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1st CORINTHIANS 4:1-5

PLEASING THE LORD!

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

Paul here beautifully defines the Gospel Ministry. Then he leaves us with a challenge that could never be surpassed, pleasing the Lord all the days of our lives! I'm speaking of 1st Corinthians 4:1-5.

Of course we must begin with that first verse. "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." 1st Corinthians 4:1

The Apostle is responding to the Corinthians' splintered attitudes, especially toward preachers! "Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." 1st Corinthians 1:12, earlier in the Epistle.

What are some of the traits of a godly minister?

A real preacher of the Word?

In fact, in today's verse Paul actually invites analysis! "Look us over," he seems to be saying! "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." 1st Corinthians 4:1

The verb "let account" is "logizomai," meaning "to number, to compute, to reckon, to calculate." Evaluate us, follow only real men of God! The verb is even an imperative in the Text! Paul here is not recommending such an action, but requiring it!

Then Paul categorizes his service for the Lord with two "word pictures."

He's a "minister." One belonging to "Christ," the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. "Christ" is in the genitive case, showing such possession.

"Minister" or "huperetes" is an unusual word. Found twenty times in the New Testament it always carries a metaphorical meaning, something like "servant" or "officer" or as here, "minister." But literally it means "under-rower!" It refers to a slave, thousands of whom existed in Paul's time, whose job was to crawl down into the belly of a ship, an ocean-going vessel, and row that colossus when the winds were still!

Hard work!

"Eresso" in Greek means "to row." And "huper" means "underneath." Blend these two words and watch these men labor!

And that's Paul's picture of the ministry!

Next "stewards" is used, a noun spelled "oikonomos." The word "nomos" means "law." The prefix "oikos" means "house." This "steward" is the head slave of a Roman household, in charge of all the other slaves! He must be sure groceries are plentiful, drinks available, rooms clean, yards presentable, everything in order! To him is committed the wealth of the Master, from him is required responsible organization and implementation!

What a picture of serving the Lord!

Paul qualifies "stewards" as holders of the "mysteries" of God! Instead of God's silver or gold we are in charge of God's "musterion," His once "secret" but now revealed facts! This is an old word the Holy Spirit has resurrected and sanctified for Biblical use. It once belonged exclusively to the world of the Roman and Greek cults! It referred to their dark secrets and hidden initiation rites, heathen as they could be! The root verb "muo" means "to shut one's mouth."

God has committed to us His treasures of wisdom and godliness! The truths of salvation and sanctification and glorification and much, much more! Insight into the Word of God! The indwelling and overflowing Holy Spirit too!

Two metaphors!

Every preacher you know is an "under-slave," a common laborer in God's kingdom, the lowest jobs of all being his! Yes, "hyperetes" is translated "ministers" here.

But he is also an overseer! The very top slave in the household, in charge of all the Master's resources! That's "oikonomos," here rendered as "steward" but once in Scripture as "governor!" Look at it, "oikonomos," our very word "economy!"

How timely!

Preachers, take note today.

Church members, learn these things! They will help you better appreciate your Pastor!

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." Thank you Paul for following the Lord and writing 1st Corinthians 4:1, a wealth of information for us Believers.

More "minister" and "steward" orientation, and we would surely worry less about the "Paul, Apollos, Cephas" syndrome!

Oh, to be approved of God!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

Everyone familiar with his or her Bible knows the verse. Paul succinctly wrote: "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1st Corinthians 4:2

If the Preacher, the Man or God, or for that matter a growing Christian of any kind, must possess one trait, apart from having been saved by the Grace of God, it's this, "faithfulness!"

The word "stewards" is "oikonomos," in which you can faintly see our English word "economy." That's a "hint" to help define the whole "steward" concept. He was a person, a slave, who was placed in charge of the whole house ("oikos" in Greek) to dispense all the master's goods and supplies, solely in order to maintain the proper functioning of the entire business. The steward's "rules" (in Greek "nomos") applied to everyone!

