v. 1, Christian theocracy
v. 1, covetous ministers, because people desire this, Lk. 16. And those who follow them.
V. 1, things that happened at Mack Ford's. Against using Scriptures in preaching, cafeteria christianity.
V. 1, minister of Christ, not man or church.
v1 Mysteries... further explained. The gospel going to the gentiles, hidden in the OT. The truths of the Scriptures hidden from the worldly wise, only understood by the Spirit. The conclusion of the mystery, Rev.
v 1. The Church explained.
v. 2 Exalted without faithfulness,
v. 2, Meyer's statement separating spiritual from unspiritual for Christians.
V. 3, Self-worth, ungodly
v. 3, judged by God, not man.
V. 4, Conscience cannot justify, 7/17/91
V. 5, judgment
v. 8, use of sarcasm.
v. 8, mistaken belief that they reigned as kings. V. 9, Paul deals with reality.
v. 9, Paul, a masterful teacher.
v. 10 Christianized humanism
v. 11, gospel of prosperity and escapism.
v. 12, Wearisome effort in the Word.
v. 12, self-support
v. 12-14, primary purpose of pastor/teacher-to protect sheep from false teachers within.
v.14, marks of a false teacher, evangelist using coke for boost.
v. 14, use of shame to motivate.
v. 18, false prophets for a profit MO
Paul continues to build upon the foundation which he has laid in the first three chapters. He gets down to business now. This is typical of Paul's writing. He starts in a very humble way, then 'builds.' He humbles himself before the Lord and even before the ones he is writing to, he then establishes his authority for saying what he is about to say, then he asserts that authority and destroys every false doctrine they might have.
I think that it is significant that Paul sends Timothy to this church to counter the effects of the false teachers and their smooth words. We can read Paul's letters to Timothy to find out what was needed in a man of God to accomplish what Paul needed to accomplish here in this church.
Rather than exalt these men, Paul tells these folks who were so inclined to exalt men (four parties, including the Christ-party), that the ones who they were exalting were no more than the ministers of Christ.. (minister .., 5257-
a. an underrower, subordinate rower. b. any one who serves with his hands; a servant; In the N.T. of the officers and attendants of magistrates as -- of the officer who executes penalties, Mt.v.25; of the attendants of a king, .., my servants, retinue, the soldiers I should have if I were a king, Jn.xviii.36; of the servants or officers of the Sanhedrin, Mt. xxvi.58:...; of the attendant of a synagogue, Lk. iv.20; of anyone ministering or rendering service, Acts xiii.5. c. any one who aids another in any work; an assistant: of a preacher of the gospel, Acts xxvi.16; Lk.1.2; 1Co.iv.1.
MAT 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. JOH 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. MAT 26:58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. LUK 4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. ACT 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. ACT 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; LUK 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 1CO 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Thus we see here that this minister is one at the complete disposal of the one over him. Paul here makes it extremely clear that he and the others who were being highly regarded as party (schism) heads, were only subordinates of Christ, who Himself is subordinate to God the Father. These people were trying to pass judgment upon him as not being a faithful minister as they thought he should be. Paul points out to them that he is Christ's minister, not their's, or even his own. He answers only to Christ in the present and will answer only to Him in the future.
In fact, he, in v.3, rebukes them for trying to make him fit into what they feel a minister should be like, telling them that they, or others or even himself, do not set the standards for this office.
The idea here in the word minister, is of lowest class of subordinate servant of any kind. (Hodge)
Next is the word, steward. (3623-
the manager of a household or of household affairs; esp. a steward, manager, superintendent, (whether free-born, or, as was usually the case, a freed-man or slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has intrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age: Lk.xii.42: 1 Co iv.2: Gal.iv.2; the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer: Lk. xvi.1,3,8; .. the superintendent of the city's finances, the treasurer of the city: Ro xvi.23 (of the treasurers or quaestors of kings, Esth. viii.9..). Metaph. the apostles and other Christian teachers are called..., as those to whom the counsels of God have been committed to be made known to men: 1 Co. iv.1; a bishop (or overseer) is called..., of God as the head and master of the Christian theocracy, Tit.i.7; and any and every Christian who rightly uses the gifts intrusted to him by God for the good of his brethren, belongs to the class called..., 1 Pet.iv.10. [Emph. added.]
1. Christian teachers are called stewards. They have had the counsels of God committed to them. They are responsible to make these counsels known to men.
2. But, so have all Christians. They have had the mysteries of God, particularly the mystery of the Gospel, committed to them.
3. Note, Christian theocracy.. ISBE (2965) attributes the coinage of this word, theocracy, to Josephus. "he [God] set forth the national polity as a theocracy, referring to the rule and might to God" Continuing on with ISBE.. ""The notion of theocracy is that the constitution [of Israel] was so arranged that all the organs of government were without any independent power, and had simply to announce and execute the will of God as declared by priest and prophets, or reduced to writing as a code of laws." .. "Everything, even civil and criminal law, is looked at from the religious standpoint.""
Thus, the idea of Christian theocracy is the direct rule of God over His people, Israel. This is the Church today. It is a theocracy, rule by God through His divine revelation, the Word of God. But, actually, the whole world is required to be a theocracy, and will be judged according to its submission to its Creator, Isaiah 24:5.. "Everything, even civil and criminal law, is looked at from the religious standpoint." To fail to do so is to fail to glorify God as God and is the first step down to total apostasy and judgment as an apostate.
Look at the implication here. Congregational rule of a church is not a Christian theocracy, rather it is a democracy which holds that "the voice of the people is the voice of God." Wicked.
So now what? (added, 9/20/91 Although the people have an important hand in choosing who their pastor will be, the pastor answers only to God.) He is a minister of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is to rule the church under the divine revelation of God, the Scriptures.
Now, some verses:
LUK 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? 1CO 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. GAL 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. LUK 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. LUK 16:3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. LUK 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. ROM 16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. EST 8:9 Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language. 1CO 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. TIT 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 1PE 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.
Thus we see that the office of the steward includes providing for the needs of the family to which he is attached.
Paul's comparison goes on; stewards of the mysteries of God.
An illustration of this office is found in Luke 16:1-16:
1. It was totally under the master. There was no authority
in himself except what was given him by his master.
2. He was over his master's goods. He did not own them.
3. He gave out and received in according to his master's instructions.
4. We see from Abraham's steward (and the story of Joseph), that this office might be held by one bought out of slavery, born in the household, or even taken captive in war.
In our Lord's parable, the steward knew he was going to lose his position because of his wicked activity with his master's goods. Therefore, this unjust steward made preparation for his dismissal by making crooked deals with his master's debtors. Even though this steward was a thief, the idea is here. The goods were not his own, but his masters. He stole them for his own benefit.
Paul is pointing out that ministers are stewards of the mysteries of God. This would be in stark contrast to modern thinking that places the ministers under the authority of the church congregation. Paul points out that ministers, himself included, are the ministers of Christ, not ministers of the Church at Corinth, or any other church.
Giving us a very important point:
As in the Lord's parable, many ministers have misused and are misusing the stewardship which they have been given for their own welfare and good. See comments at end of this chapter.
A couple of answers for this problem:
A.> Unscriptural and false doctrine? run them off or flee
from them as Paul instructed Timothy to do, 1 Timothy 6:5.
B.> If they are defrauding the people, they are to be confronted with proper witnesses. If they refuse to repent and turn, then they are to be treated as a heathen and publican, even turned over to the civil authority for judgment. Our Lord identified the wicked steward who was using his master's goods for his own good, as one of the children of this world, Luke 16:8. (See 1 Cor. 4:7.) He also called him a servant of mammon, money.
The rest of Luke 16, deals with this servant of mammon. Vs. 13-18, the Pharisees, who were covetous, derided him, justifying their lustful appetites for money, power, sex and high esteem among men (more commonly called, "Gold, Glory and Gals). But our Lord spoke right to the heart of the matter, vs. 19-31. All the effort which they were putting into gaining their heart's desire, was proof of their real heart. They had a god which was going to deliver them straight to hell. Notice that the Lord tells them that the very ones they were misusing to serve their god, mammon, were going to gain what they were going to miss. The poor man which they defrauded was in paradise, the rich man was in torment. The ones the Lord spoke to devoured the homes of the defenseless, covering their lust for power, prosperity and praise with long prayers and religious phrases, Matthew 23:14. (Observe the greater damnation of v. 14. Compare with Luke 16:13-18.)
Confront these false covetous teachers! But here we have a problem which is addressed by some interesting OT statements. Their vanity draws the cart of iniquity along behind these evil doers, Isaiah 5:18. The people do not want to know what the Lord requires of them, Isaiah 30:8-11. Rather they desire smooth things, deceits. These covetous teachers are giving the covetous people just what they desire, Jeremiah 5:31; 8:10.
Peter ties up the lose ends, 2 Peter 2:1-3. But, as we see these covetous preachers and teachers present their false doctrines, Peter assures us that their end has already been established just as sure as has the angles that sinned, 2 Peter 2:4-17. Notice Peter's warning, vs. 18-22. These covetous teachers and preachers are captive to their lusts, alluring others to follow them into the same captivity. And at the same time that they are promising the hearer liberty in Christ, they are captive to corruption. The Lord through His word, has warned us. If we get caught back in the trap, the latter end is worse than the first.
Paul is telling these Corinthians that the position of the men they were exalting was the same as was that steward. They were only stewards of the Lord of the house.
Another illustration which Paul uses, would be such as an ambassador to a foreign nation. That ambassador does not represent himself, rather he represents the nation which sent him. Exalting the ambassador will do no good. The one to be exalted is the one who sent the ambassador.
This steward which Paul is referring to:
1. Did not send himself, nor represent himself.
2. Did not provide his own qualifications.
3. Has no power (ability), in his own words or self to change anything. He could not muster an army, nor could he force compliance with in the heart, to his wishes.
4. Has no authority in himself, only what was intrusted to him by his master.
Therefore, it is foolish to exalt the steward. That would, quite naturally, offend the steward's master.
Our prayer: That the One who qualified and sent us might be exalted. What can we do to see that Master Who sent us, is the only One who is exalted?
We (us, ministers) are mere servants of Christ, with no authority to speak or do business on our own. The steward in Luke 16 acted on his own, but he was a unjust steward, using the goods entrusted to him by his master for his own well-being.
1 Cor. 4:1
Mysteries... This has already been explained as the truth of the word of God, the gospel of the Kingdom of God and all it implies: mysteries which cannot be known by the wisdom of this world, human reasoning, nor by the natural mind. But, they are not hidden, they are available to anyone who will come into the faith. (See notes, 2:7, for an in depth study of this, although I do need to look at this from a little different view here.)
Mt. 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given
unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to
them it is not given. Lk. 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in
parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might
Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. See Rev. 10:5-7.
Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph 6:19, 20 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Remember that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. The mystery of the Gospel was hidden in the OT, the mystery which spoke of the Gentiles being brought into the covenant, the body of Christ. Paul, as the apostle to the Gentiles, made known this mystery of the gospel, and spoke it boldly, even in the face of the terrible persecution by the Jews, Acts 18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
Col 1:21-29 Must view the whole of the statement. This is one long sentence. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
(This is so clear, I do not know how I missed it. Paul clearly defines the mystery here: Col. 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death.. .. for his body's sake, which is the church:.. The mystery is the creation of the new humanity [Christians], who are reconciled with the Father through Christ, then called the body of Christ. This new humanity is called the Christians and include whosoever will, with no race or national barriers. Certainly there are other miseries in the Scriptures, but this is the primary one.)
As Thayer says (#3466): "In the N.T., God's plan of providing salvation for men through Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed:.. of God's purpose to bless the Gentiles also with salvation through Christ.."
Thus, the mysteries of God which Paul is talking about being faithful over, was the fact presented in the OT of the Gentile nations being grafted into the root, Christ, Rom.11. In fact, in the passages above where Christ used this term, it was in the context of who would hear and respond to the gospel. This fact is presented many times in the OT, but it was hidden, thus making it a mystery. This fact was made known by Christ to His disciples through His teachings of who would receive the gospel. But, even then, it remained a mystery to them. (Like I would have been: they asked the Lord what He was talking about. He told them, but even then they did not understand. They did not ask Him the second time. Rather, they let it drop.)
The Lord told them that it was given to them to understand this mystery, yet they did not understand until after the resurrection. Luke 24:36-50 explains this. Vs. 46, 47 gives the sum-total of this mystery, with the conclusion of the gospel going to all nations. Even after the Lord told them this, they called into question the one who first took the gospel to the Gentiles, Acts 11. The question arose again, Acts 15:12-20, where, James identified the inclusion of the Gentiles as the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, v. 16.
I think that it is interesting that the ones who persecuted the messengers was the religious leaders of the day, not the pagans. The pagans only persecuted them under pressure from the religious crowd. This is true even today. Remember the words of our Lord, Mt. 10:24. The teaching all through the NT is that as the Lord was persecuted, so His people will be persecuted, 2 Tim. 3:12. The point that we overlook is that the persecution came against the Lord and against the Apostles, from the religious crowd, the ones who claimed to love God and to be His chosen people. Can we expect any less from the religious who hold views contrary to the total of God's word, and especially contrary to the mysteries here explained?
Notice Revelation 10:5-7 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. The mystery of God, which was spoken of by the OT prophets, must be understood as the inclusion of the Gentiles (all nations) into the covenant.
When we view this with Rom 11:25 (For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.), we have an interesting conclusion. It is not until this mystery is completed, as spoken of by the prophets of old, that time will be no more. Also, when this mystery is complete, time will be no more. In other words, when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, time will be no more, and all Israel will be saved. This could refer to the fact of being saved from the presence of sin. In other words, when God's predetermined number is complete, time will be no more. Paul opens this book here discussing the mysteries. He closes it with their fulfillment, 15:24-28.
To peruse this thought on in the context of Paul's words here in 1 Cor. 4:1 & 2. Paul was being a faithful steward of the mysteries of God. These mysteries were delivered by the OT prophets, and told of the inclusion into the covenant of the Gentile nations. This message created great hostility among the Jews, resulting in the persecution of all who bore this message, Acts 26.
There are many doctrines established by this mystery. Just one would be the now new nation of Christ, the Church. The world is divided up into only two groups, the redeemed (Jews) and the lost (Gentiles). Any attempt to divide mankind up into any other divisions is heresy and apostasy. It is unfaithfulness to the gospel once delivered to the saints. Note Jude's statement, v. 3. It is followed by v. 4, and the warning about false teachers who creep in unawares with their false teaching which perverts the doctrine of Grace.
Thus, 1 Cor. 4:2, must be viewed with this in mind. Every minister of Christ is a steward of the above mystery and is required to be faithful to its contained message.
Interesting indeed! How many are faithful to this message? In fact, this message has been almost totally lost in the flood of false teaching which has overwhelmed the church since the late 1800's.
