314 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 27 - Consequences of Carnal Believers

314: Problems and Consequences of Carnal Believers – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 27

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 27

PROBLEMS AND CONSEQUENCES OF CARNAL BELIEVERS – PART 2

Now let’s just get right back to I Corinthians 4 verse 10.

I Corinthians 4:10

“We are fools for Christ’s sake, (and remember that’s what the world thinks of us as believers. The foolishness of the preaching of the Cross.) but ye are wise (because they were believers) in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.”

They hadn’t gone through the trials and tribulations, and persecutions that Paul had endured, although when we get to Chapter 7, I think he’s telling these people they would soon come under the intense persecution the Roman Empire brought upon Christianity. And so even here I think the Apostle Paul is trying to prepare them for the time when they would literally have to die for their faith, and as Paul also would have to do in a few years after he wrote this letter.

I Corinthians 4:11-13

“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; (Paul didn’t have a nice big beautiful mansion to go home to after one of his missionary journeys.) And labour, working with our own hands: (we know from the Book of Acts that he worked as a tent maker with his hands.) being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: (or go along with it.) Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”

Well that was one view, but as I pointed out so often, as Paul confronted the philosophers up there on Mars Hill at Athens with all their philosophizing, and they call Paul nothing but a babbler, but do you remember what I said about it? In reality it was the other way around. Paul was the one who really had the Words of Life, and Wisdom, and the philosophers had nothing but babble. Now it’s the same way here. He was defamed because of what he was doing to promote The Gospel.

I Corinthians 4:14

“I write not these things to shame you, (in other words Paul is not saying, `Unless you suffer like I’ve suffered you’re not really believers.’ There are some that have taken that approach, but we don’t have to suffer indignation just to prove that we are a Christian. I know a preacher who was like that and it was like he intentionally did things to bring persecution on himself. But Paul is telling these believers that he’s not telling them about these hardships to give them the idea that if they haven’t suffered like he has then they’re not a believer.) but as my beloved sons I warn you.”

How does Paul use the word “sons” here of these pagan Corinthians? The same way he spoke of Timothy. What did he call Timothy? My son in the faith. Not physically; Timothy was clear up in a different part of the world from Paul, but yet he refers to him as his son in the faith, and that is what he is doing here. They were just like children of his because he was the one that brought them The Gospel, and Salvation power that was able to bring them out of paganism and idolatry. Now verse 15:

I Corinthians 4:15a

“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers:…”

Well I’ve struggled with this verse some. It’s kind of a tough one to see through, but I think what Paul is really saying by inspiration is that you can have all kinds of instructors, you can have Sunday School teacher after Sunday School teacher, and pastor after pastor, and television evangelist after television evangelist, but how many of those have had any real impact in bringing you to the place of Salvation? Probably only one or two people who really influence your life to the place where you became a child of God, and I think that’s what Paul is driving at here.

I Corinthians 4:15b

“for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you (how?) through the gospel.”

We haven’t explained The Gospel in quite some time so let’s look at The Gospel. We find The Gospel in I Corinthians 15:1-4. We’ll get to this chapter in a few more months, and I always lay these out as the clearest definition of The Gospel of Salvation that you can find between these two covers. And if whatever you believe for your Salvation doesn’t line up with these verses here then you had better take another look. Because here is the Gospel of Grace in all of it’s simplicity and all of it’s power.

I Corinthians 15:1,2b

“Moreover, brethren, (Paul is writing to these same Corinthian believers) I declare unto you the gospel (The one and only Gospel) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: By which also ye are saved,…”

I also like to use the words `made righteous’ in the place of saved. Not only are we saved from hell’s fire, but we have been declared righteous (made right with God) by imputation of God Himself. He has imputed to us His righteousness as a result of our believing The Gospel. We don’t work for it or deserve it; it’s all of God’s Grace, and of course we appropriate it by faith.

I Corinthians 15:2,3a

“By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” And all I say to that is, you have to know what you believe. You don’t just believe some empty gobbledy-gook, but rather know what you believe for Salvation. And here it comes. And remember Paul was the first one to enter that city of Corinth with this message of Salvation to deliver these pagans from idolatry.

