Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who's That?


2 Corinthians 8:18 KJV
And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;

Paul tells us of three men whom he had sent to receive the offering of the Corinthians. The first was Titus but the other two, though we'll recommended, are not named. Over the years many have offered their opinions as to whom these were but those opinions, having no intrinsic evidence to substantiate them, are opinions after all.

Why the Apostle chose to name Titus both at the beginning and end of this commendation but not give the names of the others is a matter of speculation in and of itself. But it does remind me that our reward is not with the accolades of men but with the accounts of God. We may merely guess as to their identities. God is certain.

And Paul is not to be blamed for this oversight. Few in the Bible set a better example of care and appreciation of others as does Paul. He gives the names of a great many in every one of his epistles. Still one cannot help but realize that for every name mentioned there were a multitude of names that were not.

And that leave me with this;
  • Are we actually so filled with ego that ours must be those whose names are called?
  • Could it not be that the greatest rewards belong to those whose names only God remembers?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No Repentance Necessary


2 Corinthians 7:8 KJV
For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

Paul said he does not repent though he did repent of writing things that caused sorrow of heart to the Corinthians. Barnes Notes[1] has this....
"It is not the language of remorse. It can denote here nothing more than “that uneasiness which a good man feels, not from the consciousness of having done wrong, but from a tenderness for others, and a fear lest that which, prompted by duty, he had said, should have too strong an effect upon them.'"

Paul could rejoice that his duty done had had the impact he had hoped. There are times it does not. However tender we may be towards the feelings of others and however anxious and hurt it might make us to tell the truth, even if it is not so well received as Paul's was by the Corinthians, it is still our duty to attempt to correct and instruct those with whom God has given us charge.
  • It does bring grief
  • It does cause pain
  • It is difficult to see those we love reject our counsel
But it is still a good man's duty to give that counsel.

We, as Paul, will never believe we are sufficient for this responsibility but God is our sufficiency and, so long as our heart is motivated by love and our counsel is directly out of the Word of God, we need not repent though we do repent.


[1] As a quote from Campbell, diss. vi. part iii. section 9

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blame


2 Corinthians 6:12 KJV
Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

The Apostle spoke boldly to this church but assured them that it was out of pure love for them. Though, even in this second epistle, he corrects them as bluntly as he does at the end of this chapter, he reminds them in this verse that it was not he that had straitened them but they had straitened themselves through their
  • Choices
  • Decisions and
  • Relationships with unbelievers

This is a bold and confident thing for him to say.
  • If they felt badly after reading his letter
  • If they were under conviction
  • If the relationship they had with Paul was strained
it was not because Paul had been too honest in speaking to them but because they had associated themselves with ungodly or worldly connections. He had not "straitened[1]" them with the truth; they had strained their love for Paul with worldliness.


[1] This word does not mean "to correct" as in straighten but "to make difficult, narrow or restricted."  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Assurance


2 Corinthians 5:5-6 KJV
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

Because of the earnest, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Paul said that he was confident he would enjoy that thing he desired; to be clothed upon with heaven.

Here is another passage that teaches us the assurance that comes from the Holy Spirit dwelling in the Christian. Without this earnest we would have no reason for such confidence. But having that earnest we may be assured even while being absent from the Lord that we will have our desire and one day be clothed upon with heavenly glory. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Plain Pure Gospel


2 Corinthians 4:2 KJV
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

What a powerful thought. Paul had
  • Renounced
  • Thrown away
  • Rejected
any form of manipulation of the Gospel. He had come to the place where he plainly put before his listeners (or readers) the truth of God's Word, the Gospel, and before God (in other words) trusting God, commended himself and his message to the consciences of them that heard.

Paul's purpose was not to make a name for himself. His goal was not to gain a large follow. He had not allowed even himself to be deceived into thinking that if he could get people to follow him he had helped them. Paul recognized that his only purpose before God and the only real help he had to offer those the Lord placed before him was the plain and pure Gospel.

And that is all he gave them. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Liberty


2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Much talk is made of liberty in this day. Christians of every stripe, and those who have grown up in independent Baptist churches are no exception, are focusing now on what they believe is our Christian liberty. Activities that would have once been completely avoided are now participated with an "in your face" sort of publication of it. The young Fundamentalists cry "legalist" at preachers who preach standards today. They understand that they have liberty in the Spirit.

