1 Corinthians 4

There are those who think that our relationship with Christ should keep us from all harm. This passage should teach us otherwise.

  • God, through his mercy, called Paul and his companions as ministers (4:1).
  • They openly proclaim God’s truth fully and completely (4:2).
  • Some people don’t believe their testimony. Satan blinds people to the truth of the gospel (4:3-4). He has some power, but it is limited. He is only the god (small “g”) of this age.
  • Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is the “image” of God and the “Lord” of all (4:4-5)!
  • Paul and his companions devote their lives to the church as a service to Jesus (4:5).
  • Yet their ministry is all because God revealed Himself to them and empowered them for it (4:6-7). Remember, their ministry was through his mercy (4:1).
  • And even though they are persecuted because of their ministry (to the point of it being visible on their bodies), they are encouraged by the response of others (like the Corinthians) to them (4:8-12)!
  • They speak out about what they have believed, rejoicing in their new life and their upcoming resurrection, which the Corinthians will share (4:13-14).
  • The more people who believe, the greater the thanksgiving and the glory of God (4:15).
  • Which is why Paul and his companions are okay with their suffering. The spiritual is more important than the physical, the eternal is more important than the temporary, and their suffering will bring about renewal and glory in their lives (4:16-18)!

Regardless of what we face in this life, whether it is persecution or pain, suffering or sickness, our faith should enable us to say with Paul and His companions: “We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed.” Our understanding of the gospel and our hope in the resurrection should cause us to trust like that!

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