Meyer's gives this (pg. 87): "They are servants of Christ, and, as such, are at the same time stewards of God (the supreme ruler, iii.23, the Father and Head of the theocracy, 1 Tim.iii.15), inasmuch as they are entrusted with His secrets. i.e. entrusted and commissioned to communicate by the preaching of the gospel the divine decrees for the redemption of men and the receiving Messianic blessings (see on Rom. vi.25, xvi. 25; Eph.i.9; Matt.xiii.11),-decrees in themselves unknown to men, but fulfilled in Christ, and unveiled by means of revelation."
There are just not many faithful stewards today among the 'ministers of God,' who are presenting the secrets.
added to here, 7/16/91
"In the apostolic church they (ministers) were regarded as the dispensers of the truth." (Hodge) Very few today are dispensers of the truth concerning the King and His kingdom, rather they are dispensers of tradition.
The picture which Paul is presenting here would be something like this:
He is the lowest of the servants of God. He is only trying to be faithful to what his master has given him to do, deliver the truth. Therefore, it is wrong to exalt him. The same goes for the others who are being exalted by this church. These unwitting leaders of these groups were also only servants, even Christ. Christ was the Servant of God (the Book of Luke presents Him thus), and these groups were acting like these men were not under anyone's authority.
These men who were being exalted had nothing of their own, only what was given to them by the Father. EXALT GOD, GLORIFY HIM! in all that is said and done.
First: Ministers have no power or authority in and of themselves, any more than Christ did. He was given all power and authority by the Father, Mt. 28:19, 20. Ministers also only have what is given to them by the Father, according to His pleasure and by His grace. According to 1 Cor. 12, evidently these people were envious over each other's abilities which had been provided by the Father, v. 28.
Second: Ministers do not present their own thoughts, but the truth of God. This truth was a mystery to the OT saints, but it was spoken of in types and symbols. Even Abraham saw the day of Christ, and was glad, John 8:56. Therefore, it will take some very diligent study and research to uncover and understand this mystery.
(I know that in my case, I have 'wrestled' with this for several
years. I was taught the typical Darbyite position, and have looked
this up several times trying to sort out fact from fiction. It
is just now becoming clear to me, even though it is clearly stated
in the passages quoted above. It has taken some serious study
on my part for this, and many other things, to be cleared up for
Personal observation, maybe true, maybe not: I have noticed that the pastors who are the most committed to the mystery of the "Rapture," are ones who appear not spend much time in the Word of God. Now, of course, I do not know what they do with their time, but the ones that I know are extremely busy. They have very winning personalities which easily win people to them [and thus able to control the people], love to fellowship, and spend huge amounts of time traveling for worthy causes.)
(Illustration: We went to Mack Ford's in Arcadia LA last week,
7/1-7/5, 91. One of the preachers who spoke said that he was not
interested in what the Scriptures had to say (he was talking against
men who use a lot of Scriptural references), he wanted to know
what the opinions and thoughts of the speakers were. Strange!
There was an "evangelist" in my room (had 4 bunk beds) who also made a very strange comment. Mack Ford, the night before, had made a comment about beards and mustaches. He said that such were a sign of the flesh coming out. The next morning, this evangelist said to me that he didn't agree with Bro. Ford about the beard. Then he made a statement which I have preached about several times, but he was the first one I ever heard use it. He said that he viewed preaching meetings like the one we were at as a buffet. You go through the line and pick out what you want and discard the rest. He then told me, in a bragging way, that he hears the preaching, then when he goes to bed his mind sifts through it and discards what he doesn't agree with.
I told him that the word of God must be the standard of judgment, not our own ideas. He mumbled a little that was right, but you could tell that he didn't agree. To be a preacher, he was sure ignorant of Scriptures. He even told me of meetings he had and had no message, then the Lord gave him something in a miraculous way. He told me of other preachers who had the same situation. The one he told me of was one looking for outlines for a message on Hell, but could find none. Then the Lord 'miraculously' gave him something. Strange! Is it any wonder we are in such a mess?)
All of that to say this. The minister has no authority to originate or present his thoughts and ideas. The only authority he has is to develop and present what he has been given, the truth of God's word. If he does not do this, he is no better than Plato or Aristotle. He is using the world's wisdom to try to present the principles of God's word. He is no better than the pragmatic teacher who has God's judgment against him. There is no power of God in such foolishness. (We have previously developed this.)
I really do not see how a man can profess to be a teacher of God's word if he doesn't study many hours a week.
(Reviewed, and added, 9/20/91)
Third: The Church. As we define the Church as a group of people, called out and set aside by the Lord, we must say that the Church started in the Garden. Here Seth was set aside by the Lord to reveal Himself through to the world. From here to the setting aside of the nation of Israel, the Church was centered in the family, with the father the high priest of the family. An outsider could be a believer, yet not a member of any godly family, the same as an individual could be a member of a godly family, yet remain an unbeliever (outside of the faith).
Next, we have the nation of Israel. Now the Church is centered in the nation which has been called out and set aside by the Lord, for the Lord to show Himself strong through. Thus, a state church and a church state. Again, an outsider could be a member of the faith without being a member of the nation, and a member of the nation could be outside of the faith. This lasted until Christ.
Then last of all, we have the Church of these last days. This is an organization apart from the State, but still consists of those who are called out and set apart by the Lord. Again, a person can be a member of the visible Church yet not a member of the faith, or a member of the faith and not a member of the Church.
Fourth: Paul had already mentioned the mysteries in chapter 2. The message of the Lord and His kingdom, the truth of God's word, cannot be understood by the wisdom and understanding of the world. It is a mystery, therefore, foolishness to them. The word of God and the principles contained therein can only be spiritually discerned. The truth of God's word is a mystery to the natural mind, and cannot be understood apart from a work of the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor. 4:1-6.
Even so, as Paul points out here, our responsibility as ministers of God, either leaders or followers, is to faithfully present the truths of God's word (which are a mystery to all who are unenlightened). It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to make that truth understandable to the hearer, to where it is no longer a mystery.
Exalted without faithfulness:
Reviewed, in MO and message, and added to, 9/3/91. See MO file for edited, corrected and proofed version.
1 Cor 4:2.
Moreover.. In addition. Paul gives the major qualification of a minister here, or a servant of God, and that is faithfulness to his Master. The context includes faithfulness to his Master, but primarily it is speaking of faithfully delivering the message contained in the mystery. This will indeed create contention as it did when Paul and Peter delivered it.
"The great thing required of them is fidelity." (Hodge) And that fidelity is to the Lord and His word, not to the people or to himself. "Be true to thyself," is a lie.
I would say that this is THE GREATEST requirement in the word of God. Any other requirement would fall under this faithfulness to the word of God. God establishes the qualifications (personal gifts, disciplines and characteristics) and responsibilities (work and actions) of His ministers. Faithfulness to Him will follow the word of God in these areas. Faithfulness will go far enough and not too far. (This faithfulness will not attempt to be more holy than God, as the Pharisees attempted to do.)
Paul has spent three chapters showing the evil of worldly wisdom. Here he counters the false ideas of the world with the major qualification of the Lord, faithfulness.
This is to close to pass up.
This is as contrary to the world's ideas of our day as any one thing can be. The world's ideas of qualifications for any thing is education, knowledge (even about evil, drug-education), wisdom, learning. Our society is in serious trouble because knowledge and learning has replaced faithfulness as the qualification for service. Only service is not on anyone's mind. Every one wants to be a leader.
The business world has removed faithful working at the assigned task as the major qualification for promotion. Faithfulness has been replaced with college education, learning and knowledge. The result is that there are now people in places of leadership who never had to prove themselves faithful in the small things. The result is a business world that is coming apart. The ones who worked their way up are being pushed out and are passing off the scene. (Bob Crist is a good example. A sixth grade education and made an extremely good living. The boy is taking over, but he cannot compare with his dad, even with his education.)
But this is especially devastating in the church. The qualifications for "leadership" are no longer faithfulness over an extended period of time, but knowledge and worldly wisdom. The results are obvious.
Our people who work at Donnllee's feel like they are going around in circles because the white collar employees are in the position of authority due to their college degrees, not do to their faithfulness in their job (worked their way up).
I have known several people who desired to be active in Christian work some day, so they perused a higher education. The problem is that as the opportunity to be faithful and active in Christian work in simple things would arise, they would not do it, unless their 'education' required it. In fact, they found it difficult to be faithful in the church services. Yet when they completed their higher education with good marks, "Christian ministries" were standing in line to put them on "full-time." Is it any wonder that Christianity is in such a state today? Not until this evil is corrected, and these 'ministries' make their primary requirement for their staff, that a man be found faithful, can we expect any kind of movement in the hearts of those influenced by these 'leaders.'
And the above is not unique. These people, both the students and the ministries are missing this most important qualification of all, that a man be found faithful in the small, insignificant things, especially if no one is watching.
If this faithfulness is only present when it is expected of us by men, then we are serving men and not God. We are not depending upon the Lord to lift us up, but men.
Which gives us another key point here, found faithful implying discovery. This faithful person was maybe hidden from view and someone stumbled upon him and discovered him faithful. Could even speak of surprise on the part of the one who found him faithful. It would speak of those who watch him in all situations and circumstances, finding that he is faithful in the big and small things, good and bad times, in public and private. This speaks of prolonged faithfulness on the part of the person, maybe many years of self-discipline, obeying the law-word of God. It does not speak of sinlessness, but faithfulness even to the principle of humility, confession, restitution and repentance.
Luke 17:1-10, increased faith is identified as increased faithfulness
in doing our Master's revealed will in the most demanding of circumstances,
especially when no one is watching or encouraging us.
Luke 16:10-13, which gives us a startling implication. (And this is one of the most common of the Lord's teaching. Faithfulness in the small areas results in larger areas of responsibility.) If a person is exalted or given a place of authority without this faithfulness in the small things, it was not God that exalted him. Will God operate contrary to His principles? Are there exceptions?
Paul is quite clear here. The primary qualification of a Christian (minister especially) is faithfulness to God and His word; faithfulness in the small things. This applies to young people and to old, to rich and poor, to the highly intelligent and to the simple. There are no exceptions and it even works for the unsaved. This is an established principle of God which cannot be avoided by anyone.
The faithful steward of God:
1. Will not be arrogant. He will be willing to do the least of things. He will not be setting around waiting for the Lord to send something his way which he feels fits his qualifications. Rather he will take advantage of any opportunity presented to him for service to the Lord, Matthew 10:42; 25:31-46 (were the Lord tells us that our love for Him is shown in our faithfulness in the small things. Seeing something simple that we can do for someone else, then doing it.)
This means that anyone can be a faithful steward of God because the most lowly of tasks in man's eyes are very important to the Lord. Just an encouraging word on our part to another who might be having a difficult time is like having a cool drink on a hot day. It will have its reward.
Fixing a window at the church or for a Christian brother, helping put up a building, painting, mowing the grass, even sweeping a floor, if it is done because of Christ, we will not lose our reward. It doesn't necessarily have to be done for another Christian. Here it was for some one in prison, yet it was done in the name of Christ.
(Illustration. Jessica saw an elderly man (well dressed) sitting all alone in a restaurant in Elwood, 9/2/91. She wanted to do something. First, she wanted to go talk to him, then she decided to pay for his lunch from her own money (she said that actions speak louder than words). She talked to the waitress, who slipped the check away from the man. Jessica quietly paid the bill for the man even though he knew nothing about it.)
Remember Acts 6? Stephen was a layman. The implication here is that Stephen and these men (who we identify as the first deacons) counted it a privilege to do the most menial of tasks in this new church. The result was that the Lord provided Stephen with the opportunity to preach one of the greatest sermons in the history of the Church, as well as have his name go down as the first martyr for the cause of Christ.
2. Will know what he has is from the Lord, 1 Cor. 4:7. This should be a humbling thought.
3. Will continue in the most difficult of tasks which come his way whether he has human encouragement or not. But, let us hasten to add, honor should be given where honor is due, Rom. 13:7. The one who owes the honor would be sinning for not giving, but the faithful steward will be faithful regardless of whether or not that other person is faithful.
4. Will be proficient in the word of God, knowing that all he has is there. He knows that he his not speaking for himself, but for the Lord, therefore, he either knows or is seeking to know what the Lord says about everything, 2 Cor. 5:20.
This should restrict his actions, because he is acting under the direction of Another, the Lord according to His word. Also, he will be bold, knowing that he is acting in place of the his Master.
5. Faithfulness will be primarily in the things hidden from the eyes of men, because the faithful one will realize that it is the Lord Christ that he is serving. The faithful will be faithful, not because they are being graded by others, but because they are being graded by God.
Abraham's steward is a perfect example of this faithful steward which every minister is to be. This calls our attention to another point in Lk. 16. Notice v. 12. The natural man will come to us and say, "What is in this for you? Since you will not get anything out of this, why be faithful?" The Lord plainly tells us here that if we expect to ever have anything of our own to be faithful over, we must first be faithful over what belongs to someone else.
This brings us back to this point. If a person is given areas of responsibility without showing themselves responsible over what belongs to some one else, where did that 'promotion' come from? If something is accomplished apart from God's way, how was it accomplished?
Meyer's statement here for 1 Cor. 4:2, is enlightening (1883) and sad: "Luke vii.42, xvi.10ff.; Matt. xxv.21 ff.; Eph. vi.21, al. The summing up of the duties of spiritual service."
But notice what Meyer's implies. This implies that the only faithfulness which is required by God, is spiritual service. This is sad, but it shows us the root of the problem. He implies that there are two types of service, spiritual and unspiritual. Such thinking is antiChrist, and is dealt with by Paul in 1 Cor. 10:31. Every activity for a child of God is spiritual and must be viewed as such.
(I have served on the staff of churches that believed that an activity was not spiritual unless it contained a time of preaching. This is the logical conclusion of the idea of spiritual service. We must keep foremost in our mind that all activity is either spiritual or sinful. If it takes preaching to make it spiritual, even in our own minds, then something is wrong. We must rebuild our thinking according to the Word of God.)
Paul here sums up the total duty of man, faithfulness to God and the principles of His word in every area of life and thought.
The logical result of v. 2, will be this verse. His desire to please the Lord has overcome any desire to please men. Paul's concern is the Lord's approval of his faithfulness to the message of the mystery and to the job he has been given by the Lord. Thus, Paul is so far above the judgment of men, that he doesn't even consider it anything. His only concern is with One person, the Lord. Paul is referring to "any sort of judging regarding one's worth in general." Meyer's. (Note that today's judgment of self-worth, is as anti-christian as anything can possibly be. We cannot take a strong enough stand against such activity.)
The minister does not answer to the people of the church, other than, "Is he faithful to the principles of God's word?" If his isn't, he must be dealt with. But other than that, he is not employed by the church, he answers to no one except the Lord and His word.
Our standard of faithfulness is not man's. It is the word of God. The elder (pastor), can only be confronted and rebuked when he departs from God's standard. Paul here verbally rebukes them for trying to make him fit into their standard.
And, in the light of the preceding, including ch. 3, this cannot be true of a state incorporated church. Once the local church has placed itself under the protection of the state in incorporation, then the state has the proper authority to judge the church and the pastor. In fact, the board of Trustees is the group which must answer to the state for the actions (and message) of the pastor and of the organization itself.
