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Living Life

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  • January 2018
2018. 1. 12 | A Necessary Confrontation (1 Corinthians 4:9~21)         Speakers Jae Ryun Chung

9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.
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. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
14 I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.
15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
17 For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?

 

 

Reflection

Honorable Disgrace (4:9–13)

Paul addresses the arrogant attitude of the Corinthian believers, which he contrasts with that of the apostles. While the Corinthians exalt themselves, the lives of the apostles are marked by humility and persecution. Ironically, the Corinthians view themselves as having wisdom, strength, and honor, forgetting that their Savior who was despised and rejected said that His followers would be subject to the same suffering. The very qualities that the Corinthian believers look down on are the hallmarks of a true disciple of Christ. The desire for respect and regard in the eyes of the world is a perpetual temptation for believers, but it is better for a follower of the crucified Savior to share in His disgrace than to seek worldly status and accolades.

 

What form of recognition is most tempting to you? How can you adjust your attitude to become a more humble disciple of Jesus?

 

A Tough and Tender Father (4:14–21)

Paul’s confrontation may seem harsh, but he is not trying to shame the Corinthians. He writes this warning very intentionally, motivated by his concern for the welfare of his spiritual children. He calls out their sinful attitudes and behavior because of his commitment to the truth of Christ and to the body of Christ. Believers sometimes err on the side of truth without love or on the side of love without truth, but Paul compromises neither in his relationship with the Corinthians. His discipline is undergirded by a tender, fatherly love. Paul exemplifies the committed concern that all believers should have for the spiritual welfare of their brothers and sisters in the Lord.

 

How do you express your commitment to the spiritual health of the believers around you? Who can you help this week to strengthen their relationship with the Lord?

 

A letter to God 

Father, may my greatest joy be found in identifying with Christ, even in His shame and suffering. Rather than pursuing worldly values, may I grow in my commitment to both truth and love for the body of Christ. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.