"I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became you father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in even church. Some are arrogant, as thought I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?"
It has been a long time since I've written. I've had family visiting for the past two weeks. And on top of that the Lord has been doing some work in my heart. (you can read more about that in the update of Conquering: Revisited) So, in light of the absence, I want to give a quick recap of where the Lord has brought me so far in 1 Corinthians. The majority of these first four chapters have been about opening the eyes of the Corinthians to the divisions they were creating in their church body. These divisions had been caused, mainly, by the peoples' pride. They wanted to make themselves something special by associating with "the best" teacher. So Paul, Apollos, Cephas, even the name of Christ became banners that they tried to raise higher than all the rest. Paul as been reminding them of the need for unity in Christ. He has also been showing them again and again how it is their insignificance that unites them. Not one of us is special. We are all wretched and in need of the same Savior, Christ, so no one can boast.
Now, we pick up in Chapter 4 Verses 14-21. Paul, is about to get really practical with the church but first he wants them to know what the last four chapters have been for. His goal i s not to shame the church but rather he calls them "beloved children." Paul wants them to know that he writes out of love. And we also know that he writes in love because he continues to point them to the place of change. The Cross. Paul only has the authority to speak to the Corinthians "in Christ Jesus through the gospel". That is the place all our power comes from. Paul says when he comes back to the church he will find out what the arrogant really have to say. In other words, do they just talk or do they have the power to back up their pride.
I love to read Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest". Today's devotion reminded me of this verse. He said:
"We have to concentrate on the great point of spiritual energy- the Cross, to keep in contact with that center where all the power lies, and the energy will be let loose."