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Sunday  20  February 2005

 

Dear Believer,

 

We pray that this week is one of success and blessing.

Please find the attached a functional study where we discuss the Word in perspective to our world and basic Christian fundamentals.

Feel free to use these studies in care groups, Bible studies and at home for spiritual enrichment.

 

Remember; Accountable stewards of Christ's kingdom understand their calling.

 

Best regards

Pastor, Dr Cliff  Ferguson   prayer@image.org.za

Image Ministries    http://image.org.za

 

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If you live in the Centurion / Midrand  area please visit us at Shalomaanbiddingsentrum, Bakenkop Primary school,  Wierda Park, Centurion, South Africa. - Sundays @ 18h00

 The book of 1 Corinthians; Chapter 4

1 Corinthians 4

4:1 Let a man think of us as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  4:2 Moreover, it is sought among stewards that one be found faithful.  4:3 But to me it is a small thing that I should be judged by you, or by a man's day. But neither do I judge myself.  4:4 For I know nothing of myself, but I have not been justified by this; but He judging me is the Lord. 4:5 Then do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both shed light on the hidden things of darkness and will reveal the counsels of the hearts. And then praise will be to each one from God.

4:6 And, brothers, I transferred these things to myself and Apollos because of you, that in us you may learn not to think above what has been written, that you not be puffed up one over the other. 4:7 For who makes you to differ? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive? 4:8 You are already satisfied; you already became rich; you reigned without us (and oh that you really did reign, so that we also might reign with you!) 4:9 For I think that God set us out last, the apostles, as appointed to death, because we became a spectacle to the world, even to angels and to men. 4:10 We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honoured, but we not honoured. 4:11 Until the present hour we also hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and wander homeless, 4:12 and labour, working with our own hands. Being cursed, we bless; persecuted, we bear; 4:13 being defamed, we entreat. We have become as filth of the world, dirt wiped off by all until now. 4:14 I do not write these things shaming you, but warning you as my beloved children.

4:15 For if you should have myriads of teachers in Christ, yet not many fathers; for I fathered you in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  4:16 Because of this, I urge you, be imitators of me. 4:17 Because of this I sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved child, and faithful in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly. 4:18 As to my not coming to you now, some were puffed up. 4:19 But if the Lord wills, I will come to you shortly. And I will not know the word of those who have been puffed up, but the power. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 4:21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness?

Scriptural Context 

 

Stewards of God's mysteries(1-5):

Paul explains how he feels judged by the Corinthians. Judged in this passage means (Strong, 2000; G350)  ἀνακρίνω, anakrinō, an-ak-ree'-no, From G303 and G2919; properly to scrutinize, that is, (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine: question, discern, examine, judge, search. He ascertains his position by his statement that God is the judge.

 

Understanding the context of the word steward  (Strong, 2000; G3623) οἰκονόμος, oikonomos, oy-kon-om'-os, From G3624 and the base of G3551; a house distributor (that is, manager), or overseer, that is, an employee in that capacity; by extension a fiscal agent (treasurer); figuratively a preacher (of the Gospel): - chamberlain, governor, steward. God's stewards are to develop a devout counsel and mission among their disciples.

 

Ministers are in turn accountable to God for thoughts, direction, statements, actions and teachings. Paul reminds us that God will disclose all hidden baggage and the direction of one's heart. Being a treasurer, employee and overseer of the gospel is no ordinary responsibility.
 

Pride is not profitable(5-14):

Paul is concerned about  the level of pride in the  Corinthian congregation, by definition he calls them "puffed up" (Strong, 2000; G5448) φυσιόω, phusioō, foo-see-o'-o, From G5449 in the primary sense of blowing; to inflate, that is, (figuratively) make proud (haughty): - puff up. The concern reaches deeper and links this pride to a contrast between the self satisfaction of the congregation and the criminal manner in which the apostles were treated by the Romans.

 

Paul asks a number of pertinent questions:

  • What makes you important or dissimilar to other Christians?

  • What do you have which you have not received (from God)?

  • How can you boast about what  God bestowed upon you?

This is a call for a change in attitude, a removal of desires and a humbling of the spirit. According to Paul Christians living as kings was meant for eternal glory when we reign with Christ.

 

Paul's fatherly concern (15-21):

A sudden concern arises that the Corinthian's were not overtly following the teachings of Paul and Apollos. Some had started following the teachings of other Christian tutors. The entrance of dogma into the early church was now inevitable.  Paul recognises the many teachers who had come after him. He had an expectation to rather be appreciated as a caring father of these parishioners.

In context with daily living  

 

Stewardship in Christ:

The post modern world is aligned to hundreds of diverse Christian dogmas let alone all the non-Christian religions and traditions. This calls us back to the crux of salvation, Jesus Christ for all and the only salvation for humankind. Once you know salvation by being born again, the Spirit of God appoints you as steward of God's mysteries.

