Every generation of Christians must wrestle with their identity and character. It is extremely difficult to not be overly influenced by the culture that surrounds us.
The Corinthian culture was dominated by philosophies that emphasized individual freedom, wealth, power, and accomplishment.
American culture is dominated by beauty, wealth, power, and success. Americans use happiness as a measure of their quality of life.
Paul used sarcasm to shake the church out of the way they had blended the Corinthian culture with their attitudes and actions.
— 1 Corinthians 4.8-13 – Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you!
For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals.
We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless,
And we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
When slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
The Cross in Conflict with Culture
The role of the prophet or preacher is to reveal the cracks in a nation’s philosophy and call people back to God’s teaching.
The Corinthians were similar to Americans in that both highly value status, wealth, health, power, happiness, and the like.
Paul reminds people who desire to live a Jesus-kind-of-life what following the Savior entails.
(1) Christ’s values conflict with the world’s system. The image Paul used in verse 9 was a victory parade.
Christians are not the leaders of the parade, but the captives who are chained to the “floats” and headed for execution.
The imprisonment, torture, and death of Jesus’ followers are extreme examples that have taken place countless times over the centuries.
Following Jesus is not to be equated with a martyr complex.
Following Jesus is involves day-to-day obedience to his revealed Word and the direction of the Spirit – being willing to go where God calls, no matter what.
(2) John Wimber said, “I’m a fool for Jesus. Whose fool are you?”
How many people have ruined their lives, because they followed “fools” in search of wealth, power, status, and assumed happiness?
The Biblical definition of a “fool” is that of someone who disregards God’s laws and harms other people with the belief that they will never be held accountable for their actions.
The church needs to seriously consider whom we are following. Are we following the foolishness of American culture or the wisdom of Christ?
We do well to evaluate our discipleship in the light of Paul’s words.
— 1 Corinthians 1.17-18 – For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Prayer for Ukraine
As Russian forces are systematically destroying cities in Ukraine, I am taken aback by the immense wealth of Russian oligarchs.
I am also disturbed that some areas of London and Miami have so many filthy rich Russians living there that they are called “Little Russia.”
There is no doubt that the culture of this present age is populated by “fools,” who believe there will be no accounting before God for their actions.
During this traumatic time in history, let’s pray that the church separates from the values of the world’s system and fully adopts a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Let’s pray for the Christian aid agencies in Ukraine, Poland, and other surrounding countries. Let’s also pray for the church in Ukraine that is serving Jesus in the midst of the conflict.
When people respond to the YouTube videos on the Bob Spradling channel, they most often remark about something Rudy Ross has said. I hope you will check out the videos and soak in the wisdom of Rudy.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.