Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #37
Posted: March 18, 2005

A Study of Positional Truths

We turn out attention this week to another of the ‘In Christ’ truths of the Bible.  In I Corinthians 4:14-17 we find ‘In Christ’ mentioned three times, (Vs. 15 & 17) and “In The Lord’ one time (Vs. 17). 

Paul begins this section telling the people that he is not writing ‘these things to shame them’. (Vs. 14)  The things that Paul speaks of are mentioned in previous verses that deal with his station in life.  He doesn’t want that to be an embarrassment to the folks.  Let us not be ashamed of those that watch for us and bring us the good news.  They may be strange, different, and not like you want, but if they are a man of God hold them in high regard. 

He gives several descriptive statements to tell of his present station in life.  One is found in verse 10 where he says, ‘he is a fool for Christ’ sake’.  The world views him as a fool for Jesus.  One of the definitions that I found in Vine’s Word Study for ‘fool’ was one who has a reckless habit of the mind.  Paul has thrown caution to the wind.  He has recklessly given himself over wholly to the Lord to do with him as He wills.  In verse 11 we are told that Paul is ‘homeless and destitute of the daily provisions of food and raiment’.  I am sure this had a way of being an embarrassment to Paul’s converts. 

In verse 12 we are told although Paul is a doctor in the Educational field he makes his living by the hand of manual labor.  In verse 13 we are told the world has ‘defamed and considered him as filth and off scouring’.  The word ‘filth’ is the refuge left all around from the animals.  The word ‘off scouring’ is the scum left in the pans after cooking.  The word ‘defame’ carries the idea of to vilify and speak impiously words of blasphemy.  The world did not have a high regard for Paul and he didn’t want that to shame the Corinthian believers.  Let me remind us the world will have a low regard for those who bring us the Word, but remember, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings’.

He calls the folks, ‘My beloved sons’. (Vs. 14)  The word ‘beloved’ speaks of dearly and much loved.  The word ‘sons’ is ones own child.  He tells them in verse 15 that “In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel’

Paul is about to give a warning to these folks. (Vs. 15)  The word ‘warn’ means to put in mind, to caution, and to gently admonish and reprove.  Paul tells them in verse 15 that they have a number of instructors In Christ, but only one spiritual father who led them to faith In Christ.  This gives great weight to the warning that Paul is about to give.  Let us not fail to give attention to those God has placed in authority over us.  I am reminded of Hebrews 13:17 which says, “Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”  Let us remember, if those over us give a bad report that will not lend itself to our good health.  Paul tells them in verse 16 to ‘be ye followers of me’.  The text tells us that he ‘beseeches’ them to follow him.  The word is a strong word of begging.  The word ‘follow’ means to imitate.  Paul is telling the people to imitate him.  Paul’s position In Christ had caused such a clear Christ likeness that he could tell others, ‘Imitate what you see in my life’.

In verse 17, he sent Timothy as a living example of one of his followers.  He told them that he was Timothy’s father in the faith.  Timothy’s name means ‘dear to God’.  Oh, to be one who is dear to God.  Paul tells the folks in verse 17 that Timothy will bring them into remembrance ‘of my ways’ which are ‘the ways of Christ’.  I wonder today if we are living such a Christ filled life that gives off His likeness and we could say to the world, ‘Follow me’.  Come, imitate me, my life is the likeness of Christ.  Lord, let me look long into the mirror of your Word.  I’m not to that point of Christ likeness yet, but O how I want to be.