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1Cor 4,1-5

(181c) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Rebellion >> Rebelling against God >> Rebelling against the men of God

1Cor 4-1,2

(4e) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Being accountable in your stewardship – Paul and the other apostles were servants of Christ in that they served the Church, meaning they did not claim to own the mysteries of God; rather, they were mere stewards of them. We do not own God’s truth; it owns us in the sense that we are serving freedom; it does not serve us. Paul described his position of apostleship as one who must be found trustworthy. He considered his calling as a steward greater than his calling as a servant. As a steward, he was responsible for hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit that he would ultimately use to serve the Church. For example, with the heart of an evangelist, Paul’s greatest stewardship pertained to the doctrine that God has accepted the gentiles as part of His church (see Ephesians chapter 3). Jesus alluded to this in the gospels, but it needed a lot of interpretation to understand what He meant, but Paul spoke very plainly about it, and for this reason the gentile church exists. Before his revelation, the other apostles, including Peter, believed that Jesus died only for the Jews. This example drives home the importance of Paul’s stewardship. (See also Gal 1-11,12).

(14g) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are set apart from the world – The one attribute of a good steward is trustworthiness. Stewards do not have ownership of the things they manage. For example, the owner of any company, whether it be a store or a restaurant, hires managers to run his business, and the manager determines whether the owner makes a profit, based on his ability to manage the business. Hence, the apostle Paul was a manager of God’s business of preaching the gospel of the grace of God and saving souls.

(71aa) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority from God to evangelize the world >> We have authority to preach the gospel

(78e) Thy kingdom come >> Sincerity >> Taking God to heart >> Having pure motives and desires

(102g) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Trustworthy >> Faithfulness – Paul was a man entrusted with the treasures of Christ, being leader of the Church. He established more churches, preached to more people and wrote more epistles than any other apostle. God handed over His most valued possession to him, the gospel of Christ, and commanded him to do faithfully with it, and Paul took it trembling in all humility, promising with all his heart to protect it like a watchdog, and he delivered it to as many people as he could. While Paul was alive, nobody attempted to distort the gospel for sordid gain. There were many servants of Christ, many messengers like Tychicus and Epaphras, who were named in the hall of helpers (Romans chapter 16). Paul no doubt talked to them about the mysteries of God, and they were able to tell others, but Paul learned many of these mysteries directly from God as an offshoot of his relationship with Christ.

(105a) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart >> A pure heart is a genuine heart

(106i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through prophets – There is a difference between hearing a word from the Holy Spirit and hearing that same word from a third party. God can quicken a person’s spirit to understand His word while reading it from the Bible or hearing it from the pulpit, and in that sense be as though God personally divulged the message, but there is something unique about being at the headwaters of the mysteries of God. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate origin of God’s word, yet prophets are the first step in man’s understanding of divine truth. They are called prophets who are origins of God’s word by contrast to the multitude around them who are ignorant of God. Paul was one of those headwaters; he told others what God had revealed to him, and they became beacons of God’s word as they went into the world and throughout the Church speaking the oracle of God that quickened in their own hearts. Paul was more than a steward of the mysteries of God; he was also a servant of Christ, and a servant must be humble because of the great treasures that God has entrusted to him.

1Cor 4-1

(108i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Revelation of Jesus Christ >> Revelation of the mysteries of God – Jesus was born from a virgin, He died for our sins and rose from the dead and ascended to the father and sent the Holy Spirit in His place, yet there are many more mysteries. For example, Paul’s great revelation was that the gentiles were included in the grace of God, and there are other mysteries coming in the way of endtime prophecies. If someone knows these mysteries, it doesn’t mean they own them; they are mere stewards of them. Paul is saying there are mysteries still coming to the Church, which means God is just as mysterious as He was to the children of Israel in regard to the things we don’t understand. We know that the last days are coming and are almost upon us and that all things are about to change, and these changes will occur in ways we don't expect, and for that reason there will be many mysteries. People will go back to the Bible and try to correlate the circumstances with the prophecies, and try to comprehend the mysteries of the last days while they are unfolding. For 2,000 years the age of grace has been saving souls for the Kingdom of God, and when endtime prophecy begins to unfold, it will seem very mysterious; many of us will have a hard time understanding what is happening. In short, we will be mystified. Many of those who had refined their theology and are confident in their understanding of endtime events will be the most fearful when things don’t happen as they expected. A good steward can be thrown a curve and quickly adjust his theology to match the unfolding events, and for them it will be painless, but to others who search for a ways to fit the circumstances into their theology instead of changing their theology to fit the circumstances, the last days will be a very confusing time for them. See also: Interpreting endtime prophecy; 231a / 2Tim 3,1-9; 3l

(231a) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Solving the mystery of godliness >> The Church discloses the mystery of Christ -- This verse goes with verses 8-16. Some admit there are mysteries about God. Paul used the word “mystery” in that the entire age of grace was one long mystery to ancient Israel; almost no one saw it coming. It was buried in the Old Testament, and it would take someone who was truly spiritual to see it. People in the Church today consider all the mysteries to be solved in Christ, who did indeed shed much light on the Old Testament Scriptures and fulfilled many of its prophecies, but there are many other prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy is always mysterious. Prior to their fulfillment, people devise their scenarios attempting to explain how these things will happen, and while the prophecies are unfolding they are mostly in utter confusion as to what is happening, being that none of their scenarios are happening the way they expected. After the dust settles, using hindsight we can compare the circumstances with the ancient writings to find a one-to-one correspondence and wonder why they didn’t see it, since it was laid out so concisely in their manuscripts, yet do we see what is happening in our day? See also: Interpreting endtime prophecy; 108i

