Digging Deeper is a weekly Bible study usually available on Monday morning. We offer this unique spiritual formation tool to anyone who wants to receive it. Use Digging Deeper as a personal Bible study tool, for family devotions, and for small group discussions. Weekly lessons are based on the current sermon series at The Chapel.
The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our March 3, 2019 message, What God Requires.
LISTEN TO THE SERMON
Don’t forget to listen to the sermon again as you work through this Sermon Based Study Guide. You can download the sermon through a variety of venue. The easiest way to listen the sermon and get information about our church is on our church app. You can download our app by searching for The Chapel at Warren Valley in the App Store or get it on Google Play. Or you can always listen to our sermons on our church’s website http://www.thechapelnj.org/sermons
SUMMARY of the sermon
Pastor Tim’s message continued our new series, entitled, “The Right-Side-Up Gospel for an Upside-Down Church” from 1 Corinthians. Tim preached from 1 Corinthians 4:1-13. From his message, we see:
How should we evaluate ministers of the gospel?
Many people today evaluate ministries by worldly wisdom (the size of the congregation, the building, the dynamic personality of the leader)
As a result, the congregation can become more devoted to the earthly leader than to Christ. They may begin to exalt one leader over others.
So, if that is not an accurate way to evaluate a minister or ministry, how should we evaluate those who preach the gospel?
Paul begins the section by saying, “this is how you regard us.” (1 Corinthians 4:1)
Paul states that the responsibility of the pastor in two phrases: “servants of Christ” and “stewards of the mysteries of God.”
As a servant, pastors are in a position that is under the authority of Christ
As stewards, pastors are ones who supervise and manage the church of God.
What is required? (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Paul speaks of mysteries, which are truths which cannot be discovered by humanity without the revelation of God. These truths are found in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-11).
The pastor has received these mysteries and is obligated to oversee the delivery of them to the congregation that they are called by God to serve.
The pastor is also called to supervise or manage the family of God in a way that will honor and please God
So, the primary goal is for the pastor to be found faithful. To be faithful means that he has shown evidence of a God-honoring life over time. It is not contingent on the pastor to be a “superstar” but to be reliable (see 1 Timothy 3:1-6 - note that most of the characteristics listed for an elder are also required of all of the people of God).
“I serve you; but you are not my master” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5)
Paul served the Corinthians. But the Corinthians were not his master. Paul’s master was God alone. Therefore, Paul is not concerned about what they think of him.
Preaching is about the proclamation of the gospel not the popularity of the preacher.
When we focus on highly gifted people, we tend to devalue the majority of the people. “God uses common vessels, filled by the Spirit, to change the world.”
Beware of pride (1 Corinthians 4:6-13)
Paul uses three rhetorical questions to humble the Corinthians
For who sees anything different in you?
What do you have that you did not receive?
If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
To boast about your God-given talents is foolishness
All that we have is given to us by God
God requires faithfulness in serving others and stewarding the gospel
Unleash the gifts you have been given, to the glory of God and, the good of others
Bringing It Home: (Reflect, request, respond)
Reflect: QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
Read 1 Corinthians 4:1. Paul speaks of “mysteries” that have been revealed. What did you learn from the message about these mysteries?
Read Ephesians 3:4-5. From this passage, what do you learn about the “mystery” that has been revealed?
Paul was being judged by the Corinthians as to his ministry abilities. What have you learned that the Corinthians used as a criterion for a good pastor? From what you have learned from the book, what makes a godly pastor?
Do you often feel judged by others? Do you often judge yourself? How did Paul deal with both of these issues in 1 Corinthians 4:3-6?
Read 1 Corinthians 4:7. The Corinthians have seemed to forget that all they have is from God. What are the rhetorical questions Paul asked to drive home this point?
How do you handle sufferings and trials in this life? Read 1 Corinthians 4:11-13. How does Paul handle his trials?
Read, meditate on and begin to memorize Ephesians 4:1-3. How would these verses have been helpful for the Corinthians? How do you need to begin to apply these in your life?
request: PRAYer and praise
Ask God to help you to focus more on the blessings you have received
Confess and repent of any sins that are in your thoughts, words or actions that have been judgmental and sinfully critical of others
Ask for the Holy Spirit to help you grow in faithfulness and to help you use the gifts that He has given to you, for the glory of God and the good of others
Respond: applying what you have learned
How can you love God more through what you have learned? (read, study, meditate, memorize, share)
How can you love others more through what you have learned?
Additional RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
Suggested Scripture Study: Read Matthew 18:15-18; Acts 20:19; Ephesians 3:4-5; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 2 Timothy 3:10-16; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12