 

Your stewardship in Christ pertains to:

  • Managing your own home (1Ti 3:4-5;12)

  • Being a treasurer of God's gift, material and spiritual (Luk 16:1-8; Tit 1:7)

  • Being a practitioner of the gospel (Zech 7:9; Rom 2:1-2; Phil 4:9)

  • Being a priest of the "Most High" (Heb 9:11;10:11; 10:21; )

  • Being humble (Prov 3:34 ;Mat 18:4; 23:12)

  • Being called to serve (Gal 5:13; 1Tim 6:2)

A steward is the responsible and accountable person for a number of people and materials. Christians have been called to:

  • Understand God's word (Mark 4:12; 7:14)

  • Practice Christ's commandment (Joh 13:34)

  • Live without sin (1John 3:5-9;James 5:15)

  • Make disciples (Matt 28:19;Mar 16:15-18)

  • Care for the needy (Mat 19:21; Mar 10:21; Luke 18:22; Rom 15:26; Jam 2:2-6) 

  • Drive out demons (Mar 16:17)

  • Heal the sick (Mar 16:18; James 5:14)

  • Teach God's children with humility (Prov 22:4; Acts 20:19; Phil 2:3; Col 2:18)

There is a noteworthy imbalance within our churches. This has come about through humanistic principles which are built upon human pride and instant gratification. The church has fallen into a trap of combining material prosperity with the spirituality, which can only come through God's Holy Spirit. Being rich has been contextualised as God's blessing, which is not wrong when a spiritual balance is in tact.

 

On the other hand the poor curse the rich, because they have not. This too is a dilemma, as they ask why the same God with the same salvation does not supply all with an abundance of wealth? The answer is simple, the plan for salvation was set outside of the mortal sphere. Christ called disciples to serve in the spiritual realm.

 

We are required to understand that:

  • Grace comes from God (Eph 4:7; 2Tim 1:9)

  • Salvation comes though Christ (2Ti 3:15)

  • The full knowledge of God is made manifest through Christ (1Tim 3:16; Philm 1:6; Rom 16:25; 2Pe 1:3; 1:8)

  • All the riches on earth belong to God (Psalm 17:14; 62:10; 104:24)

  • We cannot boast about ourselves (Prov 27:1; 2Cor 10:16 ;12:1; Gal 6:14)

It is necessary for Christians to take a long hard look at where they had come from, the grace God gave and the balance between the spiritual and material blessings. Be aware, as God gives in love, so also humans destroy though pride and greed.

Summary: 1 Corinthians 4

Has three main sections: 

  • 1 Corinthians  (4:1-5)                     Stewards of God's mysteries

  • 1 Corinthians  (4:6-14)                   Pride is not profitable

  • 1 Corinthians  (4:15-21)                 Paul's fatherly concern

 

Die boek van 1 Korintiërs Hoofstuk 4

1 Korintiërs 4

 

4:1 So moet ons dan beskou word as dienaars van Christus en bedienaars van die verborgenhede van God.  4:2 En verder word van die bedienaars vereis dat hulle getrou bevind moet word.  4:3 Maar vir my beteken dit baie min of ek deur julle of deur ‘n menslike regbank beoordeel word; ja, ek beoordeel myself nie eens nie,  4:4 want ek is my van geen ding bewus nie. Daardeur is ek egter nie geregverdig nie; maar Hy wat my beoordeel, is die Here.  4:5 Daarom moet julle nie voor die tyd oordeel, voordat die Here kom nie, wat die verborge dinge van die duisternis in die lig sal bring en die bedoelinge van die harte openbaar sal maak; en dan sal elkeen lof van God ontvang.

 

4:6 Hierdie dinge, broeders, het ek op myself en Apollos toegepas om julle ontwil, dat julle aan ons kan leer om nie te dink bo wat geskrywe is nie, sodat julle nie die een ter wille van die ander opgeblase sou wees teen ‘n derde nie.  4:7 Want wie trek jou voor? En wat het jy wat jy nie ontvang het nie? En as jy dit dan ontvang het, waarom roem jy asof jy dit nie ontvang het nie?  4:8 Alreeds is julle versadig, alreeds het julle ryk geword, sonder ons het julle geheers. Het julle tog maar geheers, sodat ons saam met julle kon heers!  4:9 Want dit lyk vir my dat God ons apostels die laaste plek aangewys het as tot die dood veroordeel; want ons het ‘n skouspel geword vir die wêreld, vir die engele sowel as vir die mense.