But the context of this liberty has little to do with standards of separation from this world. Paul is not giving liberty to imbibe in the world because of the Spirit. The context has to do with the "approachableness" of God through Christ. In the past, Moses, who had met with God, wore a veil to conceal the glory of God upon him. That veil, Paul said, was still there every time the Jew opened the Old Testament. It was a closed book to him. He could see it but he could never see the fullness of the glory of God in it. But if and when that same man turns his heart to Christ the veil is removed and he is granted liberty to see that fullness.

This passage isn't granting liberty to live without Christian standards. My understanding is that New Testament grace lifts those standards to a new high (only they are in Christ and not performed in the power of the flesh). This passage is teaching us a new liberty in the Spirit to be changed into the glory of the Lord through a spiritual understanding of God's Word. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Not I

2 Corinthians 2:16 KJV
To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

Being in the ministry has been one of the most joyful and at the same time the difficult of occupations. The responsibilities of the ministry, the responses of men and women to my ministry,
  • The people whose lives have been so positively changed through this  ministry (though I believe it is not me but Christ in me) and still
  • The people who have become so openly opposed to and would tell you harmed by this ministry (though I believe their opposition is not to me but Christ in me)
is overwhelming at times.

But I am in good company. This is exactly the sentiment that the Apostle expresses in this context. That there are those whose lives are so transformed and others whose lives are so offended by the message of the Gospel is above human ability to bear. No man is sufficient for these things. It must be Christ at work or we will surely fail in the work.

Who is sufficient for these things? Not I.

Barnes wrote on this passage,
"And who is sufficient for these things? - For the arduous and responsible work of the ministry; for a work whose influence must be felt either in the eternal salvation, or the eternal ruin of the soul. Who is worthy of so important a charge? Who can undertake it without trembling? Who can engage in it without feeling that he is in himself unfit for it, and that he needs constant divine grace? This is an exclamation which anyone may well make in view of the responsibilities of the work of the ministry. And we may remark:
(1) If Paul felt this, assuredly others should feel it also. If, With all the divine assistance which he had; all the proofs of the unique presence of God, and all the mighty miraculous powers conferred on him, Paul had such a sense of unfitness for this great work, then a consciousness of unfitness, and a deep sense of responsibility, may well rest on all others.
(2) It was this sense of the responsibility of the ministry which contributed much to Paul’s success. It was a conviction that the results of his work must be seen in the joys of heaven, or the woes of hell, that led him to look to God for aid, and to devote himself so entirely to his great work. People will not feel much concern unless they have a deep sense of the magnitude and responsibility of their work. People who feel as they should about the ministry will look to God for aid, and will feel that he alone can sustain them in their arduous duties."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gratefulness


2 Corinthians 1:15 KJV
And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;

There are, so far as I can tell, two legitimate interpretations of this passage and one absurd one.

The second benefit could be speaking of Paul's next visit to Corinth.
There would be a blessing and a benefit having this preacher with them. This seems to be the most natural interpretation given the passage. Its weakness is that there must be something more eternal than merely spending some time with Paul.

Paul's first visit brought to them the benefit of the Gospel message, they got saved. His second visit would include the benefit of Christian instruction and edification.
Paul's practice in Acts was to return to "confirm the churches." This interpretation gives purpose for the benefit of a Pauline visitation.

When I was in Bible College I heard of a third (absurd) interpretation.
My wife was able to get a teaching job at the Pillar of Fire Christian School in Westminster, CO. It was a great job and a blessing to us. However the Pillar of Fire denomination believed in what they called a "second blessing" based upon this passage. They believed that a Christian who received this blessing would never sin again. The doctrine is absurd on a number of levels. One of them is that this passage gives no clue where they came up with this interpretation. The fact is they already believed the doctrine and merely found this as a proof text.

That got me to thinking about how grateful I am that God protected me over the years. God has been so gracious to me. I was exposed to and could have been consumed by several different cults and quasi-Christian groups.

How thankful I am to be saved and a member of a Baptist Church

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

All Anyone Really Has to Do


1 Chronicles 19:13 KJV
Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.

Joab is facing a formidable enemy. He has battle forces before him and behind him. He lays out his strategy, divides his armies and then gives them this instruction.
  • Be courageous
  • Fight valiantly and
  • Leave the results to the Lord

That's all any man really has to do. If we would bring ourselves to these three keys we could navigate in life pretty fairly.
  • Do what we must to do (that's courage)
  • Do it to the best of our ability (that's valor) and
  • Leave the results in the hands of God (that's faith)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

All In Christianity


1 Corinthians 15:32 KJV
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

Some have put forth the argument that if a person became a Christian and found out later that it was all a hoax and there is no heaven or hell, it would still have been the best decision to have become a Christian. The argument is that, since Christianity teaches
  • Better marriage skill
  • Better parenting skills and
  • Better citizenship skills
a person is a better person for being a Christian even if heaven and hell are not real and even if when we die we just cease to exist.