“For (Paul says) I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,…”

He’s defending his apostleship again here. Remember he didn’t pick this up from the Twelve in Jerusalem, because they didn’t have this Gospel, but rather he had received this Gospel from the ascended Lord in glory. That’s why you can’t find this Gospel in the Four Gospels. It’s not back there, and couldn’t be, because Christ hadn’t died yet. Now here’s The Gospel!

I Corinthians 15:3,4

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (Old Testament) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Now back to Chapter 4 again. Whenever Paul makes reference to his bringing the Corinthians The Gospel that we just read, that’s also what we must believe for our Salvation even today, and nothing else. How that Christ died for our sins, how that He was buried, and how He arose again for our justification. That’s The Gospel, and notice there’s nothing in there concerning a mandated baptism, there’s no mandated joining something, there no mandated doing something, it is just simply believing it. And that is so hard for a lot of people to comprehend. Although I’ll have to admit that our television response has become unbelievable of people who are beginning to see that it is this simple. In fact our next newsletter that we put out will have a couple of testimonies from people that have come out of spiritual darkness, and into a Salvation experience because of this television program. And so we know that The Gospel still has that tremendous power to bring people out of the darkness. Now since Paul was the one that brought The Gospel to the Corinthians, and remember this is Holy Spirit inspired, I’ve had people become angry, and say, “Les where do you get that we should be followers of Paul.” Look at verse 16.

I Corinthians 4:16

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of (Jesus Christ. Is that what it says? No, but that’s what most think it should say. But rather Paul says be ye followers of) me.”

Now let me show you another one, and there are many throughout his Epistles, but the one I can remember the best is in Philippians Chapter 3. And this is a precious little letter just full of this believer’s experience, and how in spite of adversities this man could write “rejoice evermore, I say rejoice,” and that’s the whole theme of Philippians. Let’s look at verse 17: And remember here Paul is writing to the Church at Philippi.

Philippians 3:17

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

Most people think we’re supposed to be following Jesus. Who is Paul following? Jesus Christ, and we’re right at his heels. And so as we follow the teachings of Paul, Who are we following? Jesus Christ, but again not the Jesus of Nazareth, and the dusty roads of Palestine, but rather the “Crucified, Risen, Lord of glory is the One we follow.” Secondly, if I were to follow Jesus as some people think we should, then I say, “Now wait a minute, when I get to the shore of Galilee, and He takes off on foot, what am I supposed to do? I can’t walk on that water, Peter proved that. But Jesus did, and over and over He went through circumstances as the God-Man that I as a human can’t comprehend, so how am I going to follow in those footsteps?” But listen, The Lord Jesus that Paul follows, I can follow in Paul’s steps, because Paul was just as human as you and I. Paul hurt just as much when that whip fell on his bare back as it would hurt you and I. Paul got just as cold on those wind swept plains of Turkey as you and I would get, and if he could take it, then by God’s Grace you and I can take it. Do you see what I’m driving at? While we’re in Philippians look at verse 10, and this should be the prayer of every believer as we follow this Apostle.

Philippians 3:10

“That I may know him, (intimately on a person to person basis) and the power of his resurrection, (if you can’t believe the resurrection then you have no Salvation, you have no power, you’re destitute, because the very heart of The Gospel is, `That He Rose From The Dead.’ They can claim reincarnation, but they know nothing of resurrection.) and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Now back to I Corinthians:

I Corinthians 4:16,17

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Paul is the example, he was willing to suffer and die for the sake of the Cross.

“For this cause (because Paul is the leader of this whole concept of Christianity, the Body of Christ) have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, (spiritually) and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”

Now even Timothy, when he comes, would remind the Corinthians of what Paul had done on their behalf in bringing them the knowledge of the crucified, and risen Christ. Do you see that? Now in verse 18 he’s having to deal with some problems again. But Paul says in spite of all the things that they had going for them – they had the apostle himself as their spiritual father, they had his spiritual son Timothy, who’s going to come and enhance the work. So they had all these things going for them. It was much like Israel back in the Old Testament. Do you realize how much Israel had going for them? And yet what did they do with it? They failed miserably over and over. Well the Corinthians are doing the same thing. They’ve had the strong preaching and teaching of the greatest Apostle that ever lived. They even had dear old Timothy come along and yet:

I Corinthians 4:18a

“Now some are puffed up,…”

Now when Paul speaks of being puffed up, what do you suppose is their main problem? Pride. I’ve heard sermon after sermon, and I imagine you have also. Pride is the one thing more than anything else that keeps people from Salvation. Because most people don’t want to admit that they’re a sinner. Pride stands in the way, they say, “I’m not that bad, in fact I’m pretty good.” And they refuse to see what God says. God says:

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

And that’s what we have to go by whether we feel like it or not, and it’s that way in all the realms of faith. It doesn’t matter how you and I feel about something, but rather what the Book says. And if the Book says it, then whether I feel like it or not that’s what I have to go by. So Paul tells the believers at Corinth:

I Corinthians 4:18

“Now some of you are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.”

Now don’t forget Paul is across the Aegean Sea from Greece, over there in Western Turkey at Ephesus. He’s probably about 150 – 200 miles from Corinth, and these believers are saying, “Oh Paul will never show up here again. He’s not going to put forth the effort to take a ship and come across the Aegean and come and dress us down.” So in so many words Paul is telling them that they’re getting kind of cocky, you’re getting puffed up, and you think I won’t come to you, but I will, and when I get there I’m going to do some straightening out.

I Corinthians 4:19

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.”

See even the Corinthians were not that far from Athens, – only about 50 miles. So they were in easy communicating distance even in the ancient days. And all the philosophy, and the paganism of Athens was also indicative in Corinth. So these believers were used to hearing the philosophers with all their smooth talk and big words, and that still impresses people even today doesn’t it. Oh they like to hear people who can use all this big “high falutin” language and what have you. That’s what they call, “You have arrived.” But Paul says that he’s not going to come to them with a bunch of smooth talk. I’m not going to come to you with the big long words of the philosophers. But rather I’m going to come to you with, “Power.” And that’s the word that Paul uses over and over, “The wisdom and the power of God.” That’s what brought these people out of paganism. It’s wasn’t Paul’s fast talking, or language, but the power of God when he preached the simple Gospel of Christ. And the Holy Spirit helped those people to understand that, yes, they were sinners for whom Christ died, and rose from the dead. Now verse 20.

I Corinthians 4:20

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”

Now let me take you back to the first Chapter, as it’s been a while since we were in I Corinthians Chapter 1, and then we’ll go to Romans Chapter 1. These are verses that I like to use over and over because they are so simplistic, and yet they say everything that needs to be said.

I Corinthians 1:18

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish (lost people) foolishness; but unto us which are saved (or made righteous) it is the power of God.”

I’ve had people ask me, “What does Someone that died 2000 years ago have to do with me today.” And the answer is: Everything! And remember good works will never save anybody, good works do not have the power of God. Good works are something that we can do in the energy of the flesh. Now let’s drop down to verses 21 through 25.

I Corinthians 1:21-25

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (Plus nothing, and people can’t understand that. We’re saved by believing The Gospel + nothing. Otherwise it becomes legalism, a works religion.) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (then the word I really wanted you to see is in the next verse) But unto them which are called, (into the Body) both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” But people don’t like to admit that. Romans Chapter 1, verse 16. And remember we’re still speaking of the power of God.

Romans 1:16

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; (that same Gospel we looked at in I Corinthians 15:1- 4) for it (The Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;…” God is always looking for someone who has the faith to believe The Gospel that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Now come back to the last verse in I Corinthians Chapter 4.

I Corinthians 4:21

“What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, (with wrath and anger) or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?”

Which one do you think Paul will come to them in? Well he will go in the spirit of love and meekness, because it just wasn’t Paul’s nature to go in there, and start taking harsh measures if he doesn’t absolutely have to. So this letter is going to be, I think, preparatory to his coming to the congregation in Corinth so that he can appeal to them in love and meekness.

