【Bible Study】1 Corinthians 04: To Be a Shepherd With the Heart of a Father and Mother

The First Epistle to the Corinthians is a book about building the church. Everyone must change the concept of "practicing and reading the Bible at home," as this is not the gospel preached by Paul! The gospel Paul preached focuses on the church, and reading Paul's letters reveals that the church's perspective is crucial to understanding his gospel!

Faith That Combines Church Building

God blesses people through the church, and without the church, there is nothing! Because the church is the body of Jesus Christ, the construction of the church and our faith are intertwined. In the first chapter of "First Corinthians," Paul writes:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

This power is not just the gospel; it is also the authority of God, and this authority is manifested through the church. In the second chapter, Paul speaks of the gospel being revealed through the Holy Spirit, explaining these spiritual matters, also referred to as "explaining spiritual things with spiritual words." (See 1 Corinthians 2:13) Today, the phenomena we face are essentially spiritual, so we begin to see that spiritual people see through everything through the Holy Spirit within us. (See 1 Corinthians 2:14-15)

In the third chapter, there is another issue in the Corinthian church where they boast using worldly and fleshly methods to build the church, which cannot endure in the presence of God. Therefore, Paul writes:

"If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, their work will be shown for what it is because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work." (1 Corinthians 3:12-13)

Our foundation is built on Jesus Christ, but the materials each person uses for construction may vary. Some people build insubstantial structures, and when the fire comes, it burns them down. In other words, building the church must use the methods mentioned in chapters 1 and 2 - using spiritual methods - building the church with the authority of God. Only such a church can bring down God's blessings. In Chapter 4, the most important position of the church is mentioned, called manager. So, what kind of manager do you want to be? Paul mentions that people use worldly wisdom to build the church, resulting in judgment, pride, and much confusion!

Destructive Methods Bring Corruption

Judgment brings contention. Some people may call a pastor a "great pastor" or "small pastor" based on the size of the church. These people judge based on worldly standards. Once worldly methods are used for anything, they bring corruption. Using worldly power and wisdom to build the church also brings corruption.

The church we previously built using worldly methods was visibly corrupted. People in the church indulged in eating, drinking, and revelry, only to later pass judgment on the pastor in the coffee shop. Later, I personally dismantled that church. My methods were wrong, but my motivation was not. Afterward, I repented, and only then did I realize what the Bible says: building the church requires the authority of the Holy Spirit. As a pastor, one must be a faithful manager of God!

Paul saw that the Corinthians were building the church using worldly methods, leading to corruption. The first person affected was Paul himself. The people of the Corinthian church began to pass judgment on Paul, who had once shepherded and taught them, treating him as if he were their own father. After Paul left, another group of people came to the Corinthian church, preaching a different gospel, and as a result, the church began to slide into corruption.

The Kind of Pastor You Should Be

Today, let's consider what kind of pastor one should be. This question is closely related to everyone because each one of you will be shepherding God's flock in the future. I have a dream: whether the church has ten, a hundred, or a thousand people, each person is a soldier of Jesus Christ. Because of this, you will receive the blessings of Jesus Christ. If you are a soldier of Jesus Christ, you won't have too many problems. Regardless of the situation, you won't complain endlessly; you will still be a victorious person. Because the problems you face will not be problems to you.

If all one hundred or one thousand people in the church have no problems, what should we do? We should all unite and serve those who have problems. This issue shook me greatly. When I sought God's face, He gave me a revelation - like our vision: to build a church of soldiers. Later, God continuously made me understand its importance through various events. If the church is made up of a thousand "old, weak, sick, and disabled" people, not to mention serving others, just these one thousand people would overwhelm me. Even with the power of the Holy Spirit, I would be unable to attend to everyone. But that is not God's will!

God's will is to build a holy, united, and glorious church! Such a glorious church will become a united group, go out to battle, trample on the enemies of the devil, and release those who are captive and oppressed.

Yesterday, a sister came among us and shared something with me after the meeting. I was deeply moved. A few years ago, her mother passed away. During her mother's passing, the whole family gathered around her body without a pastor. She went to her mother's church to find a pastor, but no one paid attention to her. Then she rushed to another church to find a pastor and was also rejected. Fortunately, later, a pastor with a compassionate heart went to serve her mother.

What I want to express is: Is this a problem with the pastor or with the family of this sister? Or is it the fault of the pastors leading this family of believers? I think every link has a problem. Firstly, a pastor cannot serve brothers and sisters without the heart of a father and a mother; he is not a servant of Christ. You must serve people with the heart of a father and a mother. Though it may sound harsh, it builds people up.