The Apostle begged to differ. The price that was paid to be a Christian in his day was too great. The consequences of a life surrendered to God weighed so heavily that, "if in this life only there was hope in God, we are of all men most miserable."[1]

Paul made no claims for ease in earthly living. He didn't see Christianity as having his best life now. Paul poured all that could have been his life on earth into what would be his life in eternity. His was an all or nothing faith in Christ.

And we need to hear some preaching about that sort of Christianity today. We have a kind of faith in America right now that is so worldly it can't see its worldliness. It has compromised with the world for so long and so deeply it has no idea what separation from the world really looks like.

We don't need to go out to purposely make enemies in the world. But we do need some Christians who will lead the way in putting everything on the line for heaven.


[1] 1 Corinthians 15:19

Monday, May 21, 2012

What Is Profitable


1 Corinthians 14:6 KJV
Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

The apostle gives us the four types of messages most profitable to a church. Though some commentaries believe that there is no real way know what the Apostle meant as the distinctions between the four, here is a general and helpful position:

Revelation, which is the uncovering of something secret.
It is opening up something the congregation had not previously known.

Knowledge, which is the bringing to the understanding what is the meaning of a truth.

Prophesying which is plain speech. It is, as it were, putting all the cookies on the bottom shelf. Not beating around the bush but boldly proclaiming your message.

Doctrine which means instruction but more, means systematic and careful teaching of truth.
Many things take place in church that are not these.

May God help me to focus on what is profitable to His sheep.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gittites


1 Chronicles 13:13 KJV
So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.

As a sort of sequel to yesterday's Devotion is this. I noted yesterday that there were among those mighty men of David A Hittite and a Moabite. These men were not only forgiven but favored. And here the Ark of the Covenant goes to the home of Obed-edom who is a Gittite. The Gittites were the people of Gath, Philistines and of the same place as Goliath whom David had slain so many years earlier. David had dwelt with the inhabitants of Gath for a brief period and when he returned to Israel after the death of Saul six hundred Gittites followed him.

We find here the Ark of God once again in the hands of a Philistine but in this case the home is blessed. God's grace extends to anyone who will follow Him. I can't help but think of the battles between the Philistines and Israel, of the many terrors that they had inflicted upon God's people. But when one family of them turns from their ways to follow a man whose heart is after God, they were blessed.

(Obed-edom is mentioned again in chapters 15 and 16 and is there called a Levite and the son of Jeduthan. Several explanations are offered as to these differences. I think there is at least two men by this name, one a Gittite, the other a Levite. There is the potential of a third, that Obededom the Levite and Obededom the son of Jeduthan are different men as well.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Forgiveness and Favor


1 Chronicles 11:9-10 KJV
So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.
These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

1 Chronicles 11:41 KJV
Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai,

1 Chronicles 11:46 KJV
Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai, and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite,

I find it fascinating that among David's early heroes are men who are not of Jewish blood.
  • Uriah is a Hittite, one of the Canaanite's bands of people who had been slated for destruction.
  • Ithamar was a Moabite who, though a distant relative, more often an enemy than a friend to the Jews.

The record of their names is yet another demonstration of the grace of our Lord.
  • It matters not what is our background and birth.
  • It matters not what is the judgment of God upon a race or a country.
Any individual may come to Christ and find forgiveness and, what's more, favor. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nothing


1 Corinthians 8:2 KJV
And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

Here is a humbling thought. We are not scholars but students. None of us can claim to know anything really but are merely learners on one level or the next.
·         There are new discoveries that may prove those old accepted truths antiquated.
·         What was nice thought to be has since been proven not to be.
·         What one person has assumed to be true another has known not to be true.
·         Medical doctors are learning new treatments that make old treatments obsolete and in some cases proven to be ineffective or worse.
No one of us can claim to know anything as we ought.
·         We have to grow
·         We have to accept that we are on this earth to mature and
·         We have to give others the same grace
If they do not know what we believe we know, we must just remember that they too are works in progress.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Revealed or Concealed


1 Corinthians 11:7-10 KJV
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

Now here is a challenging piece of the Bible to say the least. The interpretation gets muddied by the fact that our culture doesn't practice women wearing head coverings and veils and, with the exception of a very few groups who cling to these Scriptures tenaciously while abusing the larger portion of Scripture, especially concerning Christ and salvation,  we would be hard pressed to bring it in to practice in America. Can you imagine the negative publicity the average church would experience if it began teaching women to wear a veil so as not to show their faces whenever they speak in a public setting? Good grief they are already calling us legalistic because we believe that our pastors should be husbands of one wife for one wife for one lifetime and that Scriptural pastors are always men!

