SOAP Study - September 29, 2020

    09.29.20 | by Rocky Shack


    1 Corinthians 4:6-13

    Dear brothers and sisters,[a] 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,[b] 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.

    10 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. 11 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. 12 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. 13 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.


    • What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
    • What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
    • How should this information impact your life?
    • What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
    • Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.

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    The first thing that came to my mind was any major sports organization. I am a 18-year fan of the Kansas City Chiefs—the defending SuperBowl Champs! Just saying. There is an owner of the team. There are those who work as front-office management. There are players who people are most likely going to recognize the easiest. And the list of contributors to the organization goes on and on. Paul is checking the Corinthians because they are moving out of order. They think that they are the owner, and Paul is reminding them that they are the players or the front office. That is in no way demeaning the gifts and authority they have. However, the Corinthians are acting like they are the ones responsible for what they have. Paul is reminding them that God is still the owner of this team. For that matter, God is the One who runs all of this. The Corinthians are acting like they have made it to this point on their own. They are leaders, but they are not the leaders of their own lives. They fix the narrative to make themselves out to be self-made. Paul is trying to shake them out of their pride and “their” gospel of self-sufficiency. The lesson for me is that the Corinthians wanted to be the kings who needed nothing and nobody because in their opinion, their story looks better that way. However, those who live in pride and the illusion of self-sufficiency do not submit to the true King. That King requires that we live our life in dependence on God’s blessing and will. There is value in being the players or front-office of the team, but there is no value in trying to be what we are not—the Owner. That is kind of why we are in this mess in the first place.


    Paul is giving us a reality check here. There is a contrast between what is happening with Paul and the Corinthians Christians’ expectation of what they should have. Paul is treated like trash because he follows Jesus; yet, the Corinthians expected no opposition and only wanted the best for themselves. It makes me wonder: what do I expect life to be like for a disciple of Christ? Is my answer to that question based on the Bible or worldly viewpoints? Jesus tells us what to expect—hatred from the people around you. Paul says the same here—treated like trash by the world. Why? Because they live unashamedly of the Gospel of Jesus. Am I willing to be disrespected for Christ? I really like being liked. Sometimes you have to be hated, if you stand up for God’s values. When you are disrespected for your Christian faith, do you respond graciously, or do you repay evil for evil like the rest of the world? Paul is saying that I—we must be different from the world. If we simply look like the world, then what is the point?


    LORD, don’t let me be scared to be different! Don’t let me seek the approval of this world. Keep me on your course, even if people leave me. Let me keep the truth in my mouth whether I am liked or not. You can see my heart. You can see the battle within me. Help me make the right choice! Help me to be more like You, and less like what is easier for me!