• Matt Beaney

#495 (3/12/21) PRIDE IS DEFLATED BY DISCIPLINE (1 COR. 4:14-21)



This week’s devotionals are based on 1 Corinthians 4


We are God’s ‘dear children’. Therefore, He will discipline us for our good. We live in an age when correction is sometimes frowned upon. We can even come to believe that discipline is harmful. Of course, this can be the case, but the person who is not corrected is also being harmed! The whole of 1 Corinthians chapter 4 is God, through Paul, correcting the church in Corinth.

‘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. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 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 4:14-21)

Paul’s motivation is love. He is writing this correction out of fatherly concern - ‘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.’ God’s love and concern are being expressed through Paul. We all find correction difficult but what does being uncorrected say about us (it's not saying that you're perfect)! And the problem with overreactive, proud people is that people stop correcting them because they don’t want the emotional toll that they will have to bear. My experience as a leader is that some people are really receptive to discipline and some make you feel like you’ve done something wrong and that you are the problem - don’t be that person! Correction is the sunshine that reveals that we do have that shadow of pride after all!


There is a lot that could be said about this topic. Here is John Maxwell's wisdom on how to bring correction:


‘The Ten Commandments of Confrontation

1. Do it privately, not publicly.

2. Do it as soon as possible. That is more natural than waiting a long time.

3. Speak to one issue at a time. Don’t overload the person with a long list of issues.

4. Once you’ve made a point, don’t keep repeating it.

5. Deal only with actions the person can change. If you ask the person to do something he or she is unable to do, frustration builds in your relationship.

6. Avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm signals that you are angry at people, not at their actions, and may cause them to resent you.

7. Avoid words like always and never. They usually detract from accuracy and make people defensive.

8. Present criticisms as suggestions or questions if possible.

9. Don’t apologise for the confrontational meeting. Doing so detracts from it and may indicate you are not sure you had the right to say what you did.

9. Don’t forget the compliments. Use what I call the ‘Sandwich’ in these types of meetings. Compliment – Confront – Compliment.’


Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to listen to correction. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to hear the Father’s correction in His word. Let’s believe the wonderful truth that the author to the Hebrews tells us,

‘Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!’ (Hebrews 12:7-9)


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.

‘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. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 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 4:14-21)


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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