I judge not mine own self.
1. The inner recesses of a person are even beyond his own reach. "I cannot see myself through and through; I am such a mixture of motive, I am so self-conflicting, I am a thousand men: so I will not judge myself." Yet even though I do not judge, I am not justified, v. 4. I am not above judgment by the Lord. (Parker) As we talk with people, we get the idea that they consider themselves justified if they do not judge themselves or others.
2. Paul's ministry is not even built upon his own ideas or wisdom or understanding of how faithful he was, but upon the word of God. With this statement and the one in v. 4, Paul clearly condemns any judgment of self-worth. He realizes that within him lies no good thing, therefore, he relies totally upon the grace of God working in and through him.
This indeed presents a problem today. Ministers do not know the word of God (nor does the average minister want to know, many times), thus they cannot judge their ministry according to it. Therefore, they must rely on the congregation or upon their own reasoning ability to judge their ministry. Such men are not even qualified to minister, and should be viewed as and dealt with as a novice.
There are three types of people listed in v. 3, he discounted as judges as to whether or not he was a faithful minister of God. 1. The people at this church, 2. other men and 3. himself.
Here in v. 4, he discounts his own opinion of his faithfulness. His activity as a faithful minister is based, not upon his own conscience, but upon the Lord.
Conscience cannot justify
"Were I justified by my conscience free of reproach, then I should be entitled to pass judgment on myself, namely, just in accordance with the standard of the said conscience. But seeing that I am not justified by this conscience (but by Christ), it cannot even serve me as a standard for self-judgment, and I must refrain therefrom, and leave the judgment regarding me to Christ." Meyer's.
Most folks, including ministers, operate according to their conscience. If their conscience does not condemn them, they feel they are in good standing with the Lord, and faithful to Him. This goes two ways. Their conscience tells them they are doing enough, or not enough. In both cases, the conscience is the guide and standard. Many are on the fast road to destruction based upon their conscience. And because their conscience does not condemn them, they see no need to search and study the word of God.
It would be impossible to count the number of people who have told me that they feel they are alright -- yet it would be impossible for them to give a Scriptural principle which would confirm that feeling. These people will be destroyed, feeling that everything is OK.
Of course, the problem with this is obvious. In our society of such open immorality and immodesty, any kind of stand which is above flagrant adultery and nakedness is cleared by the conscience as being faithful to God. On the other end we have the 'Super Christians" who add more to the standards of the word of God than what are there, especially to the office of the minister. As we will see, v. 6, points out that the standard is that which is written; the OT Scriptures.
Paul tells these people who were judging whether he was a faithful minister or not that they are not his judge. But he is not placing himself above judgment, and becoming his own judge by his own conscience. Rather, his judge is the Lord.
It is worth mentioning here that if the great apostle Paul could not trust his own judgment and conscience, how much less should we be able to trust our own estimation of our selves? Paul addressed this in a little different terms in his second letter to these folks, 10:12, For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Another point here is that he is not removing the individuals
out from under all authority other than Christ. He leaves them
accountable to family, ecclesiastical and civil authority, but
all under Christ. In fact, in chapter 5, he will emphasize the
1 Cor. 4:5
Undoubtedly this is one of the more important, overlooked and abused doctrines of the Word of God, proper judgment. One of the more common statements which we hear is, "Judge not that you be not judged," with the idea that if we do not say anything about the wickedness in others, others will not say anything about our own wickedness.
Let's look at an application of this passage which fits well within the context. In 1 Cor. 4:4, Paul points out that even he does not know the recesses of his own heart. Only the Lord knows this, and in His good time these things will be revealed and judged.
V.5, sounds very much like Jeremiah 17:9, 10. There the hidden things of the heart may very well have us deceived, but the circumstances which come our way will reveal those hidden things. Notice that it is the Lord who brings those things our way, for a purpose. Therefore, it is the Lord coming in to us in the form of these circumstances, in judgment against that hidden secret sin. The circumstances reveal what is in our heart, our weak and strong points. They reveal the things we need to deal with in order to have our lives in conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ. All the difficult circumstances which He faced only showed that, no matter what, He was going to do the will of His Heavenly Father.
The term would be, "Circumstances do not make us what we are, they only reveal what we are."
Jer. 17:14, the weakness has been revealed to the individual, now he cast himself upon the healing grace and mercy of the Lord to change those wrong desires and emotions, to forgive the evil that has lurked within the heart, and to supply the mercy to change the outward actions, Pro. 28:13, 14.
Now, more to the meaning of this passage. We must agree with Meyer's rendering of this passage because of the obvious context.
"The precess of thought from ver.3 onwards is, namely, this : "For my part, you may judge me if you will, I make very little of that ; but (ver. 4) seeing that I do not even judge myself, but that he that judgeth me is Christ, I therefore counsel you (ver. 5) not to pass a judgment upon me prematurely."-- i.e. before it is the right time, Matt. viii. 29.." Then Paul defines the right time, when the Lord comes in His final judgment.
First, let's look at this from Paul's view.
Paul is talking about himself, telling these people not to judge him as an unfaithful minister. On this side of Christ's return, things are hidden, motives are unknown. It is very dangerous to judge anything without knowing what is going on in the darkness and the motives behind the actions. But there is a time coming, says Paul, when all of the circumstances surrounding the actions will be known and the motives will be revealed. At the appearing of Christ, Paul's motives and actions will be truly revealed and judged, but not until then.
Notice that he implies that one day they will be able to judge him. When the time arrives, they will know all the truth. (I am sure that when we all stand before the Lord, the last thing on our mind will be the judgment of others.)
Then he concludes this statement with, and then shall every man have praise of God. Right now these people were judging him as an unfaithful minister. But then he will have praise of the Lord, even though no man may praise him now in this life.
There are a couple of things which should be noted here:
1. There are times for judgment. There are times when we must judge, but our judgment must be righteous judgment and it must line up with the Word of God (see below). The word of God even now, reveals the hidden motives of the heart, He. 4:12. And many times He uses trying and dificult circumstances to do this. See above.
2. Paul only sees one appearing of the Lord, and that appearing will be when the Lord returns as the righteous judge with His rewards and punishments.
3. True and honest judgment must take all circumstances and motives into account. The best and most godly actions in the world, must be viewed with the motives. Why was that sermon preached, even the sermon that maybe hundreds responded to? Why did we eat or drink? Why did we do what we did? The Lord holds us accountable to live and act righteously. He also requires that the motives for those actions be godly in His sight. Right actions without right motives are sin in His sight. Notice also that right motives without right actions are also sin.
How many times have we heard, "His motives were right?" Notice the fallacy of this. That woman was lonely, so he had an adulterous affair with her to help her out. His motives were right. Garbage!
Evidently Paul just did not fit into the mold of what they felt a minister should be. Evidently he did not do as they felt he should, so they judged him an unfaithful minister.
4. The praise which is spoken of here is ONLY to every man that is a faithful steward. There is very little, if any, praise this side of the Lord here on this earth for being faithful. In fact, just the opposite. There is much ridicule from even the 'religious' crowd when a person refuses to fit into their mold of a minister. This man will receive praise.
". so that Paul here puts entirely out of sight those who deserve no praise at all.," restricting his remarks to himself and Apollos. (Meyer's.)
The context of this chapter places this praise of God only for those who are faithful. In other words, the ones who are not deserving of praise will not get any praise. The word every here only includes every faithful person, not every Christian. How many times have I heard this used to say that even the most worldly of Christian will receive praise. That is not what it is saying. The context is of godly men (Paul and Apollos) being judged and condemned by a group of worldly Christians. The response to their judgment that these two are unworthy is that, 1. They are working to please the Lord, and, 2. they will be judged and praised as faithful ministers when they stand before Him as the Righteous Judge.
5. And, "Every man will acknowledge the justice of the award; there will be, as there can be, no appeals. There is a voice within which attests the decrees of justice." (Parker)
Now for an application, judging!
Judge, v.3 - 350. "b. univ. to judge of, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of any person or thing): 1 Co. 2:15; 1 Co 4:3 sq.; pass., 1Co. 2 , 15; 14:24."
1 Co. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of
the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. V. 15,
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is
judged of no man.
1 Co. 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. V. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
1 Co. 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
1. The natural man cannot render a true and honest judgment, because the actions of another can only be understood properly in the light of the Spirit of God upon the word of God. The unsaved has not this Spirit, and the saved individual who is walking after the natural man has grieved this Spirit, therefore, the Spirit is inoperative when it comes to discerning the true nature of the actions of others.
See my notes in 1 Cor. 2:15, where we point out: ""This verse ties in with the above. He that is spiritual.. True spirituality comes from the prolonged intercourse with God. Enlightenment into the deep things of God comes from this relationship with God. Judgeth.. He has discernment concerning those things which he has been shown by the Spirit. Himself is judged.. He alone understands himself, and that only by a work of the Spirit of God. How can we understand even about ourselves that the world cannot understand? The Spirit reveals these things to us." This ties in with Paul's statement here in 4:3, as he tells these people they cannot judge him and his motives will be revealed in that day of Christ."
2. Paul was not going to allow this worldly church, that was walking after the things of the flesh, to pass judgment upon his faithfulness as a minister of God. Although they seemed to be calling into question his motives as a minister, he is the one that will judge them in chapter 5.
3. Nor was he going to get caught in the trap of comparing himself with himself.
Now, to consider judge of v.5 - 2919
"5. to judge;.. b. to pronounce judgment; to subject to censure; of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in the matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others: univ. and without case, Jn. 8:16, 26; Jn. 8:15; Jn 7:24; Mt. 7:2; Rom. 3:7; out of thine own mouth (i.e. from what thou hast just said) will I take the judgment that must be passed on thee, Lk.19:22; 1 Co. 10:15; Lk 12:57; Acts 4:19; 1 Co. 4:5; Jn. 7:24; of disciplinary judgment to which Christians subject the conduct of their fellows, passing censure upon them as the facts require, 1 Cor. 5:12; of those who judge severely (unfairly), finding fault with this or that in others, Mt. 7:1; Lk. 6:37; Ro. 2:1,3; 14:3 sq. 10, 13; foll. by .. with dat. of the thing, Col. 2:16; Ro. 14:22; hence i.q. to condemn: Ro. 2:27; Jas. 4:11 seq."
7/19/91, 7/20/91, 7/23/91
Thus, to judge would be to make a determination on the correctness of some thing or some one. Assumptions involved:
1. ROM 14:3, 4, 10 Assumes proper authority of the judge over the one being judged; including authority to pass sentence upon the judged, to tell him what is to be done by or to him to fulfill the standard of justice.
2. 1CO 10:15 Assumes true wisdom on the part of the judge. All of the Book of Proverbs defines wisdom.
3. ROM 2:1-3 Assumes a standard of correctness which is above both the one judging and the judged. See next point.
4. MAT 7:1, 2 Assumes the judge is willing to and is abiding
by this standard himself, that he is of godly character. LUK 6:37
The judge is willing to be judged by the same standards that he
is pressing upon others. ROM 2:27 tells us that this is the primary
qualification of judging. Rom 3:7, also points out that the one
judging is not trying to justify their own failures.
Gal. 6:1 gives us a good conclusion here. It tells us that the one judging does not have to be perfect, but he must be humble, realizing his own weaknesses and sins, and working toward victory in those areas in his own life. This is part of the qualification of godliness on the part of the judge.
5. Ja. 4:11, 12 Assumes the one judging is doing so by an established law that both are subject to, and not a self-imposed standard. If this standard is not strictly adhered to, both in the life of the one judging and as the standard the accused is being measured with, then the one doing the judging becomes the law-maker, rather than the judge. The one judging has become the standard in himself.
6. ROM 14:5 (esteemeth) Assumes that the one judging is not judging according to personal preferences. In fact, COL 2:16, forbids us letting others judge us in matters of personal preferences, matters which are not specifically pointed out to be sin (sin includes stumbling block). Rom. 14:23-23 The one judging is living above reproach, as much as is humanly possible.
7. JOH 7:24; LUK 19:22 Assumes the one passing judgment well versed in the standard of judgment (the law), is qualified to know and understand the implications of that standard, and is able to apply that standard to the situation involved. (And is in their own life.)
8. ROM 14:13 True judgment is for the benefit of; first the Lord, then of the individual, then of society. But primarily, true judgment must uphold the standard of the justice of God. As this is done, then all society benefits and prospers.
9. JOH 8:15 Assumes that the judge is looking past appearances, as much as is humanly possible. ACT 4:19 He is judging according to what is right in the sight of God, and not man. 1CO 4:5 Yet we know that perfect judgement would also require full knowledge and understanding of all circumstances and motives of one being judged. Only the Lord will be able to do this, and He will in His appointed time and way.
10. Luk 6:44 Because of human limitations, only deeds, actions and words can be judged by men. This can give some measure of true judgment, because good fruit proceeds from a good tree and bad fruit from a bad tree. 1CO 5:12 And there are times when God requires this judgment. LUK 12:57 Note that there are some things which are obvious. These must be dealt with in a proper Scriptural procedure, even as they appear, for from the heart proceeds....
11. In concluding this, we should mention Mt 13:24-30. This passage contains the parable of the wheat and tares. In this, the Lord clearly tells us that the kingdom of heaven here on earth (the church) is made up of saved and lost people. At times they look so much alike that only the Lord can separate them out in the day of judgment.
A person is to be accepted into the fellowship of believers, with two exceptions. One is immorality. The next chapter deals with this. The other is rejecting the basic doctrines of Christ, Titus 3:10.
Therefore, let us be careful that we do not try to do this separating or we will damage the wheat. The only thing we can do is judge righteous judgment and leave the results up to the Lord.
Now, to follow through a little.
Heb. 4:12 tells us that not only does the word of God give
us a standard, but it reveals the motives behind the outward actions.
We can know enough of God's word to avoid the pit-falls of joining
with, or condoning the actions of evil men. Only as the principles
of the Word are adhered to, can there be justice. The heart is
revealed in actions. The actions can be compared with the standard
established in the Scriptures.
Many actions are so blatantly contrary to the word of God, that the average person may notice them immediately. Other actions and words are draped so well in religious phrases that only a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures can see the truth and render and honest judgment.
Regardless, righteous judgment and justice can and must, be obtained based upon the law-word of God. When things are taken at face value, we are judging after the flesh. When things are compared with the word of God and action taken according to that word, then we are judging righteous judgment.
Our Lord was clear, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment, JOH 7:24. The problem is not judging. We are to judge people and things for ourselves. We are warned about hanging around the wrong crowd. How will we recognize the wrong crowd if we do not judge for ourselves? We are warned many times of false teachers. How will we know they are wolves in sheep's clothing, if we do not judge them. These must be compared with the total of God's word, then the action which the Lord requires taken in regards to them.