The Believer who is a depository of the good things of God must in turn dispense those things for the benefit of the Master's overall purpose, the Lord's Will!

The verb "required" is "zeteo," not usually translated this way. It primarily in the New Testament, 100 times, means "to ask," Only 4 times is it ever rendered "required." This gives us some idea of the urgency Paul is trying to convey. God's workers must be faithful! I found one lexicon that defines "zeteo," in its strongest possible sense, "to demand!"

"Moreover" is a descriptor, in English an adverb, meaning "for the rest." Or "that which remains." It's spelled "loipos."

What is this special servant's fundamental characteristic? "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."

The pronoun "that" introduces a clause stating this main "requirement."

Even the words "be found," the verb "heurisko," are prioritized by the Holy Spirit. They are not merely implied. It means "to meet with, usually after diligently searching, to hit upon, to come upon." Also, this verb here is a subjunctive, expressing the Lord's "ideal."

"Faithfulness" and "stewardship" must coincide, or a man just will not be successful as a "house manager."

The the "key" word, "faithful." It's spelled "pistos," and means something like "trusty, reliable, sure." An element of "honesty" is implied too, according to some teachers.

Hebrews 3:1-2 lists two faithful men! "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house." Amen, our Lord Jesus Christ and Moses!

So was Silas! "Silvanus, a faithful brother," carefully wrote Peter in 1st Peter 5:12.

The New Testament Book that most often uses our English word "faithful" is Revelation! That's understandable. "These sayings are faithful and true." Revelation 22:6

In Revelation 19:11 Jesus' very Name is "Faithful!"

The last thing any Christian wants to be called is "unfaithful!"

Rather, let us be ...

Steady!

Regular!

True!

Constant!

Loyal!

Keep it continually before you, "faithfulness."

"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1st Corinthians 4:2

Talk about a sermon in a verse, and a short verse at that!

Thank you, Paul. We all needed the reminder.

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

Some Christians in the Corinthian Church "liked" Paul, to the exclusion of other preachers. While some preferred Apollos, the eloquent orator. Other factions existed too. "Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." 1st Corinthians 1:12

This kind of atmosphere would make many a preacher ultra conscious about keeping his group "happy." It would nearly make "Church" a political institution. One "party" vying against the others!

Well, Paul would have none of it!

He wrote, in response to such situations: "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self." 1st Corinthians 4:3

The Apostle is brilliant here!

Look what he says, in microcosm anyway.

1. When you saints "judge" me, it matters very little!

2. When the outside world, "mankind" as a whole, critiques me, so what?

3. In fact, my own evaluation of myself is inconsequential!

These things are simply not the priority!

Then, pray tell, what does matter, Paul?

And here's I'm looking ahead to the next verse, tomorrow's thought.

4. The LORD is some day going to weigh my thoughts and motives and deeds ... and that is what really matters!

This is wonderful!

The adjective "small" is the superlative form of "mikros," the "least" of all, the "smallest" of all! See our word "micro" here, as in microscope, which allows its operator to see very "small" things!

Here's our exact Greek word for "a very small thing," but this time as translated in Ephesians 3:8. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

Paul, in this "preacher contest" thing, was not going to worry about the carnal Believers at Corinth, their selfish tainted opinions!

Nor was he overly concerned about what the world said, "approval" wise anyway. Besides, he already knew! "We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." 1st Corinthians 4:13

Paul couldn't even rely on his own self-judgment, not in this "popularity" context anyway! All of us are prone to think "too highly" of ourselves! He wrote this little warning to the Romans. "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think." Romans 12:3.

All that really mattered was the Lord!

His thoughts!

Pleasing Him!

What He said!

Being "approved unto God!"

Now, in all honesty, in other situations, Paul was cautious as to the thoughts of other Christians! "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." 1st Corinthians 8:13, Paul would do nothing to hinder the spiritual growth of his brothers or sisters in Christ.

