Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleSo Account of Us
Bible Text1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Synopsis We have no reason to be puffed up one against another because it is God who made us, and each of our brethren, what we are and not we ourselves. Listen.
Series 1 Corinthians 2015
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: So Account of Us (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: So Account of Us (128 kbps)
Length 43 min.

Series: 1 Corinthians

Title: So Account of Us

Text: 1 Cor 4: 1-2

Date: December 3, 2015

Place: SGBC, New Jersey


At Corinth the problem of division over the preachers had done what it always does—it resulted in division among the brethren. They exalted one preacher and put down another. So they exalted the brethren who followed the preacher they liked and put down those who followed the preacher they did not like. So tells us the he is speaking to us all in the things he is teaching. Paul says in


1 Corinthians 4: 6: And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men [preachers as well as our brethren] above [beyond—less or more—than] that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.


So preachers are the example Paul uses—himself and Apollos—as ministers and stewards.  But when he speaks of ministers and stewards he is speaking of all believers.  This applies to all true believers—this is what every believer has been made by Christ.  Therefore, in our account of one another we are not to go above what is written—not more and not less.  We are not to be puffed up one brother against another brother. 


Here is the main point.  We have no reason to be puffed up one against another because it is God who made us, and each of our brethren, what we are and not we ourselves.




First, all God’s true witnesses are to be accounted by one another as ministers of Christ—1 Corinthians 4: 1: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ.


When he says “account” it means, let a man so reckon us, let a man so impute to us—what God has really made us to be—not what we are not—not more, not less—what God has really made us to be. Brethren, this is amazing to think about.  Our God has made us ministers of Christ. That is why we are to account one another as Christ’s ministers. This is the end of all strife and self-exaltation if we simply remember that my brethren are made ministers by Christ.


This word “account” is the same Greek word translated “imputeth” and in “impute” in Romans 4: 6 and 8. It reads “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works…Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” When God imputes the righteousness of Christ to a believer, he is accounting to us what we have already really been made to be by Christ.  Notice the word “are” in verse 7. “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”  God is not treating us as something we are not when he imputes the righteousness of Christ Jesus to us and when he will not impute sin to us.  It is because in Christ our iniquities are forgiven and our sins are covered.


Let me give you two more verses showing how God imputes or accounts.  As you read this passage notice that the man has shed blood and he has not made an offering unto the LORD at God’s appointed place.


Leviticus 17: 3: What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, 4: And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man;…


God says that blood shall be reckoned to this man’s account.  This man shall be accounted as shedder of blood.  Is God imputing blood to that man in order to make him to have shed blood? No. Is God treating him as if he shed blood? No! Blood shall be imputed to that man for this reason—notice the next phrase—


Leviticus 17: 4:…he hath shed blood;


God is not making the man sin by the imputation of sin to him.—“Blood is imputed unto that man [because] he hath shed blood.” And so “that man shall be cut off from among his people.” (v4)


Now, let’s go to the New Testatment in Romans 5 and let’s look at federal headship, at representation by Adam and Christ.


Romans 5: 12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so…


“And so” means because of Adam’s transgression, because sin really did enter and death by sin.


Romans 5: 12:…And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


“For that” means because in Adam all really have sinned. Therefore death passed upon all men. He gives an example to show that sin is imputed to us because we were truly made sin by Adam’s disobedience.


Romans 5: 13: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.


God is just. God does not impute sin to someone unless he has been made sin under the law.


Romans 5: 14: Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses,…


Even when they had no law, death reigned. It was real death that reigned—both spiritual and physical.


Romans 5: 14…even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,


Death even reigned over newborn babies that did not actively, rebelliously sin against a direct law as Adam did.


How was God just to impute sin to their account when there was no law, even to newborn babies who had not actively committed a trespass like Adam? Was God making them sin by imputing sin to them? God did not do that with the man in Leviticus—“he hath shed blood.”  Was God imputing sin to them to simply treat them as if they had sinned? Our own experience verifies that is certainly not the case. No. God imputed sin to them because God is just and sin is what they really were! It is because we all really did transgress and were really made sin when we broke that one law in the garden because we were really in Adam when he broke it


Now here is the good news!


Romans 5: 14…[Adam] is the figure of [Christ] that was to come.


Like Adam was a representative head of all that would be born of his corrupt seed by natural generation, that is the whole human race, Christ is Head and Representative of all who shall be born of his incorruptible Seed by spiritual regeneration, that is all God’s elect race. Be sure you understand when you read this next passage that “all men” refers to those who would be born of each federal head. Those are the ones who each head represented. Like as Adam made his people sin by his disobedience under the law, Christ made his people righteousness by his obedience under the law, unto the death of the cross.


Romans 5: 18: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.