The problem is that we want to judge according to our standard and after appearances, rather than by the standard which has been established by the Lord. (Sad to say, most Christians compare the actions of others with their own actions and motives. This is to judge after the appearance of a matter, and will be wrong far more often than not.)
There are two instances in the law where the parents were to be the leaders in the stoning of their child, clearly showing us that "the Biblical doctrine of the family .. is plainly God-centered [which] must be understood and stressed." Law, pg. 163. (We should also emphasize that the Fifth commandment which deals with the family, carries with it a tremendous promise of life and blessing.)
1. Deut. 13:1-11, when the child tried to get others, including the parents, to follow false gods, the parents were to cast the first stone.
2. Det. 21:18-21, the habitual rebellious son was to be stoned to death, with the parents bringing him before the elders (judges) of his city.
In both cases, his actions revealed where his heart was.
This principle is carried through to the NT, and the habitual sinner in 1 Cor. 5. But under the new covenant, those worthy of death are given the opportunity to repent, Rom. 1 & 2. Now, the rebellious is to be dealt with in such a manner as to give the opportunity for repentance, and if no repentance, he was to be treated as a dead man and expelled.
Now to follow through the principle of the OT. With this we are reminded that the Biblical doctrine of the family must be God-centered. Now, the parents; if they truly love God above all else, they lead in the expelling of a rebellious child from the church. This would be extremely difficult to say the least, unless the parents were completely fed up with the child. Very few reach this point of total rejection of their child. Therefore, this 'casting of the first stone' by the parents would show all, including the Lord and the child, that they love the Lord first and foremost.
1. The word of God establishes the standard
2. It tells what is to be done with those who violate that standard.
3. It also tells people how they are to respond to that person; prayer, forgiveness, pleading, fleeing from, separation from, avoiding..
4. We should be willing, and fully expect to have the same standard applied to us by others as we apply to them.
Thus, the word of God must be the judge, not the individual. The individual who desires righteous judgment to prevail, will search the word of God for what is to be done and live above reproach himself as much as is humanly possible (by the grace of God, of course). This is exactly what took place in the OT with the judges which Moses established. They had to know the word of God, live it and be able to apply it in the situations which arose.
Now, to consider the excuse we hear quiet often. The reference is found in the words of the Lord, Mat. 7:1, 2. Judge not, that ye be not judged.. But very seldom do we hear the rest of this statement. Rather it is drawn out of contest for the obvious reason that is found in the context, For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. They are living anything but a righteous life, and they seem to think that if they do not pass judgment upon the actions of others, this will prevent others from doing this to them. These folks refuse to face righteous judgment in their own lives according to the word of God, therefore, they hide behind this religious phrase.
The Lord did not forbid His people from making a determination on the correctness of some thing or some one. In fact, He places this responsibility upon them many times over. What He did forbid and condemn was judgement according to the appearance.. He then told His people to judge righteous judgment, Jn. 7:24; judge according to the righteous standard established by His word. To fail to do this will leave His people not only condoning, but united with many false teachers and evil people.
Thus, if we do not judge others according to the word of God, even judging our own children, we will face the judgment of God, De. 28:58-63; Mk 7:6-13.
And these things.. All of the preceding things that he has presented. Transferred... He is has not been just giving theory, but very explicit instruction which is to be applied to himself and to Apollos. Then he gives the purpose of presenting himself and Apollos as humble servants of God; for your sakes.. Then so his readers do not miss the message, he sums up the teaching; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written.. in the OT. Not any particular passage, but the general principle. The word of God establishes the standard. We are to meet that standard and not even go past it. We must be careful to not expect more from ourselves and from others, ministers especially, than what is required of them by the Lord.
He could be dealing with the problem of this church exalting himself or the other apostles more than they should, or of Christians exalting the minister beyond what the Lord meant them to be. (Parker) But I do not think the context will hold to this understanding, because Paul had to remind them of his authority both as an apostle and as their spiritual father. Although they were exalting their present teachers above the word of God.
Therefore, he is dealing with the party-spirit of one group exalting itself above another. They are not to think of their spiritual leaders higher than is permitted by the OT Scriptures. Note that they are not to raise the standard or lower it for their ministers. God has, had already in Paul's day, an established standard for the leaders of His people. That standard must not be compromised.
Therefore, even when Paul wrote his instructions to Timothy outlining the qualifications for pastors and deacons, these were already established principles. He only summed them up.
This is a significant point in our day of separation of the OT from NT Christianity. When the teachings of the OT in these many areas are overlooked or ignored, then there is no way Christians can be expected to do even simple things like this; have proper men in these places of leadership; have proper regard for their leaders, spiritual and otherwise; have proper responsibilities for them.
Another point here: that ye might learn in us not to think (of men is added to the text and, of course, is true to the context) above that which is written. In other words, "No thought is to be allowed to escape the bounds of the written word of God." (Eph. 4:8.)
A couple of passages which might be worth noting here would be: Deut. 17:20 & Jer. 9:23, 24.
Puffed up .. Could refer to the preceding text, don't exalt one leader above another, because all are servants of God. Or, more in line with the following context, Paul is rebuking them for being puffed up one over the other. And they were puffed up because of the group (party) they were in. Some were of Paul, some of Apollos, some of Cephes and some of Christ. They were proud and puffed up against one another because of the person they had identified with. Paul has pointed out the foolishness of this, because all these men were servants of God the Father.
An important point here is that these individuals who Paul is rebuking are not being exalted by others, they are exalting themselves, self-exaltation or self-esteem, Ph.2:3.
We see in the next verse that not only did they consider themselves better that their brother in Christ because of which party they belonged to, but they gloried in it.
Who maketh thee to differ..
Parker points out that Paul here us urging them to the unity of the ministry. Not exalting one minister above another because one might have a "better" gift than another, or better personality. Again, I do not think the context will hold to this, although the thought is Scriptural.
The context would permit this to go two ways. One they are quite aware of their differences and proud of them. (This could be a danger when the gifts if the Spirit of God are emphasized. By gifts, we mean abilities to serve Him. Paul does get into the gifts in this letter.) Or, some one is pumping them up, puffing them up, by telling them how great they are. This is extrememly common today, as leaders learn to 'pump up' the people to get them to do what they want them to do. This could refer to their being told how much better their party is than the other party. In either case, they were forgetting from where they received whatever talents and abilities they had.
He cuts both thoughts down with a single stroke. now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? "If you do not have any abilities or gifts that was not given to you by the Lord, why are you lifted up with pride against others who do not have the same abilities?"
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Here we are told to be honest with ourselves as to what gifts and abilities we have. We must do this so that we can use them for the Lord. And at times it is obvious that one is superior to another, but this is not due to any effort on their own part, but God's. The trouble is that we are so prone to forget where gifts and abilities came from. This is what took place at Corinth.
And this is so common today, not only in the field of leadership among God's people, but in the average life. "I am able to do a particular thing better than that other person." This knowledge of an honest fact can and often does, lead to exaltation over that other person, because we forget where that ability came from. We act and think as though we gained or developed it ourselves.
If there was ever a person who would have had a right to be proud of their hard work and self-accomplishments, Paul would have it. But, he knew that it was only by the grace of God that he was what he was, 15:10.
And we should keep in mind what Paul said just previously, v. 2. I realize that the context was the mysteries of God, but the application would easily fit here. We have been given stewardship over certain gifts and abilities by God. They are to be used only as will honour the One who provided them, in the way that pleases Him.
The Lord gave us many parables concerning faithfulness over the gifts and abilities which He has provided mankind with. These show us the blessing of using them properly for Him, and the curse of misusing them on ourselves.
I might mention here in passing; If the Lord gave the gifts and tallents, then He is the one responsible to give us the opportunities to use then and to supply all our needs while we do.
God help us to remember that we are only what we are and have what we have, only by His sovereign and free grace. He can remove it just as quick and easily as He gave it to us.
USE OF SARCASM
V. 8. 1 Cor 4:8..
Sarcasm is evident in this verse, (Hodge), as Paul becomes bitterly ironical, heaping stroke on stroke, to teach the proud Corinthians humility, (Meyer's). His goal is to put the reader to shame, without destroying them.
Meyer's gives this: "Already seated are ye, already become rich are ye; without our help ye have attained to dominion!" Meyer's makes it a point that this is referring to "the Messianic fullness of possession and dominion." (Check Rev. 3:17.) This verse indicates that these people believed that they had already entered into the Messiah's kingdom, and they were acting like it. (These are the ones that Paul told to wake up to reality, and get busy, 15:34.)
There appears to me to be three things here in this verse. (Compare these to the Mt. 5.)
1. Now ye are full.. All knowledge-
2. now ye are rich.. The gospel of prosperity- (Note that the riches promised under the New Covenant, are the spiritual riches in Christ, 2 Cor. 8:9.)
3. ye have reigned.. The quiet security of kings, dominion-
Then, without us.. Hodge and Meyer's both say that these people felt they had obtained this level of spirituality, all without the teaching aid of the apostles. I think this verse also includes the idea that these people felt they were exalted in these areas without the apostles, in the since of they left the apostles behind in their attainment. They had attained to a level to which the apostles had not yet attained. "You have attained a level which we as apostles have not yet attained to."
Would to God.. (Both H & M say that the word God is added, although the text dose not indicate this.) Paul says that he wishes that their dream-world really did exist, and he would like to reign with them.
Now, some points here.
In these people's opinion of themselves, they had arrived to the full stature (knowledge, prosperity and rule) of Christ, they had obtained all the promises of the Messianic kingdom, and were even now reigning as kings. And Paul says, "You have obtained to this glorious level without us (the instructions of the apostles). You have obtained to a level that we have not obtained to, including the level of reigning as kings." (It would make one wonder just what they were doing. It is highly possible that they were exercising the world's idea of the 'divine right of the king,' as they felt they could violate the law of God, as well as enjoying the ease of kings.)
I would.., appears to refer only to the idea that they were now reigning and enjoying the benefits of the Messiah's kingdom. Of course, this would involve prosperity and knowledge. And that the apostles were reigning with them. The reality of the situation starts in v. 9.
Could also be saying that he wishes that they were really in the spiritual condition which they thought they were. He desires that they were mature in knowledge and stature as they thought they were. He wants them to obtain to this level, only he wants them to do it properly, under God and with proper instruction of the apostles, with the fruit of the Spirit evident.
Continuing on with this thought, could also:
Up to this point it is obvious that their pride was overwhelming. They were proud of their accomplishments which they had obtained without the benefits of teachers. In his second letter to them, he tells of the danger which they fell into. They compared themselves with themselves, 10:12.
A note of interest here. They had the OT Scriptures which they studied. Without the aid of God-given teachers they had misinterpreted them to an extent that let them get into this mess. We must study Scriptures on our own, but when this study is done without regard to teachers of the word of God, some strange doctrine can and will develop.
Parker is one of my favorite preachers. He was uneducated in the sense of no formal schooling, but he read and listened to the great teachers of his day. CHS is another example. He also was without formal education, but he was a fantastic reader.
On the other hand, the Plymouth Brethren started as a revolt against established teachers. The movement was commendable for a few years, but developed into major schisms. Also the most destructive doctrine ever to develop came out of that movement, the Rapture.
(Added in reviewing this, 9/24/91. Sadly enough, another destructive
doctrine is developing in the church today, the doctrine of disrespect
for civil authority, including tax-revolt. I am in contact with
one teacher in OR who teaches that it is unscriptural to submit
to civil authority. He has replaced civil authority with Ecclesiastical
authority, his church at the center replacing civil authority
and himself at the head.
This is what I am noticing among the leaders in the tax-protest movement, and Steve is caught up in it as he follows one of these men. The major developers of the theories of a Christian's responsibility to civil government, including the payment of taxes, are not Christian or at the most, very nominal Christian. You get the idea from them that there are no theologians that can teach them anything, because the theologian has not seen what they have seen. The idea is that they have obtained past the need of theological instruction.
I may be wrong, but the one Steve thinks so highly of, when Steve asked him if he went to church, the man told him that he hadn't found any pastor that he felt taught the Bible truly. What is really sad is that people who love God are allowing men like this to establish doctrine for them. The Christian's responsibility toward civil government is a Biblical doctrine, and MUST BE DEALT WITH AS SUCH. The only ones who can develop this doctrine properly are theologians. The problem is that there are very few, if any, theologians that will deal with it the way these people want to hear it.
Bro. Dixon is bad about this. He brings in men who are not Bible scholars to develop the theology of civil government for preachers. They do not develop this theology from the Bible, but from the constitution or other sources. We will not stand before the Lord in that day and answer according to the Constitution, but according to the total truth of His word, Rom. 2. As a whole, the ones who are following these non-theologians are heirs of Darby and the Plymouth Brethren.)
These people at Corinth were proud that they had come so far, in their opinion, without the aid of teachers, for which Paul strongly rebukes them. "You did this without us?!"
Back to the context:
Hodge points out that sarcasm is often used in Scriptures, especially by the prophets. "If the thing assailed be both wicked and foolish, and if the motive be, not the desire to give pain, but to convince and to convert, [its] use is justified by Scriptural examples." Sarcasm is a dangerous weapon which very few can use properly.
It was evident that reality just was not what they wanted to believe it was, and acted like it was. Their belief in their spirituality was shattered by the reality of the divisions which were present. The idea of being reigning in the Messiah's kingdom and enjoying the ease and prosperity thereof, was shattered by reality.
This is sad. 2 Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
They had compared themselves with themselves, and had lost all track of reality. They may have lost track of reality, but God did not lose track of them. His wrath was against their evil.
Starting with strong sarcasm, v. 8, Paul moves from the ludicrous to the reality, v. 9-13. And the reason for doing this is given in v. 14.
(If I had been facing what Paul was facing in vs. 9-13, and the report of these people had arrived, a church which I had started and labored over, there would have been more than bitter sarcasm involved in this rebuke. Probably some anger. But, in Paul's typical manner, he goes from the heavens to the depth of the sea. He bitterly rebukes them here, confronts them with reality, then lifts them back to the heavens, v. 14. My, what a masterful teacher he is. How much I could learn from him. He is able to deliver the strongest rebuke to put the readers to the greatest shame, yet not destroy them.
Danger: We teachers of God's word, and especially from Paul's
writings, will take only one part. The part that lifts the reader
to the heavens is wonderful and will sooth the human heart and
attract people. The part that takes the reader to the depths of
the sea, is harsh and will offend people. Our problem is that
we take one or the other and emphasize that part; either all down,
or all up. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, presents
a wonderful balance that the teacher today would do well to imitate.
(See for me file, 5/30/91.)
OT: The same pattern exists in the OT prophets, only there was more emphasis on the down side. The ratio of up and down seems to have reversed under the New Covenant.)
How many people today absolutely refuse to face the reality of the situation which is taking place outside of the walls of the Church. (Again, Darby's stated purpose of the study of prophecy was to escape reality.) The message of fullness, richness and reigning as kings, draws the people, money and fame. The people desire to hear this message, and the churches must build to accommodate the crowds. The reality is that there is a war going on which Christians are to be involved in, vs. 9-13.
