As we continue to move through our Messy Church series in 1 Corinthians, we come to a text that challenges us to consider if we are humbling imitating our Savior. As Paul writes, he is helping the Corinthians to see that: As servants of Jesus we are called to imitate the humility of Jesus in our lives.
- We are Servants and Stewards of Christ: v.1
Immediately, Paul helps us to see the attitude and the role that we are to play in God’s Kingdom is tied to us being servants and stewards. We are servants because we doubly belong to God. In this, we mean that God has both created us as well as purchased us from sin. As stewards, we are entrusted with the gospel. Think about this, the most amazing treasure in the world is what God has entrusted to our care!
- Servants are Judged and Commended by God: v.2-5
Paul then moves to the aspect of judgment and commendation. It’s crucial for us to see what Paul is driving at here, especially in our current social context. So often, we want to avoid any sense or feeling of judgment whatsoever. Yet, the Scriptures are pointing us to some really important truths with respect to judgment. Paul makes clear that we are not judged by others or by ourselves. Now, he’s not saying that it will never happen, but that those judgments don’t carry any weight. Yet so often, those judgments carry too much weight in our life. What Paul does go on to say is that we are judged by God. If this statement hung in isolation, it would be quite terrifying. But it doesn’t because God chose to place His judgment upon Christ, thus freeing us from the wrath that we deserve. We must be honest about the reality of judgment, but we are also freed from the judgment of others and ourselves.
- Servants are Not Arrogant Toward Others: v.6-8
In speaking about the Corinthians, Paul gives us a few crucial items that help us to humbly imitate Jesus. Here we see that we are to value and care for all people, not simply those that we choose to esteem. Then we see that Paul confronts the idea that we have anything to boast in, because anything good in us, has come from God! This too cultivates humility as we realize that the only thing we can lay claim to is our sin. Finally, we see that we have not arrived, but are required to continue to press on in the Lord.
- Servants are Humbled by God: v.9-13
In stunning contrast to the previous verses, we see that we are humbled by God. These verses are difficult to read as we’re confronted with the humbling that comes from God. The sentence of death; living as fools for Jesus and understanding that we are the scum of the world all point to this truth. While difficult, these truths bring us back to a place of humility and dependency upon Jesus.
- Servants Appeal to Jesus: v.14-21
In the final verses, we see an appeal to point others to Jesus. Essentially, what Paul is advocating for is biblical discipleship. He is encouraging the church to corporately point one another toward Jesus. One of the things that we talked about on Sunday was encouraging folks toward a 1-to-1 discipleship. This means that you find someone else and commit to reading the Scriptures together for the sole purpose of pointing one another toward Jesus. If you’re not sure what this may look like, certainly feel free to reach out to us and we would love to help you move forward in this. Another resource we would highly recommend is Mark Dever’s book Discipling.
As we closed our time, we did so by asking a few questions. As always, I want to include those here for you to review and consider.
1 Do I have the heart attitude of a servant?
2 Do I see my role as a steward or as something different?
3 Will I choose to not worry about the judgment of others or myself, and only be concerned with the judgment of God?
4 Am I arrogant in my estimation of self? In what ways can I respond in humility and graciousness?
5 Am I willing to live under the sentence of death for the glory of Christ?
6 Am I willing to model and imitate Jesus for the sake of discipleship?