Righteousness is the free gift of God’s grace which is worked out, not by us, but by Christ. In fact, Christ is the righteousness of God. This good news is brought to each one for whom Christ died because God shall regenerate and give faith to each one for whom Christ died.  When God purges our conscience from dead works, and given us faith to hear him, God makes us to know he has imputed the righteousness of Christ to us.  It is not God imputing to us what we are not; it is God imputing to us what Christ has already made us. It is not by our works but by Christ’s obedience unto the death of the cross in our place.


My Greek Lexicon says the word “account” “refers to facts not suppositions.” And if we take an honest look into the scriptures to see how God accounts, imputes, reckons then we will find that God accounts to a person the fact of what that person already really is.


For example, if I really have twenty dollars in my wallet and I account that I have twenty dollars in my wallet, I did not put twenty dollars in my wallet by imputing twenty dollars to my wallet. I accounted twenty dollars to my wallet because it is a reality—twenty dollars was already really in my wallet.


The scriptures show us that imputation is the act of God accounting to a person what the person has already been made by his representative head.  But in scripture, God’s accounting is never represented as treating a person as if they are something that they are not. Oh, what good news that is to a believer!  Notice in the following scriptures the certain, accomplished state that believers are in by Christ’s work at Calvary


Romans 6: 2: How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?


Romans 6: 6: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7: For he that is dead is freed from sin


God accounts us dead to sin, not in order to make us dead to sin nor is God counting us what we are not, but God accounts the believer dead to sin because we are dead to sin by Christ’s death. He commands his child to do the same.


Romans 6: 11: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but [to be] alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Colossians 3: 2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.


So how does all this apply to our texst? Paul just declared in 1 Corinthians 3: 20 and 23: “all things are yours….And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” God accounts that to be the fact of every regenerated believer because it has been accomplished in Christ.  That is how God accounts it. So Paul say in our text in 1 Corinthians 4: 1, “Let a man so account of us”—what we really have been made by Christ!—“Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ.”


What amazing grace given us from God!  He accounts us ministers of Christ because that is what he has made us.  He gives us all things to minister to his people in the service of Christ.  All his people are Christ’s—even Christ’s ministers.  And since Christ is God’s, we are God’s ministers. Remember, Paul is teaching us this so that we will not exalt one preacher or one fellow brother over another.


Ministers are servants.  A minister is not the guest who is being exalted and praised at the banquet table; a minister is the waiter doing the serving.  We have not been made ministers to be ministered unto but to minister to one another. It is a subordinate office.


An “under-rower” was a subordinate servant in the lowest part of the ship. It is where the captain of the ship appointed him. And he rowed wherever the captain of the ship commanded. Christ is our Captain. Christ’s preachers and his people are made ministers in this “fellowship” belonging to Christ. So Christ appoints where we will serve. We row as Christ our Captain commands us as Christ gives us strength and grace for the work.


The point is that Christ’s church is the opposite of this world. This world considers great men to be those who are served, ministered unto, exalted by men. But Christ said,


Matthew 20: 26…whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27: And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


Brethren, “all things are yours” for the ministry Christ sets before us.  Remember, you and your fellow believers “Are Christ’s and Christ’s is God’s.” Therefore, “Let a man so account of us” as what Christ has really made us—“the ministers of Christ.” So the lesson is that rather than be puffed up one against another we should seek to serve one another, not to be served!




And lest we account ministers too lowly, he says, remember, we have been made the ministers “of Christ” Christ made us his ministers. Christ redeemed us all iniquity and made us the righteousness of God in him.. Christ quickened and called us. Christ qualified us and sent us, uniting each of us together with his people. So we have no reason to count our brethren too lowly nor to exalt ourselves too highly because everything we are we are made by Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Account it to be so because it is so!


We are the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ! That means we have no authority of our own. Our whole business is to do what Christ and Christ alone commands, wherever he puts us. We are sent by Christ to serve one another not to lord over one another nor to be lorded over by one another. We are not men-pleasers, we are the servants of Christ and your servants for Christ’s sake.


So brethren, we are not to exalt one brother at the expense of another lest we judge the workmanship of Christ, lest we put in question the Master of that brother—“we are ministers of Christ.”




He says and account yourself and your brethren as “stewards.” A steward is a willing bond-servant.


Christ makes us willing bond-servants in the day of his power. In the day that he reveals to us our full complete redemption is accomplished, Christ sets us free and his goodness and grace makes us willing to serve him. It is pictured in Exodus 21.

Exodus 21: 2: If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.


If Christ our Master shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  This seventh year is when the jubilee trumpet was blown and all debts were wiped clean and all servants were set free.  When Christ blows the gospel trumpet in our hearts, Christ shows us that by his work we have indeed been set free.


Exodus 21: 5: And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:


What kind of master would make a slave prefer to stay and serve the master rather than go our free?  A mighty good master!  And that is what Christ is to his people—the very best Master.


