Ellen G. White Prophet for Today?
We Analyze, You Decide!
Fair &

Return to https://www.TruthOrFables.net/books/sketches-from-the-life-of-paul-15-f.htm.

Sketches From The Life of Paul

by Ellen G. White

Chapter 15: Paul to the Corinthians.

Contents  ...  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  ...

Paul continues, giving the most solemn warnings against the sins of idolatry, licentiousness, and presumption, which caused so many of the Israelites to fall in the wilderness. He cites examples from sacred history to show how love of ease and pleasure prepared the way for those sins which called forth the signal vengeance of [p. 169] God It was when the children of Israel sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play, that they threw off the righteous fear of God which they had felt a short time before as they listened to the law from Sinai. They made them a golden calf to represent God, and worshiped it in a festive religious gathering. Again, it was after enjoying a luxurious feast connected with the worship of Baal-peor that many of the Hebrews fell through licentiousness, and the anger of God was manifested toward them, and twenty-three thousand were slain by the sword at the command of God through Moses.

The apostle adjures the Corinthians, "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." Should they become boastful and self-confident, and neglect to watch and pray, they would fall into grievous sin, and call down upon themselves the wrath of God. Yet Paul would not have them yield to despondency or discouragement. Whatever might be their temptations or their dangers, he assures them, "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptations also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

Paul enjoins upon his brethren to inquire what influence their words and works will have upon others, and to do nothing, however innocent in itself, that would seem to sanction idolatry, or that would offend the scruples of those who might be weak in the faith. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God."

The apostle's words of warning to the Corinthian church are applicable to all time, and are [p. 170] specially adapted to the wants of our day. By idolatry he did not alone mean the worship of idols, but also selfishness, love of ease, the gratification of appetite and passion. All these come under the head of idolatry. A mere profession of faith in Christ, and a boastful knowledge of the truth, does not constitute a Christian. A religion which seeks only to gratify the eye, the ear, and the taste, or which permits any hurtful self-indulgence, is not the religion of Christ. It is in harmony with the spirit of the world, and is opposed to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Festivals and scenes of amusement, in which professed members of the Christian church imitate the customs and enjoy the pleasures of the world, constitute a virtual union with the enemies of God.

The Corinthians were departing widely from the simplicity of the faith and the harmony of the church. They continued to assemble for worship, but with hearts that were estranged from one another. They had perverted the true meaning of the Lord's supper, patterning in a great degree after idolatrous feasts. They came together to celebrate the sufferings and death of Christ, but turned the occasion into a period of feasting and selfish enjoyment.

It had become customary, before partaking of the communion, to unite in a social meal. Families professing the faith brought their own food to the place of meeting, and ate it without courteously waiting for the others to be ready. The holy institution of the Lord's supper was, for the wealthy, turned into a gluttonous feast; while the poor were made to blush when their meager fare was brought in contrast with the costly viands of their rich brethren. [p. 171]

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for making the house of God a place of feasting and revelry, like a company of idolaters: "What! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?" The public religious feasts of the Greeks had been conducted in this way, and it was by following the counsels of false teachers that the Christians had been led to imitate their example. These teachers had begun by assuring them that it was not wrong to attend idolatrous feasts, and had finally introduced similar practices into the Christian church.

Paul proceeded to give the order and object of the Lord's supper, and then warned his brethren against perverting this sacred ordinance: "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. . . . He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."

The apostle thus sought, in the most decided and impressive manner, to correct the false and dangerous ideas and practices which were prevailing in the Corinthian church. He spoke plainly, yet in love for their souls. In his warnings and reproofs, light from the throne of God was shining upon them, to reveal the hidden sins that were defiling their lives and characters. Yet how would it be received?

While writing to the Corinthians, Paul had firmly controlled his feelings; but when the letter had been dispatched, a reaction came. He feared [p. 172] lest he should wound too deeply those whom he desired to benefit. He keenly dreaded a further alienation, and sometimes longed to recall his words. With trembling anxiety he waited to receive some tidings as to the reception of his message.

Those who, like the apostle, have felt a responsibility for beloved churches or institutions, can best appreciate his depression of spirit and self-accusings. The servants of God who bear the burden of his work for this time, share the same experience of labor, conflict, and anxious care that fell to the lot of the great apostle. Burdened by divisions in the church, meeting with ingratitude and betrayal from those to whom they look for sympathy and support, vividly impressed with the peril of churches that are harboring iniquity, compelled to bear a close, searching testimony in reproof of sin, and then weighed down with fear that they may have dealt with too great severity,—the faithful soldiers of the cross find no rest this side of Heaven.

Contents  ...  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  ...

The above page was found at https://www.TruthOrFables.net/books/sketches-from-the-life-of-paul-15-f.htm on May 18, 2024.

© 2005