Is there a practical way to apply this passage in modern America? Of course there is. I see two guiding principles provided for us here:
That women should dress in modest and non-provocative apparel
Especially in public and in worship settings. There are three possible interpretations of who are these angels.
  • They could be evil ones who in Genesis six demonstrate a wicked attraction to earthly women
  • They could be the good angels who attend our worship as well as we
  • I suggest that the third interpretation makes the most immediate sense and that is that they are the ministers of the services. The pastor is called an angel of the church in Revelation chapter three and four.
In this case the context would be that women who attend the worship services ought to dress modestly so as not to present any sort of temptation to those men ministering in the service.

The second principle comes from verse seven and is suggested by Poole who says that the message of this text is
That the glory of God ought always be revealed and the glory of man always concealed
Since man is “the image of the glory of God” he should pray with his head uncovered in representation of the glory of God. Since woman is “the glory of the man” she should be covered representing that man’s glory is not to be manifested but only God’s glory.

That is a powerful truth that may be applied in a hundred ways. It is a truth that ought to be weighed in every decision a Christian makes; whatever we do and wherever we go, let the glory of God be revealed and the glory of men be concealed. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Choices


1 Corinthians 10:25-28 KJV
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:

This phrase, a quote from Psalms 24:1, is here used twice but with seemingly opposite reasons.
On the one hand it is used to justify eating meat without questioning its source.
All belongs to God and all of it is good and nothing to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving. A good steak is a blessing and we need not question its origins for it was given us of God.

On the other hand it is used to discourage activities that seem to endorse idolatry.
If, as we sit to eat, the host informs us that this meat was offered to idols (and the implication is that those partaking would be eating in celebration and recognition of that idol) then we ought not to eat for the sake of the man offering it. Indeed the earth is the Lord's. It does not belong to any other god and no god but the living God is to be worshipped.

The key is that all things belong to God
  • The food we eat
  • The air we breathe
  • The life we possess
That  must be the pre-eminent truth of all decisions we make. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reasonable Cause for Separation


1 Corinthians 9:6 KJV
Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

This is the only mention of Paul and Barnabas after their dispute in Acts 15. The thing to see is that there is no hostility in Paul's expression. These two never worked together after their conflict but that does not mean that they forever held a grudge one against the other.

There are reasonable causes for separation one brother from another.
  • Doctrinal or practical differences make division and separation necessary and essential
  • Varying burdens or methodology creates cause for brethren to go different directions
But there is no good reason to hold a grudge or refuse to forgive a brother in Christ. For that matter there isn't a good reason to hold on to a grudge even against a lost man. Our heart ought to always be to seek reconciliation and restoration before God.

Even so, make it so. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Making Liberty Dangerous


1 Corinthians 8:11 KJV
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

Verse nine tells us to take heed or pay attention so that our liberty in Christ is not the cause of a younger and weaker brothers fall. It seems to me that so much of today's Christianity has lost sight of this. They are all about doing what they can do. They promote an almost "in your face" spirit about Christian liberty. "We can so we will!"

Nevermind that there are some who will take their liberties to destructive levels.

  • In the places they attend
  • In the beverages they consume
  • In the activities they participate in

While one person might be able to discipline themselves to moderation, another will accept their activity as an approval of one thing but then not use it to the same moderation. It is not that the weaker brother loses salvation but that they destroy themselves through the wantonness of their action. What seemed perfectly acceptable to do in moderation became exceeding sinful in excess.

Those Christians so often labeled as legalists because they preach a separation that tends to abstain from those things that when practiced out of balance are not being obnoxious and unchristian. They just understand the principle here; "I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Advice versus Command



1 Corinthians 7:40 KJV
But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

Now here is an interesting passage. The Apostle's advice was that it would always be better for a man or a woman to be free of marriage so that they might attend to the things of the Lord without distraction. He did not command it. Neither did he say that it was wrong to be married. The person who marries "doeth well" but he believed that the person who did not "doeth better." He said that if a person were loosed from a spouse through death they would be better off if they did not seek to remarry. But then he said that there would be nothing that prevented them from marriage should that be their desire. Paul gave all of this and said this was "his" judgment. Though he believed that he had the Spirit of the Lord he could not command these things but just advise in these ways.

