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The Power of the Cross

Notes & Transcripts

The Power of the Cross

February 23, 2003

 

Scripture Reading: 1Corinthians 4

Introduction:

ILLUS.: Dilbert Comic Strip, Chgo. Trib., Sun., Feb. 23

In the last three messages in 1Cor. we have seen how the cross of Jesus Christ draws us in community, instructs us, and holds us accountable as Paul challenges the church to overcome its dysfunctional divisiveness.

This message today in chapter 4 will tell us how to serve the cross in a way to achieve the spiritual power that we seek.

We will see how to obtain this spiritual power in a legitimate way instead of the divisive way the Corinthians were seeking it.

As Paul ends chapter 3, he reminds them that they already have all things, all that they need, in Christ.

He continues on in chapter 4 to tell the Corinthians that he, the other apostles, and their disciples with them, are part of what God has provided in order to give them all things.

We will discover that real spiritual power lies in serving the cross of Christ, that is, all that it stands for.

Big Question:

So how might we legitimately attain to the spiritual power that we desire?

We must rightfully consider the servants God has sent us.

We must rightfully consider our own lives in view of the servants God has sent us.

We must willingly submit to the process of becoming servants ourselves.

We must willingly submit to the power God has given his servants to help us through example.

We must willingly submit to the power God has given his servants to help us through discipline.

The key to applying this chapter lies in recognizing how Paul is correcting an imbalance in the Corinthians' approach to leaders.

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1-5)

Instead of seeing Christian preachers as rival leaders, the Corinthians should recognize them as helpers and overseers.

          B.      Implication

We must rightfully consider the servants God has sent us.

          C.      Illustration

Money #157

Giving #  87

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (vv. 6-7)

          B.      Implication

We must rightfully consider our own lives in view of the servants God has sent us.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 8-13)

You don't have it all (3:2). Immature in reality.

You do have it all (3:22). Mature in position.

You think you have it all (4:8). Arrogant in presumption of real maturity.

Whereas the Corinthians think that their relatively prosperous conditions reflect God's blessing, Paul points to his sufferings for the sake of the gospel as a more accurate measure of Christian faithfulness.

          B.      Implication

We must willingly submit to the process of becoming servants ourselves.

          C.      Illustration

Honor # 110

          D.      Application

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 14-17)

          B.      Implication

We must willingly submit to the power God has given his servants to help us through example.

          C.      Illustration

Authority #  12

          D.      Application

V.      Cycle Five

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 18-21)

          B.      Implication

We must willingly submit to the power God has given his servants to help us through discipline.

          C.      Illustration

Mentoring

Role Models Needed

Example; Fathers; Leadership; Mentoring; Parenting; Youth

1 Corinthians 4:16-17; 1 Peter 5:5

The TV show 60 Minutes ran a segment that tells us something important about fatherlessness. The park rangers at a South African wildlife preserve were concerned about the slaughter of 39 rare white rhinos in their park. It turned out that the rhinos were killed not by poachers but rather by juvenile delinquents—teen elephants.

The story began a decade ago when the park could no longer sustain the increasing population of elephants. They decided to kill many of the adult elephants whose young were old enough to survive without them. And so, the young elephants grew up fatherless. As time went on, many of these young elephants roamed together in gangs and began to do things elephants normally don't do. They threw sticks and water at rhinos and acted like neighborhood bullies. Without dominant males, the young bulls became sexually active, producing excessive testosterone and exhibiting aggressive behavior. A few young males grew especially violent, knocking down rhinos and stepping or kneeling on them, crushing the life out of them. Mafuto, the gang leader, eventually had to be killed.

The park rangers theorized that these young teen-aged elephants were acting badly because they lacked role models. The solution was to bring in a large male to lead them and to counteract their bully behaviors. Soon the new male established dominance and put the young bulls in their places. The killing stopped. The young males were mentored—and saved.

Citation: Ken Sowers, Mentor, Ohio; 60 Minutes (January 20, 1999)

          D.      Application

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

So how might we legitimately attain to the spiritual power that we desire?

We must rightfully consider the servants God has sent us.

We must rightfully consider our own lives in view of the servants God has sent us.

We must willingly submit to the process of becoming servants ourselves.

We must willingly submit to the power God has given his servants to help us through example.

We must willingly submit to the power God has given his servants to help us through discipline.

Timeless Truth:

If you want real spiritual power you must first submit to it.

God sends us his servants to show us how to submit to him.

Submission is never easy for sinful man.

That is why the cross is the greatest source of power known to man, for it shows us how God's power is perfected in weakness.

Is shows us how God's power has been perfected in Christ who, as God, willingly became weak, as a man, and died on the cross.

The greatest example of true servanthood is the servant himself.

The greatest example of the Master is the true servant.

A true servant carries the authority of the Master.

If the authority of the Master consumes you, then the authority of the Master is what remains.

Servants of the cross also carry its authority.

“18  "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19  "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18-19 NIVUS)

If only two servants of the same master could agree upon anything ---

Paul wants the Corinthians, and us, to cease our striving and to agree with one another by agreeing with him to become servants of the same cross – the same Christ.

Only then will we possess real spiritual power, or maturity.

There is strength in numbers.

So then, let us arise and conquer the darkness.

Let us become true servants of the cross, thereby appropriating its power, and overpower the world by our willingness to serve one another.

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