I Corinthians 1-4 continued...
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed
back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every
wind of teaching [NKJV: "doctrine"] and by the cunning and
craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking
the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him
who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows
and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Vs. 17, It's not reformation, it's regeneration. In the message
or preaching of the cross Paul talks of, the word "message"
comes from the Greek word Logos which means "word."
When the carnal world hears the 'word' of the cross, it is
foolishness to them--but to us who are being saved it is the
power ("power", Greek: Dunamis, the word we get our dynamite
from) of God. Our focus is to preach the gospel, share it--not
to start a morality movement in the world. It's not the message
in itself, but it's also in the person of Jesus Christ. Verses
18-19: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to
those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it
is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the
wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I
will frustrate. [Isaiah 29:14].'
Jews seek a sign because they are waiting and looking for
the coming of the Messiah, and Greeks look for wisdom. In
the end the wisdom of the world will be destroyed. Voltaire
verses Isaac Newton: Voltaire was an atheist and Sir Isaac
was a Christian. Sir Isaac said man will have to be able to
attain the speed of 50 m.p.h. in order to go around the world
(fitting the prediction of God in Daniel 12 about modern travel).
Voltaire said 40 m.p.h. is the speed if reached that a man's
heart would stop. Voltaire's house has become a major printing
facility for Bibles. Through the wisdom of the world it is
impossible to find God. Through the wisdom of the cross--the
message of Jesus--the knowledge of the Son of God--you find
God and Salvation. It's not a matter of speculation, it's
a matter of revelation. We're not to seek after signs or to
have our ears tickled by earthly wisdom. We're to seek the
wisdom of God. God's wisdom and power are far greater. Verses
20-25: "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where
is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the
wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world
through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through
the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but
we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and
foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom
of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."
If you want and need wisdom, ask God for it and believe that
he is able to provide it, and you will receive wisdom (James
God has chosen the weak and foolish in man's wisdom and intellect
to confound the world with His wisdom. Many in Corinth were
slaves. God called many slaves in Corinth, many who were the
humble of the world. We have no ground to boast or glory.
That's what Paul is saying in these next verses. Verses 26-31:
"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not
many of you were wise by human standards; no many were influential;
not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things
of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things
of this world and the despised things--and the things that
are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may
boast before him. 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. Therefore, as it is
written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord [Jer. 9:24].'"
Christ is our all, our redemption. Knowledge puffs up, love
edifies. We can only glory in God. I Corinthians 8:1-3. "Now
about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess
knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man
who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought
to know. But the man who loves God is known by God."
Jeremiah 9:23-24. "This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the
wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his
strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him
who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows
me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and
righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares
1 Corinthians 2
Vs. 1-5, I only preach Jesus. I didn't butter it up with a
lot of fancy speech. I just came in love--with fear and trembling.
If you're fearing, so was Paul--you're in good company. Just
proclaim the Word of God. That's our attitude in this fellowship.
I Corinthians 2:1-5. "When I came to you, brothers, I did
not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed
to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing
while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive
words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so
that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's
God wants to use you, have the Spirit flowing through you--demonstrating
the power of the Spirit--the wisdom of the Spirit. Vs. 6-10.
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature,
but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age,
who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom,
a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our
glory before time began. [So God's plan of salvation for us,
along with his wisdom he offers us, was planned out before
space and time existed!] None of the rulers of this age understood
it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord
of glory. However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no
ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared
for those who love him' [Isaiah 64:4] but God has revealed
it to us by his Spirit."
Romans 8:28. "And we know that in all things God works for
the good of those who love him, who have been called according
to his purpose."
There is a spirit in man, given to man by God, which imparts
human intelligence (as opposed to mere animal brain power).
It is a fact that the brain of a dolphin or monkey is comparable
in size and quality to that of a human brain, but mysteriously,
the human brain has an output hundreds of times greater. A
brain specialist named Dr. Khuan once admitted that there
must be a non-physical component to the human brain, imparting
this vast difference in output. Paul brings out here that
the Holy Spirit of God, which is the third being that makes
up God (don't ask me to explain it, I can't and neither can
you), imparts a Godly intelligence and intellect to those
he resides in that is equal to or greater than the difference
between animal brain and human intelligence. i.e. Those that
don't have the Holy Spirit residing in them, those of this
evil world, understand about as much about the things of God
as a cow can understand Algebra, or astronomy.
Ecclesiastes 3:21. "Who knows the spirit of the sons of men,
which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes
down to the earth? [NKJV]" It is Biblical that man has a spirit
component in his brain, given by God, which goes back to God
upon the death of the person. Some Christians fellowships
teach that this spirit in man is not the person, but
a spirit component. It is not the Holy Spirit, nor is it alive.
