READ: 1Corinthians 4 & 5
BACKGROUND: Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth. At this time, Corinth was a thriving Greek city known for its sea trade, its interest in philosophy and wisdom, its religion (the city had at least 12 temples served by over 1000 prostitutes), and its extreme immorality. Imagine the enormous task of teaching these new believers what it meant to be devoted to Jesus. The Corinthians, unlike the new Jewish converts, had no training whatsoever in God’s laws. Paul gives instruction on important Biblical principles which transcend culture and give us practical applications for our lives today.
1 Corinthians 4: 3 – We aren’t qualified to judge! Even when we are pretty sure we are innocent, we could be mistaken.
5 – God will judge believers.
8 – Paul is an expert at using irony and sarcasm to point out the ridiculousness of the Corinthians mind set and boasting….”You are kings….you are rich….you’ve got it all!”
14 – “Shame on you!” Now, Paul lets them have it! Ouch!
5:1 – Incest is so detestable that even pagans refuse to engage in such behavior.
2 – This sort of sin was absolutely not to be tolerated in the body of Christ. Paul says this man must not continue to fellowship with other believers in church.
6 – Yeast represents sin. If sin goes unchecked, it spreads like yeast in bread.
9 – We cannot expect unbelievers to live according to God’s word. On the other hand, as believers in Jesus Christ, we must hold each other accountable to live holy lives.
THINK: 1 Corinthians 4:3 – 4 are two of my favorite verses. Too often, I find myself being way, way too concerned about what others think of me. The risk of having someone dislike me causes me to become a people pleaser. It doesn’t sound so bad, really. What’s the problem with doing things other people want me to do? Or saying things other people want me to say? The problem is, people pleasing can become bondage. Read verse three carefully. Paul doesn’t say, “I couldn’t care less what anybody thinks of me. I do things my way.” Rather he says, “I care very little how I am judged by mere humans…The one who examines is the LORD.” We are in the process of learning how to be pleasing and acceptable to the LORD…not to others and not to ourselves! Read what James McDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Church in Chicago, has to say about people pleasing:
- Minimize my focus on what people think of me.
- People pleasing is NOT from GOD.
- People pleasing is impossible! Everyone wants something different!
- People pleasing is destructive.
- People pleasing disqualifies us as servants of Christ! We cannot serve two masters.
ASK: Get alone with God and ask him if he is pleased with your life! Ask him to show you what pleases him (Ephesians 5:10). Let’s get our focus on JESUS and live a life pleasing to HIM!