1Cor 4,2-4

(45h) Judgment >> Of believer’s sin >> God will judge us if we don’t heed His word

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1Cor 4,3-5

(40e) Judgment >> Jesus judges the Church – It is a very small thing to be rightly judged by another, much less wrongly judged. Paul is saying these two are in fact equal. People hardly benefit from judging each other, yet they line up to do just that. Judging others is some people’s favorite pastime; TV programs are devoted to this, but Paul is appealing that we defer judgment and wait for God, for all involved will benefit from this. Paul says he does not even examine himself, because his judgment is full of bias and condemnation and accomplishes nothing. Paul’s basic attitude about himself was to do his very best, primarily in his ministry, and where he failed, human judgment was not a high enough court to correct him. God will bring wisdom and understanding about everything concerning ourselves and others. Knowledge imparted by the Spirit will correct us, and walking in this knowledge will reward us all the more. The result will be a spiritual understanding of true justice by contrast to our substandard human understanding tainted by worldly views and fleshly impulses that cloud our minds and skew our decisions about ourselves and others, leading us into error. Human judgment is by nature barbaric, mostly leading to violence. Giving somebody what he deserves is not the goal of divine justice, and for this reason we must wait for Him, who has a gift in His hand even for those who have sinned, but His gift for those who wait for Him is greater.

(69l) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Judging yourself correctly – Outwardly, it appears that Paul acquits himself of all things, which would make him appear self-righteous, but if we knew Paul, we would know that he was waiting for God to correct him and discipline him and lead him in the way of righteousness. God is the only one who can do this; we can’t do it ourselves; we don’t have authority, but He did tell us to “judge with righteous judgment” (Jn 7-24). This is not the kind of judgment that invokes a decision and a consequence, but one that steers away from danger. We have the right to discern those who would judge us by human standards, and he tells us to disregard their verdicts. If our enemies want to condemn us, they have that freedom, just as we are free to ignore their decision.

(215d) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> Fulfillment of God’s time >> Completion of a period of time – God commands us to wait until the Lord comes, but if this is in reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ, we could be waiting a long time. That is the most literal interpretation, but there are other ways to understand what Paul is saying that are just as viable and more significant: the Lord comes with His anointing and judges between brothers in His time. God has us wait for Him for various reasons, which has its own reward, though some people are not ready for God’s answer; therefore, He is waiting for all people involved to prepare to receive His verdict and bless them. God has designated a time for everything, and we must wait for Him to show us understanding in the problems we face. In that process He builds character, and in that character those who are disturbing us will see our patience, and when His answer comes, they will know we have been waiting for God, whose gift will add strength to His grace, so the manifold blessing of Christ might fall upon our enemies and lead them to repentance.

1Cor 4-3,4

(17c) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Judging in the flesh >> Evaluating circumstances by the carnal mind – Paul does not allow his flesh to examine the spiritual aspect of himself, but leaves that to God. He knows his flesh will always come to the wrong conclusions. It is a common trap for Christians to evaluate their spiritual lives with their fleshly minds. Our flesh will never lead to any kind of advantage to serve Christ; these are things the flesh does not understand. Our sinful nature should therefore not be allowed to make any decisions about our spiritual lives, but we should evaluate ourselves through prayer and meditation on the Scriptures.

(18b) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Condemning God’s people

(70b) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Sensitivity To The Spirit

(90a) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us >> Conviction leads in the way of righteousness – Paul intently listened for the small voice of the Holy Spirit, who dictated the true condition of his heart, leading to repentance. For that reason Paul was able to hear that same small voice speaking to him about the greatness of God that he jotted in his epistles. If a Christian brother is unwilling to listen to the Holy Spirit, they won’t listen to us either. Often our judgment is skewed, because we don’t know all the facts, which leads to making assumptions, but God knows all things, and He brings to light the things that are hidden and exposes the motives of men’s hearts.

(118k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Law of liberty

(120d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> Forgiving your brother >> As God has forgiven you

(154j) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> Having a good conscience >> God is my conscience – Paul’s confidence came from being brutally honest with himself before the Lord with all his foibles. Even if he had done something wrong, he didn’t feel guilty about it, except from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He may have been servant to the Corinthian Church, but he was the Lord’s servant, who instructed him not to accept their guilt.

(161j) Works of the devil >> Carried Away >> Condemnation without basis of sin – For the Corinthian Church to accuse Paul of things they thought were wrong was not their business, and he was not going to tolerate it. Our judgment against one another and against the world is pointless; it is the Lord who judges. Paul complained to the Corinthians that they had not given him proper respect as their servant and steward of the grace of God. He told them their opinions and criticisms were irrelevant, for the only opinion he respected was God’s. Paul said he was conscious of nothing against himself. He didn’t even respect his own self-criticism, much less theirs, though he was not by this acquitted, for the one who examined him was the Lord.

(227j) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Depending on Jesus to fulfill His purpose in us

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1Cor 4,5-21

(138f) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Reprove your brother for not thinking right – Paul was trying to wean the Corinthians off this world and onto the rewards of heaven. We should not apply the principles of this world to our faith. The Kingdom of God runs on the principles of faith and love, but if we want to operate in the Spirit of God through the principles of the world, Christianity simply will not work for us. We will never come to any proper understanding of God; our faith will not grow; we will come to all the wrong conclusions about Scripture and doctrine, and we will misunderstand everything and teaching it that way, introducing heresy into the Church. This happened, starting in the third century. What we do, the decisions we make and the conclusions we derive matter to the generations after us, and for this reason it mattered that the Corinthians got it right, for doctrinal mistakes accumulate over the centuries and millennia and have created the Church we have today that has slowly drifted from the teachings of Scripture.

