1 Cor. 1:18-25 π 1 Cor. 4:8-13 π 2 Cor. 3:6 π 2 Cor. 10:10 π 2 Cor. 11:4 π 1 Tim. 1:15 π Heb. 2:4
These Corinthian Charismatics wanted the riches, blessings and places of honor; to them, serving God meant mainly high praises, authority and the power of daily healings and miracles, supposedly because of their great faith. “God also being them witness both with signs and wonders and with diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” (not theirs) ( Heb. 2:4; top ) Paul’s life was an embarrassment to them. His body was weak and his speech and delivery weren’t in good taste.
Paul’s appearance, his sufferings and apparent physical weakness – and his preaching on the crucified Jesus – were repugnant to them. These Corinthians were convinced they had been delivered from such spiritual weaknesses. Paul’s lack of strength and authority to rebuke his trials or to be delivered from the perils of robbers, imprisonments, beatings and seasons without food and clothing made him contemptible in the eyes of his spiritual opponents. So the Corinthians purposely accepted the false prophets, who preached another gospel.
Paul presents numerous arguments in which he firmly proclaims that the bottom line of the gospel is the lifestyle of the crucified Savior. Also, he presents the five-fold ministry as being of the foolish, weak, base, despised and “are nots” (so that no flesh should glory in God’s presence), and not being a glamorous gospel.
Paul then shoots down his contentious brethren by accusing them of coming into the Kingdom without the other believers. Further, he defines the real dedication necessary for being a true apostle, which entails denying one’s self and being partaker of the divine nature, rather than honoring our own selfish desires. Paul then is forced to silence those that claim to be operating as he did (through the gospel of the crucified Christ) by showing that they had a passion for something else, and Satan had entered in masquerading as an angel of light.
Paul’s life was centered only on seeking Jesus, and everything else was to be set aside and abhorred because it detracted him from daily glorifying God.
Paul also called himself the “chief of sinners.” ( 1 Tim. 1:15; top ) Many contemporary Christians call themselves “the righteousness of God.” He kept his flesh under subjection and this act was instrumental in reminding himself that he was “the chief of sinners,” and kept him in a daily state of repentance and seeking of God’s grace. As a result, much grace operated through his life.
Paul’s credentials and modus operandi:
- His thorn.
- His body weakness.
- His hard work to support his own ministry.
- Five times beaten with 39 stripes.
- Stoned almost to death.
- Three times beaten with rods.
- Three times shipwrecked.
- Perils at sea.
- Perils from his own countrymen.
- Perils from the heathen.
- Perils in cities.
- Perils in the wilderness.
- Perils from false brethren.
- All night prayer.
- Often in hunger and thirsting.
- Near death often from pressures and stress in care of churches. .
( 1 Cor. 1:18-25 ; 2 Cor. 11:4 ; 2 Cor. 10:10 ; 2 Cor. 3:6 ; 1 Cor. 4:8-13; top ; 2 Cor. Chapters 10-13.)
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