Exodus 21: 6: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges;


Christ brings us before the just Judge of heaven and earth and God gives his judgment, saying that since Christ has made us the righteousness of God, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us and it is lawful for us to be the willing-bond servants of Christ.


Exodus 21: 6:…he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul;


This was a mark upon the servant by his master that showed him to be this particular master’s willing-bondservant.  What marks the believer as Christ’s particular willing bond-servant?  God has opened our ear, giving us ears to hear the glorious good news of God’s free and sovereign grace!  This is what distinguishes all Christ’s servants as his particular servants!


Exodus 21: 6…and he shall serve him for ever. (Ex 21:2-6)


The Holy Spirit declares of every believer for whom and in whom this work has been accomplished by Christ, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rom 6: 18) So our text says “so account of us” even as God accounts of us, as stewards of God, because that is what God has made us.




A steward is entrusted with his master’s property and goods.  When the master goes away, he gives the steward the responsibility and entrusts to him his goods. What are the goods we are put in trust with from our Master? We are “stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor 4: 1)


Brethren, how valuable our children are to us!  If we entrust them to someone we are entrusted that person with our most prized possession!  But God has entrusted to us something more valuable than our children. We who have been made stewards of God have been entrusted with the most valuable thing there is—the gospel of God! Paul said, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Tim 1: 11) What grace!  What a amazing grace!


So what does that mean?  Well, a steward must go into his master’s presence to receive command as to what his master will have him speak and do for those in his house. Likewise, God alone can reveal the mysteries of God to his stewards—that is one reason they are called “mysteries.” So we must go to his word to receive what God says from God; we must go into our Master chamber every day in prayer to receive revelation from him.



Then as stewards we are to faithfully deliver our Masters gospel to those of his household. That is what is required of God’s stewards—1 Corinthians 4: 2  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 


Luke 12:42: And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?


1 Peter 4:10: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


God’s children are the members of his household. The gospel of Christ is the children bread. The children must hear his gospel preached through his stewards.  We each need our brethren to minister to us in due season. Therefore, as stewards we must labor in the word and in prayer to receive the gift from God so we can minister the gift of the gospel, the manifold grace of God, to one another.


If a man is lazy in this he is not a faithful steward of God. If a man is not a laborer in the word and in prayer he is an unfaithful steward. If he preaches his own words and ideas rather than God’s word he is not a faithful steward.


Remember, we do not come to hear the steward. We come to hear the “glorious gospel of God, the mysteries of God.” We come to hear Christ speak of God’s electing grace—sovereign and free. The children’s bread is the message of God’s predestinating grace which declares God is ruling all things and all people so that he shall conform each of his people to Christ. We hunger to hear of God’s redeeming grace declaring how Christ successfully redeemed his people. Each time we come Christ’s table we desire to feast upon the word of God’s regenerating grace by the Holy Spirit which is necessary to take unwilling, depraved sinners like us and irresistibly, effectually, invincibly quicken and call us to faith in Christ.  We feast upon God’s preserving grace which is the only way we will persevere as good and faithful stewards by God preserving us, working in us both to will and do of his good pleasure.  The children want to be fed with the message of God’s resurrecting, glorifying grace comforting us with the truth that one day God shall raise each of his children anew to be with Christ forevermore in a new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Salvation is of the Lord—A to Z, beginning to end—that is the bread we are to dispense to God’s children It is Christ who is the message, who gives the message, who feeds us through his gospel and who grows us in grace and knowledge of him.


2 Corinthians 5:20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.


So it is required in a steward that he be found faithful—faithful to his Master. You bear witness of Christ to your friends and family. You do it for years and years. But it seems to fall on deaf ears. What do you?  It is required in a steward that he be found faithful. You just keep bearing witness of Christ.


As a steward I preach, I pray, I write, I contact people who are interested in the gospel. Likewise, as stewards you bear witness of Christ, you ask men to come, you provide for this place, you provide for one another, you provide for others. Yet, at times, it seems that it all just goes unappreciated—even rejected by men who hate you and reproach you for the sake of Christ. So what do you do? It is required in a steward that he be found faithful.


So in those times when we become disheartened, when all seems to fall on deaf ears, when all seems to go unappreciated, hear God speak.

Revelation 2: 9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10: Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.


The message the Holy Spirit declares to us in our text is do what you do for the glory of our Master alone! Do what you do in faithfulness to him and his people! Do everything to honor him, to bring no dishonor on Christ, his gospel or his people. And never seek the praise and applause of men!


Spurgeon wrote, “Brothers, take care that you use your talents for your Master, and only for your Master….It is unfaithfulness to Jesus if we preach sound Doctrine with the view to be thought sound, or pray earnestly with the desire that we may be known as praying men. It is for us to pursue our Lord’s Glory with a single eye and with our whole heart. We must use our Lord’s Gospel, our Lord’s people and our Lord’s talents for our Lord and for Him alone.”


I Corinthians 4: 6: And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.