Paul expresses here the wish that what these people believed were true, that the Messiah's kingdom were here, and that they did now reign as kings. But, obviously this is not the case. He mentioned the apostles. They were the representatives of the King and His kingdom. If the Messiah's kingdom were in authority, then surely His representatives would be exalted. But, rather than being exalted by the world, "we apostles are now very far from being treated as kings."
God hath set forth.. Paul says that it is the Lord God that has established the order, and currently that order has the ones who are the primary representatives of the King and His kingdom (the apostles), very low, in fact, last, in the eyes of the world.
Appointed to death.. Rather than being treated as kings and priests, which they were by the blood of the Lamb, the apostles were looked upon by the world only worthy of death. This is sure a sharp contrast to what these people were thinking.
A spectacle... "The inhabitants of heaven and of earth gaze upon our hardships and persecutions as on a spectacle." (Meyer's) An interesting statement along this line is found in Eph. 3:10-13 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
It is the grace of God supplied for His covenant people in the tribulations for His name's sake, which show the manifold wisdom of God unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Reviewed from here to end of v. 12 after several days in Rom. 13, 8/29/91.
V. 10, Paul continues on with reality in face of what they
wanted to believe. We.. would, first of all, refer to Paul, but
would include all the apostles. Therefore, all the apostles are
included in what he is about to say.
Paul had not only renounced the world's wisdom, but he had taken a strong stand against it. He came trembling upon the scene, arguing only from divine revelation, depending totally upon the wisdom provided by God. He has already argued that this wisdom is considered foolish by the world, but it is the wisdom of God and the power of God. The result was that, even though this church had been founded with this power of God, it has been influenced by false teachers that Paul was a weak-minded fool, only to be despised.
On the other hand, because this church had adopted the false teaching of the Gr-Ro philosophy, they were being exalted as wise, strong and honorable by the world and in their own eyes. And they were proud of themselves over all of this.
Application: This is typical of all who reject the Bible as the only source of wisdom, whether they be 'among us' or 'among them.' According to what the apostle is saying here, the church or 'Christian leader' who avoids being a spectacle of foolishness, fit only for extinction in the eyes of the world, has joined with the world.
The sad thing is that many of the 'Christian Crowd' stands against the exclusive use of God's Divine revelation as the source of all wisdom and argument. I would suppose that they desire to be accepted by the world. In fact, I would further suppose that the world would even finance the promotion of this wisdom. It is extremely appealing to the fallen nature to use human wisdom and reasoning to confront the problems of society around us.
This is so prevalent today and even good sincere Christians are caught up in it. We should be smart enough though to recognize this error. When the teacher or leader which is presenting the wisdom of how to confront the problems of society around them, is not living a consistent Christian testimony (tithing, church attendance, witnessing for Christ, standing for Biblical principles in society around them, etc.) as far as humanly possible, there is something desperately wrong with them and their message. The motive behind their message is not for the glory of God, and Christians who want to glorify God had better be careful.
In other words, a teacher who is not living according to the basic principles of the entire law-word of God, is a false teacher, and must be regarded as such. Now, of course, he will not be sinless, but sinlessness will be his goal. (See my notes on Rom. 13:6, 7.)
This was the problem here with this group. They were worldly, to the extent of open ungodliness, yet they considered themselves wise, strong and were well respected. Therefore, their teachers were well respected in the community and enjoyed a large following. They had adapted the Gr-Rom philosophy of humanism to Christianity (if such were possible), and were exalted up in the eyes of men for doing so. The world bragged on them for their successful use of humanistic wisdom, yet they were condoning open evil.
This is typical of the world today. The ones who, under the name of Christ, will follow after the world's humanistic wisdom will be praised by the world. They will be followed and exalted by the media. They will attract the funds to carry out their attacks against evangelical Christianity.
He continues on with the contrast. Remember that he is dealing with "Christianized Humanism;" the doctrine of fullness, richness, and power or reigning, in Christ. He is cutting down the Humanist GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY presented by the false teachers at Corinth, by confronting these people with reality.
This Christianized Humanism also teaches that salvation provides escape from the trials and tribulations of this world. How many people have been drawn into a profession of Christ by this prospect of being able to escape from difficulties and tribulations which the future might hold? Is there salvation in this kind of presentation of the gospel? Is this the gospel? Paul is sure taking a hard stand against such teaching. But we will not know until we all get to heaven. I think we can say this though: If the motive for salvation is an escape from reality (tribulation, trials, etc.), and not because we see our hopeless condition as sinners before a holy and righteousness God, then this cannot be confirmed from Scriptures as salvation.
Also, remember that he has established the fact that he is an apostle, sent by divine revelation by the Lord Jesus Christ, to these people. This needs to be kept in mind as we look at these next few verses, because the Humanist gospel of prosperity will say that a person is not right with God if they are not healthy, wealthy and wise in the ability to argue from good common sense. In other words, the false teachers would say that because Paul was in the midst of these tribulations, he was not right with God. Therefore, these people should not listen to him. (This is dealt with in v. 15.)
V. 11, Even unto this present time.. Evidently this was not new with Paul, but was a continuing practice. He lists the things which he is going through.
hunger, thirst, without clothing, buffeted, homeless. This was quite a contrast to the humanist gospel of prosperity and reigning which was being presented by the false teachers. Paul was preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, but it was obvious that he was not living like an earthly king. And in v. 10, he had pointed out that the Lord was the One who made the determination for his life-style. In his case, it was extremely simple.
Buffeted.. (2852 - to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist: Mt 26:67; Mk 19:65 [And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.]; as a specific term for a general, i.q. to maltreat, treat with violence and contumely, 2 Cor.xii.7 [And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.]; pres. pass., 1Co.iv.11; 1 Pet. ii. 20 [For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.].)
Now, this is strange. Paul's says here that the messenger of Satan buffets him, and the word indicates physical abuse, not necessarily mental or emotional or even a physical infirmity such as poor eye sight. But I have no doubt but what he could be referring to any of these things. I would say that this could be anything which would keep one from depending upon self. Although there is no doubt here in 1 Cor. 4, that Paul is referring to physical abuse, primarily from the Jews, but latter from the Romans. Physical abuse is physical abuse, no matter the source.
Which gives us an interesting point. That is that all of these NT books were written in the face of persecution, either from the Jews or from the civil government, although most of the persecution up until the burning of Rome (July '68) came from the Jews.
The point being that even though they were being persecuted from place to place, and to death, the authors, with very few exceptions, did not speak against the persecutors. Rather they spent their time telling the Church how to respond. Paul uses personal example here of how to respond to persecution, v. 12.
See for me file, 7/27/91. Lost the file.
No certain dwelling place.. The message he preached did not usually set well with the local populace.
Wearisome effort in the Word.
V. 12, labour.. 2872 - 2. to labor with wearisome effort, to toil; of bodily labor. Mt. 6:28; Acts 20:35; 1 Cor 4:12; Eph. 4:28; 2 Tim. 2:6. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.; and etc. Also under this definition 2., is of the toilsome efforts of teachers in proclaiming and promoting the kingdom of God and Christ, 1 Tim. 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. Compare this with Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. The indication here is that the wearisome effort of the minister is to be primarily in the study and proclamation of the word of God and prayer. Acts placed the actual care of the people in the hands of the 'deacons.'
This gives us a point to consider. The ministers are loaded down with the care of the people and other cares. They are involved in wearisome effort, but that effort is in every area except the area of prayer, the word and doctrine. This is where the system which was established by Moses comes in, Ex. 18. He established godly leaders over 10 families, 50, 100, ect. This placed the care of the people upon godly men at the lowest level. Moses taught the men, the men cared for the people on the individual level. Moses only became involved in the most difficult matters. This is the pattern for the NT deacons.
By placing the care of the people, among other things, upon the pastor, there are some bad result.
Look at what this does!
1. It gives the pastor a satisfaction that he is doing a lot of work for the kingdom's sake (which he is).
2. It makes all who see him believe the same. In fact, this is how he is judged in the eyes of men more often than not. "How much time do you spend with the people and/or doing these other things?"
3. The devastating part is that this prevents their wearisome effort in the word and doctrine and prayer. The result is that they must depend upon what they have been taught by other men, not what they have been taught by the Spirit through many long wearisome hours of personal study of the Scriptures. And the sad results are all around us.
I think there are some obvious results in pastors; as they
do not know the word of God and are unable to make obvious connections
with situations at hand; a determination to cling to what they
have been taught over obvious teachings of the Scriptures; falling
to sin and compromise.
I think there are some obvious things in the people; shallowness of the people of God today; lack of ability to see things from a Biblical view; the inability to understand Scriptures.
Now I am not at all speaking against learning from teachers, nor are we even hinting that the minister separate himself from his people. What we are saying here is that the minister's primary labour is in prayer, the word and doctrine. When he is unwilling or unable to do this, he is open for some devastating false doctrine.
Far be it from me to suggest any set time for labouring in the word and in doctrine. But I do think that when more emphases is placed on anything else than on, or in, labour in the word, the door is wide open for false doctrine, among other things.
Clearly, here in v. 12, Paul is talking about his personal physical effort to support himself in the ministry, but elsewhere, as he instructs ministers, he is equally as clear that their wearisome effort is in prayer, the word and doctrine.
Pastors who place their wearisome effort in these many other things may attract people to them like crazy. And I must admit, the natural man enjoys much more his labour with people over his labour in prayer, the word and doctrine.
Paul labored to support himself. He latter points out that he and other faithful ministers have the right to live off of the church, but he is not exercising that right, 9:5. He goes even further in saying that the one who labors worthily in the ministry is worthy of double honour, double pay.
But he points out to these believers in the gospel of prosperity ("if you are godly, you will be prosperous") that he is God's man, yet he doesn't have enough to support himself, therefore, he must support himself.
Self-support of a minister.
Maybe we should say a word about this. Now, I do not know
what goes on in the heart of a man, but we can probably assume
something like this.
"If this is where God wants me, and what He wants me to do, then He will support me in the life-style that is comparable to the society around me."
The implication here would be that if the Lord doesn't see fit to supply what is expected, then the Lord is not in being at that location. Now, obviously, Paul was where the Lord wanted him, doing what the Lord wanted him to do, yet he had to support himself.
The conclusion would be that we had better be careful about connecting the Lord's will with finances (although He does speak through that area). In other words, finances cannot be the determining factor in making decisions of where we should be. It must be, "What does the Lord want, Where does the Lord want me?" Then if this is the place and self-support is required, then self-support is the best way to go. God will provide the grace to handle the situation.
This would be a great contrast between his idea of support in the ministry and what was being taught by the ones controlled by covetousness.
The Apostle has listed the contrast between the lives of the apostles and the lives of the people of this church and what they were being taught, showing that something is obviously wrong with one of the two. Either the gospel of prosperity and ease, as they are being taught, or the gospel of sacrifice and suffering as the apostles are experiencing.
Now he is going to give the proper response in several situations which he (we.. probably including the other apostles also) is facing for the cause of Christ.
reviewed and added to, 9/4/91
1 Cor. 4:12 being reviled.. (3058) to reproach, rail at, revile,
heap abuse upon.
Jn 9:28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
Acts 23:4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?
1 Pet. 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
For our consideration. In MO file as such.
PAUL LOSES HIS COOL
Acts 23:4, is interesting. In v. 1, Paul told them that his conscience was clear. V. 2, the one who he was appearing before for judgment commanded those beside him to smite him. This smiting was contrary to the law. (Might note that they smote Christ when He didn't speak. There is no way that the ungodly can be pleased with any actions of the godly.) V. 3, Paul rebukes this one setting in judgement for commanding those beside him to violate the law.
In doing this, Paul clearly tells this man and all who hear that;
he is subject to the same law he is using to judge Paul with;
he has no authority to tell anyone to violate the law;
maybe he had the human authority to violate the law with immunity, but he will be judged by the God of the law. The hypocrite will be judged by God (Ananias was. He was slain with Hezekiah his brother, during the fall of Jerusalem. He attempted to hide in an aqueduct from the robbers, but was brought forth and killed);
Paul knew the law, so he wasn't going to pull any fast ones on him.
Notice in v. 3, Paul calls this man a whited wall. This was an obvious reference to his hypocrisy as he sat in judgment against Paul while he himself is openly violating the law. In doing this, he plainly showed all his true character. A whited wall would be a wall that has been whit-washed, which a good rain would probably wash off. The rain came and Ananias' religion washed away.
This not only applies to leaders which are operating under the name of Christ, but to every person. It is hypocrisy to condemn another when we are harboring known sin, Matthew chapter 7.
I think an illustration would be the Abortion protesters. How many are living in adultery or fornication? How many are harboring and enjoying lust in their hearts?. How many are knowingly and willingly involved in ungodly activity other than abortion? Before we can speak against sin in another's life, our lives must be above reproach as much as the Spirit of Grace has enabled it to be. For the Scriptures say, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, Galatians 6:1. Sin must be protested, including abortion, but that protest must come from holiness on the part of the protestor or they are operating with Ananis' spirit of hypocrisy.
Paul spoke against Ananis' sin from a clear conscience, which will excite anger from the ungodly.
V. 4, It is pointed out to Paul that this is God's high priest. V. 5, Paul's reply was not really an apology, but a sharp reminder to all that, according to the law which they were trying to use against him, the judge of the people was to be a godly, law-abiding man. Obviously, this man wasn't because he was commanding the violation of the very law he was trying to use against him. Paul was loudly proclaiming, "Hey everyone. Something is wrong when the one judging me according to the law is blandly violating the same law that I am accused of violating."
Some commentators suggests here that Paul is speaking in irony. Knowing the situation required that this be the high priest, he is saying in veiled words, "How could a man who shows himself so unholy and vulgar be the high priest. Evidently he isn't. Therefore, I can say this." Then at the rebuke of the one beside him, he says, "Oh, really. In that case, it is written Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people. (Ex. 22:28 ; Ps. 82:6. The marg for gods is judges. Christ held their feet to the fire on this, Jn. 10:34.)
(An added reference by my WORLD Bible is 2 Pet. 2:10. It is a mark of the end time when people despise government (marg., dominion). Peter goes on to condemn railing accusations against the Devil himself. But this only compounds the problem here with Paul.)
It is evident that Paul knew this was the high priest. Therefore, the implication here is that if some one is not going to use their office properly, we are not obliged to render to them that respect due to the office. A reverence here would be to 2 Macc. 4:13 Now this was not the beginning, but an increase and progress of heathenish and foreign manners, through the abominable and unheard-of wickedness of Jason, that impious wretch and no priest, 14. insomuch that the priests were not now occupied about the offices of the altar, but despising the temple and neglecting the sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of the games, and of the unlawful allowance thereof, and of the exercise of the discus. The comment goes on to say that they were acting wickedly against the laws of God.
But this is not what Paul says in Romans 13, yet it is the
way he acts
in Acts 23. Was Paul here exercising the right of a prophet of God to speak to rulers thusly, Isaiah 1:10, 23?
