I Corinthians 4:1-5

•I Corinthians 4:1-5
•Rotten Fruit?
1 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.

(I Corinthians 4:1-5, ESV)

Main Point

• They are warned not to pass judgment on things they do not know
• Paul does not take seriously the judgments against his ministry whether it be from within or without
• He leaves it in the hands of God since God alone knows our intentions
• He alone is judge because He alone is the owner

Application Points

•Rotten Fruit?
– It is easy to come to conclusions without having all the information
– In doing this we show we are being partial jurors
– It is easy for us to conclude something is not proper in a ministry because of our presuppositions
– By using ourselves as the compass it can lead to us overreaching when it comes to our judgments
– We are poor compasses
– Even articulating the reason behind our own actions can be difficult
– This means the “Why” question often eludes us
– We are not omniscient
– Our finiteness gets in the way of our ability to discern
“1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

(Matthew 7:1-5, ESV)

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

(Matthew 7:15-23, ESV)

Application Points

•Rotten Fruit? (2)
– Jesus warns of making bad judgments, yet he shows we must make judgments (verses 15-23)
– Jesus gives us a way to spot the difference
– It will be found in their faithfulness
– Are they obedient to God or are they serving themselves?
– Paul is dealing with people like this in Corinth
– Paul lives for the glory of God…proclaiming the Gospel above all else
– The Corinthians are judging him incorrectly in one of two ways
– First they are judging his fruit
– They see red apples good to eat
– Yet before taking a bite or cutting in they declare it to be rotten

Application Points

•Rotten Fruit? (3)
– Let’s say my wife does something kind for me
– Instead of being thankful for the kind act, I can turn it on its head
– “She has some ulterior motive”
– In this way I am looking at the apple and claiming it is rotten
– The second way they are judging incorrectly is by claiming what is good fruit is actually bad
– In either case they become what Jesus warns about
– In the first they are judging things they can’t even judge
– The second they are claiming Godhood, living lives of complete liberty
– There is no one, not even God, who can give them a Law to obey

Application Points

•Rotten Fruit? (4)
– Paul is saying the same thing
– He is not saying we should make no discernments
– He is hitting on something far closer to us
– The subconscious aspects of the human heart and mind
– Paul is bringing a dose of humility
– That we are fallible means we can only do so much before we concede we are not always capable of coming to the right conclusions
– We have no right to make these kinds of judgments on ourselves or on others
– Paul lays it at the feet of God Almighty
– This is utterly freeing
– The Christian has a simple responsibility, to be faithful
– He alone is capable of giving us a foundation not only for salvation, but all of life

Application Points

•Rotten Fruit? (5)
– If we admit our own limitations, then it is pure joy knowing there is One who is not limited
– It is pure joy knowing God has made Himself known to us
– It means we can let go
– We do not need to re-guess every decision we make
– We can choose to this very moment be good stewards by being faithful
– Stop dwelling on things you cannot know with absolute certainty, and you can trust the One who is Absolute Himself
– It also means we have nothing to fear from the world
– We have a responsibility to simply trust in God
– What does it matter what the world thinks of us?

Application Points

• Rotten Fruit? (6)
– All that matters is what God thinks
– When we refocus ourselves to remembering that the most important Person to please is God, it gives us freedom
– This does not mean anything goes
– The faithful steward
– The real question we must ask are we seeking to be faithful?
– If we are, then let go of everything else and cling to that faithfulness
– In order to be faithful to God it requires us to do as He desires
– If I seek to be a faithful husband it will be in the context of loving my wife as Christ loves the Church
– An unfaithful husband, however, would look, act, in ways which are the opposite of this

Application Points

• Rotten Fruit? (7)
– The judgment which Paul describes shows a rebranding by the Corinthians
– Either in judging his motivations, or his good actions are really bad
– For the first, Paul wonders why not just accept the actions rather than claim to understand Paul’s heart which he can barely comprehend?
– For the second, Paul must show what is actually good rather than their perceived understanding of it
– As it is there is One who does know and comprehends
– He can judge rightly, and will judge rightly in His day
– Let us not judge too harshly but let’s focus on what we can know and let that be enough
– Let us also trust God in His ways, and stop trying to be God ourselves

Application Points

• Rotten Fruit? (8)
– This seems to be the greatest way to peace in this life
– To trust God in faithfulness
– We can only worry about the opinion that matters which is God’s
– Without faithfulness, however, we have nothing to stand on
– The only way to silence the critics is to be faithful
– What are we waiting for?
– We have been granted freedom in this life to know what is good, right, and just
– Let’s waste no time in letting go of the envy and strife
– Let us learn to live faithfully here and now, trusting God all the way

•Application Points
•The Gospel of Christ
–Where we began
–What went wrong
–How it is fixed
–Where it at leads