Sunday, December 28, 2014

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 7 – Humility

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 7 – Humility
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We began this journey in October, 2011, first looking at the entirety of the Book of Acts.

We finished Acts in June 2013. It took us nearly two years to examine the text of Acts.

From there, we examined the Seven letters to the Seven churches from the Book of Revelation.

Taking those seven letters, we looked at ourselves as individuals, as well as a church body, and examined if we were in good standing with the Lord.

In January of 2014, we began looking at Paul's letters, or epistles, to the churches, to see where we could improve, and where we were doing well.

We are looking at Paul's letters in order, first looking at Romans, and now I Corinthians.

In Paul's letter to the church congregation in Corinth, he has first addressed their issues over whom to follow, or who is the head of the church. Paul makes it completely clear; it is Christ Jesus, and no one else.

He explains that the teaching and wisdom of God comes from the Holy Spirit, and teachers and preachers are "laborers", whom build on the only true foundation, which is that of Jesus Christ crucified.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 4:6-13
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

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

                   I.            CHURCH OF CORINTH'S PRIDE
a.      Paul used himself and Apollos as examples to the people
                                                                         i.      Paul states he applies this standard of not judging a person's motivations towards himself and Apollos as examples to the Church in Corinth.

                                                                      ii.      Paul makes it clear, the only judging we are to do as Christians, is "correction" of a believer's understanding of the word.
1.      And we are not only told to do so by Jesus, but told "how" to do it by Him as well.

                                                                   iii.      Paul states in verse 6 "Do not go beyond what is written."

I had a member of the congregation come to me a few years ago; they no longer attend here, so I will share the story. They brought two books to my attention that they insisted I needed to read, to get a better understanding of Jesus, and demons.

The first book told the story of Jesus growing up as a child, and the second was a deep analysis of the types of demons and their powers, or in other words a book on what is called demonology.

Praise God I read my Bible.  And I remember Paul's words and warning about going beyond what is written. The Word of God is all we need.

Both the stories of Jesus' childhood, and the information about demons is all fiction.

Stories and allegories created in some human's imagination to entice, and ultimately confound the readers.

 These books pose themselves as "study guides" to better your understanding about the Word of God, when in reality; they are nothing more than myth and urban legend holding just as much spiritual growth.

These types of books feed on ones desire for gnosis, a trap, scripture warns, that leads to pride.

b.     Paul warns the church to become humble
                                                                         i.      Stop thinking you are above others.

                                                                      ii.      Stop thinking you are better than others

                                                                   iii.      Stop thinking you have a deeper understanding than others, or secret knowledge that they do not yet have.

                                                                     iv.      Side note: that person ended up struggling with pride, and on many occasions wanted to challenge me on a Theological level.
1.      I met her with scripture, against her "beliefs" and "I was always told".

2.      She did not meet to grow spiritually or in understanding, rather to argue, challenge, and force her worldly views into a scriptural church.

3.      We have had a few jezebels try to push their way into our congregation over the last 9 years, but as long as we are founded in the Word, and stick to what the Word says, as long as we do not go beyond what is written, they become frustrated and move on.

c.      Paul states we (ministers) are last
                                                                         i.      We are set last, to be made spectacles to the world, angels and men.

                                                                      ii.      We are fools for Christ's sake.
1.      I Corinthians 1:26-31 "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
                                                                   iii.      We, ministers of Christ, are fools...then Paul begins a comparison of what the Word says we are to be, and what the Church in Corinth are.

a.      We are fools / You are wise
                                                                         i.      Paul is stating that if they truly walk close to Christ, they will meet with the same contempt and hatred that man showed Christ.

                                                                      ii.      The church in Corinth claimed to be "wise" in the ways of Christ, while failing to stick to the written Word.
1.      God gave us the Word to balance the Spirit, and the Spirit to balance the Word; you cannot live by one while ignoring the other.

b.     We are weak / You are strong
                                                                         i.      All believers are weak, as far as the flesh is concerned.

                                                                      ii.      However, the church in Corinth was busy telling everyone just how strong they were in the Lord.

                                                                   iii.      Pride speaks the loudest words.

                                                                     iv.      There is a fine line in boasting of the Lord and His strength, and boasting about how strong "you are" because of the Lord.

c.      You are honorable / We are despised
                                                                         i.      According to scripture, the more popular a church is, the further away from God it is. True believer's are despised.

                                                                      ii.      If they are teaching the truth, wouldn't everyone flock to them?      
1.      No...2 Timothy 4:1-5 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage (no judging motivations or heaven or hell)—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

                                                                   iii.      The church in Corinth bragged of their numbers...
1.      We would be wise to understand this.

2.      It's not how much money a church makes

3.      It's not how many attend each week

4.      It's not how many stained glass windows, how many pews, how large your parking lot.

5.      How many are accepting Christ? How many are Baptized? How many lives are being transformed by the power of God?

d.     We labored, working with our own hands
                                                                         i.      Paul is speaking here in verse 12 about his tent making, which he did in order to meet his needs in places where he was attempting to plant a church.

            III.            COMPARISON CONTINUED
a.      When we are cursed / We bless
                                                                         i.      The instruction for proper behavior is explained by Paul.
1.      We must not go beyond what is written.
2.      We must not think more highly of ourselves then we ought
3.      We must be humble
4.      Everything we have and are or will become is because of God, and NOT a merit
5.      We are last not first
6.      We are fools for Christ
7.      Weak in our flesh
8.      Despised by the world

                                                                      ii.      However, when we are cursed, we bless

b.     When we are persecuted / We endure

c.      When we are slandered / We answer kindly

The pastor who wrote the scathing hate filled letter of me, filled with lies.

I responded with kindness, inviting him to sit next to me at an event I saw him at; going out of my way on more than one occasion to speak to him when I saw him in town.

d.     We are treated as scum of the earth, garbage of the world
                                                                         i.      So be it.

                                                                      ii.      Paul is stating that we do not allow the behavior of the world to dictate, or control our behavior as followers of Jesus Christ.

                                                                   iii.      I do what I do to others, not because of who they are, but because of who I am in Christ Jesus.



Paul is making the point in I Corinthians 4:6-13, that in all things, we must stick to the word, watch the Apostles behavior for example, and above all things, remain humble.

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