On the other hand, let's look at this at face value. Paul did not know that this man was either the high priest or was sitting in the place of the high priest for this occasion. Paul, when falsely accused and seeing such an open violation of the law, 'lost his cool' and railed against this man. When those around him reminded him of what he did, he recovered. Not really apologizing, but admitting that if he had known or remembered this, he would not have spoken so harshly and hastily.
This would appear to fit best with the context of this word, because with every use of revile, and even here, we are told that we are not to do revile against those who revile us, 1 Cor. 4:12; Jn 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:23. Christ is our example, not Paul. Paul is only an example as he follows Christ.
Therefore, it appears to me that Paul got caught in the a trap that he had warned so many about. Therefore, how easy is it for us to do the same. Notice that his means of escape from this situation was not through the reviling, but by being as wise as a serpent. He turned the wicked against one another. He used their own evil against them for his benefit.
Back to 1 Cor. 4:12, being reviled, we bless... This is not what Paul did in Acts where, evidently, he lost his temper then made it right, but here he gives the proper response for being verbally abused.
bless.. 2127 - 2. to invoke blessings; upon one, Mt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Lk. 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Rom. 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 1 Pet. 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
This appears strange indeed, so let me give some quotes on this. Hodge; "We bless, i.e. we speak well of, or implore good upon. We return abuse with kind words, or, with good wishes and prayers." Barns'; "We return good for evil." Meyer's; "We are so utterly empty and void of all honour with others, that as respects those who revile (insult), persecute, and slander us, we do not in any wise defend ourselves or seek vengeance against them (as men do who have honour to vindicate and maintain) ; but, on the contrary, wish good to our revilers, remain quiet and patient towards our persecutors, and give beseeching words to our slanderers."
Bless.. Could also refer to asking for God to prosper or honor. Obviously, there is no Scriptural justification for asking God to bless any deed which are not according to 1 Cor. 10:31. In fact, the opposite would be true. We should be asking for Him to bring all efforts which are not for His honour and glory, to a fruitless end. The context of the usage of the word bless, in both testaments will make obvious the meaning of the word. There is quite a deference between the soft answer which is required in Proverbs 15:1, and asking God to bless and prosper someone's efforts. The soft answer is required in all exchanges with all people, whereas the request for God's blessing is only upon what is done for His honour and glory.
We need to avoid asking God to bless, honour or prosper any efforts which are not being done for His honour and glory. We should pray that all 'ungodly' effort will be brought to nought.
(v. 12-14) PRIMARY PURPOSE OF PASTOR/TEACHER
IS TO PROTECT SHEEP FROM FALSE TEACHERS FROM WITHIN.
1 Pet. 2:21-25, indicates that there is no self-defense in the Bible, which would be quite different than church discipline. This is also the message of Paul in Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Sheep... Consider this: The only defense that a sheep has is what its shepherd provides. I believe that the only call which we see for defending the sheep in the NT is defense against false teachers. I may be wrong, but I know of no call to defend the sheep against oppressive forces from without, such as civil government or unjust masters, other than prayer, 1 Timothy 2:1.
This presents an interesting situation. The group of pastors which I fellowship with spend their time, energy and money defending the sheep from unjust civil government. (The same principles apply to all authority. I wonder why they do not try to deal with unjust employers?) The overwhelming call of the Scriptures is to defend against false teachers.
Let's see if we can identify a few of the basic principles of false teachers which the sheep must be protected from. I'll try to group these together is some order, but we are interested in their basic teaching. This is not nearly all of the passages which deal with false teachers, prophets and ministers, but these are most of the principles which the false teachers present to the sheep which lead them astray.
First, consider the OT use of this word, warn. (2094 - to shine or send out light, Daniel 12:3 [Daniel is used for a SW verse, which would be within the context. But, this is just a small portion of this meaning of shine.] The same word is also used as admonish in Ecc. 4:13; 12:12. Thus, the law-word of God is what shines in the darkness of sin. This means that the light (5457 - that which produces light] of Matthew 5:14-16, is the applied law-word of God; not just in the area of evangelism applying the law of the substitutionary and redemptive work of Christ, but applying the total of the law into every area of life and thought.)
It is the law-word of God which warns, Ps. 19:20. The context of the passages in Ez. 3 and 33, shows us that the Lord is speaking of warning His people of their departure from His law. Ex. 18:20, the purpose of the ruler in the nation of Israel was to warn, or, teach God's covenant people the ordinances and laws, show them how they must walk, and the work that they must do. 2 Kings 6:10, the prophet warned the king of danger. 2 Chron. 19:10, King Jehoshaphat charged the Levities, priests and chief of the fathers of Israel, to warn the people where the people had trespassed against the law of the Lord. This was to keep the wrath of the Lord from coming upon them.
Following this word warn into the NT. (3560 - THAYER; to admonish, warn, exhort. WIGRAM; to put in mind; thus, to caution, reprove, warn, instruct.)
Acts 20:31, Paul in instructing the elders of the church Ephesus. He reminds them that his message had been one of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Now he is on his way to Jerusalem. Although he said he knew not what would befall him there, no doubt he had a good idea, yet was bound by the Holy Spirit to go. He even talks like he will finish his course there, with joy.
I think one key here would be v. 25. He had been among them preaching the gospel of the grace of God and the kingdom of God, as he proclaimed all the counsel of God. Cf, Acts 28. V. 28, starts his warning to these elders. He tells them that as soon as he is gone, grievous wolves will enter in, not sparing the flock. These false teachers will arise from among their own selves. They will draw away disciples after them as they teach contrary to the gospel of grace and the kingdom of God as had been given to Paul by the Spirit. V. 31, contains the warning. He tells these elders that they are to watch for these false teachers to arise in the church, and remember what they had been taught by his word and deed. The obvious implication here in this final warning to these elders is that their danger is from false teachers who creep in under the name of Christian. Thus, their primary responsibility is to protect the sheep from those who would seek to corrupt the gospel of grace (which does not make the law of non-effect. Grace provides redemption apart from any merit on the part of the individual, God's free grace), and to corrupt the gospel of the kingdom of God (which is not of this world, although includes this world, Daniel 4:32; John 18:35-19:12).
Romans 15:14, the word is admonish, with the indicated purpose of making men obedient to the faith by their words and deeds, v. 18.
1 Cor 4:14, the purpose of warning was to call the people to a proper understanding of Christianity. The people were entertaining the false teachers of the Gospel of Prosperity, v. 8. Paul instructed them in the Scriptural truth of the matter, vs. 9-13, which was not at all what they were being taught. Thus, Paul here warns them against the false teachers which had crept into this church. Notice the purpose of his sending Timothy to them, v. 17. It was to counter the influence of the false teachers within this church, and call them back to the purity and proper understanding of the law-word of God.
Colossians 1:28, the purpose of Paul's warning was that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:16, the word is admonish, urging one another to faithfulness to the word of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:12, admonish. He urges this Church to respect the ones who faithfully labour among them, admonishing them in the word of God. V.14, and 2 Thessalonians 3:15, he tells the people to warn others among them which are unruly (not living by Biblical principles).
1. The danger to the sheep, the people of God, is from false teachers, teachers who would seduce them away from the law-word of God. See below for some of the many areas in which these teachers operate.
2. The overwhelming evidence is that the primary purpose of the spiritual leader of the sheep is to protect them from these false teachers. This makes his indisputable primary responsibility as a shepherd, the development of the law-word of God and its application in such a way as the sheep will be able to feed upon it. This is what is used by the Spirit to keep out the false teachers.
Then this point which must be made. There is no place which calls for warning against unjust civil government. The reason? Because unjust civil government is the natural result of the sheep straying from their place of safety, the law-word of God.
The danger is from false teachers. There can not be any relief in other areas of oppression without dealing with this one.
MARKS TO IDENTIFY FALSE TEACHERS
Now, for some marks of false teachers. These are among the things that they will teach with seducing words, maybe intentionally, maybe not.
This is only a partial listing from the OT, but I tried to get all the basic principles.
Deut. 13:-5; Pro. 19:27; Isa 5:20; 8:20; 9:16, the use any
means, including messages, to turn away his hearer from following
the law of God.
Deut. 29:29, the emphasis of the secret things of the Lord (we might add, over the obvious things which have been given, the law. Check Ex. 20:5).
1 Kg 12:13, make Christian leaders out of unqualified people.
Isa. 30:10; Jer 5:30, 13, 14; 10:21, give to the people what they want to hear.
Isa. 56:10; Jer 3:8, will not warn of impending danger from whatever source. But the primary warning must be the warning to the people about their departure from the law of life, the law of God, Lam 2:14. The teachers here will not warn because of what it might cost them. They are greedy dogs.
Jer 14:13-16; 50:56; Hos. 4:6, will not stress the importance of the law of God for the well-being of the people of God. In fact, they do violence to the law, Zeph. 3:4; Mal 2:8.
Ez. 13:1-23; 22:25-28; 34:1-31, teach from their own heart and not from the total of God's word.
Hos. 8:4, false teachers who would separate civil government (or any sphere of life) from Christianity and Christian principles of life. (We are not referring to a Church-State, but a Christian State, thus, a church which trans Christians to live for God in these areas.)
Now, some marks from the NT.
Mat. 5:19, teach men that it is alright to live contrary to
the law of God. Or, we might say, who separate the law of God
from every day life. 1 Tim. 1:3-7, would include teachers who
so not understand the law of God.
Mat. 15:7-9, replace the law of God with the teachings of men. Col. 2:8, goes farther and warns against teachers who mix humanism with Christ.
Luk. 11:42, taking the 'spirit' out of the law.
Luk. 11:38-52, Teachers who emphasis the outside religious activity while overlooking the inside relationship with God. Maybe this emphasis is not readily apparent in the preaching, but it is seen in the people or in the preacher's private life.
Acts 20:28-30, Paul warns of false teachers who will arise from among the best of the church, drawing away disciples after themselves and not after the doctrines of the total of God's word.
1 Tim. 4:1, tells us that the end time will be marked by the departure from sound doctrine, replaced with doctrines of devils which will appeal to the flesh. This would include connecting gain with godliness, 1 Tim 6:4, as well as using the doctrine of Christ for personal gain, Mat. 7:15; Jud 11. They create divisions, using fair and excellent speech to deceive those easily swayed for their own benefit, Rom. 16:17, 18; 1 Cor. 2:1-4. They are to be avoided, Phi. 3:2; Col. 2:4.
(Something to consider here: This doctrine, though primarily connected with material gain like in the area of finances, would include even preachers and evangelists who are considered godly because they are able to get a good response to their message. Look! Here's what we can get into with this. The man can get a good response even though his personal life is not as it should be. Therefore, he is considered a powerful preacher with God's hand upon him. According to Scripture, if his personal life is not in conformity to Scriptural principles as much as the Spirit of Grace will permit, the man is ungodly no matter how many respond to his preaching. (I heard of an evangelist who was found using cocane in the last few days of a meeting for the boost which it gave him to continue on. Then they braged on how many decisions were made for Christ.)
We hear, "By their fruits you will know them." This is right, only where are we looking for fruit? The Lord looks at the heart and the personal life. All we can see is the personal life. Therefore, if it is corrupt, the rest is corrupt. Evangelism is a gift given to the church, but the problem is that it is very hard to check on the man's personal life. And even though some may know the truth in the matter, they also believe that because of the good response he gets when he preaches, he is a godly man. Therefore, the recommendation which they give can be 'shaded.')
1 Tim. 6:3, not teaching the doctrine of Godliness according
to the law of God, 1 John 3:4. Rather they turn the grace of God
into lasciviousness, permitting the following of the desires of
the flesh, 2 Tim. 3:6-13; Jud 4.
2 Tim 2:14 the warning is to the preacher. Paul instructs him to remind the people to avoid words of no profit, which subvert the gospel of Christ Jesus and the kingdom of God.
Titus 1:14 warns us to flee Jewish fables, therefore the teachers of them. What were and are these Jewish fables? (Hastings [Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, 1903, pg. 935], identifies the idea of the kingdom of God as a political and national one, headed up by the Messiah, as one of the predominate fables. In his Dictionary of Religion [1924, pg. 517], Hastings says this: "the prevalent expectation of the Messiah at the time of Jesus was born. There was no exact uniformity of belief or of expectation. Some enthusiasts looked for a war-like chieftain, gifted with an ability of leadership, to cast off the Roman yoke and restore the kingdom of Israel to some such splendour as it had in the days of Solomon." There were other thoughts, "but the more popular one was that of a temporal prince." Therefore, the predominate Jewish fable of the day was of a temporal prince who would cast of the yoke of oppression and restore national Israel to its former glory.)
1 Pet. 2:10; Jud 8, despise governments and speak evil of dignities.
2 Pet. 2:1, the denial of the Lordship of Christ (especially over Church?), resulting in swift destruction upon themselves and upon their followers.
2 Pet. 3:16, teaches which are unstable, who wrest scriptures from their context. They especially do this with passages which they find hard to understand.
1 John 2:18-26, teachers who misinterpret the antichrist, seducing others to follow them.
2 John 1:7-10; Gal. 1:6-8 false teaching about the doctrine of Salvation (Substitutionary death of Christ and faith in that payment.)
A conclusion here is that the individual and society is destroyed because they have turned from the law of God, the gospel of the kingdom of God and the message of salvation through the finished work of Christ. The pastors have led in this as they have turned away from emphasizing God's law-word and placing the emphasis in on any of the many other pressing areas of society. They have led in this as they have substituted many other things for the message of trusting in the finished work of Christ, Galatians 1.
Therefore, the call for the modern day teacher of God's word is to study and develop the law-word of God, ferret out and develop where the false teachers under the name of Christ have departed from sound doctrine (removed scripture from its context), and reveal where the false teachers have turned away the people of God from the law of God. Then he is to call the people beck to the law and develop the law so they can turn back.
There will be as much resistance to this as there was when Christ stood against the tradition of the elders. As my preacher friend told me, "I have been taught this way, I have taught this way and I am not going to change!"
The man of God is to emphasize where God's people have turned away from God's law. Overwhelmingly, the call of the pastor is to protect his people from false teachers and false teaching of the day, not from oppressive civil government. When people return to God, then GOD WILL heal their land. Man, even regenerate man, cannot heal his own land.
Back to 1 Cor 4:12, being reviled, we bless..
This would be quite the opposite of what these people at Corinth were experiencing. They were not being reviled, rather world was holding them in high regard. When we think of the next chapter where Paul deals with this group of people accepting the immorality among them, we could reach the conclusion that the reason the world was so ready to accept them was because these Christians had close to the same standards as the world, and were not standing against the worldly practices.
This is obvious today. The pastors and churches who stand against public policy (which accepts perversions of all kinds) will be reviled and persecuted. The ones who adopt public policy or at least do not stand against it, will not suffer the persecution and reviling of the world and may even be accepted, maybe highly regarded, by the world. They may be exalted by the ones in the public eye, or at least not stood against.