Our Hero even cared about the world's attitudes at times! Paul admits such in Acts 24:16. "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." That last noun, "men," includes the world! Also, when it came to soul-winning: "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1st Corinthians 9:22, to everybody!

Even concerning his self-judgment wavier here, Paul elsewhere conceded: "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." This is 1st Corinthians 11:31. Furthermore, if this isn't self-judgment, what is? "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1st Corinthians 9:27, intense self-discipline!

The reason Paul specifically says: "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self," is that the atmosphere in Corinth has  become so very competitive!

So very like-the-world!

So political!

So personality oriented!

So popularity centered!

The verb "judge" twice appears in our verse today. I'll underline them for visual reference. ""But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self."

The word used in each case is "anakrino," meaning "to discern, to separate mentally, to approve or esteem, to be of an opinion."

The apparent noun for "judgment" is "hemera," the Greek word for "day!" It apparently means "the day of man's judgment," as opposed to "the day of the Lord's Judgment!" See it? "The Day of the Lord!"

Paul is not going to get caught up in this contest of likeability!

Who is the most appealing preacher?

The most pleasing?

The most presentable?

No sir!

The Apostle Paul lives to please the Lord, the One Who died for him and saved his soul! And has been his Everything for many years, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Lord, let it be so in our lives too!

Oh, to please Jesus!

To some day hear His "Well done!"

He's All that matters!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 4:

Not every Christian can say what Paul said in 1st Corinthians 4:4, certainly not. The Apostle's statement might be one of the best Bible examples of a "clear conscience" that can be found.

"For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord."

The verb know is the compound "suneido," just "to see together" by actual definition. But it means "to know" also, hundreds of times! Something like "to know in a dozen different ways," or "to know with all one's being!"

"Nothing" translates "oudeis," more literally "not one thing."

And the phrase "by myself" translates one word, the pronoun "emautou," a masculine reflexive pronoun, singular in number. The preposition "by" is supplied because of the "case" of the noun, dative.

Grammatical liberty exists to understand Paul saying, "I know nothing against myself."

In fact, "suneido," our verb "know" here, is the basis for the often occurring noun "suneidesis," Paul's word for "conscience." To this Man of God one's "conscience" is "all that one knows about himself!" Or "all that one knows against himself."

Paul is here saying that he has a clear conscience!

He can't think of a single thing he's done wrong, for which he has not made an honest attempt to "right" that mistake!

And the great thing about "conscience" for the Christian is that the Holy Spirit aids that knowledge! "My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost." Romans 9:1

One of the main "goals" of the Christian life is just this, "a clear conscience!" Paul again: "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." 1st Timothy 1:5

This is a possibility for the Christian too, for its leaders anyway: "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience." 1st Timothy 3:9

One's conscience, battling many unconfessed sins, can become "defiled," soiled and polluted, unclean. "But even their mind and conscience is defiled." Titus 1:15, "covered with filth."

But our consciences can be "purged" also, thank the Lord! That means "cleansed!" Hebrews 9:14 asks: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience ...."

That was one of Paul's constant prayer requests. "Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience ...." Hebrews 13:8

Is your conscience clear?

Is mine?

Or when we think "clear conscience" does the Holy Spirit bring someone to mind? Someone we have carelessly wronged? Or a bill we have dodged, some financial obligation? Or an unkind slur we've uttered, against someone, for which we need to apologize?

Things like these, small as they may be, have caused spiritual "shipwreck" time and time again. "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck." 1st Timothy 1:19

Back to our verse today. "For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord." 1st Corinthians 4:4

Though Paul knows nothing against himself, that fact alone does not "justify" him. "Dikaioo" means "made straight" with the Lord. Acquitted!

Paul is saying that he himself is not capable of passing full and complete judgment upon his work for Christ, upon his Ministry, his very motives and thoughts!

Only God can do that!

Self-knowledge is not sufficient!

