• Matt Beaney

#494 (2/12/21) PRIDES IS DEFLATED BY THE FOOLISH (1 COR. 4:8-13)



This week’s devotionals are based on 1 Corinthians 4

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.’ (1 Corinthians 4:8-13)

i) PRIDE SEEKS HIGH STATUS

In their efforts to look ‘rich’, ‘reigning’, ‘wise in Christ’, ‘strong’, ‘honoured’ they were distorting the gospel and biblical teaching. This is something that many churches and Christians continue to fall into. It seems that some false teachers in the Corinthian church are promising a false kind of victorious living.

Paul refutes their claims. He tells them, ‘How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!' He then goes on to tell them of his experience of suffering and being a fool for Christ.


ii) PRIDE IS DEFLATED BY THE FOOLISH

Paul contrasts himself with them by saying, We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured!’ Being a fool for Christ is a choice. It’s about being authentic and honest about our convictions and the message of the gospel. It’s choosing between seeking to impress or seeking to crucify our pride and serve Jesus and His mission in our various interactions. May we learn to say,

‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ (1 Corinthians 1:18)
‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.’ (Romans 1:16)

How could you seek to be more foolish for Christ? How could you let your light shine more brightly?


OVER TO YOU - PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.’ (1 Corinthians 4:8-13)


I find it helpful to use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).


1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Let's be talking, planning and praying about who we could invite to our carol service.






Please feel free to use these as a digital invite for your friends.


Here is the link for you to book ticket for yourself and your friends:

https://www.communitychurchputney.com/carol-service-2021

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?


3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we looked at 1 Corinthians 4. Rather than reading the whole chapter together, I'll pick out a few verses.


In this chapter, Paul is seeking to deflate the pride of many in the Corinthian church. Pride is deflated in many ways:


i) PRIDE IS DEFLATED BY SERVICE

'This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.' (1 Corinthians 4:1)

Remembering that Jesus is our Lord is vital to humility. Pride puts itself in the place of God, humility seeks worship and obedience for Jesus.



ii) PRIDE IS DEFLATED BY GOD'S WORD

'Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.' (1 Corinthians 4:6)

Seeking to obey and learn what the bible says about leadership will humble us. Any study of the leaders of the Bible will teach us that they were all reliant on God's grace for gifts and victory.


iii) PRIDE IS DEFLATED BY FOOLISHNESS

'We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured!' (1 Corinthians 4:10)

Many at Corinth were seeking to have high status by the standards of their culture and they wanted their leaders to do the same. Seeking to be 'fools for Christ' - being open about the gospel and our faith will keep us humble.


iii) PRIDE IS DEFLATED BY DISCIPLINE

'I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me... What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?' (1 Corinthians 4:14-16, 21)

Pride is deflated by God's discipline - His correction. This disciline comes through relationships, circumstances, God's word and church leaders. Pride hates correction, humility know that it needs others' correction and advice.


A good definition of humility is,

'humility is confidence properly placed'.

Pride, however, moves its confidence onto self and worldly methods.


Discussion questions

1. 'Humility is confidence properly placed': how can this definition be applied in our lives?

2. How have you personally struggled with pride in your life?

3. Which of the four 'deflators' of pride do you feel most challenged about?

4. SIV - Let's share, plan and pray about those that we are inviting to the carol service on 5th December.







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