1 Corinthians 4:8-12
Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God you did reign…
Recall Paley's argument from the sufferings of the early Christians as to the sincerity of their belief. Similarly, St. Paul urges here that the troubles and persecutions which he and the other teachers had endured in ministering to the Churches, ought to convince the people of his love and zeal for their highest welfare; and should also be felt to set him in such intimate and confidential relations with them that he might claim the right to reprove and correct. We all know that reproof cannot be easily or usefully accepted, save from those whom we know love us truly and sincerely seek our highest well being. From these verses two subjects may claim consideration -
I. GOD'S MISSION FOR APOSTLES, LOOKED AT, KINDLES ENTHUSIASM. "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." Watching such a devoted, self sacrificing, heroic life as that St. Paul lived ought to stir us up to enthusiastic efforts to follow so noble an example. Illustrate how the story of great martyrs and great missionaries has, in all ages, been used to inspire lesser men to noble things. "Lives of great men all remind us," etc.
II. GOD'S MISSION FOR APOSTLES, CARRIED OUT, AWAKENS SYMPATHY. (Vers. 11, 12.) Fully detail the sufferings which St. Paul underwent, and the bodily frailty which made those sufferings so exceedingly trying (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-30). After our Lord in his closing sufferings, no man so awakens our tenderest sympathy as does the Apostle of the Gentiles. Illustrate how, in modern missions, the Pattesons and Livingstones have excited world wide sympathy. Illustrate also how their constant sufferings made Baxter's and Robert Hall's continued and devoted labours so affecting to us. Or refer to the power, on his little audience, of Adolphe Monod's talks from his bed of suffering and death. St. Paul shows what made his sufferings so interesting to us - they were borne as submissive obedience unto God; and as vicarious for us; and this ought to give him a persuasive power and a full right to advise, and reprove, and correct, and warn, and teach. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.