Regardless of what the actual truth is concerning this spirit
in man, there is nothing really that would explain the
phenomenally greater intelligence humans possess compared
to animals with comparable brain size and quality. What Paul
states re-enforces and adds to what Ecclesiastes 3:21 says,
and adds some new knowledge about what the Holy Spirit does,
as Jesus did in John 14 and 16.
1 Corinthians 2:11-16. "The Spirit searches all things,
even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts
of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way
no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit
who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely
given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by
human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing
spiritual truths in spiritual words [margin: Spirit, interpreting
spiritual truths to spiritual men]. The man without the Spirit
does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God,
for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand
them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual
man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not
subject to any man's judgment: 'For who has known the mind
of the Lord that he may instruct him? [Isaiah 40:13]' But
we have the mind of Christ.
John 14:15-20,23,26. "If you love me, you will obey what I
command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another
Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The
world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows
him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in
you [i.e. after Acts 2:1-4]. I will not leave you orphans;
I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me
anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will
live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father,
and you are in me, and I am in you...If anyone loves me, he
will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will
come to him and make our home with him...But the Counselor,
the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will
teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have
said to you."
John 16:7,13."But I tell you the truth: It is for your good
that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will
not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you...But
when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into
all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only
what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
The Godly wise are those who have the wisdom of Christ. Since
the 1950's the world's fund of knowledge has doubled many
times over. We now have more physical knowledge than we safely
know what to do with. We can build things that are too dangerous
for us to be allowed to possess, just like an immature teen-ager
who has a profound knowledge of chemistry and starts building
bombs in his parent's cellar. The world's transportation systems
have enabled man to go anywhere, even into outer space, and
at great speeds. Air travel was unheard of before the late
1800's. Now anyone can take an airliner and go just about
anywhere on earth. The day of the great ocean liners has come
and gone, now too slow a mode of transportation. Bullet
trains can now go as fast as 200 m.p.h.
This day and age are truly the day and age of transportation
& knowledge. This age is now being labelled as the age
of information. This is the age Daniel describes in Daniel 12:1-4. It is the time
of the end, as verse 1 describes. Daniel describes those that
are to shine as the sun and stars as those who possess God's
wisdom. Daniel 12:1-4. "At that time Michael the great prince
who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time
of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of
nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone
whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting
contempt. Those who are wise [margin: who impart wisdom] will
shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead
many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But
you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until
the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase
knowledge." The New King James Version renders verse 4 a little
more clearly, and states "But you, Daniel, shut up the words,
and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run
to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." This is an age
where 'many are running to and fro, and knowledge has increased'
beyond our ability to handle it.
1 Corinthians 3
In verses 1-2 Paul is frustrated because the Corinthians were
forgetful hearers and not doers of the Word. Cross referencing
this to what James said in James 1:21-25, "Therefore, get
rid of the moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and
humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not
do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets
what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the
perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this,
not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be
blessed in what he does."
I Corinthians 3:1-2. "Brothers, I could not address you
as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave
you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.
Indeed, you are still not ready."
Divisions exist--they're a church full of division and cliques--carnality
in the church, envy and strife, boasting and division. Paul
is saying that all of his teachings have been in vain because
they haven't gone beyond this point. They are content with
staying babes, feeding on spiritual milk. They were proud
of the themselves. There was this sheriff of Dade County,
Florida who had a bunch of boastful youths in prison. They
were proud and boastful about being fed on bread and water,
strutting around. So he decided to deflate their pride a bit
and switched their diet to baby food. Being hungry, they were
forced to eat, but their boasting stopped almost immediately.
Obey God's Word (James 1:21-25) and God will bring you to
the deeper teachings, the spiritual T-bone steaks and Prime
ribs of the Word of God. Verses 3-9. "You are still worldly.
For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are
you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when
one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another says, 'I follow Apollos,'
are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what
is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as
the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed,
Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who
plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes
things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have
one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own
labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field,
God's building." These expert leaders, mere obedient men,
as Paul calls himself and Apollos, were placed in the Church
to teach and edify. Paul calls himself and Apollos mere servants.
I am nothing, Apollos is nothing--we're just servants of God
called to plant and water. We're nothing, it's God who brings
the increase (vs. 7)
God commissioned Noah to build an ark. That's all he did was
build an ark and faithfully witness to all that came to mock
him as he built it. God brought the animals. It's God's will,
his doing, nobody can take credit for bringing the increase.
Don't put theservant in place of the Master--not Apollos,
not Paul. God is the one who builds the Church. When the Church
grows and becomes a big machine and monument--be careful--don't
take credit--stay humble. It is only God who brings the increase.
Ask yourself, is it God's monument and congregation--God's
Church I'm building?--or that of a man?
