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Plastic Discipleship

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"I will come to you.......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 - 1 Corinthians 4:19-20, RSV

What power is this?
Was it power for exciting novelties? In fact, the Corinthians, were full of the thought of all the gifts they had, and they boasted about them in full. In v. 8 Paul acknowledges this trait, albeit with semi-sarcasm. No it wasn't power for the miraculous that Paul is looking for here, but rather the power for holy, Christlike living: and that is the missing element in their living.

He goes on to say in 5: 1, "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you." He is thinking about Holy Living. Christianity is caught as much as taught; but it seems that the Corinthians were hardly living an infectious kind of Christianity. Their evangelism had descended just to the level of proselytism; they were really engaged in sheep-stealing (6b) Join our party, come to our group. That is not evangelism, and Paul sees this nauseating brand of Christianity for what it is - plastic discipleship.

My own observation is that large numbers of us, young and old, experienced and immature, are drop-outs. Neglecting our responsibility to society; leaving the field to the humanists and the violent revolutionaries.......Let us get it clear, that if we cannot act as purifying salt today in society, as holy people of God, then society itself is going to rot us.

It is war today. "Forget about your words, your claims,' says Paul, 'where is your power - your power for holy living? It wasn't that there isn't power available. The marvellous thing about the Christian life is that when we step into Christ there is power, because He gives us the Holy Spirit. What robs us of power is plain rank disobedience.
What power is this? power to go to the exhibition....the exhilarating rides ...the up-beat music...the cotton candy...the win if you can hit the target .... christian babes desiring to grow up at the fair...

(An analogy that came to me this morning before I had even came here and read this....this word is GOOD stephen!)

Babes need the REAL milk of the Word to grow.
A very true word. The power that Paul had was the power of resurrection (Eph 1:19-20, Col 1:29, Phil 3:10, Eph 3:20). The persuasive power of men's word cannot change the heart and deliver from sin, death and bondage, only the power of God which is the resurrection power of Christ (1 Cor 4:20). The kingdom of God is not a matter of eloquence in words but transformation. Resurrection power also manifests itself as our experience of God's grace (strength), enabling us to do all things and bear all things (Phil 4:13, 2 Cor 12:10). The kingdom of God is the reign of the gospel in the church and the apostolic authority according to resurrection power. The Corinthians had become proud, puffed up, satisfied and independent of the apostles (1 Cor 4:8). The apostle Paul was their spiritual father, and he had the position and responsibility to chastise them (1 Cor 4:21). Paul exercised the power of Christ for chastisement of the believers, for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor 5:4, 1 Cor 2:4). Resurrection and life go together, hand in hand. This implies that if we do not live by the power of resurrection, we have no victory over sin, no ability to endure, and results in spiritual death. Those who minister in eloquence of word, actually minister death, in letter only, without glory (2 Cor 3:7-8). But ministry of the Spirit, results in life, power, glory, victory. In 1 Cor 4 Paul wanted to find out if these arrogant and proud people who had declared themselves to be independent of the apostles, had any life, any glory, any victory over sin and bondage. Victory over sin, physical and emotional healing, these are all by the resurrection power of Christ.
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If one could walk or talk or shout ....{or hammer or pull or drag} ....or as seems a popular method - BRAND - a soul into eternal life, there would be no need for a higher power now would there?
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