1Cor 4,5-16

(192b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Life for life >> Losing your life to gain God’s purpose

1Cor 4,5-7

(17l) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Making distinctions between each other

1Cor 4-5

(49j) Judgment >> Judgment day >> The open books of the white throne judgment

(75m) Thy kingdom come >> Having ulterior (hidden) motives

(112i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Light exposes sin >> Light reveals hidden motives

(126l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Patience >> Be patient with your brother

(184a) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Darkness >> Hiding behind your own imagination >> Hiding behind a false partition – People tend to prefer their own brand of truth, and so they have gotten themselves more lost than the generation before them, though they have the Scriptures in their purity laying open in front of them. We read the Bible like a time machine; it takes us back to the first century when all these things were written, and we can know exactly what they saw and heard and touched and believed, and we can believe the same things they did, but people like their own ideas better. Religions start this way, forming mental ruts, and people fall into them, so they can’t read the Bible without reading into it. The things written that contrast their beliefs they discount, the things that correlate they emphasize, and the things that come close they force-fit in order to maintain their religion. In this way Satan can lead them a little off course, and the next generation a little more, until they have veered ninety-degrees from the truth and become capable of unimaginable atrocities in the name of Christ. This has happened throughout the history of the Church, starting in the third century in the formation of the Catholic Church.

(212g) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> God is all knowing >> Nothing hidden >> God knows your heart

(214h) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> God’s time is soon >> Relatively soon

(227a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> God rewards what we do for Him in secret – The Corinthians were trying to justify themselves in regard to each other and to those in the world, claiming to be in the right, but Paul’s advice was to wait to be vindicated and not to bother seeking justice in this life. ‘Men arguing with men,’ is the common scenario of seeking justice; nobody has the supreme authority or enough wisdom to discern the truth in most cases. Even in a court of law they get it wrong, and when they get it right, there are a myriad details relating to the case that go overlooked that God would have taken into account. Paul didn’t tell them to wait for the next life to seek justice, because the Corinthians probably would not have accepted that. Instead, he said, “wait until the Lord comes,” suggesting that the Corinthians expected Jesus to return in their lifetime. They wanted to understand their lives as it pertained to this world, but we cannot interpret our faith through the elementary principles of the world. Paul tried to wean them off these principles and get them to think spiritually and abandon their concerns for this life. Even if they did somehow achieve justice, it would mean nothing, for Christ would tell them, “You have your reward in full.”

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1Cor 4,6-16

(7b) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Defend the word of God by obeying it – Paul knew all his preaching was only part of his arsenal he would use to communicate the gospel; the other part was obedience. He became a model, a living example of Christianity, so people could look to him to decide what was right. He knew the more he lived his faith the better people would respond to his message, and the more entrenched the gospel would be in this world. It would be a long, cold, dark period after he left, and he wanted to make sure the gospel started on the right foot, because it would take many wrong turns in the centuries ahead.

(57b) Paradox >> Opposites >> World’s perspective versus God’s perspective

(153i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Shame >> Walking in condemnation >> Walking in hypocrisy – Guilt is a very destructive force in our lives, even if we repent of them. Unresolved sin causes us to act in an inappropriate manner toward each other. Everybody experiences guilt; the memories can continue to condemn us, but we need to remember our sins that are under the blood will never appear in the believer’s judgment; He will not call us to account for them, but he will call us to account for allowing thoughts of condemnation to ruin our walk with God. We must not allow guilt to harm other people in frustrated aggression, dealing with stubborn thoughts and feelings that won’t leave. We are to pattern our lives after the Scriptures, and if there is something hindering us, we are to align ourselves with what is written through prayer and get in synch with Christ and with His people.

(154d) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world does not know God

1Cor 4,6-10

(184j) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Dragging God’s Grace Through The Mud >> Unwilling to honor God’s grace

(196h) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Immaturity >> Not mature enough to love God

1Cor 4,6-8

(223c) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Conceit >> Imposing your opinion of self on others >> Cliques make people seek your acceptance

1Cor 4-6,7

(17f) Sin >> Judging in the flesh >> Seeking the glory of man

(22m) Sin >> Pride glorifies self >> Comparing yourself with others – Paul didn’t want the saints at Corinth to act arrogantly against each other. The context of this verse was that Paul didn’t pass judgment on himself, nor was he conscious of his sins that he committed, neither in the past nor in the present. When he committed a sin, he asked forgiveness, repented and continued serving the Lord without guilt, shame or blame, being fully covered by the blood of Jesus. “Arrogant” is a word we could use to describe the Corinthians, naming up to twenty instances in First and Second Corinthians to validate this term. The Corinthians were like the Church in America today and all the developed nations of the world; they are all arrogant in relation to each other. Paul said that the solution to this is to quit sinning, for if we allow guilt to condemn us, even after we have repented, these things can rise up and fester in our hearts and agitate our faith.