God holds his builder servants, ministers, accountable for
how they have ministered and built with what God has given
them. What is it that God gives? Answer: The increase. What
do you do with God's increase? How have you used it? Are you
building God's building with gold, silver, costly stones,
wood, hay or stubble? The bulk of the work on a farm is the
preparing of the field--clearing the trees and stumps, removing
the stones, plowing, sowing, watering. Then after all this,
God provides the increase. In ancient Israel the farmer did
all but water. Israel had no natural river system in most
of their farmland. They relied on God for the rains, both
former and latter. The farmer could work his tail off, but
if God didn't water his efforts, there was no increase. If
God didn't provide good weather during the growing season,
the crops failed. God provides the increase, we're just the
farmhands preparing God's field. Jesus is the Rock, the Foundation.
Paul says 'I have provided the foundation of Jesus, but take
heed on how you build on this foundation which I have laid.
Fire will test every man's work. Christ's sacrifice saves
us as individuals, but our work will be tested. Don't do your
alms or prayers before men. Don't build your spiritual building
to be impressive to men, which is building with straw and
stubble. Our focus should be spiritual--our warfare is spiritual.
Ephesians 6:11-12. "Put on the whole armour of God so
that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
For our struggle [k.Js. warfare] is not against flesh and
blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against
the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces
of evil in the heavenly realms." 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an
expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each
one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any
foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus
Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver,
costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown
for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It
will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality
of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will
receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss;
he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping the flames."
Vs. 16, We're the inner sanctuary of the temple--the Spirit
of God dwells or resides in us. Paul in this verse is talking
in the corporate sense. The word temple is the Greek word
used for the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple.
He is saying that anyone who defiles this temple God will
destroy. Remember Jesus's anger toward the money-changers
and animal sellers who defiled the temple grounds? That is
how Jesus feels about the temple of God. Verse 18-20, The
wisdom of the world is futile compared to God's wisdom. You
need to be simple to understand God's wisdom. Vs. 21, God
has given you Corinthians these good ministers--stop your
boasting, they're yours.
1 Corinthians 3:16-21. "Don't you know that you yourselves
are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone
destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple
is sacred, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves.
If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this
age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.
As it is written: 'He catches the wise in their craftiness'
[Job 5:13]; and again, 'The Lord knows that the thoughts of
the wise are futile.' [Psalm 94:11] So then, no more boasting
about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or
Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the
future--all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is
of God." Almost sounds as if Paul is also talking about
their and our inheritance of all things in the last verse,
as well as the ministers he said were theirs.
1 Corinthians 4
Verses 1-5, Don't judge us--view us as servants God has provided
for your edification. I don't care what others think of me.
I care about what God thinks of me and what I've done. Don't
be driven by the compliments or criticisms of men. God will
judge everything and everyone in due time and make those judgments
known. I Corinthians 4:1-5. "So then, men ought to regard
us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret
things of God. Now it is required that those who have been
given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I
am judged by you or any human court; indeed, I do not even
judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make
me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge
nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will
expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will
receive his praise from God."
Verses 6-7, Paul may have been using himself and Apollos as
an example when he was really talking about others in the
Corinthian Church whom he wanted to remain nameless. Verse
8-13, the way you appear to yourselves, you think you have
it all--but we're just fools for Christ's sake. You're boastful
and prideful. You seek the honour of men. You think you are
higher and mightier than we apostles and ministers, while
we regard ourselves fools for Christ and have a low opinion
of ourselves. Paul is really laying into them for their pride.
Paul is contrasting how he and Apollos and Cephas view themselves
and respond to poor treatment to the way the Corinthians view
themselves and live the Christian life. Verse 14, Paul has
said these things as a warning to them. 1 Corinthians 4:6-13.
"Now brothers, 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 take pride in one man over against another. 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?" 8-13, "Already
you have all you want! You have become kings--and that without
us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we
might be kings with you! 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 men. 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! To this
very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are
brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own
hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted,
we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up
to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse
of the world." Verse 14-17, Paul said these things to
warn them. He is saying that God used me as your spiritual
father. You have many ministers but God used me as your spiritual
father. "I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn
you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand
guardians [ministers] in Christ, you do not have many fathers,
for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
[Mr. Armstrong was the spiritual father for the Worldwide
Church of God. Then God put Mr. Tkach Sr. in his place to
also become their spiritual father, leading them into greater
spiritual understanding and the knowledge of the new covenant.
Pastor Chuck Smith, in the same way is the spiritual father
God has used to start the Calvary Chapel revival.] Therefore
I urge you to imitate me. 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."
Verses 18-21, Paul gives a final warning to the arrogant.
"Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming
to you. 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. For the kingdom of
God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer?
Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle