Three Marks of a Prideful Church/Group of Disciples

I have been motivated lately by my own personal tests in ministry to sincerely read the Scriptures and let them speak to me.  Thus, in my study of 1 Corinthians 4 I have been deeply impacted by how Paul viewed the church he had planted.  And how the disciples turned away from his leadership and were being led by spiritually immature leaders who thought they were “super-apostles” (1 Cor. 3:1).

Here are the three things I believe he points out to show their rebellion and pride:

1. The Corinthian church claimed to be “wiser, richer, more popular, honored, and more powerful than Paul”:  They actually thought that because they had more friends, more money, and more honor among the people than Paul that they were more spiritual than Paul.

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

2. They boasted that they had “10,000 instructors” and thus didn’t need their “spiritual father”:  They believed that because they “church hopped” around and read all the books of other teachers and got the messages of the other “preachers” they did not need the leadership of Paul, who was the one who led them to the Lord and was their God-given leader.  (Note in 1 Cor., 1:1-3, “Paul was called by God to be their Apostle.”)

 14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 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. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

3. The church was so arrogant that they believed if Paul never came back, they could win over the whole church by their “words”:  As Paul was traveling and now living in Ephesus they were convinced that if he never came back they could persuade the whole church to follow them.  Even though Paul was sending them Timothy, his “son,” they were still going to rebel.

17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?


I pray for those reading this that they will see how churches and their members can treat the leadership of God.  To actually mock and ridicule them and claim to be more wise.  I do not write this blog from a place of going through this now, though I have in times past.  However, I write this blog to warn those who may consider doing such things or have done them and feel God has forgotten.

Also, I write this blog to encourage other pastors and leaders that may feel at times that they are facing trials and tests with the people God has given them and think it strange- it is not, even the great Apostle Paul suffered these things from His people.

Therefore, here is a short list of what to do in times like this:

Church Member/Disciple

1. Submit to the leadership God has placed over your life
2. Reject intrusive and harmful leadership/counsel, i.e., “those who lead you away from your God-given leader.”
3. Pray for your leader to remain faithful to their call so they do not grow weary in doing good
4. Grow in maturity in your own spiritual walk, most intrusive/harmful leadership takes advantage of weak-willed, sinful, and compromising believers.

Church Leader/Pastor

1. Openly correct those who are causing the divisions among you
2. Remove the sin from the congregation
3. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who use you
4. Use spiritual sons/daughters to help restore order
5. Ask your church to pray for you so you do not grow weary in well doing


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