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Real or fake 1

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

 

 

Little destroys a church faster than false teaching. Paul knew the Corinthian Christians were being fooled, misled and deceived by impostors. The danger is no less real for churches today. But how do you spot the real and the fake?

Paul gives us four marks of a real Christian minister. We'll see two today and two tomorrow.

Read 1 Corinthians 4 v 1-7

Message

  • - What have ministers been given (v 1)?
  • - What must they do with this (v 2)?

Read 2 v 1-2

  • - What is the "secret" ministers are to reveal to people?

Ministers are stewards of God's message. They are not owners; they've been entrusted with someone else's property. They are God's employees; and they work for Him. And reliability is what He wants, more than originality. 

  • - What mistake does Paul warn ministers against in 4 v 6.

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TIME OUT

  • - What might it be tempting for a minister to ignore Paul's warning verse 6?

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Here's the first mark of a true Christian minister: he preaches a cross-centered message. No less, and no more.

Opinion

  • - Whose judgment does Paul care about (v 4)?
  • - What is this judgment concerned with, and when will it happen (v 5)?
  • - What impact does this have on his view of other people's opinions of him (v 3)?

A true minister of Christ (and every true Christian, for that matter) lives to please Christ. It is His praise, and His judgment, that are all that matters. He knows the gospel message will not always be popular. He knows it will never score highly in opinion polls and focus groups.

But he is not ultimately answerable to the world, or even to his church, but to God, who has entrusted him with the message of the cross.

There is actually great freedom here, for all Christians. We know the identity of our ultimate judge. We know that with Him, there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8 v 1). And we know that He rewards our work for Him (1 Corinthians 3 v 14). So we are free from being driven and dictated to by other people's opinions.

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APPLY

  • - When do you most need to remember this truth for yourself?

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Here is the second mark of a true Christian minister: he cares only about God's judgment of him. No one else's.

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This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

Click here and enter the code bstexplore61 when you check out to get the next quarter’s Explore for $5.84, a 10% discount.

Click here and enter bstexploresub when you check out to buy a year’s worth at 25% off—just $16.

Keep a record of what God is teaching you with "My Bible" at BibleStudyTools.com

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Originally published January 18, 2013.

Read more Christian blogs at Christianity.com.  You can read blogs about church history, Bible characters, theology,  apologetics, and much more.  Discover study tips on learning the Bible.  Learn new truths about all 66 books of the Bible.

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