"But he that judgeth me is the Lord." 1st Corinthians 4:4, just its last clause.

"Judgeth" is the usual "anakrino," meaning "to examine, to investigate, to discern, to search."

The Name of God used here, specifically "Lord," translates "kurios." It's from "kuros," which means "supremacy!" He must have preeminence in our lives, be first place!

Paul is not distracted by what man says about him. Neither the lost or the saved! Nor is he too worried about his own thoughts on the subject! We are always our own best friend in these self-judgment areas!

But the Apostle is keenly aware that God is His Judge!

He will ultimately decide how well we have served Him!

After all: "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Every saint, Romans 14:10

Better yet. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2nd Corinthians 5:10

Live daily in light of the this great fact.

The Lord is our Judge! Not in a forensic sense, in a Fatherly sense! Family style!

Christ Jesus is the Evaluator of all we do for His Cause!

He could say, with clear conscience: "The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." John 8:29, think about it, "always!"

Thank you, Paul, for this great Pattern!

When it comes to faithfulness: "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord." 1st Corinthians 4:2-4

So helpful!

This is another example of the "profitability" of the Word of God! "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable ...." 2nd Timothy 3:16

Amen!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 5:

Paul makes statements like this fairly often.

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." Most of 1st Corinthians 4:5, one clause remains.

This is the same Paul who wrote: "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." Romans 2:1

And asked: "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth." Romans 14:4

This too: "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." Romans 14:10-13

The verb "judge" in our text verse today is in the imperative mood. Paul is giving an "order" to the Corinthians. Here it is again. "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." 1st Corinthians 4:5

The saints at Corinth had become "judges" of many things, preachers especially!

Look at the times Paul mentions this "ecclesiastical" rivalry. "Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." 1st Corinthians 1:12

"Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" 1st Corinthians 1:13

"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." Read it all, 1st Corinthians 3:3-9

"Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." 1st Corinthians 3:21-23

The Lord will judge His men! When He comes again. At the Judgment Seat of Christ. "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." Our text again, 1st Corinthians 4:5

The verb "come," in Greek "erchomai," is a subjunctive aorist. Paul "longs" for the Lord to return. It is his "ideal." And he furthermore views it, the Rapture, as a sure thing, as good as already done!

Then, when Jesus analyzes and discerns us, those Paul and Apollos and Cephas categories will be open for all to see!

Maybe then: "Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops." Luke 12:3

We'll know a lot more about old Apollos!

Of course, all the saints will know a lot more about us, too!

Rewards for faithful service will be given.

And Christ will be glorified more than ever. After all, He is the only perfect Servant Who ever lived!

The verb "bring to light" is "photizo," with "phos" being the root, the Greek noun for "light" itself. See "photography" there, or "photo" anything.

Paul "implies" that we all may have some "hidden things" in our lives! The Lord will, "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness!" The word is "kruptos," something veiled or concealed or kept secret."

Paul is so brutally honest! "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing." Romans 7:18

"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." Romans 7:21

"O wretched man that I am!" Romans 7:24

Few preachers we know would say things like that, very few!

We all have "fronts" to maintain!

But the "day" is coming, Judgment Seat of Christ Day, when "every man's work" shall be declared! Including Paul and Apollos and Cephas! 1st Corinthians 3:13

On that Day, too, the Lord also "will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." 1st Corinthians 4:5.

"Make manifest" is "phaneroo," meaning "to cause to appear, to make visible, to show, to declare!"

And the noun "counsels" translates "boule," one's "purposes or intentions!" A person's "will" really! And it's linked to the idea of one's "desires!"

What we've wondered down here on earth ... will be made known up yonder "in the air," when Jesus comes again and "judges" His servants, His saints, His people!

This is not, I believe, a judgment of eternal destinies, Heaven or Hell ... but rather, a judgment of faithfulness and rewards for those who have believed in Jesus Christ our Lord.

It's a "family meeting" kind of thing!