313 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 1 - Book 27 - Problems of Carnal Believers

313: Problems and Consequences of Carnal Believers – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 27

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 27

PROBLEMS AND CONSEQUENCES OF CARNAL BELIEVERS

As we pick up again in I Corinthians Chapter 4, we also begin book 27. You know all of this ministry started with a home Bible study in Iowa many years ago, and from that The Lord has just helped us to branch out where we can reach more and more folks with The Word. I never try to make argument with people, but I just teach The Word as I feel The Lord has revealed it to me. I’m just a layman; I do not attempt to talk in theological levels, but rather I try to teach The Word in a way that common people can comprehend it, and I believe we’re accomplishing that given the response we’re getting. Now let’s review verse 1:

I Corinthians 4:1

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards (or managers) of the mysteries of God.” We went through the mysteries in our last lesson and how these Pauline revelations are never referred to anywhere else in Scripture – not in the Old Testament, or the Four Gospels, and for the most part, not even in the Book of Acts. You find the mysteries only in the letters of Paul. Paul says in verse 2:

I Corinthians 4:2-4

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” So whatever we are in charge of, it can be business, or church activities, or whatever – if we’re in charge we are responsible, and God expects us to be faithful.

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me is the Lord.”

Never lose sight of the fact that Corinth was a city that was saturated in paganism and all the gross immorality that went with it. They were so steeped in the things of the world. Even as Paul has garnered this little group of believers, remember they had just come out of this kind of background. So it stands to reason that they didn’t all of a sudden become spiritual giants. They had a lot of problems, and in Chapter 7, verse 1 it’s indicated that this congregation actually sent Paul (who is across the Aegean Sea at Ephesus when he writes this letter) a whole series of questions, and so Paul is answering these questions they have asked one by one. And when you get that concept then this little letter of Corinthians just sort of opens up again. Remember back in Chapter 1, Paul had to deal with so many of them lifting him up as the only man to listen to. Others had separated themselves saying that they only listen to Peter, and others said they listen to Apollos. Those were things that divided this little congregation, but that wasn’t their only problem. They also had a moral problem and problems with relationships within the church family. In fact the whole letter of Corinthians is dealing with a series of problems, and they had come to the Apostle Paul in the form of a letter asking, “How do we do this, how do we handle that?” So here he’s defending his apostleship.

Remember back in Chapter 1 we stressed that some said, “No, we listen to Peter, you’re just a fake, you’re an impostor. Peter is the one that has the authority, he walked with Jesus for three years, you didn’t.” So Paul has to constantly defend his apostleship, and here’s another little instance. See?

I Corinthians 4:3a,4b,5a

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment…” ….but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” So Jesus Christ is the One that judgeth Paul, the One who sent him out to be the Apostle of the Gentiles in the first place. Verse 5a:

“Therefore (since no one can judge Paul except The Lord Who sent him) judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come,”

Believers will never receive their rewards until the end of time. The lost are not going to receive their just recompense until the end of their time. Why? You see, as you and I go through this life as believers, we are making impacts on people all around us. And what the final impact will really be, we won’t know until The Lord, the Righteous Judge, will reveal at the last time. In other words, for you and I living today, if The Lord should tarry, and we go on through the valley of death, every person that we have touched in this life is going to still carry on in some way or another, and we don’t know what they’re going to accomplish.

I have to think of my own experience. I’m sure the people that were instrumental in my early Christian experience are long gone, but you see, the result of what they did in my life is still carrying on. It’s the same way with a lost person, as he makes an impact on the world from his lostness, he too is going to be reaping rewards of people who are following in his or her footsteps. So this is what the apostle is trying to show here, and that is, we are responsible only to The Lord, and until He comes this is where our responsibility lies. Now reading verse 5 again:

I Corinthians 4:5

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

Over and over I have defined this word “manifest’ as you see it so often in Scripture – things being manifested, and here it is again in this verse. At the end of time when The Lord comes, then He will make manifest the counsels of the heart which is an area that only God can see. And again that word `manifest’ is being put under the spotlight. And the microscope is a perfect example. When you turn on that bright light of the microscope that manifests everything clearly that is on that slide, and all of a sudden everything that was invisible is now visible. And that is what the word `manifest’ almost every time depicts in Scripture. There is coming a time when that sharp light of God’s knowledge is going to penetrate even into the very hearts of our being, and then every believer shall have praise of God.

