Sep 19 — 1 Corinthians 4-6

1 Cor 4 — The Ministry of the Apostles
1 Cor 5 — Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
1 Cor 6 — Lawsuits Against Believers, Flee Sexual Immorality

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One Reply to “Sep 19 — 1 Corinthians 4-6”

  1. Paul must have been visibly upset when writing verses 8-13. I can imagine him storming around the room while wrestling with these thoughts. His church plant in Corinth was completely misguided! They were “puffed up” (1 Corinthians 4:6) and boasting about things they knew nothing about. He smacks them with the truth of their contentious spirit by speaking with great irony, “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich!” (4:8). Paul’s reference to being on display “at the end of the procession” (4:9) refers to the Roman celebration after winning some great battle. The general and his troops would march through the city with great fanfare, a majestic parade. At the end of the procession they would humiliate prisoners captured during the battle and at the end of the parade, they would kill those captured with great pomp and ceremony. Suffice it to say, Paul is not happy. Using the imagery of apostles being lead in this procession is intended to shock them back to reality. Like the ice-bucket challenge, Paul dumps cold water on their heads to get their attention.

    Here’s where the beauty of God’s word truly amazes me: though written centuries ago, the words are completely relevant. “Some of you have become arrogant…but the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (4:18,20). Lord may we, your humble servants in this modern world, recognize your power and realize the trust you have placed in our hands. Help us, Lord, to carry the Gospel to this puffed up, self-absorbed world and keep us from being haughty in the process (Psalm 131). Paul does not speak in a condescending manner. He makes it clear by beginning this discussion: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent” (4:4). He doesn’t consider himself superior, yet he is more mature in Christ. He is a capable leader, worthy of the title apostle, and in a proper position to lead and teach us.

    In Chapters 5 and 6, Paul addresses some specific cases brought to his attention. Though there were probably lots of problems, I think Paul picked those which were most significant to write about…just my opinion, but based on the depravity of Corinth, this seems reasonable.

    First, the case of incest in Chapter 5 is summed up in this statement, “even pagans do not tolerate: a man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud!” (5:1-2). Crazy talk! “Your boasting is not good” (5:6). Before we become too quick to judge, it’s important to review the sexually immoral behavior supported by this society in the media, especially movies and TV shows, but also paraded in the news media. If we are not offended by the actions we see in these areas, we are slipping into the immoral behavior Paul is highlighting here. Lord help me to be sensitive to that which is offensive to you. Help me to keep a holy perspective while in this world!

    Second, the case of lawsuits among believers in Chapter 6. “I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court–and this in front of unbelievers!” (6:5-6). Authors of “Crucial Conversations,” Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler provide tools for navigating difficult conversations, ones we’d rather avoid. Great stuff for us to learn from the secular world, but shouldn’t we be masters of crucial conversation? We weren’t 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect it to happen overnight! Lord I long for the day when we would work things out together, not like some sort of commune, but like a mature body of believers.

    Sorry this post has become long…so much content to discuss. One last observation, one that really epitomizes the position we should all take: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (6:19,20). Lord, I am yours. Remind me of this daily, I was bought at a price that no one else could pay except for Jesus Christ. Help me to go forth and act like it! Amen.

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