"I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children." (1 Corinthians 4:14)

The situation this sister encountered is like this: her pastor did not properly admonish and teach them. Therefore, she became a very weak believer, and in times of crisis, she had no way to overcome the situation. In the past, these pastors did not lead her, did not speak the words of Paul, but spoke things that sounded good but did not build people up. We won't speak pleasant words; we speak words that build people up, whether they sound good or not. If we speak pleasant words, where will our brothers and sisters go when they encounter difficulties and need someone to talk to? As soldiers of Jesus Christ, in times of crisis, we will not be in panic. When faced with a crisis, we (pastors, group leaders, brothers, and sisters in the group) will certainly rush to you to serve together. The problem with a corrupt church is that people selectively choose to speak pleasant words, and when it comes to the critical moment, they are helpless. That is not the way of a shepherd!

A shepherd must serve with the heart of a father and a mother. When someone among us has a problem at night, and you call me, I will certainly pray with you! No matter what happens tomorrow, I will put it aside, not caring at all! This is what I do, what I practice. I want to tell you that if a person is greatly used by God, and signs and wonders are evident in him, God will surely be pleased with him.

Serving With the Heart of a Father and a Mother

What God does among us, firstly, we serve with the heart of a father and a mother; secondly, we build the church according to spiritual truth; thirdly, we are not seeking to please people, speaking words that people like, but we are solely seeking to please God, speaking words that people may not like to hear. Even though sometimes what we say may not be correct, you will never find that our motivation is wrong. Paul said very sincerely:

"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." (1 Corinthians 4:14-15)

How we conduct ourselves and how we teach everyone is what Paul is arguing. Paul says, "I will send my faithful son (Timothy) to you; he will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church." (See 1 Corinthians 4:17) So, brothers and sisters, we should all do it according to Paul's example. Because Paul has set a very good example for us!

How did he teach people? The first two sections may sound unpleasant. It is not to gossip, but he hopes that the people of the Corinthian church can wake up, no longer be arrogant, and stop building the church with worldly methods. That path is a dead end, and there is no life in it. Don't follow the nonsense of a few people! The key point of Paul is that a true servant of Jesus Christ, apart from serving with the heart of a father and a mother, must have the authority of Jesus Christ.

"And I will find out not only the arrogant words of those who are not powerful but their authority. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." (1 Corinthians 4:19-20)

Those who are arrogant absolutely do not have the authority of God. The Spirit of God will not be with such people. Those who are arrogant and build the church with worldly methods will never have the authority of God or the presence of God. Today, some people teach that because a church pursues miracles, there will be miracles! But what is the reality? It is because the church walks in the will of God. People who walk in the flesh find it impossible to have the authority of the Holy Spirit.

So, Paul says, the kingdom of God is not about words but about power. Brothers and sisters need to have a new perspective on the gospel of Jesus Christ, although this is only one aspect. If you serve as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, God will do a wonderful thing in you and grant His authority upon you. Just like recorded in "1 Samuel":

"The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground." (1 Samuel 3:19)

How wonderful it is! Because Samuel had an intimate relationship with God, every word he spoke was accomplished by God. Later, I discovered in the Pentateuch that Moses was also such a person. Whatever Moses said, God also fulfilled!

I especially hope that in my lifetime, God will do a wonderful thing in me, just like with Moses, Samuel, and Paul. May the words I speak not fall to the ground, and it will be such grace. I can tell you that if a person is greatly used by God, with signs and wonders as evidence, God will certainly find pleasure in him.

This is Paul. Don't assume that every word Paul wrote was directly told to him by God. These words were written by Paul himself. He said, "When I come to you, it is not based on human eloquence but on the authority of God. What I say comes true, but the words of those who deceive do not come true." It's like the confrontation between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal, where Elijah had water poured on the wood, prayed, and the fire came down. No matter what the prophets of Baal did, nothing happened, but what Elijah said was fulfilled (see 1 Kings 18:17-40).

To be a servant of Jesus Christ, one must have the mindset of a father and mother: willing to endure suffering oneself rather than letting one's sheep (children) suffer. If children suffer while the shepherd enjoys comfort, that does not reflect a parental heart. Even if there are ten thousand teachers who can speak, preach, and teach, it is of no use. So, I want to remind all the parents, to carry out your service with a parental heart. Don't just pick pleasant words to speak; speak in a way that builds people up. That way, your prayers will not be in vain.

Bringing Thoughts and Intentions Into Unity With God

Here, I want to interject why Paul's written letters are included in the Bible, while those written by people without authority are not included in the Bible. Because what Paul wrote is written in God's will. These words are inspired by God! The key is that Paul's thoughts and intentions are already in unity with God. If one day, your service becomes a vessel for manifesting the power of God, serving with God's authority, it is because your thoughts are already in unity with God's thoughts. Therefore, what you say with God's authority will be accomplished.

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