(79d) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Monitor your thoughts

(108a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Balance between truth and error >> Wisdom brings balance between truth and error

(170a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Stepping on people to get to the bottom >> Those who seek glory from men discard others

1Cor 4-6

(11j) Servant >> Paul is our example of how to walk with God – This verse goes with verse 16

(94n) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective is your personal reality >> How you interpret your point of view

(158f) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Division (Cliques) >> Jealously seeking prominence in the body

(176k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Extremes >> Truth is never found in your thinking on either extreme of any subject

(181h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Self deception >> Imaginary perception of self >> Distorted perception of self -- This verse goes with verse 8

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1Cor 4,7-16

(229ib) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Partaking of Jesus’ suffering >> Promoting the gospel causes suffering

1Cor 4,7-13

(23e) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> Poor are those who are rich in their own minds – Paul never glamorized the gospel of Christ, but was subservient to the lowest forms of the earth, like snails leaving a trail of scum wherever he went, according to some people’s opinion of him, but he didn't want the Corinthians thinking about him this way. That so-called scum was the gospel of peace that ultimately changed the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. If this is how the world feels about Christianity, then how did prosperity doctrines ever justify themselves in light of Bible verses like this, reminding us of our status in society. Christians have always tried to connive ways to rationalize their inclinations for worldliness while attempting to preserve their conscience, namely prosperity teachers who have dedicated their lives to explaining that God’s main objective is to give us as much junk we can possibly receive, when in reality they are behaving just like the godless heathen whom Paul earnestly sought to convert to the faith. That is not to say the Corinthians were unsaved, but they behaved no different from the world and needed correcting before their ship sank. This was a very serious matter to Paul, for he knew the Church would go wayward after his demise (Act 20-29,30). He would continue correcting the Church so long as he could breathe, letting them know exactly what he thought of their phony doctrines. We have a hundred verses in the Bible that command us to sacrifice this life for the sake of the Kingdom of God, and then we have liars who teach just the opposite using a couple verses they have inflated without cause by their fleshly minds (Col 2-18). See also: Prosperity teachers; 1Cor 4,8-16; 236i / 2Cor 9,3-7; 4e

1Cor 4-7,8

(11i) Servant >> We are not a standard for each other – The worst thing a person could do after God has blessed them is to get conceded and flaunt their gifts to make people jealous. They have completely missed the point of being blessed by God, who has given us every good thing that we might share it with others in need. Paul was very angry and sarcastic when he addressed them as wealthy kings. On the contrary, Paul had nothing and was more filled than they; he spiritually possessed more than they materially could manage, and was living closer to the King than the Corinthians.

1Cor 4-7

(36d) Gift of God >> Gifts from the Holy Spirit >> All good things are gifts from God

(198c) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Ungrateful – Paul describes the heart of the judgmental person: proud and ungrateful. Paul and his team worked their fingers to the bone and risked their lives to bring the gospel to the Corinthians, and all they could do was complain. Grumbling was the very trait that led Israel wandering in the wilderness until their entire generation died-off during the days of Moses. Every church gave them recognition for their dedication, deep gratitude and spiritual affection, except the Corinthians according to Paul's epistles, who couldn’t find it in their miniscule hearts to be thankful for their salvation, much less grateful for all the efforts made on their behalf. They thought Paul should quietly serve them while they sat back and received the ministry. Why wouldn’t God feel the same way about us after all the things He has done often without receiving any thanks. This is what the absence of gratitude does: it reinforces ill feelings and causes separation between the workers and the benefactor, but when there is gratitude, it makes a connection with the evangelist and the believers, and it also connects them to God. Gratitude is our ministry to Christ, and that same gratitude should have been reflected onto Paul, whom God used as His spokesman to bring the gospel to them, but if they did not appreciate the messenger, neither did they much appreciate the message or its origin.

(214a) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> Jesus owns you >> God owns everything

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1Cor 4,8-17

(73a) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> Kingdom of God is opposite of the world

1Cor 4,8-16

(5l) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> The Church tests the disciples – It takes sacrifice to make a commitment to God the way He expects, yet Paul was making all the sacrifices, and the Corinthians were exploiting all the freedoms and benefits. The Corinthians were so busy eating their seed that they had nothing to offer. Meanwhile, Paul was busy sowing his seed that he yearned to refresh himself in the Corinthian's faith, but found them too immature to offer him anything. Paul had to retrain them on the fundamental principles of faith, primarily that Christianity was about giving and not receiving. Paul refused to become a burden on anyone; he exhorted them to become imitators of him, in order that no hindrance may come to the gospel, but the moment he sought to enjoy the product of his labor in Christ, he found them to be more enemies than fellow believers in a common faith. People by nature are not interested in the truth, only in seeking advantage and believing what is convenient. For this reason Paul had to lead an exceptionally disciplined life, because even the people of God were ready to vilify him.

(12h) Servant >> Bond servant >> Their indifference to the world

(37i) Judgment >> Blood of Jesus >> He emptied Himself >> From equality with God to human frailty – The Corinthian church had all kinds of problems, according to this passage. One of their problems was they somehow got the idea they deserved the gift of eternal life, which God wants us to have well enough, but it is not something we deserve. He gave it to us because He wants us to live with Him in heaven, and He has plans to use us in His service, but we should not become arrogant about it. In some ways God has made us equal with His Son. For example, we will have a place on His throne, according to Eph 2,4-7, having equal status with Christ in the eyes of the Father, which is a gift beyond measure, but again it is not something we deserve. Jesus is God in human flesh, and He never was a sinner like us and the things He possesses are not gifts but define, denoting His deity. We cannot say that about ourselves; therefore, there is room for humility.