Paul is saying that we are doing a lot of this "preacher" stuff way too early! Preachers are not movie stars! Or news anchors! Or contemporary politicians! Or "men of the world!"

They are born-again, Spirit-filled, God-called servants of the living God, whose final accounting lies in His Hands!

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." It just doesn't get any more practical that this, 1st Corinthians 4:5

Amen!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, STILL VERSE 5, THAT LAST CLAUSE:

Paul, as is often the case, has written a whole paragraph with a summarizing statement at its end. Like a rising meandering mountain trail, ending at the peak with a gorgeous vista! Then one can look back over the path he has traveled, freshly seeing the "logic" to it all.

Well, here's Paul's "summit," for 1st Corinthians 4:1-5 anyway. And it's nearly unsurpassable!

"And then shall every man have praise of God." Just that, 1st Corinthians 4:5, that last clause.

With all the "infighting" that's occurred in Corinth, all the premature "judging" of one another, especially "this" preacher over "that" preacher, favoritism, popularity, politics, partiality ... Paul launches into a Sermon! One of his most helpful ever!

Paul in essence says ...

Point 1, Let's take stock, brethren, of our Christian lives. Unto God we serve as both ministers and stewards!

Point 2, Faithfulness is our main attribute, a goal we must maintain!

Point 3, It matters little how you Corinthians "judge" me! You are not the ultimate arbitrator here!

Point 4, And the lost, spiritually blinded world matters even less! They don't even have the capability to judge, not really!

Point 5, Even if I, Paul, judge myself, not much will result!

Point 6, It is the dear Lord Jesus Who is the Real Judge! He knows all! He will reveal all our secret desires and publish the intentions of our hearts some day, when He comes to get us!

Now, here's that "peak" ...

Point 7, Therefore live so as to please the Lord Jesus! Make His "praise" your goal! Ask over every decision, every thought, every deed, "Does the Lord 'approve' of this in my life?"

Paul then, in closing, might add: "That's the way I've lived all my days as a Christian. And I've found it to be acceptable in His Sight."

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23, Paul again.

"He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord."  Romans 14:6-8, still Paul, obviously talking to Christians.

And maybe best of all: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1st Corinthians 10:31

Live to please Him!

Live so that when the Judgment Seat of Christ occurs, of all the saints it might be said: "And then shall every man have praise of God."

If you Corinthians want "praise" so badly, seek it not from your fellow brethren!

Nor certainly from the lost world!

Nor from yourselves! That's the easiest place to get it, but too often it has little value. We are "biased" in favor of ourselves, unless trained otherwise by the Holy Spirit.

Get your "praise" from the Lord, seek His "commendation." He's the Only One Who ultimately matters, anyway!

"And then shall every man have praise of God."

"Then," in Greek "tote," meaning "at that time," refers to the very day of judgment, the day Christ evaluates our lives. Paul called it "the Judgment Seat of Christ."

"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Romans 14:10

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2nd Corinthians 5:10

Our Text again, for today: "And then shall every man have praise of God." I need to keep repeating it for you.

"Every man" is represented by the word "hekastos," meaning "each one." It implies an accompanying substantive.

Paul longs for every saint of God, on that awesome Day, to be "satisfactory" to the Lord, to  bring "delight" to the Saviour!

Again, that God be "pleased."

The words "shall have," translate "ginomai" as a future indicative middle verb. This will "happen, take place, come to pass, be born into existence, become a reality."

Working our way though the clause, we now come to the "key" word of our text, really of the whole 5th verse, maybe even of the whole paragraph!  It's "praise," the praise of God Himself!

"Epainos" is used in the New Testament only 11 times. "Ainos" is technically a "story!" A "narrative!" It can be a shorter "saying" or "proverb" even. It "fits" here in this sense. The Lord will tell a "synopsis," a quick but accurate "overview" of our whole lives, on that Day of Judgment! "Ainos" further implies: "a story of commendation, approval," or, amazingly, "honor!" The "epi" prefix seems to merely intensify the "praise."

