1 Corinthians 4:14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
OK... Last night I had a dream about Paul. I dreamed Paul was actually a fake... a bad guy like Judas. Only Judas handed Jesus over to be hung on the Cross, while this guy Paul, in my dreams, was stealing from the church and leaving a wake of fake preaching. I kept reading a message from these threads that said "the Bible is fake". I kept hearing someone say... "The Bible isn't fake.... Paul and Peter were the fakes." They preached poverty but they were sucking up the adoration. It was a bad dream... and then I sat down to read the next section of the Bible for today's study... and Paul claims to be their "father". Oh my....
I definitely had to turn to the commentary this morning.
You might have ten thousand instructors: The instructor was a “paidagogoi,” a guardian or “slave-guide,” who escorted the boys to and from school and who supervised their general conduct.
For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel: The instructor did have legitimate authority, but certainly not like a father. Paul had a unique place of authority and leadership among the Corinthian Christians, not only because he fathered the church itself in Corinth (I have begotten you through the gospel), but also because of his apostolic authority.
We don’t have apostolic authority like this. Leading someone to Christ does not give you special authority over their life, but it does give you a special relationship.
I urge you, imitate me: The first reaction of many of the Corinthian Christians would probably be horror. “Imitate you, Paul? You are regarded as a fool, as weak, as dishonored; you are hungry and thirsty and poorly clothed, homeless and beaten; you work hard to support yourself with manual labor. People look at you and see filth and the offscouring of all things. And you want us to imitate you?”
Paul might reply, “Yes, imitate me. Not because of all these difficulties, but despite them, and often because of them, the glory and power of Jesus Christ shines through me.”
Because they didn’t have printing back then, Paul couldn’t just hand out Bibles. People had to learn the gospel by watching his life. Maybe that wasn’t so bad after all!
Paul reminds me of the guy who burned Bibles because they weren't the King James Version. Paul reminds me of the guy who went to Seminary to please his mommy and then became an evangelist so he could molest children and then move on. Now he wants to be my daddy? Sorry.... I do not appreciate Paul's apostolic authority. He voted to put Jesus on the Cross. He held coats while Stephen was beaten to death. Now Paul expects me to give him apostolic authority. OH My.
Oh, I'm not saying Paul was a pervert. I'm sure it had something to do with the dream I had last night. But.... what if Paul is an example of what NOT to do. I haven't seen Paul do anything worthy of apostolic authority yet. He claims Jesus knocked him down and blinded him. But no one around at the time saw anything. What if Paul was a bad man. What if planting a church in a brothel was a devious plot to play on depravity for dinero.
Paul couldn't plant a church if God didn't want him to. BUT Paul could supplant a church if Satan wanted him to. Is Paul a wolf in sheep's clothing?
And Paul says he wants me to "imitate" him.
I keep thinking....
Who's your daddy.....