Read verse 3. What does Paul say is “a very small thing,” and what does he mean? In verse 3, what does Paul say he does not do to himself, and how does the beginning of verse 4 clarify what he means? Is Paul “acquitted” because he is “not aware of anything against” himself? Why or why not, according to verse 4?
DOCTRINE: A faithful steward of Christ does not strive to please man, the world, or even himself, ultimately. A faithful steward strives to please His Master, Christ.
I. A FAITHFUL STEWARD OF CHRIST IS NOT A MAN-PLEASER (1 Corinthians 4:3a)
II. A FAITHFUL STEWARD OF CHRIST IS NOT A WORLD-PLEASER (1 Corinthians 4:3b)
III. A FAITHFUL STEWARD OF CHRIST IS NOT A SELF-PLEASER (1 Corinthians 4:3c-4a)
IV. A FAITHFUL STEWARD OF CHRIST IS A CHRIST-PLEASER (1 Corinthians 4:4b)
Objection I) Does Paul not say elsewhere that he does in fact try to please men? (1 Corinthians 10:33, Romans 15:2-3)
A. Yes, but this is not “the fear of man” or “man-pleasing,” properly speaking. This is, first, Paul striving not to put cultural stumbling blocks in unbelievers’ ways, because he wants their salvation. Secondly, in Romans 15, Paul is exhorting us to live for the eternal good of others, just as Christ has done for us.
Objection II) Does this mean that we should not care at all what anyone else thinks?
A. I answer, No! But we should only care insofar as God’s Word is clear. (Proverbs 11:14, Matthew 18:17)
Objection III) Does this mean we should not examine ourselves nor pay attention when our conscience is under distress?
A. I answer, No! But we should realize that even if we examine ourselves and find nothing, or even if our conscience is clear, we may still be in the wrong—Christ will be the judge. (Jeremiah 17:19)
I) To strive to please man is to strive to please creations when you should be striving to please the Creator (Isaiah 2:22).
II) Men can never be pleased because even their standards of approval are always changing (Matthew 11:18-19).
III) If you strive to please men, you rejecting the wisdom of God (Proverbs 9:10).
IV) When you care more for pleasing men than pleasing Christ, you are acting like an atheist (Isaiah 51:12-13).
V) Christ Himself did not please men, therefore how can you dare to think it is possible (John 15:18-20)?
VI) Christ Himself promised you will not please all men if you are faithful to Him (Matthew 10:21-22).
VII) Christ Himself pronounced a curse on you when all men speak well of you (Luke 6:26).
VIII) The temptation to please man is a trap that many fall prey to (Proverbs 29:25).
IX) The antidote to fearing man is to fear God (Psalm 118:6-9).
X) If you make it your aim to please God, He may even make your enemies be at peace with you (Proverbs 16:17).
XI) You must strive to be a Christ-pleaser in your vocation, and not simply a man-pleaser (Colossians 3:22-24).
XII) You can either strive to please man or strive to please Christ; you cannot do both at the same time (Galatians 1:10).
XIII) If you are not in Christ, you cannot hope to please God (Romans 8:8).
XIV) If you are in Christ by faith, having your sins washed away and being clothed in His righteousness, God is pleased with you for Christ’s sake (Romans 5:1, Mark 1:14).
XV) You do not have to strive to please men or the world or even yourself to be happy; you only have to be strive to please Christ (Colossians 1:10).
DOCTRINE: Pastors must be regarded as lowly slaves and stewards of Christ, given to the church as gifts; and they must be faithful to Christ because they will be scrutinized by Him.
I. PASTORS MUST BE REGARDED AS SLAVES OF CHRIST (1 Corinthians 4:1a)
I) The Lord Jesus Christ is the Master of Pastors (1 Corinthians 4:1a). II) Pastors are shepherds of the church, with Christ Himself as the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). III) Pastors do not get to choose what they do; their duty is to do what they have been commanded (Luke 17:10). IV) The only way for Pastors to know what their Master commands is through their Masters’ words (Luke 1:2). V) Pastors’ chief duties that their Master commands are (I) prayer and (II) studying, teaching, and preaching the Word of God (Acts 6:4, John 21, 1 Timothy 4:13, Titus 1:9). VI) Pastors who makes it their aim to obey their Master will be rewarded (1 Peter 5:4). VII) If a Pastor is a wolf, fleecing the flock of the Master, Christ will cut him into pieces (Luke 12:46). VIII) If a Pastor is a hireling, not doing what he knows his Master commands, Christ will give him a severe beating (Luke 12:47). IX) If a Pastor is not both a hearer and doer of the Word, but rather remains ignorant or indifferent concerning what his Master commands, Christ will give him a beating (Luke 12:48).
II. PASTORS MUST BE REGARDED AS STEWARDS OF GOSPEL TRUTHS (1 Corinthians 4:1b)
III. PASTORS ARE STEWARDS WHO WILL BE SCRUTINIZED BY THEIR MASTER (1 Corinthians 4:2)
IV. PASTORS ARE STEWARDS WHO MUST BE FAITHFUL TO THEIR MASTER (1 Corinthians 4:2)
I) Seeing that you must regard Pastors as slaves and stewards of Christ, make sure not to idolize them.
II) Make sure not to hold Pastors in contempt or be ungrateful for them.
III) Pray for Pastors and support them however you can—the faithful ones have tired arms and are frequently under great distress in the bottom of the ship.
IV) I would says also, lastly, pray for God to raise up more faithful Pastors who will gladly spend their lives as slaves and stewards of Christ.