1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
1Co 4:8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
1Co 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
1Co 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
1Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
1Co 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
1Co 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

This is a follow up lesson to the “adoption of sons” study where we covered the basic doctrine of sonship, and we took a look at who we are “in Christ”. We also went over the doctrine of “Godliness” and the mechanics of it, then we saw the design that God has for a son to progress through the doctrine for his sonship edification, and we also went over the motivating doctrine for a son to not only grow in his education, but also so that he can let the word of God “work effectually” within him as well. From the moment we get our sonship education underway we will face “sufferings of this present time” which no man can avoid, moreover Romans 8 shows that you can’t pray these sufferings away, and as you go through the sufferings “of this present time” you have the effectual doctrine for your souls so that you can “endure” and be “more than conquers” in the things that come up in your life. 1Corithians 4:8 Paul reproves the Corinthians as being “full”, and “rich”, and says that they “reigned as kings”, but this was not the godly thinking Paul wanted them to have, notice next Paul says “and without us”, the Corinthians were not experiencing the “sufferings of Christ”, they were avoiding them. That’s why Paul say’s “without us”, Paul was made as “the filth of the world”, and the Corinthians “reigned as kings” in the eyes of men, the Corinthian saints did not want to advance further into their sonship education, they were not thinking godly concerning God the Father’s will for them, they saw the sufferings that Paul went through and they wanted no part of it at all.

These saints were not following Paul like they ought, they weren’t thinking godly that’s why Paul says “For I think”; Paul is saying that his thinking and their thinking is not on the same godly page. The Corinthians were not yet ready to grow spiritually, they “gloried in men”, and they thought “of men above that which is written”, and Paul says that they have “ten thousand instructors in Christ”, but “not many fathers”. The Corinthian saints were content to be taught over and over again about the basic doctrine “in Christ”. These instructors were not edifying the saints in the advanced doctrine for their souls, they would make known the righteousness of God, and the gospel “according to the revelation of the mystery”, and other aspects of our gospel, but they were not ready to be fully utilized by God, because the main aspect of being who God has made you to be “ in Christ” is letting the word of God “work effectually” within you by experiencing the “sufferings of Christ”, and being an “ambassador” for Christ making an impact to His praise and glory. Paul says they have ten thousand instructors, “but not many fathers”, a son ought to grow in the doctrine for his sonship education, and the only way that can take place is by God the Father’s design for a saint to “follow” Paul. Paul’s reproof to these saints as our “father” in the doctrine ought to have caused “shame” within them, and as we see in 2Corinthians it did, these saints were beginning to feel the effects from the “sufferings of Christ” so Paul as a “father” gave these “sons” the doctrine that would benefit their souls in the sufferings that they would “endure”.

2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Co 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
2Co 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

The Corinthian saints had begun to let the word of God take effect within them, and the “sufferings of Christ” now started to be experienced by the saints also, now they were ready for the “comfort of God” in their tribulations. As Paul makes plainly clear this “comfort” is not done by God taking the sufferings away, but quite the opposite. Paul says that when he is “afflicted” it is to the benefit of the saints in Christ, Paul being our example teaches the saints how to use the doctrine so that we too can endure and find “salvation, and consolation” within it. We are to “follow” Paul and the example that he set forth for us throughout our 13 epistles. As we read Romans through Philemon and especially the book of Acts we see all the persecution and sufferings that the apostle Paul went through, and by Godly design his afflictions are in our bibles for our “consolation and salvation” so that we too can “follow” Paul’s ensample in our tribulations. Knowing God the Father as “the God of all comfort” can only be experienced by a son who begins to let God’s word work “effectually” within him, and when he learns how to “endure” them, he learns to find salvation in the doctrine as well. The doctrine is designed to work in “all our tribulation”, Paul says that it is “effectual” meaning it is guaranteed to work, the son just has to trust that it will work for him the same way he trusted the gospel of his salvation. So as we follow Paul as he followed Christ, and as we progress through our sonship curriculum and when we are “afflicted” and when the “sufferings of Christ abound” within us, we can use the word of God as comfort, and also we can “comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”.

