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Why You Can Look Forward to God’s Judgment

Summary: Instead of comparing ourselves to others or worrying about the approval of others, we can live for God’s approval alone and eagerly anticipate the Day of Judgment where the “first will be last and the last first.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 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 until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

We are each given a specific task and assignment (v. 1-2)
Paul says that he and Apollos cannot be compared to one another because they are both servants, each given a specific task or assignment. Paul’s task is to plant churches and build a foundation; Apollos waters and builds on the foundation laid. How can you compare one to the other when they have different roles and callings? What matters, says Paul, is that each servant is faithful to complete the task assigned him. In the same way, you should never compare yourself to others, or compare others to yourself, or compare others in any way at all because we are each given specific tasks and assignments by God. John 21:18-22 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Stop worrying about how you compare to others and start thinking about the race that God has given you to run. What is the fight He has called you to? At the end of his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race.” God gives each of us unique challenges, and along with these unique gifts and opportunities. Don’t ever wonder “What if this had happened?” or “What if I had that?” or other things that we have no control over. Instead, be utterly faithful to what God has

laid before you: your family, your spouse, your strength and intelligence, your time, your privileges and background. What has God entrusted to you? Are you neglecting the things that God has entrusted to you? I know that there are some important things in life, things that have eternal value:  People – Each person is precious, so much so that Jesus died to save each one. I never regret the time I spend with people as long as it is to build them up. I hope that you look at your time at caregroup in this way. Look at it as an opportunity to invest in eternal things.  Our relationship with God – As we walk through this life, God wants us to know Him more and to have a closer relationship with Him. We should always ask ourselves “What is God speaking to me?” in every situation in life. If you are under pressure at work, take time to listen to what God has to say to you. You may be fighting an inner battle against addiction or depression … God wants you to drew close to Him in your fight. No one else may ever know, but all heaven is cheering you on.  The church – God’s church is so important to Him. Acts 20:28 says, “Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.” Each of you has a unique gift or ability that God wants you to use to serve others. We all need one another in the church; we owe one another a debt of love and service.

We must live to please God (v. 3-4)
Paul told the Corinthian church that he was only concerned about one person’s approval: Jesus Christ, His Lord. This does not mean that Paul didn’t care about what others thought. No, he always sought to “win people over” and to avoid stumbling others. But he did this because he wanted to please Jesus. All of us have a desire for the approval of others. We want other people to see and recognize certain things about us: that we are happy, that we wear nice clothes, that we are cool or smart. We want to fit in, to be “normal.” Social media aggravates this desire because everyone can create a customized image of their lives and thoughts to present to the world. Or, we may crave approval from a boyfriend or girlfriend. We need to be desired and to have someone think that we are special. Why is this? Why does the approval of other people matter so much? Others will say that what matters is that you feel good about yourself. They say that you need to be true to yourself. But the Bible says that our hearts are deceitful beyond cure. We may be filled with pride or sunk in depression, but we must remember that we cannot trust our own hearts on this matter. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

What matters, according to Paul, is that God approves of us. Stop worrying about what that guy or gal thinks of you, stop passing judgment on yourself—either thinking that we’re the greatest or the worst in the world. Instead, worry only about one thing, just one measure of success: God’s approval. Matthew 6:1-6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. We must keep our eyes on the prize. Remember that only God’s approval counts. It doesn’t matter that everyone approves of you: you may be the envy of your friends, the pride of your parents, and respected in the workplace. It doesn’t matter how you feel about yourself. What matters is what God thinks.

We should anticipate the judgment of God (v. 5)
Paul summarizes or concludes by telling the Corinthians to wait for and anticipate God’s judgment. For believers who trust in God for salvation, we can look forward to standing before God. Your heart should be at peace; you should be eager to meet God face-to-face. Paul says that God is qualified to judge because He knows all things. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” We only know in part, but God knows all things. God even knows us better than we know ourselves. Only God can probe into our motives and weigh all things fairly. Paul says that God will uncover hidden things. We can expect to be surprised at the Judgment! Jesus gave a hint of this when He observed a poor widow putting two small copper coins into the temple treasury. Luke 19:1-4 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this

poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” God doesn’t look at things the way that we do. He looks at faithfulness with what we have. Matthew 19:28-30 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. Jesus told His disciples that on the Judgment Day, we will have many surprises. We will be surprised to see some people humbled and others exalted because of God’s judgment. He will judge people according to what they have been given. One sister in our church who passed away last year was a great example of this. At her memorial service, there were so many examples of people who testified to her faithfulness in raising six children, serving as a missionary to Czechoslovakia and China, witnessing to people on the Metro bus, faithfully counseling people, and waiting upon God for her daily needs. We should be faithful like this woman with what God has given us.