This is what we are to live for. You know we’re living in a time of materialism, and I suppose 90% of motivation among most of us is material advancement. We want it better than the last generation, we want our kids to have it better than we had it. But listen, we have our priorities wrong, the things that count the most as The Lord Jesus Himself put it in His earthly ministry.

Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

There’s nothing wrong with things in themselves; it’s what people do with things in their schedule of priorities. We are to live and breathe so that we might have the praise of God. That’s why He’s left us here, to bring honor and glory to His name.

I Corinthians 4:6

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure (in a picture or type) transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.”

Paul is having to deal with the problem, that within the congregation of Corinth some were getting all puffed up, and saying, “I’m the one who is most important in this congregation because I go by what Peter taught.” And over here would be another that would say, ” Oh, no I’m the one that is the leader of this congregation because I’m imitating the Apostle Paul.” So you see how infantile they really were? They were still so carnal, and so he was dealing with the problem that you can’t get puffed up and give someone the impression that you’re better than they are, that you’re more spiritually blessed, and all these things. Now verse 7, and here we come down to the whole practicality of our very existence.

I Corinthians 4:7a

“For who maketh thee to differ from another?…” (“from another” is in italic)

Actually it says who maketh you different, that’s what it amounts to. I’ll never forget that years ago (I was probably a teenager in our Church congregation up there in Northern Iowa) we had an old German immigrant who had become quite wealthy. I’ll never take anything away from him because he was a tremendously hard worker. He had accumulated hundreds of acres, and he was known as one of the more wealthy people in the community. This gentleman always sat on the second row in our Sunday morning service, and the pastor evidently was preaching a sermon on this same order, “that we are nothing except what God let’s us be.” I’ll never forget when he asked the old gentlemen, “Who gave you the ability to make all your money?” And the gentlemen said, “Nobody, I did it myself.” But he was wrong. He couldn’t have made a nickel, he could have never bought a quarter section without God ordaining it. And see this is where we all are. We are what we are by the Sovereign Grace of God, and this is what Paul is emphasizing to these Corinthians. “Don’t you get puffed up that you’re better than somebody else, because you’re nothing except what God made you.”

I Corinthians 4:7

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? (From Whom? From God. Everyone of us as believers are what we are, we have what we have, only by the Grace of God, and we can never get puffed up, and say, “Hey look what I’ve accomplished.” We can’t do that because we have accomplished nothing of ourselves.)now if thou didst receive it, why doest thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”

In other words the apostle is saying, “Why are you glorying over something that you didn’t even have anything to do with.” Do you see that? And every time we get an inkling that maybe I’m somebody special, knock that thought right down because we are nothing except what God has let us become. And again all of that is based on His Grace. I don’t deserve three meals a day, I don’t deserve any of the good things of life, but I have them, Why? Because God’s Grace has seen fit to permit it. Now verse 8:

I Corinthians 4:8a

“Now ye are full, now ye are rich,…”

Hey, I thought these believers were carnal. They are, they are not spiritually rich like the Ephesians. They still have a long way to go, but again this brings right back home this whole concept of Salvation, that the moment we’re saved we have all of God as He can put Himself into us. We have everything so far as the fullness of the Holy Spirit from the very moment we believe. You don’t have to work, and look for it, because that was all part of Salvation. Now, granted, God does leave within our realm of control how much of the fullness we’re going to maintain (or are we going to let it empty out some). A cup of water is a good example. If I want to fill that cup of water with air, what do I do with my water? Pour it out. Now if I pour out a 1/2 of cup of water, how much of the cup is full of air? Half, and if I pour out 3/4 of a cup then 3/4 is air and 1/4 is water.