(42k) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to the glory of Christ’s death

(56l) Paradox >> Opposites >> Greatest are least in the eyes of God

(63d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Church deceive each other

(188e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Suffering >> Suffering the will of God in your life – The Corinthian Church was searching for the easy life while Paul and the other apostles allowed God to exhibit them as men condemned to death, as spectacles to both men and angels. While the Corinthians worked to cushion their lives, Paul suffered humiliation from every angle, as a means of communicating the gospel to those who needed to hear it, including the Corinthians. He had to make a contrast between himself and those who contradicted him to show how far from the truth they had strayed. This is the extent that God wanted Paul to commit himself to the cause of the gospel, as a means of successfully conveying it, and in the process putting to shame those who thought they didn’t need to be committed.

(231a) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Solving the mystery of godliness >> The Church discloses the mystery of Christ -- These verses go with verse 1

(236i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest in the treasures of the kingdom >> Invest in the gospel – When we replace the word “gospel” with freedom, it helps to understand that instead of the Corinthians investing in their freedom, they were spending it on their pleasures, and we know that freedom is a highly prized possession, but the Corinthians were not taking care of their freedom but being reckless with it and blowing it on their fleshly appetites and would have eventually lost it had Paul not intervened. These teachings have persisted to the present day. Christianity is apparently not easy, at least people nowadays don't make it look very easy, since it requires delicate balance between protecting our freedom in Christ and avoid striving for salvation through works. It is like walking a tightrope; if we lean too far one way, we fall into legalism, and if we lean too far the other way, we fall into licentiousness. The Corinthians thought they could live a lavish lifestyle they figured Christ afforded them through the benefit of the cross, like some of the prosperity teachings we hear today. There are certainly benefits of the cross, but we shouldn't seek to exploit them. The Corinthians wanted to take full advantage of all the promises of God, happening also in Prosperity churches today, and it is causing all kinds of problems. Therefore, we can safely say that Prosperity churches most resemble the Corinthian Church, which was the most immature of all the churches. When a person embarks on exploiting the gospel of Christ for what he can get from it, he abandons the attitude and mindset of sacrifice and commitment required to invest in the gospel, which is what it takes to know the truth in a world full of greed, lust and pride. See also: Prosperity teachers; 1Cor 4-8; 56a

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1Cor 4,8-13

(165e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Do not partake of the world >> Do not desire the treasures of the world

1Cor 4,8-10

(60a) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Rebuking the Church for being carnally minded / Being sarcastic as seen through the eyes of the world – Paul gets sarcastic with the Corinthians, which is a sign that they were not listening. Instead, they were proud and ungrateful, and their heart was hardening to the truth, all being traits of a judgmental attitude. Society today is steeped in these philosophies. For example, there are dozens of TV shows designed to make the viewer judge between people and issues, increasing the judgmental attitude that is already in the world. Paul said, “You are already filled; you have already become rich,” yet they were dilapidated and spiritually impoverished. He said, “You have become kings without us,” when in fact they were spiritual paupers. Paul was trying to get through to them something that Jesus harped to his disciples that the greatest are least and the least are the greatest, but the Corinthians seemed not to believe this. They had returned to the world’s value system that considered the greatest to be greatest and the least, least.

(202c) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from God >> Running to your sinful nature >> Run from God by running to your flesh

1Cor 4-8

(56a) Paradox >> Lose by gaining >> Gain your idea of wealth to lose God’s wealth – The Corinthians got way ahead of God and determined to enjoy the reward of faith in this life. They didn’t want to wait for heaven; they wanted heaven right here and now, so they developed doctrines to help them explain what they thought was the truth, inventing entire belief systems surrounding the idea of living like kings at the expense of the gospel. They want to exploit Christianity for what they could get from it, instead of investing their lives into it as the Scriptures teach. Of course we know of a denomination that does this very thing. Prosperity teachings have originated from hell, and those who teach them direct the people to live like kings, claiming that Jesus made all the sacrifices so they could enjoy this life, and so these teachers exploit the Church and live luxuriously off the backs of their parishioners, employing the tactics of the antichrist when he comes, being hopelessly self-deceived. Strings are attached to them leading to the puppet master, who is the devil himself, and they jump when he pulls their strings, all the while believing they are doing the will of God. The book of First Corinthians applies especially to these prosperity teachers, and we know that the Corinthian Church was the worldliest of all the Churches in Paul's epistles. Although it is true that Jesus made the sacrifice of His flesh on the cross so we might “have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10-10), He didn't mean it as an invitation to exploit others for the unrighteous mammon. Contrary to popular belief, this life was given to us as it were a seed that we might plant it in good soil, hoping to yield a harvest in the kingdom of heaven. See also: Prosperity teachers; 1Cor 4-10; 63i

(63i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Sarcastic from being emotional >> Frustrated -- This verse goes with verse 10. It is obvious that Paul was sarcastic when he said, “You’ve become kings without us, and I wish you had become kings,” clearly not meaning they had actually become kings. Sarcasm is used when our audience quits listening to us. The Corinthian Church quit listening to God, and Paul had to slap them silly to get their attention back on the Lord. None of the things were actually true that Paul was telling them in verse 8, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.” Then he began speaking more literally in verse nine, saying the exact opposite. Instead of the Corinthians being rich and kingly, as though faith in Christ afforded royal blood in their veins, he reminded them of the lowly life God had chosen for His Son and commanded us to follow Him. 

(161m) Works of the devil >> Carried away by greed

(166i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind cannot discern between good and evil >> The world’s perspective on wealth

(170d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Greed and lust are the glory of man >> Earthly riches are the glory of man – Paul was disgusted with the Corinthians’ behavior and theology; they were bent on justifying themselves to him. Everything he tried to teach them seemed to go in one ear and out the other. He tried to impart the Lord’s heart to them and apparently failed, and he became so dismayed that he spoke sarcastically to them, which is a type of speech reserved for an audience that has quit listening. Trying to straightforwardly teach them he had already done and gotten nowhere; sarcasm told them they were in the wrong hemisphere with their contrived doctrines. We know that one day we will be priests of God and kings of nations, but trying to become kingly in this life and exploiting the gospel to achieve that end is the epitome of spiritual abuse.

