glamorous

When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

  • Example of what true Maturity In Christ looks like…it looks like Christ
  • This is opposite of how our world says you are to be

Paul gives example of the depth of sacrifice the Apostolic church leadership experienced…as church leaders do in many ways around the world.

The depth of their sacrifice, their love for Christ and HIS body, led to intense revelation of God…that revelation became Scripture, the next part of “What is Written”

Those levels of sacrifice for Christ’s Body, can this be our example?

Application Questions:

What is your motivation to really know God’s Word?

In what ways might you be tempted to seek people’s approval thru ministry?

Why should you serve God in the most humble and anonymous ways?

How might you develop a realistic view of true maturity in Christ?

Who are the people in your life that follow Christ in obscurity?

John 17:9 & 15-20

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours…

…I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…” ~ Jesus The Christ