Preparing for Sunday - 1 Cor 4:14-21
Prepare your heart for Sunday by looking through these suggestions that will assist you in making the most of our time together.
You will find suggestions for thinking more critically through the passage, meditating more intently on the text, and tangibly putting scripture to action in your personal life and in our corporate body.
- Read 1 Corinthians 4:6-21. Last week we walked through verses 6-13 and saw how a congregation is to assess their own spirituality. What is Paul’s tone like throughout that section? How do you think that would have been received?
- Notice the personal tone in verses 14-21. How is Paul’s care for the Corinthians displayed in this passage? Why would Paul call them his children and himself their father? What do you think Paul’s desire for the Corinthians is based on this passage?
- What is the process Paul is describing in verses 16-17? Is Paul being arrogant in calling for the Corinthians to imitate him? Why or why not? What does it say that Paul sent Timothy to them so that they would imitate Paul? What does Paul say his purpose for this is at the end of verse 17?
- How does Paul’s tone “shift” in verses 18-21? How is this still a demonstration of his fatherly care for the Corinthians? What does Paul mean when he talks about the power of the kingdom of God? Where else has Paul talked about this power in this letter? (See 1:17-2:5) How does this help you understand what he is talking about here? What is the response that Paul’s last question seeks to drive?
- The Sermon Study equipping class notes are available online for anyone wanting to dig deeper. Please review this week's notes to help study this passage. Click here for the notes.
- How does your heart respond to rebuke from a leader in the church who you know cares for you as Paul cared for the Corinthians? How does the knowledge of the care that they possess affect the way you respond?
- In what ways are you seeking to imitate a “father” of yours in the faith? Who are you being an example to and leading so that they might imitate you? Should your conduct and character to be imitated? How can you seek to imitate Paul and our Lord by being imitable this week?
- How care you intentionally prepare your heart for the instruction and correction that will come, and at times be painful? How can living in holiness allow our leaders to come to us with a spirit of gentleness instead of rebuke?
- Who have been some of the people who have had a spiritual parent-like role in your growth as a Christian (i.e., leading in a close-knit, family-like discipleship relationship)? How did it come about? What did/has it look like?
- When he/she had difficult things to say to you, how did you respond? Why?
- What did you do when you did not necessarily agree with the instruction you received?
- How did this relationship impact you most in your relationship with Christ?
- Do you still have this relationship? What strengthens it? Weakens it?
- Have you ever played the role of a spiritual mentor/parent with someone?
- How did it come about?
- What did it look like?
- How did you respond when the person you were investing in did not respond favorably to your instruction or even confrontation?
- How did you seek to deepen your involvement with this person? What tended to weaken this relationship?
- What keeps you from investing in people in the way that Paul did with the Corinthians?
- What tends to keep you from welcoming a relationship like Paul had with the Corinthians?
- Who has God used you in seeing someone embrace Christ in salvation? How did you continue to come alongside them after they were first converted?
- If you desired a relationship with someone older in the faith than you, what would be good ways to develop it?
- How could you come alongside someone in the church younger in their faith and cultivate a strong and helpful relationship with them?
- Pray that the Lord would use his Word to help us rightly view and respond to those he has placed in authority over us, even when they come to us with rebuke and correction.
- Seek out ways that you can be an example to someone in the faith. Is there an obvious person at Summit Woods that you could start meeting with in a discipleship context? Pray for that person and reach out to them this week. Are you submitting yourself to someone in a similar way? Seek this relationship out as well.
- Pray that the Lord would soften hearts that are hardened to the discipline and instruction of leaders in the church. Is this your heart? Are you repulsed at the idea of being confronted by a leader in the church? Are you rightly viewing the care and compassion that is motivating those actions? Do you trust the decisions that the elders make? Is your heart hardened toward them in a sinful way? Seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Evaluate the sinful motives/actions that are at play in this situation, confess and repent of those sins. Seek to view the hearts of the elders in the same way Paul expresses his heart in this passage.
- Click the links below to find the lyrics and recordings of the songs planned for our gathering this Sunday; practice the songs, study the lyrics and sing together.
- Pray for those leading our corporate gathering this week and for the Holy Spirit’s work as the Word of God is further explained and applied: Dawson Bryant: music; Rob Stouffer: Elders' prayer and Scripture reading; Bret Capranica: teaching.