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Thursday, July 12, 2018

2018.07.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 4:6-13

Questions for Littles: To whom has Paul applied these things (v6)? What does He not want them to think beyond? Against whom does he not want them to be puffed up? What is the expected answer to the first two questions in v7? What three things does Paul sarcastically say that they have achieved in v8? Like what does he say that God has displayed the apostles (v9)? What three comparisons does he sarcastically make between the Corinthians and the apostles in v10? What are some of the circumstances that have accompanied true apostleship in v11? What are some of the habits or character traits in vv12-13 that belong to true apostleship? What does this look like in the eyes of others (v13)? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, the apostle points out to the Corinthian church that the true apostles are like the filthy slop and grime that has been removed from something filthy during the cleaning process.

Our day—like theirs—is plagued with “health and wealth” gospel, but the apostle presents to us the “hurt and filth” gospel.

He wants to make well sure that no one thinks of him (or Apollos) any higher than what he has written here (v6). And he wants to leave no room for their own boasting either (v6-7).

The Corinthians think that they are doing so great because they think that they look so great (v8). But, if the most eminent believers, the apostles, look like men condemned to death, whose distinguishing characteristics are folly, weakness, and dishonor… can earthly admiration ever be a test of true greatness?

The Corinthians think that they are doing so great because they have so much. But if the most eminent believers, the apostles, had no food, no drink, no clothing, no home… can earthly possessions ever be a test of true greatness?

What are more reliable indicators of true spiritual greatness? The first one listed is diligence—but within the immediate context, that opening clause in v12 may really be indicating service of others. What comes through most of all is love of enemy.

Blessing instead of cursing when cursed. Love of enemy. Endurance instead of revenge when mistreated. Love of enemy. Exhortation rather than slander when slandered. Love of enemy.

What does true Christianity look like? Well, it looks like obeying the great commandments to love God and men, but when we cut to the chase, its most distinguishing mark is when we love our enemies and show ourselves to be children of our Father in heaven (cf. Matthew 5:44-45).
Whom are you tempted to look down upon? What false reasons are you tempted to be proud of yourself? What enemy should you be loving? 
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH488 “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior”

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