V. 12, being persecuted, we suffer (0430) it..
persecuted..(1377) Thayer; "in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute:
Mat. 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness'
sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when
men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner
of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding
glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they
the prophets which were before you. 44 But I say unto you, Love
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute
Mat. 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. (V. 24, The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.)
Luk 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
Jn. v.16,And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Acts 7:52, Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 9:4, 5 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 22:4, 25 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Rom. 12:14, Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
1 Cor. 4:12.. ; 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
2 Co. 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Gal. 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
2 Tim. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
It would appear that this includs the word above, buffeted,
physically abused, only this goes farther. Not only physical abuse,
but all forms of abuse.
suffer.. (0430) Thayer: "without a cause, 1 Cor. iv. 12 (we endure)."
This appears pretty straightforward. Enduring suffering to the death for the sake of Christ. This sure raises far more questions than it answers. We should notice that Paul did take advantage of his Roman citizenship, even as a Christian, when the Jews sought to do away with him. The OT law permits self-defense and the defense of our families. So where does persecution stop and self-defense start?
I am inclined to think the dividing line is persecution for the sake of Christ, which has no self-defense. But attempts against us by the wicked just to because they are wicked and want what we have, requires self-defense. The context of Mat. 5:38, is persecution for righteousness sake, for the sake of Christ, for which there is no self-defense.
Many questions and few answers. Things like this must by placed on the 'back burner' and as I study I will come accost the answers.
(spell to here. One misused word where I hit wrong letter in speller, abt pg 28-32 or so.)
V. 13 being defamed... (0987 to speak reproachfully, rail
at, revile, calumniate, (Vulg. blasphemno)... to be evil spoken
of, reviled, railed at:
Rom 3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
14:16 (1 Cor. 10:30) Let not then your good be evil spoken of: (v.17, For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.)
[Paul here is instructing the Romans to be careful about using their Christian liberty in such a manner that it will lead others astray. Then he mentions that the Kingdom of God is not based in the liberty we have in Christ, but in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.]
Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
2 Pet 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
Rom 2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
1 Tim 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
There are several more meanings under this word given by Thayer, but obviously it speaks primarily about speaking bad about someone, including speaking lies.
Paul's answer for being defamed? We intreat... (3870 II. to address, speak to, (call to, call on), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.; hence result a variety of senses.. 2. to beg, entreat, beseech... to strive to appease by entreaty: )
Luk 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. Acts 16:39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
Continuing on with v. 13, we are made as the filth of the world..
filth - 4027. This is a strange word. This is the only place it is used in the NT, although it is used once in Proverbs.
Because of its usage here, let me give the complete definition as given by Thayer.
to cleanse on all sides, off-scouring, refuse:.., Metaph. the most abject and despicable men, 1 Co. iv. 13. (Sept. once for.., the price of expiation or redemption, Prov. xxi. 18 [21:18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.], because the Greeks used to apply the term to victims sacrificed to make expiation for the people, and even to criminals who were maintained at the public expense, that on the outbreak of a pestilence or other calamity they might be offered as sacrifices to make expiation for the state.)
Before we look at the implications, we need to consider the next word, offscouring. (4067 - This is another word which is only used once.)
prop. what is wiped off; dirt rubbed off; offscouring, scrapings:
1 Co. 4:13, used in the same sense [synonymous with filth, Meyer's]..
Suidas and other Greek lexicographers s.v. relate that the Athenians,
in order to avert public calamities, yearly threw a criminal into
the sea as an offering to Poseidon... let it become an expiatory
offering, a ransom, for our child, i.e. in comparison with the
saving of our son's life let it be to us a despicable and worthless
thing. It is used of a man who in behalf of religion undergoes
dire trials for the salvation of others..
As I read these passages, I am reminded of Nero's charge against the Christians when he saw his head at stake over the burning of Rome. He falsely accused them that he might be spared. This started the terrible slaughter under his reign.
Paul is countering the thought of the people here at Corinth. They were being taught the gospel of self-esteem and prosperity. Paul points out that he and the apostles in general, were not experiencing what these people were being taught to expect from Christianity. 2 Tim. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
It would appear that Paul is promoting compromise in order to get along with the authorities, but this cannot be. As we follow Paul's life, we see that his stand for the kingdom of God cost him his head. And tradition holds that all the other apostles except John, met the same fate.
Meyer's sums it up the best. "[W]e do not in any wise defend ourselves or seek vengeance against them (as men do who have honour to vindicate and maintain); but, on the contrary, wish good to our revilers, remain quiet and patient towards our persecutors, and give beseeching words to our slanderers."
They stood firm on the word of God and the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ over all things. They did not back down at the cost of their lives.
Typical of Paul, he now stands back from rebuking these people for following these false teachers of prosperity. He gives the reason for the 'harsh' instruction which he has just given.
First, what is he not doing! not to shame you...
In what little I have worked with people, I have found that it is every easy to shame folks. Something may be so obvious to me from the Scriptures that I treat them as though they should know that. Yet they don't.
As we mentioned above, they are sheep, not the shepherd. Therefore they must be treated and led gently, with love and kindness.
As the average Christian to whom this letter was addressed read it, it could be very shameful for them to think that they were such easy prey to the smooth talk of the false teachers who came their way. Or maybe to think that they abandon the doctrine which was taught to them by their beloved Paul so quickly. I am reminded of Paul's letter to the Galatians, where he said, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel...
People need to be warned of the error into which they are falling, but the man of God will do it without shaming them. And this is hard to do.
USE OF SHAME TO MOTIVATE
Another thing. He tells them that his purpose is not to shame them, but this does not mean that he didn't. They were caught by him in an evident departure from what he had taught when he had been with them, so, even though he did not mean to shame them, he probably did. I know that this kind of rebuke would have shamed me. "How could I have been so easily and so soon swayed?"
A common means of motivation is shame. We try to shame people into doing something. This is a common practice of parents with their children. "You should do better. Look at how much better your sister (or brother) does. Why can't you?" But this isn't restricted to the home. It goes into every area of society.
The church is guilty of using two motives, shame and pride. The two go hand in hand. We are tempted to exalt someone who did a great work in the name of the Lord. This plays on these two emotions, pride and shame. The one because they know they will be exalted to a higher seat if they will work harder. The watcher is shamed into doing something. But, are they? I think not. Usually they are only depressed more.
Now, there is certainly a place for paying honest compliments when deserves, but this is different than using pride to motivate.
Proper? Tell the truth in love. This allows the Spirit to bring shame if needed, conviction of sin. Tell the truth in love. This allows the Spirit to lift up when needed.
How many messages are motivated by a desire to shame the people into doing something for the Lord? Certainly, this is a very easy trap to fall into. I know of no Scripture illistration where shame is used to correct a situation. Every one that I can think of uses the truth in love. This brought on shame when shame was needed, but this was not the motive behind the words. Christ's words shamed many, but He also overlooked Jerusalem and wept. His love was evident in all He said and did.
Second, what he is doing! I warn you..
As we saw above, the primary responsibility of the teacher of God's word is to warn, 2 Timothy 3:16. The instruction was a warning about the danger of what they were being taught by these Prosperity teachers.
I think it is worth observing that in this passage, Paul warns. He does not make the decission for them, but warns with the truth about what they are being taught.
Third, why is he doing this.
beloved sons.. or children in the Lord. He is doing this because,
1.> They are his children in the Lord.
2.> He loves them.
This presents us with this point. The teacher could be tempted to try to 'streighten out' the people because their easy influence by false teachers is a threat to his 'ego,' or to his abilities as a teacher.
as beloved sons.. is typical of this great man's writings. He says it like this eslewhere: Gal 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Then in Eph. 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Noitce that in all three of these passages (1 Cor, Gal and Eph), he is warning concering false teachers and their teachings. As he sharply rebuks them for permiting the false teachers, he tells them he is doing it because he loves them. This is evident in all of his writings.
I have found this to be true almost without exception. About anything can be said, including 'hard rebuke,' if the spirit behind it is obviously love for the one or ones being rebuked.
In Paul's instruction to preachers in 2 Timothy 2, he makes
1. Able to teach.
2. Endure hardness.
3. Seperation from the affairs of this life.
4. Warfare against evil according to the law of God.
5. Permition to be first partaker of the fruit.
6. Faithfulness to the gospel and endurence of great hardships so the gospel of the kingdom of God can be proclaimed.
7. Warning his hears of words of no value.
8. Study of the word of God.
9. Remaining true to the Word of God.
10. Purge ones self of all impurities and lusts.
11. Then, vs. 24-26, gives the spirit that must be behind the instruction that is given to the people.
Paul's letters overflow with this spirit of gentleness, patients, meekness and love. This is why he can speak with such 'harshness,' for lack of a better word. It is not really harshness, but strong speaking when needed to extract the hearer from the prevelant false teaching of the day.
1 Cor 4:2, required in stewards, that a man be found faithful, involves far more than actions alone. Paul lists the necessary ingredients in 2 Timothy 3:10, 11.
There is a very telling statement in 2 Timothy 4:5. And that is make full proof of thy ministry. Full.. This is pretty straight-forward and leaves nothing open for discussion or review, because Paul has already covered everything. This includes attitudes as well as works. See forme file.
This is why Paul could do, write and say the things that he did. His life, actions and attitudes made full proof of his love for these people. It was obvious and they could not deny it. Thus, they had no choice but to listen to him. This is why the Spirit of God was able to use him so mightly. I might mention Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord... In other words, Paul's nature was evidently hard and harsh. His new-found love and tenderness toward the people and even toward those outside of the faith, was a result of a work of the grace of God. It was a work of the Spirit of God upon his hard heart.
He loves these people, and they know it. He wrote these hard things to them out of this love; 1. They accepted what he told them. 2. The Spirit used what he says to draw men to repentance.
His obvious love enabled them to accept the fact that he did not say these things to shame them, rather for their benifit. I'm afraid that without this obvious love, the hearer will get the idea that we are trying to same them.
I would imagine that this is where the spirit of meekness comes in. I would say that it is impossible to separate the two, meekness and love.
Might God see fit to work in us this important proof of the ministry which He has given to us so that people can see it, and know that we are concerned about their welfare.
I think this apostle shows us that as teachers, the 'harsher' we are, the more love must be shown to the people. It must be obvious to them that we are doing and saying out of love. I am reminded of the research I did in Rom. 13 (see the file). Josephus records a very harsh (and true) speach by Herod to the Jews. But he and his wife both wept after the speech. Josephus said that this is the only thing that prevented the Jews from rioting over the speech. Read the speech.
And this is not only true for the preacher, but this is a true principle for every Christian. Only those who can exhibit a genuine love for others, are permitted to rebuke them, Gal. 6:1. V. 3 indicates that if one feels he can rebuke or correct apart from this love, he has deceived himself.
Paul's rebuke and warnings was done with tears, Acts 20:31; 2 Cor. 2:4. 2 Tim. 1:4 indicates that Timothy had this kind of attitude also. No wonder Paul sent Timothy to these worldly people at Corinth.
If we cannot show this kind of love, then the message must be kind and gentle.
As my beloved sons... and this was not just words, but his tears and actions proved it.
Only the Spirit of God can perform this work in us.
He now explains to them why they should follow his instructions. He may or may not be referring to the many instructors which are among them. The point is that he is reminding them of his relationship to them. He won them to the Lord through his preaching of the gospel, making him their spiritual father. He reminds them of his right to instruct them because of this relationship.
Now, of course, Paul is inspired in his instruction to these people. This would be quite different than our instruction to those who have been saved under our ministry. But I do think the principle here is that the 'learner's' first responsibility is to their spiritual parent. But that responsibility must be primarily to the word of God.
I know even pastors who will not leave the instruction of their spiritual parent, even though the word of God goes contrary to that instruction. This means that the person has set that first instructor up as their god, if they feel that their first responsibility is to that person. Our first responsibility must be to the word of God. When our instructors depart from that word, we must depart from them.
To use this verse, v. 15, to condone following someone because they are our spiritual father, is to miss the context and exalt ourselves to the level of Paul, as he speaks to this situation under the inspiration of the Spirit.
I know people who compar. all they hear to what they have been taught in the past by their spiritual father, or by those who they respect highly. This is sin. Everything must be compared to the word of God. Paul here is presenting the word of God to these people.
V. 16 beceech... Same basic word as entreat, but this is under 1. to admonish, exhort..
1 Thes. 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. Heb 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. 1 Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
Thus we see that this word is used to encourage or even plead with others to do right, showing us once again that Paul's motive was not to shame these people, but to encourage them to follow Christ.
Again, it would be unwise to use this passage as I have used it many times. We must remember that Paul is speaking under inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. This kind of speaking stopped within the first century, so no one can say this anymore. Notice that even Paul qualified his exhortation, 11: 1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Notice his next verse, 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. This is an example of a proper compliment. But keep in mind that Paul moves from one extreme to another. Praise and rebuke. We seem to get carried away with one or the other.)
Paul is warning of false doctrine, but his warning is inspired. Therefore, he can say that these people are in sin if they do not heed his warning and follow his advice. There is no way we can say this on every issue. Now, there are some obvious points where we can say this, but the further we get away from these points, the darker it becomes, 2 Pet. 15, 16. Those points are the basic tenets of our faith.
He was not leaving anything to chance. He was going to do all he could to prevent this church from being swept along with the false doctrines. So he sent his faithful son in the ministry, Timothy, to them.
We can about Timothy in the books named after him. There we have this great apostles instruction to Timothy as a pastor. We can assume that Timothy was faithfully following those instructions or Paul would not have sent him to these people in his place. Timothy was dependable and could be counted on to represent Paul in every thing.
Evidently Timothy had been with Paul for some time, because notice what Paul says. For this cause... What cause? False teachers were swaying these people away from what Paul had taught them, and dividing up into groups. Paul loved them and is warning them of their departure from the truth. He wishes he could come to them and instruct them fact to face, but he is unable to at this time. Therefore, he sends Timothy.
What Paul had taught them while he had been present with them was what he taught everywhere he went. Timothy was familiar with Paul's doctrine, and could be counted on to faithfully deliver it again.
There are some points here that stand out, and which are overlooked many times.
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
1. Timothy was faithful, faithful to Paul, faithful to the message Paul delivered. This faithfulness had been proved over a period of time. Timothy could be trusted to represent Paul in public and in private.
This refers back to 4:2. Timothy was now exalted to a place where any man of God would 'covet.' To represent the apostle Paul in Paul's absence. Just think, have Paul's authority in the Church. But the reason he had Paul's authority is because he faithfully had Paul's doctrine, heart (tears, 2 Timothy 1:4), goal and message. Timothy lost his identity in Paul.
I might mention, this is what makes a good associate pastor. He loses his identity in the pastor he is working under.
For me: This is what I tried to do under Bro. Burrows (and Bro. Berry). Everything I did was in his name, for lack of a better term, as long as I was under him. I did that because it was right to do, and I did it by faith that I might be in such a place some day (which I am now). I lived under him as I would expect some one to live under me. I pray that now, the Lord in His mercy, will allow me to reap what I sowed in the situations which I found myself in, both in LA and in MD.
Prayer.. I think that I can ask the Lord to return to me now what I have sown every since I have been old enough to recognize authority.
Another point about Timothy. Evidently his father was an unbelieving gentile. God puts His hand upon him, calling him into the ministry. This would have been a terrible blow to the committed Jews of these first churches. Maybe they could except Paul, who was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, but Timothy! This shows that God is now cutting off the old nation of Israel which gave birth to the new nation of Israel. All the old is now being replaced by the new, the old wine-skins are being replaced, but nothing is being done in violation to the law which had been given to the old. Many times the pagan gentile idol worshipers were brought into the faith without coming into the nation itself. Ninivah is a example.
2. my ways... He came to remind them of Paul's ways, not necessarily of his doctrine. They had this letter to remind them of his doctrine and message. Timothy went to live faithfulness before them. Remember, Paul is rebuking them for entertaining and following the gospel of Christian humanism, worldliness and worldly prosperity. Paul reminded them of the persecution he had and was suffering for Christ. He told them that if acceptance by the world and worldly prosperity was a mark of a good Christian, then he and the rest of the apostles were failures.
Timothy had shown himself immune to these things false doctrines, so now Paul sends them as a reminder to them of the truth of the matter, no doubt, with his life.
This is not to say that he was not the preacher when he went to them. I am confident that he was, but his purpose in coming was to remind them of Paul's ways. They had Paul's words in their hand and mind, but were being swayed from his ways.
3. They were the ways in Christ. Paul was a sinner, because he was a man. It is difficult in our emotions to say this about him because of our restricted knowledge of him.
Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said,
Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God
until this day.
Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.
I think that we can assume that he was a sinner, but he strived to make sin right with man and God. He had the same problems we do, he had the same Advocate with the Father we do and he had to deal with sin just as we do, 1 Jn 1:8-10.
Therefore, Timothy went to remind these people of the ways of Paul, the ways that were in Christ.
4. I teach every where... What he had presented to them in word and deed, was consistent every where. Again, it was his ways which are emphized here, which these people had forgotten.
Notice Romans 1:1-5, Paul says that he was called by God for this purpose: V. 5, for obedience to the faith among all nations. In other words, the calling by the Spirit of the believer is for the believer to be faithful to what he professes, no matter where he finds himself.
But the marginal reading probably fits the context better. to the obedience of the faith. Paul's calling by by the grace of God as an apostle and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ was to call all nations to obedience to the faith.
(As a side light, note v. 2. This gospel of grace which Paul
presented was not new, but had been promised afore by his prophets
in the holy scriptures. This is also said in Titus 1:2. Passages
such as Acts 3:18-26, show us that all of the first preachers
[the Apostles] knew and understood this. And as they tried to
reach the old nation of Israel, they emphasised this fact. Of
course, we do not need this emphasis today, because the gentiles
were not caught in the Jewish trap. [Although Darby and Schofield
laid the snare and the vast majority today are caught in this
old Jewish trap].
Clearly, Paul is pointing out to these people that his doctrine, though strange to them, is not new. This is reiterated over and over in the NT, and must be willfully ignored in order to miss it.
Remember that the NT was primarily written to Jews and Jewish churches. The Judizers pressured Paul at all times to undermine his message. They added the works of the law and tradition to his message of salvation by the free grace of God, influencing his converts to depart from total trust in the finished work of Christ. Legalism is this addition of the works of the law for salvation.
Therefore, Paul, in writing to these groups, clearly tells them that his message of the free grace of God is not new. Christ did the same thing after His resurrection, Lk. 24:44-48. The nation of Israel had to be blinded to this fact, or they would not have killed Christ. See my notes back in 2:8.)
Paul was consistent in words and deeds where ever in the world
he went. How many of us are consistent like this every where?
Could we go into a place and represent Paul's life and doctrine
(which was consistent with the OT law and prophets)? Timothy could.
FALSE PROPHETS FOR A PROFIT
1 Cor. 4:18
Now he mentions their pride. This could to refer back to the Party-making, which we have already covered. The context though would indicate that he is referring to the false teachers of prosperity and Christian humanism, and who were using all the means at their disposal to undermine Paul's authority. They were speaking great swelling words, even words against him.
This sure sounds like two other warnings. First, Jude's, 16-19, These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Then Peter also presented this warning. All of 2 Peter chapter 2 covers this, with v. 18 using about the same words.
It is obvious from Paul's statements, along with Peter and Jude, that false teachers abounded, even in this first church. In 1 Corinthians 4, they had split this church into four divisions. Each leader used the word of God to strengthen his hold, resulting in the sure confidence that their influence was strong enough to prevent Paul from coming back to this church.
It appears that as soon as Christ ascended, these false teachers descended on the church like a pack of vultures. We will find that throughout the NT the warning is against false teachers in the church who would seek to misuse the word of God for their own benefit. There is very little, if any, warning against corrupt civil government. Many times it seems to be reversed today. Could this be a reason the church is so powerless to influence society today?
They were presenting Christian humanism. They were teaching the word of God in such a manner as to mold the people into the image that the teacher wanted them to be (or what the people wanted to be), rather than into the image of Christ, the total Word of God. These were teachers who were followers of the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, 2 Peter 2:15. The purpose of Balaam's teaching was for his personal advantage.
Peter warns us about the proliferation in these last days, of teachers who will appeal to the lust of the flesh, either the teacher's own lust, or the lust of others. They will give the people only what they want them to hear or what the people want to hear, vs. 18, 19. The reason for their doing this is for their own advantage. They love the wages of unrighteousness. They use proud and flattering words to sway others to follow in their way. This is contrasted by Jude with Christian humility and submission before God
The dumb ass, speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet, so Balaam could not say what he wanted to say in order to gain the reward. But, as we know, he found a way around the warning of the Lord through the ass, because there was too much of a reward involved. He obeyed the letter of the law and spoke only blessing upon Israel, but he secretly violated its spirit. He could not openly curse the children of Israel, but taught Balac how to use the law to bring God's wrath down upon God's own people, Revelation 2:14.
What do we mean? Peter tells us that these teachers were willing to use the word of God however it was needed, for the advantage that was in it for them.
Advantage.. wages of unrighteousness.. These false teachers do not necessarily present a false doctrine as we would think of a false doctrine of maybe denying the virgin birth, the blood atonement, or other obvious principles of God's word. In fact, they might even teach very dogmatically the principles of God's word, including a willingness to go to jail over said principles.
Balaam instructed Balac in the truth. "If you can get Israel to commit sin by eating things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication, then you will have God on your side. God will curse them for you. You can use the principles of God's word to accomplish what you desire." Now, Balaam did not take into consideration the grace and mercy of God, and finally, God's wrath against him. The point is that Balaam taught Balac how to use God for his personal advantage, to gain what he wanted. We all know the results.
We are told many times over that one of the major marks of false teachers in the last days in which we live, is their message which is designed to accomplish their own desires, to promote their own thing. To these teachers, holiness and godliness is a mockery, because this is not their goal, 2 Peter 3:3. Their goal is to sway their hearer to their own way of thinking.
Giving us two marks of a false teacher here.
1. Gives the people only what he wants them to hear.
2. Gives the people only what they want to hear.
In both situations, the teacher avoids giving the people the whole counsel of God, because of the advantage that is in it for him.
Advantage.. wages of unrighteousness.. We must not fall into the trap of restricting our definition of these words to the world's definition of material prosperity, such as an increase in material goods. Such an increase would certainly be included, but this would only be one aspect. This would include increase: in the number of followers, esteem in the eyes of others, power or influence. A more general definition of false teachers would be any message or action that is not motivated for the glory of God, the increase of His kingdom, and the formation of Christ in the hearer.
There are certainly advantages and wages to be gained by the false teachers appealing to the lust of the flesh. These wages can easily be mistaken for the wages of righteousness, because on the surface they may appear the same; increase and gain.
Christianity is controlled by this spirit of Balaam today! The most dangerous false teachers do not depart from the basic principles of the word of God, but they preach it in such a way as to gain whatever advantage that they desire.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 4, Paul deals with the man-centered (humanistic) gospel of prosperity and self-esteem. And by prosperity we must include using the word of God to accomplish personal goals. By self-esteem, we must include puffing (pumping) up the hearer to influence them to 'religious' activity. This is contrary to teaching them to live by faith.
Now, obviously, every teacher is open to this temptation and is capable of being taken captive by it to some extent as the word of God is presented. This is why it is extremely important for us to follow Paul's instruction to Timothy and Titus. The basis for study and instruction must be the entire word of God, and the complete holiness of God's people according to the total of God's law. Paul warns Timothy of this very problem of teachers who have a form of godliness, but their motive behind their teaching is to satisfy lust, 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
How many sermons are preached, how many books are written, how much 'spiritual activity' is preformed with the motive of gain in some way or another.
Sometimes the ungodly motives are noticeable, but most of the time, only the teacher knows if he is using a lust of his or of his hearer, to accomplish his goal. And maybe even he might not know. Regardless, the problem is identified by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:5.
It is an extremely difficult task to look past the speech of individuals to the power of God. The emotions of the hearer may be swayed as the waves of the sea, but is it the power of God doing the swaying? A good speaker soon learn how to 'work the crowd' that they might get from them what they want.
We are to try the spirit, 1 John 4:1. Nothing is to be taken for granted because the spirit of antichrist is gone out. This is why it is so important for Philippians 3:15 to become a part of every teacher's (and hearer's) heart. "Lord, if in anything I am contrary to Your will and word, I am willing to see it. I am willing to have my desires and motives changed. I am willing, by Your grace, to deal with whatever it might be."
If the spirit of the teacher is contrary to the doctrine of Christ, they must be considered antichristian.
Back to 1 Cor. 4:18 as though I would not come to you.
The party-making had gained quite a bit of strength, and the leaders were confident that they had enough influence to prevent Paul from returning.
Many Christians act like this toward the Lord Jesus. They act and live like they will never have to meet the Lord and answer for every deed done in the flesh.
This verse sounds to me like a play on words. Paul has here a sence of humor even in this sad situation of the false teachers. He says that, if the Lord wills, he will come to them. Then will be known what these teachers are. Are they puffed up bags of hot air, or are they the power of God? Is it the Spirit of God moving as they use their words of wisdom, or is it the emotions of the hearers which are being moved? His presence will prove the facts, 1 Corinthians 2:4.
As we mentioned above, it is an extremely difficult task to
look past the speech of individuals to the power of God. The emotions
of the hearer may be swayed as the waves of the sea, but is it
the power of God doing the swaying? Speakers soon learn how to
'work the crowd' that they might get from them what they want.
We are to try the spirit, 1 John 4:1. Nothing is to be taken for granted because many spirits of antichrist are abroad. This would be done through prayer (if it is not after the mind of Christ, even this will be revealed, Ph. 3:15) and through His revealed word. See above for the Scriptural marks of a false teacher.
One should praise the Lord that he does not have this ability to sway the crowds with his speaking. We should teach the word and depend upon the Spirit to move. I hear quite often that people who leave us, 1991, say that I am a good teacher, but not a good preacher. In other words, my preaching does not sway the emotions, and this is what is expected from preaching. It is sad that preaching has degenerated to such a point.
Paul has already told them that he has this ability, but, by the grace of God, he has laid it aside for total dependance upon the Spirit. Now, if he gets to come to these people, he will place his speaking without this natural ability, up against the this ability in the false teachers. They it will be evident which is the power of the flesh and which is the power of God.
This is obviously a reference back to chapter 2:4. There Paul was dealing with the use of enticing words and worldly wisdom, to sway the hearer in the direction the speaker wanted them to go. Paul pointed out that he used not enticing words and worldly wisdom, but plain simple words to present the message of the kingdom of God. The result was that the Spirit moved in the hearts of the hearer.
Now, these same people have allowed soothing and swaying words to creep in and draw them away from what they had been taught from the word of God.
These two verses, 19 & 20, would appear that Paul is challenging these false teachers to a preaching contest, although I do not think he would do this. But, the indication is that he is saying, "When I get there and preach the word of God, it will be known that I am preaching with the power of the Holy Spirit. It will be equally known that these other teachers have not the power of the Spirit."
This verse presents an interesting doctrine. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. The context requires this power to be a reference to the power of the Holy Spirit moving in response to the preaching of the word of God.
This statement is as firm and definite as any can be. Paul clearly states that the kingdom of God has only one means of being established, and that is by the moving of the Holy Spirit in the heart as the word of God is preached. Thus, the kingdom of God is the change in the heart, brought about by a work of the Spirit of God, and this change exhibited in the life of the individual. This is exactly what the Apostle says to the Romans, 14:17.
Strangely enough, this letter ends with chapter 15:24-28, where Paul describes the end of all things. I would think that this passage would be more suited in another book, such as Thessalonians, but it is here.
This would indicate to me that one of the false teachings prevalent in this church was the Jewish fable of the Messiah coming in a literal way, with a sword, to reestablish the kingdom as it had been under David and Solomon. The context of 4:20 here, would tell me that this fable was being used to enlarge the church. The Jewish population would have loved this kind of message, therefore, this message could have been mixed with the gospel, and people were convinced to come into the church.
Paul here 1 Cor. 4:20, could not say any clearer that the kingdom of God is entered into by the power of the Spirit working in the heart, not through persuasive words as it was being used among them.
A extremely well known pastor told me a couple of years ago that he was saved at the age of 9. The reason he went forward was because the preacher was preaching on the rapture and the tribulation (typical Scofieldism), and he was very fearful of the future as it was presented. He made it clear, although he did not hear himself say it, that, as a 9 year old, he went forward because of fear of what he heard. (See a past mo, Spirit of Fear.)
This is exactly what Paul is condemning here, the use of Jewish fables and wisdom of words to enlarge the kingdom of God. He clearly tells us that such activity is wrong.
This verse clearly shows that Paul was confident in his calling as an apostle. He did not think more highly of himself than he should, he was not puffed up. Nor did he think more lowly of himself than he should. He knew exactly what the Lord had called him to do, the gifts he had been given and he has total confidence in his calling.
This verse would appeal back to his claim as an apostle and as their spiritual father. As with any father, when he gets home, he will either come with love and meekness (a gentle spirit), or with a rod of reproof.
I can sure remember when I was young. Every since I can remember, with only one exception, my dad worked several hours away. Sometimes he would only come home once or twice a week, even though he was pastoring. He was a contractor. If we got crossways with mom, then when he got home, there was trouble. And he did not hesitate to use the rod.
The call here is for them to repent and return to the truth that they had been taught by Paul. If they do this before he returns, he will come in a gentle loving spirit. If they do not, he will return with strong words of reproof.
Notice the word rod. This would not be a physican rod or even a sword. If this is so, then why must we say the rod which the Lord Jesus Christ holds and rules by, must be a sword?
This rod is equated with the power of the Spirit, v. 20. Thus, the rod is the spoken word of God which will reprove and rebuke. Or if the sin is already dealt with, it would be words of kindness and love.
A powerful and practical chapter indeed. How will the Lord come back to us, in love or with a rod?