June 21st, 2009 1:00 am
Priscilla Van Sutphin
1 Corinthians 4:9-13 NKJV For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
The word dishonored above is actually the Greek word:
NT:820 atimos (at'-ee-mos); from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and NT:5092; (negatively) unhonoured or (positively) dishonoured: KJV - despised, without honour, less honourable [comparative degree]. A means alpha but is used in connection with many words in the Greek as WITHOUT this time, as in without honor, without value, worthless would seem another fitting word. NT:5092 timh/ time (tee-may’); from NT:5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself: KJV – honour, precious, price, some. in the amplified it says disrepute & contempt.
1 Corinthians 4:9-16 AMP For it seems to me that God has made an exhibit of us apostles, exposing us to view last [of all, like men in a triumphal procession who are] sentenced to death [and displayed at the end of the line]. For we have become a spectacle to the world [a show in the world's amphitheater] with both men and angels [as spectators]. 10 We are [looked upon as] fools on account of Christ and for His sake, but you are [supposedly] so amazingly wise and prudent in Christ! We are weak, but you are [so very] strong! You are highly esteemed, but we are in disrepute and contempt! 11 To this hour we have gone both hungry and thirsty; we [habitually] wear but one undergarment [and shiver in the cold]; we are roughly knocked about and wander around homeless.
12 And we still toil unto weariness [for our living], working hard with our own hands. When men revile us [wound us with an accursed sting], we bless them. When we are persecuted, we take it patiently and endure it. 13 When we are slandered and defamed, we [try to] answer softly and bring comfort. We have been made and are now the rubbish and filth of the world [the offscouring of all things, the scum of the earth]. 14 I do not write this to shame you, but to warn and counsel you as my beloved children. 15 After all, though you should have ten thousand teachers (guides to direct you) in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the glad tidings (the Gospel). 16 So I urge and implore you, be imitators of me.
I was reading here today and it nearly jumped out at me, and it seemed that the Lord wanted to remind many of us that there is a high cost for the anointing, especially to be an apostle, a “sent one”. He also wanted to remind me that not all are as they seem. We wonder why things don’t work out the way we expect, and why we are treated with contempt sometimes as Christians even from other Christians who "have it together". But Jesus told us to REJOICE when men treat you badly, for great is your reward in heaven. I know that sometimes there is such rejection on people, that they get mistreated everywhere they go till they forgive deep down in their hearts, everything that has been an offense. But this rejection is due to being a temple of the Holy Spirit of God.
When you are being prepared for something big, there is much required. Jesus also said that to whom much is given, much is required. Just look at the life of Moses, or Joseph to see that they had to go through some big time desert times, to get to the land of plenty. I remember TD Jakes saying that "Pain is the crucible from which power is born." Sometimes we think, “ I just can’t take anymore”. But somehow the Lord gives us the strength to get through. He told the disciples they would have to leave everything behind to follow Him fully. Some of us have given up part or parts of our self life. And we think that’s a lot. Paul said in Colossians 1:24, “ [Even] now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed [on our part] of Christ's afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church. AMP
WHAT you say ? “That isn’t the gospel I’ve heard !” Then you are listening to the wrong gospel. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in prosperity, even in the midst of hard times, like Joseph and his family experienced. They were well provided for. But the teaching in so many churches are that we shouldn’t have to suffer to get there. And some even teach that having everything we want is there. WE just have to rebuke the devil. Well what if the devil you are rebuking was sent by Almighty God to humble you ? Consider that there are many intercessors right now, and prophets, and apostles in the making who are suffering for the sake of the church. Consider “Joe” or “Alice”, that they might be suffering for your sins. They may be afflicted to pay the price for the anointing that is coming yet to them. Many suffer in loneliness, and sickness, persecution and kinds of suffering.
And they are being mistreated so that they overcome offense perhaps, going through the tests over and over till they overcome the temptation to retaliate, or talk bad about others, as in calling down fire from heaven, like the disciples wanted to do. The Lord rebuked them saying, “ You know not what spirit you are of !” Paul talks of being hungry, thirsty, tired, humiliated, and homeless. And in 2 Corinthians he talks about many other sufferings. He talked about EPAPHRODITUS, whose name seems to have disappeared out of the bible for some folks who teach. Epaphroditus suffered almost unto death with a SICKNESS, for the sake of who ?
Philippians 2:25-30 Epaphroditus Praised - Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
WOW, where has this been taught in the pulpits all these years ?
It’s not like I want to say that all sickness is due to this anymore than I like people who think that every illness has sin behind it! Jesus chastised his disciples for that one too with the blind man. Remember they asked him whose sin was he suffering for, and he told them no one’s, not his nor his parents, but for the GLORY of God to be shown! I think Jesus was not that happy about their question. I don’t think HE is ever happy with PRESUMPTION on our parts, nor an attitude that somehow it has to be due to sin for everything we see that needs healing.
Job, who is an example of suffering also for our times, was harassed by the devil just to TEST him! And guess what, HE HAD BOILS on his body! Affliction! And GOD allowed that! His friends were also tested in their reactions. So maybe we are too sometimes ? It is really important to not rely on our own wisdom which James tells us is earthly and sensual, but to ask God in each situation how to pray and to not ASSUME anything about the sufferings of others, nor the WAY they suffer. Our job is to pray, to seek God on their behalf, if He so leads, and not to judge them. Now if GOD says, do not pray, or thus and so which could be negative, then He may have you say something or He may not. But we all need to listen before speaking and not assume anything.
This kind of contempt for people happens in even “revival” churches. So do not be fooled by flattery, nor hype, healings and miracles, signs and wonders, nor the clothes or titles men and women give themselves. Jesus didn't get crude. Jesus didn't have to hype up the crowd. He spoke with AUTHORITY because he was HOLY. No lack of FRUIT in His life! An apostle or prophet needs no title. They are known by the power of God within them that executes miracles, healings and words that bring LIFE, by the presence of God within, that moves mountains, and by the LOVING attitudes towards others. As Cheech would say “ we don’t need no stinkin badges!” LOL.
We are ALL being perfected in love. It is hard to love rejected people. They sometimes bite the hand that nourishes them. But we must get to that place of being like Jesus. Jesus didn't have a hard time answering the hypocrites either, with whom He was far more harsh than the with the lost. And if we are honest with ourselves, we all have places in our hearts that hide some area of unbelief, or lack of love, and God is purging all that out in us all, that we can receive the greater glory !