  • A preacher,
  • A Christian teacher,
  • One who disciples others
Would do very well to remember the difference between those things that are sure Scriptural commands and those things that are
  • Wise,
  • Would tend to better serve the Lord and
  • Make people happier in their lives,
but are not directly commanded in the Bible. We have turned some things into mandates and commands that are not. To be sure a good number of them
  • Are wise choices
  • They better serve the Lord and
  • They certainly lead people to have happier lives,
but they are not Bible commands. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Piece of Wood


2 Kings 23:6 KJV
And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.

Because of the common usage I view a grove as a stand of trees consisting of several acres. (Abraham planted one of those - an entirely different Hebrew word[1]). This was obviously not the use of the word in this case, or in almost every mention of a grove in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is Asherah, a goddess. When groves were cut down in the Old Testament, they were not speaking of orchards or trees; they were speaking of idols set up either in high places or inside sanctified buildings.

The use word grove signifies the lifelessness of the idol. It is vain and useless in any sense of the word. Wycliffe's translation just calls it wood. It is certainly not a living green tree.

We do damage to the Word of God when we interpret it according to our own ideas and not through honest study of the text.

[1] Genesis 21:33 KJV
And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Influences

2 Kings 21:26 KJV
And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

I find the yo-yo spirituality of the kings of Judah during these last year's before their captivity fascinating.

  •             First we have Uzziah who was a good king but finished his career in leprous isolation due to his rebuking the priests
  •             Then we have Ahaz who is about as wicked a king as Judah had.
  •             He is followed by Hezekiah, who was a great king with the exception of his showing all his goods to Babylon.
  •             Next is Manasseh, a wicked king who repented at the end of his life.
  •             He is followed by Amon who was very wicked and was eventually murdered
  •             And then there is Josiah, who began to reign at age eight and was a good king but was killed in battle at a young age. 
Those influences which may have turned these kings for good or evil are not clearly seen but there are some things that may be implied:

The mother
The Scriptures almost always give us the name of the new king's mother. Most if not all of these kings had more than one wife. In that situation the mother's influence either for good or evil would be much stronger than the father's.

The early childhood
Manasseh was wicked during the most formative years of Amon's childhood but had repented during those same formative years of Josiah his grandson. It is only speculation that Manasseh may have been able to reverse his wicked influence on his son by having a godly influence on his grandson.

The heart of the individual
We can never get away from the fact that we are each responsible for our own heart and our own actions. We can't blame things on our parents or grandparents or circumstances. We must each hear the Word of God and follow His urging into a relationship with the Lord. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Be Ye Followers of Me


May 10, 2012

1 Corinthians 4:14-16 KJV
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
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.
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

This passage rang true to me as it reminded me of those who have come to serve the Lord under me. I do not consider myself to be anything, but God has chosen to use me in some respect to see others called and surrendered into the Gospel ministry. But now, in a manner similar to Paul's, some of those have followed other instructors into paths that I have warned them against.
  • They have so far refused my warnings and rebukes and
  • They have treated me as despised and not meeting up to the level of their new teachers
Following after these other teachers they have also turned from those things they once professed as their faith.

Paul besought and begged the Corinthians to be followers of him. Note the verses previous to fourteen:
  • It would mean to have less notoriety in the world
  • It would mean to probably suffer more in this world
  • It would mean that they would have to repent of some things that they had done
But he nevertheless begged them to follow him.

And so I beseech those who can claim no other spiritual father in the ministry. Be followers of me. The Bible teaches it. We are not to be the famous and the well known and the powerful in this world. Paul did not accomplish any of what he accomplished through politics and working some spiritual movement. He accomplished what he did
  • By steadily preaching the Gospel
  • By teaching the saints through writing and
  • By planting new churches
To follow prominent men (and in doing so to depart from the one God put in your path to first stir you to God's service) is self serving. It is wood hay and stubble. It has not the heart of the Lord, but the heart of this world that seeks to build up men rather than Christ.

I am nothing. I know that. But I am the one God first used to bring you to Gospel ministry. I beseech you then; "be ye followers of me."