When we say, “the church is a mess,” we are acknowledging that every church is made up of messy people. We are all sinners who have been saved by God’s grace. We are now called saints, and we serve the king who has forgiven us of our sin and given us new life in Christ. We battle against our enemies — the flesh, the world and the devil — who want us to stumble and sin, and through the power of Christ we live a life of holiness, faithfulness to God, and serving others.
We are servants of Christ.
As servants of Christ, we want to be found faithful. No employee wants to be slacking on the job when the boss comes around. No player wants to be goofing off when the coach observes him on the field. No child wants to be taking a nap when her parents asked her to clean her room. In the same way, we who are servants of Christ want him to find us faithful. The best way to be found faithful at any given time is to live a life of faithfulness at all times.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1 A person should think of us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God. 2 In this regard, it is required that managers be found faithful.
Let us continually seek to live a life of holiness, faithfulness to God, and serving others. May the love of Christ flow through us to other people. May our attitudes, our words and our actions honor God and bless others. As servants of Christ, we want to be found faithful.
As servants of Christ, we are willing to do whatever he asks. Following Jesus is not always easy. Let me repeat: following Jesus is not always easy… but it is always worth it! Men and women of faith throughout the centuries have endured hardships so that others could know of Christ’s love. We love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, live holy lives in the midst of messy cities, and find ways to serve people as we point them to Jesus.
1 Corinthians 4:10-13
10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 Up to the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty; we are poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless; 12 we labor, working with our own hands. When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we respond graciously. Even now, we are like the scum of the earth, like everyone’s garbage.
Are you willing to do whatever Jesus asks you to do and go wherever he asks you to go? The apostle Paul endured hunger, thirst, lack of adequate clothing, being treated roughly, homelessness, criticism, slander and all sorts of persecution. From his perspective, he was treated like garbage. Why did he endure all of this? So that people could know how wonderful Jesus is. As a servant of Jesus, are you willing to do whatever he asks?
As servants of Christ, we care for others and lead them in the ways of Christ. Paul spoke to the church family in Corinth as a loving spiritual father, caring for their well-being in every way. He planted their church, and he desperately wanted each one of them to know the blessings they had as servants of Christ. One of the pastors that Paul mentored was Timothy, and Timothy instructed the Corinthian church in the ways of Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:14-17
14 I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children. 15 For you may have countless instructors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.
When Paul said, “I urge you to imitate me,” he followed it by saying that Timothy would “remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus.” The things Paul taught to the first churches are the same holy Scriptures that we learn from today, the letters he wrote to those churches.
Following the examples of Paul and Timothy, we should disciple others, teaching them in the ways of Christ and showing care toward them. Who are you discipling? It may be that you are having regular, ongoing conversations with your family members about how to follow Jesus. Or, you may be a connect group leader. Or, you may have someone or a few people that you meet with regularly to help them walk in the ways of Christ. Each of us should have people that we are discipling, encouraging them in the ways of Christ.
We are servants of Christ.