1Co 4:10 Ons is dwaas ter wille van Christus, maar julle is verstandig in Christus. Ons is swak, maar julle sterk. Julle is in aansien, maar ons in oneer.  4:11 Tot op hierdie uur ly ons honger en dors, is ons naak en word geslaan, en swerwe ons rond,  4:12 en swoeg ons deur met ons eie hande te werk. Word ons uitgeskel, ons seën; word ons vervolg, ons verdra dit;  4:13 word ons belaster, ons troos; soos uitvaagsels van die wêreld het ons geword, die afskraapsel van almal tot nou toe.  4:14 Ek skrywe hierdie dinge nie om julle te beskaam nie, maar ek vermaan julle as my geliefde kinders. 

 

4:15 Want al sou julle tien duisend tugmeesters in Christus hê, dan het julle tog nie baie vaders nie; want in Christus Jesus het ek julle vader geword deur die evangelie.  4:16 Ek vermaan julle dan, word my navolgers.  4:17 Daarom het ek Timótheüs, wat my geliefde en getroue seun in die Here is, na julle gestuur. Hy sal julle herinner aan my handelwyse in Christus, soos ek oral in elke gemeente leer.  4:18 Maar sommige het opgeblase geword, asof ek nie na julle sou kom nie;  4:19 tog sal ek gou na julle kom, as die Here wil, en dan sal ek te wete kom, nie die woorde van die wat opgeblase is nie, maar hulle krag;  4:20 want die koninkryk van God bestaan nie in woorde nie, maar in krag.  4:21 Wat wil julle hê? Moet ek met die roede na julle kom of met liefde en in die gees van sagmoedigheid?

 

Skriftuurlike inhoud

 

Dienaars van God se geheimenisse (1-5):

Paulus verduidelik hoe dit vir hom voel om deur die Korintiërs beoordeel te word.  Beoordeel in hierdie gedeelte beteken  (Strong, 2000; G350)  ἀνακρίνω, anakrinō, an-ak-ree'-no, From G303 and G2919; properly to scrutinize, that is, (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine: question, discern, examine, judge, search. Hy vergewis hom van sy posisie deur sy verklaring dat God die regter is.

 

Die begrip dienaar word soos volg verduidelik  (Strong, 2000; G3623) οἰκονόμος, oikonomos, oy-kon-om'-os, From G3624 and the base of G3551; a house distributor (that is, manager), or overseer, that is, an employee in that capacity; by extension a fiscal agent (treasurer); figuratively a preacher (of the Gospel): - chamberlain, governor, steward. God se dienaars moet 'n godvrugtige raad en sending tussen hulle dissipels ontwikkel.

 

Predikers is op hulle beurt weer afhanklik van God vir gedagtes, rigtings, verklarings, optredes en leringe.  Paulus herinner ons daaraan dat God alle verborge bagasie sowel as die bedoelinge van 'n persoon se hart  sal openbaar.  Dit is 'n baie groot verantwoordelikheid om 'n penningmeester, werknemer en armeversorger van die Evangelie te wees.
 

Trots is nie winsgewend nie (5-14):

Paulus is besorg oor die vlak van trots in die gemeente van Korinte.  Hy beskryf hulle as hoogmoedig (Strong, 2000; G5448) φυσιόω, phusioō, foo-see-o'-o, From G5449 in the primary sense of blowing; to inflate, that is, (figuratively) make proud (haughty): - puff up. Die besorgdheid gaan veel dieper want hierdie trots word gesien in die kontras tussen die eie satisfaksie van die gemeentes en die krimenele manier waarop die apostel deur die Romeine behandel is.

 

Paulus stel 'n paar pertinente vrae:

  • Wat maak jou belangriker of anderste as ander Christene?

  • Wat het jy wat jy nie (van God) ontvang het nie?

  • Hoe kan jy spog met wat God aan jou verleen het?

Dit is 'n beroep op verandering in houding, 'n losmaking van begeertes en 'n vernedering van die gees.  Volgens Paulus kan Christene soos konings lewe eers wanneer hulle saam met Christus regeer.

 

Paulus se vaderlike besorgheid (15-21):

'n Besorgdheid ontstaan dat die Korintiërs nie die leringe van Paulus en Appollos stiptelik navolg nie.  Sommiges het begin om die leringe van ander Christelike onderrigters na te volg.  Die insypeling van dogma in die vroeëre kerk was nou onafweerbaar.  Paulus erken die vele onderringters wat hom volg.  Hy verkies egter dat hierdie gemeentelede in hom 'n besorgde vaderfiguur sien.

In ooreenstemming met ons daaglikse lewe   

 

Dienaarskap in Christus:

Die hedendaagse lewe is uitgelewer aan honderde verskillende Christelike dogmas.  Dan praat ons nog nie eers van al die nie Christelike gelowe en tradisies nie.  Dit bring ons terug na die kern van redding.  Jesus Christus is vir almal en die enigste redding van die mensdom.  Sodra jy gered en wedergebore word, word jy aangestel as 'n dienaar van God se geheimenisse.