(181h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Self deception >> Imaginary perception of self >> Distorted perception of self -- This verse goes with verse 6

(197a) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Spiritual laziness >> Rebelling Against what God wants you to do >> Refusing to renew your mind

(240d) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Natural disadvantage >> Beware when all men speak well of you >> Natural disadvantage of being popular

(249l) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> World’s perception of wealth >> The world’s wealth has no value >> The world’s idea of wealth opposes the truth

(250g) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> Spiritual then the natural (anointing then miracles)

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1Cor 4,9-16

(11n) Servant >> Paul’s example of devotion – Paul had an unending zeal for God; he was zealous before he met Jesus, and God wanted to harness that zeal and use it for His own kingdom and glory by directing him to the truth that bumped up His zeal a hundred-fold. It was already through the roof; the commitment he made to Christ was unbelievable; He was most like Jesus that way. When we think about Jesus’ disciples and the hardship they suffered trying to follow their Lord and Master, Jesus was zealous for His Father beyond anything we have heard about Him. We don’t really read much about it in the New Testament; all we really know about the zeal of Christ is what the Old Testament says, “Zeal for your house will consume me” (Psalm 69-9). The disciples were always running trying to catch up with Him; He was always going somewhere and doing something. Now and then they would take a break and relax for a while and rejuvenate, and then off they would go again. Paul was much the same, always on a missionunless he was in prison, always evangelizing and telling people about Jesus, sacrificing himself and often those with him, postponing food and sleep, waiving clothes and all the bare essentials for the cause of Christ. See also: Zeal; 2Tim 4-10; 165f

(14n) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers take the last place as a better service to you – As a result of Paul’s passionate faith, he turned the world on its head, but another result was that he and his men often went hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, roughly treated and homeless. Some people are homeless because they don’t know how to live, but Paul was homeless as a means of reaching more people for Jesus. He didn’t come in a flamboyant suit-n-tie as we see some preachers in the pulpits today. They wear thousand-dollar suits, thinking it will result in reaching more people for the gospel. Paul had the opposite attitude that if he didn’t stop and work for a year just to buy a suit, he could use that time to reach more people with the gospel. Probably all his clothes and those of his companions were hand-me-downs, given to them by generous believers, wearing holes in them before improving their wardrobe. He went from town to town establishing churches; and when he returned to exhort and edify the new converts, he would be given all he needed.

(64j) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Weaknesses of God >> Foolishness of God

(77d) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Refusing to exalt yourself

(103l) Thy kingdom come >> Purifying process >> Purified by circumstances >> Purified Through hardship

(142g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Reputation exposed to slander >> Your reputation under attack

(152a) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Enduring hardship proves apostleship

(191f) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> God sanctifies us through our devotion to Him

(232c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> If you must count the cost, the price is always too high – Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk 17-32). She looked back to her old life and wondered if she would be happy with the choice her husband made for her to flee the city. Apparently, she turned longing for it, and God turned her into a pillar of salt. Don’t look back! Don’t count the cost; we are not to add up the things of our former life that we enjoyed before we got saved. It is an insult to God to inventory the sins we lose by following Jesus.

1Cor 4,9-13

(84e) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Boasting >> It needs to be said and no one is saying it >> boasting of my weaknesses

(99i) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance >> Enduring circumstances >> Humiliation – This is a dirty laundry list of all the ways the world treated Paul and his friends. The Corinthian Church made it clear they were unwilling to go through this level of humiliation for Jesus. They looked at Paul as a lowly person, as the world viewed him, as the scum of the earth. The world’s unbelief pressed on Paul, contrasting the love he showed even for his enemies to spite their aggression and oppression, and then to see the Corinthians exhibiting the same behaviors toward him broke his heart. They were becoming increasingly secular and carnal, being more convinced by the world than by the teachings of Christ. Essentially, they were forgetting the whole purpose and meaning of the gospel, being Christians in name only.

(165h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> The hardship of persecution – Paul preached the gospel to those who hated him, knowing he would be persecuted for it, but also knowing that some would be saved. He actually used persecution to convince people that his message was from God. He showed the people that the truth was worth all his suffering, and what better way to demonstrate that then through persecution? He became a spectacle to the world. Persecution, the downside of the gospel, became a virtue; God was able to use the negative impact he was making on the world as an asset, carved from his commitment to Jesus. Paul was like a circus show to the world; they came to be entertained by a man who believed in fables, some thought. People heard about him and the whole town assembled around him to hear what others so heatedly maligned. Most didn’t know what to think, but the gospel made them curious, and their curiosity made them talk and their chatter publicized the gospel, and it spread like wildfire throughout all the towns and villages that Paul visited. He accepted ill-treatment without returning it. Dressed like a bum, he was often hungry if not starving, and it drew people’s curiosity to know what it was he preached, receiving the testimony that he and his companions turned the known world upside-down for Jesus (Act 17-6).