Now in an analogy this is a good way to explain the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The moment we’re saved we’re filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. You just talk to someone who has been recently saved, and they are bubbling over, they are excited, they know what a tremendous thing has happened in their life. But we’re still in this old world with all of it’s allurements and all of it’s temptations and desires of the flesh, so what happens? Pretty soon we start filling that cup up with air or the Pneuma, the Holy Spirit, or we start filling it with material things. Then the first thing you know our cup is full of the material isn’t it? And what have we done with the Holy Spirit? We’ve almost cancelled Him out. Now He’ll never leave, so don’t get that idea, but we love His fullness. Now we come to a point then in our Christian experience, and here is where you have to get into The Word, and you have to be in fellowship with other believers. So then we finally come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is not having the control in our lives that we want Him to have. We’ve got to do something about it, and remember all these things we saw in the Book of Romans do become a personal decision, because you’re free.

Now if we want more of that fullness of the Holy Spirit back in our lives, what are we going to have to do with material that’s in the cup? Pour it out, get rid of it, and if you want to be completely filled again get right down to the basics, get priority wise, and get to where the spiritual things means more than the material. Looking at verse 8 again Paul tells these carnal Christians:

I Corinthians 4:8,9

“Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.” The Apostle is bringing them to the place where they could experience a greater joy of their Salvation, and the Apostle wants to be part of that. Because after all he was the one responsible for bringing them out of their paganistic lifestyle.

“For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last (I think Paul is including the Twelve back there in Jerusalem, himself, and probably Barnabas), as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.”

Now I’m sure everyone of us have considered death at sometime in our Christian experience. And I know it’s not for us to question God’s Sovereignty, but we’re human, and so we do, we ask why. Do you realize that all twelve of the apostles except maybe John who may have died a natural death, as he was in exile on the isle of Patmos, but all the others died a martyred death, everyone of them, a horrible death, and the Apostle Paul the same way. Beheaded at the hands of Nero. Let’s go for a moment to II Corinthians, Chapter 11 and look at how Paul had to suffer. And as you read this passage inspired by the Holy Spirit (so this isn’t Paul just simply expressing his own feelings of his own vision, this is Holy Spirit inspired) it’s here for a purpose. And look what this man went through for the sole purpose of getting the Gospel out to the Gentile world. He was getting no compensation, he wasn’t gaining any material wealth whatsoever. If Paul had wealth as a Jew and Pharisee he evidently just left it all behind, and that’s what I think happened. I think at one time Saul of Tarsus was a wealthy religious Jew, but he chucked it all for the sake of being the apostle to the Gentiles.

II Corinthians 11:22,23a

“Are they Hebrews? so am I, Are they Israelites? so am I, Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool)…”

Do you remember what Paul said about the Gospel back there in Chapter 1 of I Corinthians?

I Corinthians 1:18a

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

Here in II Corinthians Paul is saying that from the world he was a fool to have chucked all the power, prestige, and wealth that he had as a Jewish religious leader.

II Corinthians 11:23-28

“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes (from the whip) above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. (Near death, and now here it comes in the next verse.) Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice (three) was I beaten with rods, (none of us know what that was like, it was inhuman.) once was I stoned, (that’s when they dragged him out of the city of Lystra, and he was supposedly dead.) thrice (three) I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; (do you see that? And it was for the sake of the Gospel.) In journeyings often, (in his three missionary journeys the man must of been on foot day after day after day) in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, (the Jews were out to kill him constantly) in perils by the heathen, (the Romans are finally going to end up putting him to death.) in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, (he was human, he wasn’t a superstar) in watchings often, in hunger (he couldn’t stop and get a Big Mac along the way) and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (Not sufficient clothing to keep him warm, and on top of the physical sufferings) Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”

The man was constantly under pressure; as an example, the letters from the Corinthians with all their problems, and the Galatians he finds out they’re trying to go back under the Law, and legalism. And he has to hurriedly sit down and write the six Chapters to the Galatians. So over and over the man is just constantly besieged with the care of Christianity, which is now just beginning to make itself known throughout the Roman Empire. I have to look at a situation like that. Would I keep going? Would you keep going? If you were just constantly suffering everyday of your life for the simple reason of getting the Gospel out to these pagan heathen who were so content to worship their gods of wood and stone. I mean I just can’t help but wonder. I have to ask why did a man like Paul have to suffer to such extreme that we might get the Gospel? What kept him from giving up and going back home to Tarsus, and saying, “What’s the use?” But he didn’t, he kept on, and kept on until finally Rome itself put him to death.

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