ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 143



4:4-21
1 C o ri n thia n s
131
judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m
right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord
returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our
private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.
Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate
what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the
Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of
another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do
you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from
God, why boast as though it were not a gift?
You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish
you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you.
Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have
become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike.
Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so
wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but
we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have
enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We
work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who
curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when
evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like
everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.
I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about
Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in
Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to
imitate me.
That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the
Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all
the churches wherever I go.
Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again.
But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out
whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether
they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of
talk; it is living by God’s power. Which do you choose? Should I come
with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?





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