Praise of God, but this time, from Him to you!

If you have lived a life that pleases Him!

Surprising, isn't it?

But Biblical!

And thrilling!

Why do I need to win some popularity contest among a bunch of fleshly believers?

Why do I need to develop some eccentrically huge, so-called healthy "self-image?"

Why do I need to be listed in the "Who's Who" of secular humanism?

No reason at all!

No!

I shall live for the approval of my Lord and Saviour, the One Who died for me, and saved me by his Grace!

The One I love!

His "approbation" will be sufficient for all eternity!

"Approbation" means "an expression of warm approval!" In Latin the verb "approbare" means "to regard as good!" And "probare" alone means "to test, to try" something or someone," especially to find any existing goodness therein.

"And then shall every man have praise of God."

Amen!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, PAUL AND "PLEASING" THE LORD:

"Pleasing God," that's what Paul really has in mind in 1st Corinthians 4:1-5. He even ends the Text that way, with godly Believers actually having the "praise" of God!

"And then shall every man have praise of God." The last clause of 1st Corinthians 4:5, the "commendation" of God!

The "approval" of God, another synonymous phrase.

This, I believe, is one of Paul's passions! Maybe the overruling passion of his life!

To "please" God!

If I worry about pleasing frail men and women, my life will always be frustrated. One reason being that everybody can't be satisfied, not all of them at once anyway.

If I instead concentrate on "pleasing" the Lord, I likely shall in that process please His people as well! At least those who are closest to Him!

I searched the New Testament for Paul's greatest "pleasing the Lord" statements. They occur often enough to persuade anyone that this goal was constantly on Paul's mind.

Here are a few of them.

"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10, where one's "walk" is his whole manner of life. Everything I do, geared to "please" the Lord!

As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we should pay special attention to this one. "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 2nd Timothy 2:4, The Lord chose me to be His solider! I must "please" Him! The verb is "aresko," probably from "airo," meaning "to elevate, to raise up." This may be suggesting the idea of doing that which "excites" the Lord, what "thrills" Him, what "elevates" Him! "Pleasing" Him in that sense!

And this one: "He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord." Here is a single person, totally living to "please" the Lord, full time! 1st Corinthians 7:32, "aresko" again!

Still the same idea, just a different verb this time: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." See that please, "approved" of God! "Accepted" of God, "pleasing" in His sight! 2nd Timothy 2:15

Here's a man who greatly "pleased" the Lord! "Salute Apelles approved in Christ." Romans 16:10, God "tests" us sometimes, "dokimazo" in Greek, and our passing His test brings Him great "pleasure."

Here's another verb yet, from 2nd Corinthians 10:18. "For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." Here the Lord's "commendation" is expressed with the verb "sunistao," meaning the Lord's "standing with" us! That brings Him great delight!  When we do that well!

Job did!

"And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" Sounds like the Lord is pretty "pleased" with His servant! Job 1:8

I think He was pretty happy with Paul, too!

Question is, "Is He pleased with me?"

And you?

God was "pleased" with Abraham. "For I know Abraham, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment." Genesis 18:19

God was also pleased with David, most of the time! "The Lord raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will." Acts 13:22

Then yet another word: "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God." Romans 14:17-18, where "acceptable" translates "euarestos," meaning "very pleasing!" Almost "delightful!"

All I'm trying to say is this. Live your life for one overarching reason, with one fundamental goal in mind, pleasing the One Who saved you!

Who doesn't want to hear these words? "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Matthew 25:21

The whole thought is life-changing!

Ask again and again through your day, "Am I living in such a way that He will be pleased?"

That last conversation?

That questionable thought?

That angry look?

That moment of unkindness?

The way I spent my free time last night?

The book I'm reading?

Everything ... to please Him!

Colossians 3:23, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord."

Yes!

And He likely will be pleased!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

                                                   Live to "please Him!"

 

 

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