2Co 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Once a son learns the comforting and enduring doctrine found in 2Corinthians 1 through 11, he is taught of Paul how to “glory” in our sufferings “for Christ’s sake”. When we possess the same Godly thinking that Paul had we can see that when suffer we have the privilege to put the “power of Christ” on display in the presence of men on this earth, and in the face of angels in heavenly places as well. Paul says that “a messenger of Satan” was sent to hinder him, Satan’s policy of evil against the body of Christ was now in full effect and because he receiving an “abundance” of revelations, Satan’s goal was to hinder Paul from being “exalted above measure”. Satan thought he would cause Paul to quit, or to be afraid to advance further into his sonship education, but the Lord sent a message right back to Satan. Satan saw the “effectual” doctrine working within Paul, and what he saw was “the power of Christ” being put on display not only in the face of Satan, but before the angelic realm as well.

Act 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
Act 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
Act 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

Throughout Paul’s ministry as he preached the gospel to the unsaved, Satan and his policy of evil worked to put an end to the gospel of Christ, at times Paul experienced being “afraid”, and the policy of evil had an effect on Paul, that’s why the Lord told Paul to “speak, and hold not thy peace”.

Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Once we learn to “endure” our sufferings of Christ, then we begin to understand how to “glory” and “take pleasure” in our sufferings, this is because we have come to understand that when we are weak, then Christ’s “strength is made perfect” in our weakness. Now we come to the point in our education where should want “the fellowship of his sufferings”. When Paul says “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection”, he is not talking about the righteousness aspect of the cross. When the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, Satan saw what His death accomplished, he was put on display as an out-right fool, and the power of the cross was shown by God in the face of Satan and his principalities and powers as being their doom. Paul was looking at what took place when this ‘”power” was put on display and the wrath of Satan and his principalities and powers in heavenly places was poured out upon the members of the body of Christ, Paul says he wants the fellowship of those sufferings as being a member of Christ’s body, and we ought to possess the same godly thinking that Paul had toward “the sufferings of Christ”. Because Christ is our “Head” in the “body”, we should want to “know Him” also as He suffered, and as being part of the body, if the Head were here today He would suffer, and we should want the same “fellowship of His sufferings”, should we be treated any different from the Head in the body?

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Now once you have learned the Philippian doctrine of saying ‘I want it!” now we begin to understand how to “rejoice” in our sufferings, knowing that whatever comes our way, we need not to put so much attention on ourselves, and as being members of His body, we should “rejoice” knowing that we have been given the privilege to suffer for “Christ’s sake”.

2Ti 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Paul says that he also suffered the same type of sufferings that Timothy endured but he was “not ashamed”, as we saw earlier Paul was “ashamed” at one point in his ministry, but he learned how to be “persuaded” to trust God’s word when He said that His doctrine is “effectual” in being the “salvation”, and the “comfort” that God designed for it to be. Paul is saying that he is going to ‘hold God to His word’ and that he is “persuaded” that it will work for him, and for the members of His body that are “willing”, and like Paul learned not to “trust in himself”, neither should we.

2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2Co 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
2Co 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
2Co 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
2Co 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

We too should possess the same godly thinking that Paul had concerning our sufferings “of Christ”, but it is sad to say some saints want deliverance from the sufferings of Christ, or think that God will take them away, but this is an ungodly way of thinking. God never promised to take our sufferings away, and for us to ask for anything other than the “comfort” that we have in scripture would be an ungrateful son, and one that has not properly learned the corrective doctrine for his sonship edification, that is because he has had “10,000 instuctor in Christ, and not many fathers”. Most important of all we should not be “ashamed of the gospel of Christ”, and we should be “persuaded” that the doctrine will work so that we can “endure” our sufferings, and we can then learn to “take pleasure” and “glory” in whatever comes our way, then we can “rejoice” knowing that our sufferings are for Christ’s sake, and “that the power of Christ may rest upon” us, even if it were to mean our death we ought to be “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”.

By Rod Jones

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