(190a) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Laying your body on the altar – Paul reminded the Corinthians of all the heartache and trouble, all the trials and tribulation, that he and those with him had endured for their sake as men condemned to death, “We have become a spectacle to the world, both to angles and to men.” They appeared foolish to the world, sacrificing their bodies and their lives for the sake of the Church as servants of Christ, and the Church could not as much as appreciate what they did. As Christians they barely understood what Paul was doing. There were people in the Corinthian Church who were trying to usurp Paul’s authority and take charge of the doctrines and theology and the general direction of the Church. Had they gotten their way, they would have driven it into the ground, and it took everything Paul had to keep it sailing in the right direction. He worried what would happen to the Church after his demise, and rightly so.

(250m) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Lists >> Terms of graduating to the next level >> List of physical circumstances

1Cor 4-9

(163l) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons >> The Church entertains demons

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1Cor 4-10

(63i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Sarcastic from being emotional >> Frustrated -- This verse goes with verse 8. Depending on our perspective these words drastically change in meaning. For instance, to God the apostles were the noblest of all men, but to the Corinthians, Paul was a fool because he didn’t make full use of the gospel. No indeed, he invested his life in the gospel! Whenever Paul used sarcasm he was furious. The Corinthians had developed an aristocratic attitude toward Christianity, attempting to launch a preamble of the Prosperity doctrine on Paul’s watch, and he promptly smothered it. Many doctrines had a good start and went bad, but not so with the Prosperity doctrine; it never had a positive moment but was evil to the core, and people have been building on it since the apostles fell asleep. This attitude: Christians deserve, is an attempt to cash in early on their eternal inheritance awaiting them in heaven. God wants us healthy and He doesn’t want us begging for bread, but that doesn’t mean we should live in fancy houses or drive luxurious cars. See also: Prosperity teachers; 1Cor 4,7-13; 23e

(64i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Weaknesses of God >> God subjects himself to human frailty >> His weakness makes Him small compared to men

1Cor 4-12,13

(124h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love your enemies >> Loving your enemies leaves room for God to Work >> Leave room for the salvation of God – Paul the evangelist did all things for the sake of saving souls; he didn’t war with people when he was persecuted; he gave a blessing instead, not returning evil for evil (1Pet 3-9) but endured their ill-treatment, hoping his persecutors would get saved or others watching would see his good behavior and want to join with those who love and believe the truth.

(242k) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Reacting to persecution >> Enduring persecution >> Hated by the world

1Cor 4-12

(101j) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Ambitious in the business world of this life – The workplace is more becoming a hostile environment every day. We go to work to do our job, and what is added to our responsibilities is enduring the breakdown of human relationships in people without faith who look for trouble and harass Christians, making their lives more difficult. Our response to them should be to give a blessing instead.

1Cor 4,14-17

(36m) Gift of God >> Adopted >> We are adopted in the flesh – Paul wrote to the Corinthians not to shame them but to admonish them as his beloved children. One day prior to the conception of the Corinthian Church Paul came preaching the gospel in their town, and those who believed his message became Christians. From that point Paul became their father in the Lord; he had begotten them through the preaching of the gospel, and he felt responsible for their spiritual well-being. Fearing they were letting their faith slip, Paul corrected them before the many forces of unbelief swallowed them whole. He was father to all the churches he started through his preaching of the gospel. He earnestly desired them to remain faithful to Christ, for they were his reward in heaven. He needed them to endure the temptations of the world and keep the faith, so the gates of heaven my be opened to them and be given to Paul as his reward in the Kingdom of Heaven.

1Cor 4,14-16

(33h) Gift of God >> Believers are children >> God is our Father >> Children are being molded after their heavenly Father

(250hh) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> Believe the first message; all subsequent messages are meant to dissuade you – Paul used his authority as one who had courage enough to come to their city and preached the gospel to them, accepting ill-treatment and persecution from his adversaries at the risk of his own life. Those who believed became Paul’s children in the faith, and Paul became their father in the Lord. He told them they may have many teachers, but they had only one spiritual father (mentor), Paul. He used his position to appeal to them that if anyone should bring a different gospel that deviates from his original message, they should reject it. They were to trust Paul’s version of the gospel, in that all subsequent versions come only to dissuade them from the truth. Likewise, when God speaks to us, we are to commit it to paper and then to memory, for ulterior messages will come as forgeries of the original message to dissuade us from what we first heard from God. Paul was father to the Corinthians, which would remain true forever; he was a standard for them, and we too need a standard, the Scriptures, the teachings we first heard in the Bible. Anyone who would come to us with a different gospel, we are to reject it.

1Cor 4-16

(11j) Servant >> Paul is our example of how to walk with God -- This verse goes with verse 6.

(93b) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Follow me as I follow Christ 

(93j) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Through men >> Follow me as I follow Christ – This verse is the capstone of Paul’s fatherhood to the Corinthian Church, “Be imitators of me…the scum of the earth, the dregs of all things, even until now.” He wanted the Corinthians to put down their arrogance and worldly, secular arguing among one another. These are our only two choices: either we become as the scum of the earth and keep our faith, or we model after the world trying to avoid persecution.

(138j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Exhorting the people to remain true to the Lord

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1Cor 4-17

(14j) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are indirectly in charge of the word >> They have the heart of the one who trained them – Paul sent Timothy to them, whom Paul loved like his own son. He wholeheartedly trusted him to lead the Corinthian Church into the will of God. He had the attitude of Christ, teaching the Corinthians to bear the fruit of righteousness that endures to eternal life.

