"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" The Spectacle Of The Apostles (4:9-16) INTRODUCTION 1. As Christians, we owe a great debt to the apostles of our Lord... a. Men chosen (Lk 6:12-16) and sent out by Jesus into the world
(Mk 16:15-16) b. Who suffered greatly as they carried out the great commission 2. The apostle Paul says that God has made them a "spectacle" to the world (1Co 4:9)... a. The Greek word is theatron, from which we get our word "theater" b. "a theatre, a place in which games and dramatic spectacles are exhibited, and public assemblies held (for the Greeks used the theatre also as a forum)" - Thayer c. "metaphorically, a man who is exhibited to be gazed at and made sport of" - ibid. [In what way has the Lord presented His apostles a "spectacle", an exhibition to the world? Especially so in regards to our faith! To see why, consider the basis of our faith..] I. OUR FAITH DEPENDENT ON THEIR TESTIMONY A. THE BASIS FOR OUR FAITH... 1. We know virtually nothing of Jesus without the apostles 2. Outside the NT there is scant evidence of who He was 3. Without the apostles we would know only: a. That He lived, died, and had many disciples, as attested to by historians b. Tales told many years after the events occurred, by fanciful storytellers B. THROUGH THE APOSTLES WE LEARN ABOUT JESUS... 1. They reveal what we know of His life, teachings, death and resurrection a. Either through their own writings (e.g., Matthew, John) b. Or through the writings of close associates (e.g., Mark,Luke) 2. Our faith is truly dependent on the apostles a. As Jesus indicated in His prayer - cf. Jn 17:20 b. We come to believe in Jesus through the words of the apostles [Like Muslims, our faith is dependent upon the testimony of first-generation followers. In the case of the apostles, however, we see...] II. THEIR TESTIMONY STRENGTHENED BY THEIR SACRIFICE A. THE NATURE OF THEIR TESTIMONY... 1. The apostles were eyewitnesses to the events - cf. 2Pe 1: 16-18; Ac 10:39-42 2. They present empirical testimony (derived from observation rather than theory) a. They saw Jesus, they touched Him, ate with Him
- Ac 10:41;1Jn 1:1-3 b. For forty days they were given infallible proofs of His resurrection - Ac 1:1-3 3. Their testimony strengthened by additional eyewitnesses
- 1Co 15:3-8 B. MADE CREDITABLE BY THEIR SACRIFICE... 1. They were telling the truth, or a boldface lie (nature of their testimony leaves no alternative) 2. Some will tell a lie, if they can gain fame, fortune, or power (e.g., first-generation Muslims) 3. During their life, the apostles of Christ gained neither fame, fortune, or power 4. They suffered greatly, even appointed for such
- 1Co 4:9-10;Php 1:29-30 [Why would God allow, even ordain, the apostles of Christ to suffer so much? Because of how their sacrifice serves as a spectacle to us and to the world...] III. THEIR SACRIFICE A SPECTACLE FOR OUR FAITH A. CONSIDER THE SACRIFICES THEY MADE... 1. By the apostles in general - 1Co 4:11-13 a. They hungered and thirsted, poorly clothed, beaten and homeless b. They supported themselves, blessed when reviled, endured when persecuted c. When defamed, they entreated, though made the filth and offscouring of the world 2. By Paul in particular - 2Co 11:23-28 a. Imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked b. Imperiled by dangerous journeys, false brethren, lack of food, sleep, and clothing c. Filled with anxiety for his brethren B. THE IMPACT IT SHOULD HAVE ON US... 1. Believe in their testimony, if you have not done so already! a. Their testimony in the resurrection of Jesus Christ b. Offered by qualified and trustworthy eyewitnesses c. Their gospel of salvation from the condemnation to come
- Ac 10:42; 17:30-31 2. Be inspired to imitate their example a. If we let little things hinder our service, we should be ashamed! b. Yet the sufferings of the apostles are presented as a spectacle, not to shame, but to admonish and inspire
- 1Co 4:14-16 CONCLUSION 1. As we gaze upon "The Spectacle Of The Apostles", what do we see...? a. Men suffering greatly, but not defeated - cf. 2Co 4:8-9 b. Men demonstrating the power of Christ living in them
- cf. 2Co 4:10-11 2. Having seen "The Spectacle Of The Apostles", what will we do...? a. Believe in the Lord Jesus with a much stronger faith! b. Serve the Lord with a willingness to press on, no matter the cost! That would certainly accomplish God's design in allowing them to suffer. Why not heed the apostle's urging (1Co 4:16) to imitate him and his brethren...!