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Three Judgments (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)

1 Corinthians: The Application of Christian Principles, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Three Judgments (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)

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Three Judgments

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (Pastor Heo)

Apostles of Christ

1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.


If I ask, are you a slave? You may say, “NO!” But if I ask, are you a slave of Christ? You may answer differently. Are you happy or sad, joyful or sad?

If you are really a saved Christian, you are a slave to Christ.

In Greek, dulos = “slave”, servant is a “soft” interpretation. Directly at that time, it was dulos, which means slave. All saved Christians are slaves of Christ.

“I’m a slave of Christ.”

How can we be saved? We are saved by believing, accepting, confessing Jesus as Lord.

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

Romans 9:10 “If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you will be saved.”

The fact that we are saved by accepting Jesus as our saving Lord means that we are saved by becoming his slave. This is very clear.

Before becoming slaves of Christ, we were slaves to sin. The slave market of sin is where humans are sold into slavery to sin. But Jesus bought us at a price from the slave market to be in service to him. We are therefore, serving slaves to Christ.

v. 1-2

“1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

We are stewards – stewards are servants who manage everything for their master. We are entrusted the secret things of God. This is the church, and we are entrusted with the wealth, riches, of God, and the mysteries of God – the mystery of salvation for all the world through Jesus Christ. This secret cannot be comprehended by human wisdom / philosophy, so it has been entrusted to us as his servants, stewards, slaves. We are to proclaim and pronounce it wisely and faithfully.

Rev 2:10 “Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

He gave us this as a mandate.

As his servant / slave, we must make our master happy – please him.

  • Our main issue is not, “am I popular?”
  • but rather, “am I faithful to my Lord?”

We must remember that we are always being judged. (Do you recognize this fact?)

There is somebody around us, visible or invisible, who is judging, criticizing, evaluating, investigating us.

Today’s sermon: Three Judgments – we are living with 3 judgments around us all the time.

1 Man’s Judgment

Judged by our fellow man.

v. 3

“3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.”

Paul did not get upset when others judged him because he knew that his Master’s judgment was far more important. Also today, we face judgment from other human beings.

The judgment of Man is imperfect, but sometimes, it is instinctively right. Everyone instinctively respects higher morals and ethics: honesty, etc.

But at the same time, we must not be troubled when others judge / criticize us. We must also not let the judgment of Man to deflect us from what we know is right.

In church, we must help / edify others to grow. When we judge others, we consider ourselves better – this is a sin of pride / arrogance.

Sermon on the Mount “Do not judge lest you be judged. With the measure you use, you also will be judged. How can you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, when there is a plank in your eye. You hypocrite! First, remove the plank from your own eye, and then you can see to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Romans 14 “We are fellow servants.” (So who are we to judge our fellow servants?)

We must remember we are being judged by our fellow man. Yet, we also must be free from this judgment remembering that there will finally be a Final Judgment.

2 Self judgment

Have you experienced judging yourself?

v. 3

“3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; *indeed, I do not even judge myself.*”

We cannot escape our own self-judgment. There can be a fine line between a clear conscience and a self-righteous attitude.

Our own attitude can be clouded by self-justification, self-rationalization, pride, arrogance, bias.

Worldly wisdom and philosophy says, “Know thyself.” Do you know yourself? Really?

But although it is a simple question, it is a difficult job because we are not Creator, but creations. We can only know ourselves through Jesus Christ because he is our Lord, Master.

3 God’s Judgment

(Most important)

God is judging us today, but also there will be a Final Judgment. We cannot escape daily judgment, nor the Final Judgment. God bless you to be happy for the Final Judgment.

v. 4-5

“4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

At that time = Final Judgment

We can be happy because at that time we can receive our reward.

At the last analysis, this is the Final Judgment. Yes, God judges us every day through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Heb 4:12 “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword…”

God’s judgment is final judgment for several reasons:

  1. Only God knows ALL circumstances – visible and invisible
  2. God will bring all hidden things to light

Imagine – if your spouse, child, knew EVERY thought and imagination, are you OK? or terrified? I’m not OK – but God knows all the struggles we have and all the secret mysteries we cannot say to others.

God knows what we might have been for better or for worse – he is the only one who knows ALL the facts and all the possibilities. He knows all Man’s motives and hidden things – he sees our heart, inward intention, hidden purpose.

  • Many actions that seem good and noble on the outside, may have been done from the most selfish, ignoble actions.
  • At the same time, things that look bad on the outside may have been done with good intentions.

God alone knows human hearts because he created human hearts.

Around us, many people try to create a lasting legacy on earth. Do you want to be remembered by Man? But what matters most is not what others say about our lives, but what God says about our lives.

All earthly achievement will pass away. All human records will fade away and be forgotten.

To leave an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. We are not put here on earth to be remembered by man, but to prepare for the Final Judgment of God.

v. 5

“5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

The last sentence = someday in the near future, we will stand before God face to face and God will do an audit / final account of our lives.

Romans “All human beings will stand before God’s Final Judgment and give an account of himself to God.”

When we stand at the Final Judgment before God, what kind of question will he ask us?

  • Are you a slave?
  • Are you a slave of Christ?

Like this, at the Final Judgment, when we stand before God, please remember that God will ask to each of us only one question.

Consider in your life now, what is the MOST important thing? Many things. But God will NEVER ask about our race, education, career, savings. He will only ask one question – don’t forget this one question – it is the final question we will meet face to face at the Final Judgment:

What did you do with Jesus Christ?

(Who was Jesus to you during your previous life on earth?)

What did you do for Christ with what I gave you?

We are stewards – managers. What did you do for Christ with what I gave you? What did you do with your life, time, resources, relationships, money, materials, gifts, talents?

To this question, our personal, individual, honest answer to this question will determine where we will live our eternity – not just 100 / 1000, 1 million, trillion years, but eternity.

Our honest answer will determine where we will spend our eternity. This is the message of the Bible given to us. God bless us to stand at the Final Judgment seat and receive a reward. There is no other way to stand before Christ.

“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“There is no other name given to men under heaven by which you must be saved.” (Acts)

Jesus’ name = “he saves his people from their sins.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

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