Fools for Christ

April 6, 2018

Image result for photo fools for Jesus

I Corinthians 4:9, 10

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Five days ago was April Fools’ Day.  (This is so late for that particular day because I had to finish Without The Resurrection series as close to Easter as possible, and it took two more blogs than originally planned).  It is a day to play foolish tricks upon others.  Here are a couple of classic examples from the website :

      April 1, 1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks
      to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil,
      Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.  It accompanied this an-
      nouncement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down
      from trees.  Huge numbers of viewers…called the BBC wanting to know how they
      could grow their own spaghetti tree.  To this the BBC diplomatically replied,
      “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” …The
      broadcast remains…the most popular and widely acclaimed April Fool’s Day
      hoax ever….

      April 1, 1974: The residents of Sitka, Alaska woke to a disturbing sight. 
      Clouds of black smoke were rising from the crater of Mount Edgecumbe, the
      long-dormant volcano neighboring them.  People spilled…onto the streets to
      gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. 
      Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke.  A
      local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into
      the volcano’s crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to
      fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life.  Ac-
      cording to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka
      resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, “This time you’ve gone too far!”

Saint Paul in I Corinthians 4:9 and 10, has a different take on what could be emphasized on April Fools’ Day!

      …I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned
      to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels
      and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake….

Why would he…think…God has displayed…the apostles…as…fools for Christ’s sake…?  He gives several reasons that seems to label apostles (and any serious Christian) as fools for Christ’s sake:

      I Corinthians 4:8 – He told the Corinthian believers, “You are already full!  You are already rich!  You have reigned as kings without us…I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you.”  In verse 18 of the same chapter, Paul tells them, “Now some of you are puffed up….”  The Greek word is φυσιόω (pronounced foo-see-o’-o).  According to Strong in his Greek Dictionary, it means, “…in the primary sense of blowing; to inflate, that is, (figuratively) make proud, haughty….”

       ✞      Yes, some of the Corinthian Christians were proud and haughty!  In I Corinthians 5:1 (Contemporary English Version), Paul calls them out because one of their own…is even sleeping with his own stepmother.”  And he accuses them in verse 2, “And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

               ▸      They should have exercised church discipline – and excluded the man from their fellowship – until he repented!  By the way, we know from II Corinthians 2:6 through 8 that because of Paul’s urging, they did obey God and practiced church discipline!  They did excommunicate the man, and he did repent!  And he was then received back into fellowship!  This is what church discipline should do! (See Matthew 18:15-17, and read the blogs from August 5th and 7th, 2015, This Four-Step Plan Works!I and II).

               ▸      They were initially puffed up!  “After all,” these church members were saying, “…isn’t this commonly done in our Corinthian society?

               ▸     After all, we too often say today,…isn’t sex before marriage – isn’t a sexual relationship with whomever you find attractive – isn’t that done and accepted in our society in this modern day and age?

       ✞      The Christians in Corinth were acting like they had already received perfection – as will happen in the Kingdom that is set up upon the earth when Christ returns.  And we…shall reign with Him…[as] kings and priests….” (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).  Paul would have loved to also reign with them, experiencing such victory!  But now he was just alowlyapostle!

      I Corinthians 4:9-13 – “…God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!  Even to this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.  And we labor, working with our own hands.  Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure it; being defamed, we entreat.  We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

       ✞      Here are some Biblical facts concerning Paul’s life:  …whipped by the Jews five times; three times beaten with Roman rods (see II Corinthians 11:24, 25); stoned at Lystra (see Acts 14:19); three times experiencing shipwreck (see for example Acts 27:39-44)…

              …in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils
              of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city,
              in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false
              brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessnes often, in hunger and
              thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness… (II Corinthians 11:
              26 and 27).

       ✞      Truly, he (and all the apostles) were poorly treated!

               ▸      All of them (except the Apostle John) experienced martyrdom!

               ▸      All of them suffered at the hands of unbelievers (as will anyone who strives to live godly in Christ Jesussee II Timothy 3:12).  Remember also what the Lord said in John 15:18 through 20:

               If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 
               If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you
               are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the
               world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is
               not greater than his master.”  If they persecuted Me, they will also
               persecute you….

So the apostles were fools for Christ !  May I be the same no matter what the world thinks!

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