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Applause, Honor, and Faithfulness

Applause, Honor, and Faithfulness

Words of Faith 6-30-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 11

   [2] I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

 

       Paul paused briefly. Having concluded a very pointed teaching regarding Christian freedom as it related to food, he was about to enter into another application concerning worship. But before he did, Paul paused to commend the Corinthians for the way that they had remembered him and held to the teachings he had passed on to them.

       The words Paul used here are helpful. He did not praise the leaders or believers in the same sense that we worship the Lord. The word means to applaud or commend. We sometimes wonder if it is appropriate to applaud people in gratitude. Here we have a perfect example in scripture. Paul applauded and commended the Corinthian believers because they had remembered or "been mindful of" the precepts that had been passed to them. Even more, they had held fast to those teachings. This was honoring to him as their teacher.

         Given some of the terrible things Paul had to address in Corinth, we might find ourselves wondering-- Who was Paul talking about? Who was "holding to the teachings"? Wasn't this church a mess? But clearly, there were some if not many in Corinth who remembered steadfastly the teaching he gave them and carefully adhered to that teaching.

         Not everyone was involved in an immoral relationship. Not everyone was falling into idolatry. Not everyone carried on their "Christian freedom" in a way that caused others to stumble in their faith. Not everyone in the Corinthian church was self-centered and oblivious to the needs of others.

       This simple verse reminds us that in church life it is often a minority who creates problems and disrupts the fellowship. It is usually a "squeaky wheel" that gets the grease or at least several chapters of pastoral exhortation. We are tempted to picture the Corinthian church as rampantly out of control with regard morality, idolatry and worship-- when this probably was not the case at all.

         These problems existed. The culture was notorious and dangerous. The peril was great and the warnings were needed. But not everyone was popping up with uninterrupted utterances or eating meat in pagan Temples or sleeping with a relative. And Paul didn't want to miss that fact.

         "I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you." The Message Bible puts it this way-- "It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you. All actual authority stems from Christ." Paul was wise to realize that most of the people in the Corinthian church remembered and honored him and his teaching recognizing the authority of Christ in those teachings.

           Why is this important? One reason is that several studies reveal 1500 pastors leaving the ministry each month due to discouragement, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches. 4000 new churches begin each year, but over 7000 churches close. Pastors and congregations are discouraged. 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel discouraged in their role as pastors. 50% percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

         So... Paul was wise to realize that most of the people in the Corinthian church remembered and honored him and his teaching recognizing the authority of Christ in those teachings.

         Here is the interesting thing. Studies show that in most modern situations of church conflict, a pastor leaves a church because of an average of no more than four people. Now, Paul did not leave the church at Corinth because of any conflict there. He was genuinely called to move on to Ephesus. But when he heard about trouble among his beloved friends at Corinth, Paul was wise to realize that the offenders were few in number.

         Paul wisely realized that the vast majority of Corinthian believers remembered him with honor and exhibited that honor by walking out the teachings he had passed on to them. Corinth was not all trouble and turmoil. "It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you."

           What do we do with this? Pastors and leaders, don't miss seeing those who are faithfully remembering the teaching of the Lord. Applaud those who are walking faithfully in the Lord. Believers, honor your pastors and leaders by attending to the teaching of the Word and faithfully walking out the life of grace in response to the Gospel. Honor one another and pause, from time to time, to applaud one another.

 

           Father God, strengthen Your church. Encourage Your pastors and leaders. Encourage those who have come to trust in Your grace. Build them up as they adhere to the teaching of Your Word. Give Your grace to the situations of conflict that tear at the Body. Create an atmosphere of honor and faithfulness in Your church. In Jesus' Name.