(102l) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Tried and true >> Faithfulness

1Cor 4,18-21

(22n) Sin >> Pride comes before a fall

(178e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy of the Church is rebuked >> The Church is rebuked for rebellion – Paul promised to come and find those who were arrogant, and discover not just their words, but also their power, meaning what spirits they had been entertaining through their words. Attitude matters; it exposes the spirits that teach us what we believe and determines the direction of our lives. Taken literally, the expression, ‘spoken in the wrong spirit,’ suggests there are spirits behind our words and behind our wrong thinking, elucidating the phrase, “doctrines of demons” (1Tim 4-1)? The Kingdom of God is not just about words, but power, referring to the Holy Spirit, so if there is a Holy Spirit, then there are also unholy spirits. Paul’s complaint was that people in the Corinthian Church have been operating in an unholy spirit. He gives them an ultimatum of coming to them with either a rebuke or with a spirit of gentleness. By this time the Corinthians didn’t believe Paul had it in him to be severe. They lost their fear of him after seeing the world trample him as he practiced the fruit of the spirit, rooted in love. Paul disciplined them in a form of love that seemed harsh in that sometimes the love of God calls for a rod of discipline.

1Cor 4-19,20

(85e) Thy kingdom come >> Words that are spoken in faith >> Powerful when spoken by the Spirit >> by the anointing – There is a sharp contrast between what this verse says and what the general consensus of the Church believes about the Kingdom of God: Christians today live as though they believe the Kingdom of God consists in words only. Most do not have access to the power of the Kingdom because their disobedience and their false doctrines do not permit them. When Jesus went about the countryside preaching the kingdom of God and commanding all everywhere to repent and believe in the gospel, what did He mean by the Kingdom of God? It consists of people who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, and in that sense the term is synonymous with the "True Church". Who are the embodiment of God's kingdom on earth? The Bible teaches that they are all born-again Christians, meaning they are anointed. The "anointing" is just as poorly understood as the term Kingdom of God, suggesting they are related; in fact, they are one and the same! The anointing is defined as the manifestation of God's Kingdom, and the term Christians means "anointed ones". Therefore, we can define the Kingdom of God as the manifestation of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Here is a more popular definition: an outward expression of an inward work. The Bible describes the Kingdom of God as a holy nation of believers (1Pet 2-9), and as we know, there is no nation of Christianity; not even Israel would fit this description. Israel is an earthly nation and Jerusalem is an earthly city. The Jews may be God’s chosen people according to the flesh, but if they don’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, they are none of His, and those that do are members of His Kingdom. See also: Kingdom of God; 1Cor 4-20; 110m / Kingdom is written in the prophets; Eph 1-21; 142a

(255b) Trinity >> Holy Spirit’s relationship between Father and Son >> God’s word is Spirit >> Spirit of the word >> Words of His Spirit are truth

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1Cor 4-19

(163i) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the Church

1Cor 4-20

(66h) Authority >> Jesus’ authority >> His cross is the power of God 

(110m) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spiritual substance and truth >> Spiritual substance follows obedience – To believe in a set of doctrines without manifesting them through obedience is worthless, but the fruits of the Spirit intrinsically manifest as God's anointing, alluding to the power of God. That is, we don’t need to anoint love—love is the anointing. Again, we don’t need to anoint joy—joy is the anointing. However, that is not the case with the law. Therefore, when it says to honor our parents, we should do it through the fruits of the Spirit, in order that fulfilling the law may see the anointing. Obeying the first commandment to worship no other gods, has a flipside: we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We have no choice but to love God through the anointing, for we cannot love God without His help. We must learn to love God before we can love anyone else, meaning that we practice the anointing with God and then taking our experiences with Him and applying them to those around us, expressing the love of God to them through the good works that God has prepared for us, thus manifesting God’s kingdom. See also: Kingdom of God; 1Cor 4-20; 231h

(231h) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Body of Christ is the organism of God’s kingdom >> Jesus is head of His body’s kingdom >> Jesus builds His kingdom in your midst – There must come a time when the true knowledge of Christ is transformed into the spiritual unction of God. The terms "anointing" and Kingdom of God are not easily understood concepts, but they are the very heart of Christianity, so it would behoove us to seek the truth about them. Mat 13-33 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” This parable describes an outward expression of an inward work. That which He has placed in us should manifest in the form of good works initiated by the Holy Spirit. This is in reference to the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, etc., in conjunction with the good works that God has prepared for us, in doing them causes unity to form between us in the Church where all God's people come together as one, the anointing acting as mortar between the bricks to hold us all in place. See also: Kingdom of God; 1Cor 4-19,20; 85e

1Cor 4-21

(69e) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Righteous anger >> Church is angry at sin – Paul put it in the hands of the Corinthians to decide how he would come to them and what kind of experience they would have when he came. Should he come with affirmation and joy for their faithfulness, or should he come with criticism and condemnation for those who have sinned and not repented? Their waywardness was based on doctrines they were trying to fabricate that would give them liberty to sin against the principles of Christ, and Paul wouldn’t let them. It is obvious what God wants from us as we read the Scriptures, yet how many of us are really living the way Scripture teaches? Do we make excuses for ourselves like the Corinthians? We say the Christian life is too hard and give into our temptations; we see no benefit in serving the Lord, and we’re tired of living for the sake of a life to come. Obedience to Christ, we are the ones to benefit; our lives will be better for it. Jesus didn’t teach us a way that was meant to harm us or to take any good thing from us; He came to add to our lives and to bless us. Our suffering is not the result of obeying Christ; the world is in rebellion against God, and it is the reason we suffer when we obey Him. We need to see things from a broader perspective. Doing the will of God will end in a blessing even if we must suffer for a little while. If we remain faithful, we will see rebellion end in purposeless sorrow.

(128g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Gentleness >> Be gentle in all your ways >> Be gentle in correcting one another

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