Praise From God

1 Corinthians 4:5-7 

5Therefore 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. 6Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?


If you haven’t discovered it yet, fishing can be relaxing hobby. Someone did not like fishing because he never caught anything. It’s a waste of time for him! Well, fishing like any other activity requires knowledge and information: How to catch fish; what fish can be caught; where to catch fish; and when to go fishing.

A rookie fisherman may choose to go fishing at the most convenient time like fair weather or summer. What is the best time? Did you know if it is better to go fishing when it’s cold and rainy? Fishing during fair weather is much preferable but to expect great catch, hot summer may not be the best time for fishing.

Fish are more active searching for food on rainy, cold and cloudy weather, whereas fish are not very active during warm weather in summer. Do you think praying for great catch would help to catch more fish even in summer?

Christ told Simon in Luke 5:4-7, 4“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

Traditional fishermen prefer fishing at night more than fishing at noonday. Simon went fishing at night but caught nothing. At daytime, he obeyed what Christ told him, and he saw a miracle. After that miraculous event happened, he followed and became disciple of Jesus. Later, Jesus gave Simon the name Peter.

Do you trust that if we obey the instruction of Christ, we may see miracles? Do we need miracle to be inspired and become more serious as disciple of Christ? The time is coming when Christ returns sooner to expose who genuinely trust him or just not yet. At that time, the Lord will reveal the true motive of the heart.

1.  Reveal

5Therefore 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.

Seriously reflect now! Do you honestly expect to receive praise from God?

Apostle Paul warned against judging nothing before the appointed time of the return of Christ. He rebuked the church in Corinth because they were divided on whom they preferred as their leader. Some of them said, “I follow Paul!” others said, “I follow Apollos!” another one said, “I follow Peter!” still others said, “I follow Christ!” There were numerous factions in the Corinthian church.

Their decision was not rooted in faith in Christ; they followed leaders they preferred and not because of faithfulness in their interpretation of the Scripture. Most often, church split happens when personal agenda motivate individuals to cause division and factions in the church. And others blindly follow carelessly.

What can we do? It is very tempting to judge the mistake of others, but we are warned not to judge anything before the appointed return of Christ. Every motive of the heart will be exposed. Nothing will be hidden. What should we do? We have to make sure that our decisions and actions would earn praise from God. How? Together, let us earnestly consider what it says in Acts 5:38-39, 38For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”


Human ideas can be useful temporarily. Instant products are popular. You can buy instant coffee, instant noodles, and bodybuilders desire instant muscles. What’s your opinion about steroid? There are medical steroids to cure asthma or other illness. Unfortunately, bodybuilders use anabolic steroids to grow muscles. Do bodybuilders know that anabolic steroids may destroy their bodies? Maybe yes or no! But because they desire to grow muscles at the shortest time, they use anabolic steroids illegally without prescription. Maybe, they desire to be praised for their huge muscles, even if they take the risk of dangerous effect to their life.

Christian life is also risky when we build our spiritual muscles. But we would rather set our heart to the eternal praise of God instead of longing for praise from human beings. Together, let’s seriously reflect what it advised in Colossians 3:1-5:

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 

Reflect on our spiritual condition very seriously. Everyone is naturally sinful. We cannot easily remove our natural instinct but God can. We should sincerely ask God to cleanse us from any unrighteousness. We must seriously ask God to fill, empower and inspire us with his Holy Spirit for us to live in his righteousness.

When we are not conscious and not dependent on the Holy Spirit of Christ, there’s possibility that our natural sinful instinct will prevail over us again.

The problem of division in the church of Corinth happened when their personal motives prevailed. Is it the will of God for the church to divide? Reflect on that.

2.  Reflect

6Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 

Apostle Paul rebuked the church in Corinth because they allowed personal preferences of leaders to cause factions among them. Factions and division are of human origin as opposed to unity. The Holy Spirit produces unity in the church.

The term, “These things” pertains to the analogies about factions among believers in Corinth when some of them preferred to follow Paul or Apollos.

If those factions were caused by personal motive or motivated by sincere desire to follow the right doctrine, the Lord will reveal them when Christ returns. We are also encouraged to follow what is written in the Scripture and not to add anything beyond it. Following a preferred leader may cause anyone to arrogantly oppose another faction, and that is not beneficial to Christian community.

Do you know anyone who attends church because they like the beautiful building? How about attractive worship band or eloquence of preacher as reason? Others want to attend large churches because they prefer to be anonymous.


When you purchase a new vehicle, you are given a warranty for number of years. When something wrong happens to your new car (vandalism or accident) the company may cover the damage for free. But if for whatever reason the engine of your car is damaged in few years, the car dealership where you bought your car will check if you had regular maintenance appointment with them.

If by any chance, you did not have regular maintenance appointment in their record, you may not be qualified to benefit from your car warranty.

Car maintenance record is essential to car dealership for record purposes, why? They need documents as proof of anyone who would be qualified to avail of the warranty benefits. Well, how can we relate document records to our spiritual life?

Let reflect on what Christ had declared on Matthew 25:31-36, 3“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

The Lord has records of every good work we do. Record of good works will be his basis to bless all believers who will receive inheritance in the kingdom of God. Many people may boast of material things and commendation they receive on earth, but our mindset should be: “Will I receive eternal praise from God?”

3.  Receive

7For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

The term “different” is properly translated as “distinguish, recognize or superior.” Apostle Paul rhetorically asked what makes the Corinthians superior or distinguished from others. When they declared their preferred leader, did they desire to be recognized? Did they feel superior and assume that their preferred leader is more distinguished than the leaders that others preferred to follow?

Of course, if you performed your best and achieve what you accomplished in life, others may not criticize you if you want other know what you attained. Yet most often, achievers are humble, and let their accomplishment speak for them.

Apostle Paul emphasized the need to be filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit produces humility not arrogance or superiority.

When the Holy Spirit is at work in our life, we recognize that everything we have is blessing from the Lord. This is why we encourage that giving to the church should be inspired by the Holy Spirit without reluctance, not under compulsion.

King David

King David exemplified his devotion to God when he gave precious stones, iron bronze and timber to be used in building the temple of God. David gave 110 tons of gold and 260 tons of silver. How much is that in Canadian dollar?

Approximately 10 billion dollars? Reflect on the life story of King David. He was a poor shepherd. How can a former shepherd give tons of gold to God?

It narrated in 1 Chronicles 29:10-14, 10David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 14“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

King David acknowledged that his wealth and honor came from God. It is by faith that we believe such reality. Pray for increase of faith that you may obey everything that God tells you to do. Obedience to the Lord is his impartial way of giving his blessings to the obedient believer. Can you sincerely believe that?

What do we have that God may accept if we give to him? Nothing that originates from human sinfulness is acceptable to the perfect and righteous God. We believe that the Lord gave what we offer to him. When we are inspired by his Holy Spirit we serve and worship God; we give his tithes and our offerings.

The celebration of the Lord’s Supper should remind us of the love of God for us. We’ve sinned against the Lord, yet he sent his son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of our sins. We don’t deserve to live in the perfect heaven of God because perfection is required for anyone to enter heaven. By faith, we trust Christ as our Lord and Savior. We have confidence that Jesus returns and takes us into heaven.

We are sinners saved by the grace of God so that by faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we will live with God forever.

Do you expect Christ to return sooner?

Have you stored up eternal treasure for yourself in heaven yet?

When Christ returns, do you sincerely expect to receive praise from God?

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