(Notes from Dr. Chris' message, Feb. 26, fbc ruston)
1 Corinthians 4: 1-12
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
I. We Are All Entrusted With A Mission
v. 1 -- servant is an under-rower, or guardian of the family, in biblical times; faithful and trusted; it's a service job.
We are entrusted with a mission to spread the message of Jesus, "the mysteries of God."
II. How Are You Doing?
3-7 -- Don't trust your opinion or the opinion of others' concerning yourself. Paul didn't. Be careful how you judge yourself. "He who judges me is the Lord" ... stay close to Christ and the Word to make sure you are being faithful to Christ's mission
III The Journey Will Be Tough
9 -- Paul agrees with those in Corinth who are talking about how tough things are.
10-13 Paul warns that things likely will get worse, at this time in the Roman world ...
If you are serious on the mission, you will get hammered...if it's tough, it means you are doing something right. Jesus said, "they cursed me, they will curse you."
III Live Worthily 12-17
Aristotle: do not endure insult
Jesus: pray for those who insult you
* How to Live Worthily
a. Be tough -- 'velvet steel' as Abe Lincoln was
b. Live above the junk: spiritually and psychologically, rise above it
c. Stay on Mission -- v. 16 -- Paul says 'imitate me' ... Be an example of endurance
"Christians not called to be successful, but to be faithful"