 

Jou dienaarskap in Christus het betrekking op:

  • Om jou eie huis te bestuur (1Tim 3:4-5;12)

  • Om 'n bewaarder van God se gawe te wees, materieel en geestelik (Luk 16:1-8; Tit 1:7)

  • Om 'n beoefenaar van die Evangelie te wees (Sag 7:9; Rom 2:1-2; Fil 4:9)

  • Om 'n priester van die "Aller Hoogste" te wees (Heb 9:11;10:11; 10:21; )

  • Om nederig te wees (Spr 3:34 ;Mat 18:4; 23:12)

  • Om geroep te wees om te dien (Gal 5:13; 1Tim 6:2)

'n Dienaar is 'n staatmaker en 'n verantwoordelike persoon vir 'n aantal persone en goedere.  Christene is geroep om:

  • God se woord te verstaan (Mark 4:12; 7:14)

  • God se gebooie toe te pas (Joh 13:34)

  • Sondeloos te lewe (1Joh 3:5-9;Jak 5:15)

  • Dissipels te maak  (Mat 28:19;Mark 16:15-18)

  • Na behoeftiges om te sien (Mat 19:21; Mar 10:21; Luk 18:22; Rom 15:26; Jak 2:2-6) 

  • Demone uit te dryf (Mar 16:17)

  • Siekes gesond te maak (Mark 16:18; Jak 5:14)

  • God se kinders met nederigheid te onderrig (Spr 22:4; Hand 20:19; Fil 2:3; Kol 2:18)

Daar is 'n noemenswaardige ongebalanseerheid binne ons kerke.  Dit het ontstaan as gevolg van humanistiese beginsels wat gegrond is op menslike eer en onmiddelike bevrediging.  Die kerk is in die strik van materiële voorspoed vasgevang.  Geestelike voorspoed wat slegs deur die Heilige Gees bewerkstellig kan word kan nie daarmee vergelyk word nie.  Om welgesteld te wees word volgens sekere tekse as 'n seën van God gesien.  Dit is nie verkeerd nie mits die geestelike balans behoue bly.

 

Aan die ander kant is die arme ongelukkig omdat hulle nie het nie en misgun hulle dit die rykes.  Dit is ook 'n dilemma omdat hulle wil weet waarom dieselfde God met dieselfde redding nie aan almal dieselfde welvaart gee nie.  Die antwoord is eenvoudig - die reddingsplan is buite die menslike sfeer gestel.  Christus roep die disippels om binne die geestelike ryk te dien.

 

Van ons word verwag om te begryp dat:

  • Guns van God kom (Efs 4:7; 2Tim 1:9)

  • Redding deur Christus kom (2Tit 3:15)

  • Die volle kennis van God deur Christus geopenbaar is (1Tim 3:16; Fil 1:6; Rom 16:25; 2Pet 1:3; 1:8)

  • Al die rykdomme van die wêreld aan God behoort (Ps 17:14; 62:10; 104:24)

  • Ons nie onsself mag prys nie (Spr 27:1; 2Kor 10:16 ;12:1; Gal 6:14)

Dit is nodig vir Christene om ernstig te kyk waarvandaan hulle gekom het.  Die gawes wat God gee en die balans tussen die geestelike en materiële gawes.  Ons moet daarteen waak dat dit wat God in liefde gee nie deur menslike hoogmoed en hebsug verwoes word nie.

Bibliography

Van Wyk P. & Ferguson S.D. 2005. Afikaanse vertaling van 1 Korinthiërs 4. Centurion. Image Ministries.

Fosloo, W. & van Rensburg, F.J. 1999. Die Bybelmellenium eenvolumekomentaar. Goodwood: Christelike Uigewersmaatskapy Vereniging.

Die Bybel, 1944. Bybelgenootskap van Suid Afrika: Sewende uitgawe (Naslaan) 1996 (Herset) Tweede druk 1998. Goodwood: Nasionale boekdrukkery

Hayford, J.W. (eds.) 1991. The Spirit Filled Bible. USA: Thomas Nelson inc.

Henry, M. 1706. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume. Twelfth Printing 2001. USA: Hendrickson Publishers.

Jerome, AD 450 - 520. The New Jerome Bible handbook. First published 1992. Norfolk: The Barth Press.

Louw, J.P. & Nida, E.A. (eds) 1994. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on the Semantic domains. Volume 1. Goodwood: Bible Society of South Afrika

Louw, J.P. & Nida, E.A. (eds) 1994. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on the Semantic domains. Volume 2. Goodwood: Bible Society of South Afrika

Strong, J. 2000. The New Strong's Concise dictionary of Bible words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Deist, F. 1985. A concise dictionary of theological related terms. Hatfield: J.L. van Schaik

Meyers, R. 2000. E-Sword; Equipping Ministries Foundation. USA: E-Sword Bible software. Shareware.

 

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