Paul’s Ensample To Suffering For Christ’s Sake Part 1

1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure 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.
1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
1Co 4:8 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.
1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

 From the moment that we get our godly education underway we will face “sufferings of this present time” which no man can avoid, and Romans chapter 8 shows that you can’t pray these sufferings away, and as you go through the sufferings “of this present time,” you have the effectual doctrine for your souls so that you can “endure” and be “more than conquers” in the things that come up in your life. 1Corithians 4:8 Paul reproves the Corinthians as being “full”, and “rich”, and says that they “reigned as kings”, but this was not the godly thinking Paul wanted them to have, notice next Paul says, “and without us”, the Corinthians were not experiencing the “sufferings of Christ”, they were avoiding them. That’s why Paul say’s “without us”, Paul was made as “the filth of the world”, and the Corinthians “reigned as kings” in the eyes of men, the Corinthian saints did not want to advance further into their godly education as “sons,” they were not thinking godly concerning God the Father’s will for them, they saw the sufferings that Paul went through and they wanted no part of it at all.

1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
1Co 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
1Co 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
1Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
1Co 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
1Co 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

These saints were not following Paul like they ought, they weren’t thinking godly, that’s why Paul says “For I think”; Paul is saying that his thinking, and their thinking is not on the same godly page. The Corinthians were not yet ready to grow spiritually, they “gloried in men”, and they thought “of men above that which is written”, and Paul says that they have “ten thousand instructors in Christ”, but “not many fathers”. The Corinthian saints were content to be taught over and over again about the basic doctrine “in Christ”. These instructors were not edifying the saints in the advanced doctrine for their souls, they would make known the righteousness of God, and the gospel “according to the revelation of the mystery”, and other aspects of our gospel, but they were not ready to be fully utilized by God, because the main aspect of being who God has made you to be “ in Christ” is allowing the word of God “work effectually” within you by experiencing the “sufferings of Christ”, and this is all done out of selfless love that we are taught of the Father, by His Word, so that we can be “ambassadors” for Christ, making an impact to His praise and glory. Paul says they have ten thousand instructors, “but not many fathers”, a son ought to grow in the doctrine of godliness, and selfless love, and the only way that can take place is by God the Father’s design for a saint to “follow” Paul. Paul’s reproof to these saints as our “father” in the doctrine, ought to have caused “shame” within them, and as we see in 2Corinthians it did, these saints were beginning to feel the effects from the “sufferings of Christ” so Paul as a “father” gave these “sons” the doctrine that would benefit their souls in the sufferings that they would “endure”.

2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Co 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
2Co 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

The Corinthian saints had begun to let the word of God take effect within them, and the “sufferings of Christ” now started to be experienced by these saints also, now they were ready to KNOW the Father as “the God of all comfort,” in their tribulations. As Paul makes plainly clear this “comfort” is not done by God taking the sufferings away, but quite the opposite. Paul says that when he is “afflicted” it is to the benefit of the saints in Christ, and Paul being our example, teaches the saints how to use the doctrine, so that we too can endure, and find the “salvation, and consolation” within it. If we are to “follow” Paul, we ought to also follow his selfless example in the sufferings of Christ as well, and the example that he set forth for us throughout our 13 epistles. As we read Romans through Philemon, and especially the book of Acts, we see all the persecution and sufferings that the apostle Paul went through, and by Godly design, his afflictions are in our bibles for our “consolation and salvation” so that we too can “follow” Paul’s ensample in our tribulations. Knowing God the Father as “the God of all comfort” can only be experienced by a son who begins to let God’s word work “effectually” within him, and when he learns how to “endure” them, he learns to find the “salvation” from his sufferings in the doctrine as well. The doctrine is designed to work in “all our tribulation”, Paul says that it is “effectual” meaning it is guaranteed by our Father to work for the son, the son just has to trust that it will work for him, the same way he trusted the gospel of his salvation. So, as we follow Paul as he followed Christ, and as we are edified unto godliness, and when we are “afflicted,” and when the “sufferings of Christ abound” within us, we can use the word of God as comfort, and also, we can “comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”.

Rod Jones

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