1 Cor. 4:8-17 & 2 Cor. 1:3:11
First, I don’t know how anybody can be the same after studying “godliness.” I know I’m not!
Saints, as you know, the book of Romans is the first of Paul’s 13 epistles. It was God’s design that Romans be the” first thing first” in the believer’ s life for our edification & establishment. It is crystal clear to me that God placed Paul’s epistles in the correct order in our Bibles. There is a God given design for us to be doctrinally edified, and that is to follow God’s design (not my design) for establishment. We must fully understand Romans-Galatians (milk) before we can move on to fully understand Ephesians-Colossians. (meat)
In our Tuesday afternoon Bible class, we are studying SPOE. And the question arose: Why does a soldier need the armor on, if he is not WILLING to get into the fight/suffer? And what is the goal/ purpose of the armor? ANS: To enable us to GIRD UP OUR MINDS, to stand against the attacks of the devil! The armor isn’t designed to make the attack go away! NO, the armor is designed to fortify, shield us so that the SPOE can be endured! But a believer can lessen or even eliminate the “effects” of the attack. How? By compromising, cooperating with SPOE. Like the carnal Corinthians, Galatians, refusing to SUFFER for GODLINESS SAKE!
As we have learned today, 1st Corinthians was written to teach us to be “WILLING to suffer for Christ” & 2nd Corinthians was written to teach us how to “ENDURE the sufferings of Christ.” We have already been through (1. Romans Survey, (2. Our Identity in Christ, (3. Essential Doctrines, (4. Preserved Word of God, (5. Mystery of Godliness, & now, (6. Suffering for Godliness Sake. But the fact is, like the Corinthians, WE DON’T WANT TO SUFFER! We know all about 1.“The Sufferings of this Present Time” (can’t be avoided, we surely know about 2. “Suffering for Stupid, Ungodly Decisions” (can be avoided), 3. Now we come to “Sufferings of Christ” (this can be avoided, but we shouldn’t want to, this produces Ungodly Thinking!) Instead of thinking about getting into the fight, ungodly thinking is “how can I avoid the fight!”)
And we should all agree, there is no use dealing with a body of doctrine unless we know what it is designed to do! And remember, as you read the word of God, it is reading you! These Corinthians were saved unto eternal life, sanctified, made to function, but were ungodly at the same time. Their thinking was ungodly. When they saw the sufferings of Paul, they were DONE! They drew the line in the sand. They declared WE ARE FULL of you Paul. We’ve had enough of your doctrine. WE ARE RICH “WITHOUT YOU, Paul. We don’t want to be “spectacles unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” We don’t want to be thought of as “fools for Christ’s sake.” We don’t want to be thought of as “wise in Christ.” “despised.” We don’t want to be thought of as “the filth of the world, “offscouring” or “outcast.”
In other words, we don’t want our IDENTITY known. Instead of “Suffering for Christ,” we are content, satisfied. We want be safe! We want to be well liked, we want to be popular with this world’s system, We want to be respected by this world, we want to be KINGS & QUEENS, if only in our carnal minds. Leave us alone Paul, we don’t want to follow God’s divine design. We don’t want to suffer! No wonder God put 1 Corinthians directly next to Romans. This was the wrong attitude, this was ungodly thinking .
1st Corinthians was written to make us “WILLING” to suffer. And 2nd Corinthians was written to teach us how to “ENDURE,” how to handle the Sufferings of Christ as they occur. We cannot be “good soldiers” if we are not WILLING SUFFER. The Corinthians were NOT “partakers of the afflictions of the gospel.” They were ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, & of Paul. They hid their Identity from the unbelievers, they
watered down the word, they made the cross none effect, they were conformed to this world trying to “go along to get along,” They wanted to be “safe.” This was and is “Ungodly thinking.”
But Paul didn’t give up on them, Paul said, as soon as you realize who you are, who God has made you to be In Christ Jesus, I have some doctrine for you! In 1 Cor. 4, these saints were NOT WILLING to be partakers of the Sufferings of Christ. But Paul said as soon as you are WILLING, the SUFFERINGS are going to begin. But the good news is, that’s why 2nd Corinthians is the CONSOLATION DOCTRINE.
“Blessed be God, the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble. For as the SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST ABOUND (overflow) IN US, SO OUR CONSOLATION ALSO ABOUNDETH (overflows) BY CHRIST. Whether you be afflicted (I got some consolation for you), the doctrine is for your consolation (comfort, hope) & salvation (from the effects of the SPOE) which is effectual (the power of God) to make you able to ENDURE the SUFFERINGS of CHRIST.
Now as I close my review, the PHILIPPIANS saints were going through SEVERE AFFILICTIONS as they followed Paul. They were being thrown in prison, with the sentence of death hanging over their heads. So, Paul gave these saints (& us) some CONSOLATION doctrine to live by” Philippians 2:12: “WHEREFORE, MY BELOVED, AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS OBEYED (the doctrine), NOT AS IN MY PRESENCE ONLY, BUT NOW MUCH MORE IN MY ABSENCE, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION (having the mind of Christ, that will save you from the effects of phase 2 of the SPOE with fear & trembling.”
Paul learned how to rejoice in his sufferings!
In the 13th vs, Paul tells us how to do this: “For it is GOD which worketh in you both to WILL (making us to be WILLING) and to DO (willing to ENDURE suffering) for His good pleasure”.
*BUT REMEMBER SAINTS: BEFORE YOU CAN “DO IT” (ENDURE) THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, YOU’VE GOT TO FRST BE “WILLING” TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST!
ARE YOU FULL? ARE YOU RICH? ARE YOU REIGNING AS KINGS? WITHOUT PAUL?