Happy Thursday! Have you ever been in a situation where you tried to show love or concern for people and as soon as they got themselves together or felt secure, they acted like you never helped them, or they didn’t think you knew what you were talking about or that you no longer existed? Maybe it was a friend who betrayed you or left you for another friend. Maybe it was someone you cared for deeply, but in time they moved on looking for something better in life without regard for you or what you have done in their lives to help them to improve. This morning we will read 1 Corinthians chapter 4:8-17. In today’s verses, Paul who loved the Corinthian church and shared the gospel message with them is expressing his thoughts on the Corinthian church because the members were turning away from his teachings on the message of the Cross, and they had become complacent and secure with the theology of other leaders.
“8 You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. 9 Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike.
10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. 11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. 12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. 13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.
14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me. 17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.” – 1 Corinthians 4:8-17 NLT
In these verses, Paul’s words were filled with love and correction toward the Corinthians. He desired for them to continue in the faith and in the message of the Cross. Paul understood their desire not to live a life of a suffering Christian – one who had sickness, suffering or pain. Yet, Paul clarified that as Christians and followers of Christ there will be times when we suffer just as Christ suffered. However, Christ never gave up, He came for us. He was ridiculed, rejected and shamed. The Apostles were also ridiculed, rejected and shamed. However, the Corinthians wanted no part in humility but they embraced exaltation (joy, happiness and bliss).
Sisters and brothers, may I dare to say that we sometimes get wrapped up into our own bliss and happiness that we too forget the message of the Cross. That we forget that “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”(John 3:16 NLT) Christ gave his life for us so that we may have life and live it abundantly. Does that mean our lives will be perfect, absolutely not. Does it mean there will be no more trials or pain, absolutely not. What it does mean as believers who have accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior is that when all is said and done we will spend eternity with Him. In the meantime, the Lord will fight for us. He will be our refuge and shield. That any battle that we come up against our Father in heaven has gone before us. That he has given us the Armor of God. So, sisters and brothers, strap on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17), and walk in the way of the Lord. Don’t look back. There is so much to look forward to when you allow God to lead.
Don’t imitate this world, imitate Christ who lives inside of you. Let Him lead.
Father God, thank you for your word today. Thank you for Paul’s message to the Corinthian church. Lord, forgive us for the times we behaved like the Corinthian church. Lord, forgive us for falling short of the life you have called and designed us to live. Lord, we want to imitate Christ Jesus. We want to be a light in the world. Lord, help us when we get discouraged or distracted by temporal things. Lord, heal us from the times when we have been betrayed or abandoned. Lord, when we are weak make us strong in you. Lord, help us to stay focused on your mission. Lord, equip us for the battles ahead. Suit us up in your armor today so that we may stand in faith, be in prayer and alert when the enemy attempts to attack our minds, our hearts and our faith. Lord, transform us to be more like you every day. In Jesus name, amen.
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