1 Cor. 1:26-29 π 2 Cor. 12:9 π 1 Ths. 3:3
Paul’s ministry would have been an embarrassment to Christians today, as it was also the Corinthian Christians. His ministry was five-fold, one of
the “are nots.” ( 1 Cor. 1:26-29; top )
He preached Christ crucified, and no one wants to preach that today because no one wants to lose their popularity and become foolish, weak, base, despised and an “are not”; but preaching the cross will do that. Scripture says the cross is an offense, a stumbling block to lukewarm Christians and academic nonsense to intellectual Christians, and when you preach it you will be persecuted. This is hard on the flesh, and we desire to preserve the flesh (self-life). However, if we really want to identify with Jesus, we are told to crucify the flesh with its affections and lust for self-preservation.
Paul operated in the life of the Spirit more than anyone except Jesus Himself, and he was used mightily by God, yet we haven’t seen anyone like him since, and it’s all our fault.
Paul exposed himself because he preached the cross and the crucifixion, and we are unable to find those today who are willing to expose themselves as he did. Obviously, we have protected ourselves. What an indictment on a Christian generation living at the end of the age and probable nuclear holocaust.
The Corinthian Charismatic Christians could not accept Paul’s sufferings and weaknesses, yet he rejoiced in them, saying, “that no man should be shaken by these afflictions, for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this,” ( 1 Ths. 3:3 ) and “most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ( 2 Cor. 12:9; top ) Seems like we’ve even preached against some of these afflictions. Is it possible we could be rebuked by the Lord, as Peter was?
Paul’s recitation of his perils reduced the Corinthians to mere amateurs:
five times beaten (39 stripes)
three times beaten with rods
three times shipwrecked
perils at sea
perils from his own countrymen
perils from heathen
perils in cities
perils in wilderness
perils with false brethren
near death often
pressures and stress in care of churches
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