1 Corinthians 4:15-21
It will be helpful for us to begin this morning with a brief review as to how the church at Corinth was started. Paul was not the first Christian in Corinth; Aquila and Priscilla preceded him in the gospel work, but Paul came along with his apostolic authority and power of the Holy Spirit and saw many Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity. It was at Corinth that Paul experienced strong opposition from the Jews, so he turned his attention predominantly to the Gentiles (vs. 6). In vs. 11, we see that he was there a year and a half, and saw many converts, as he noted again in 1 Corinthians 1. So I explain this context to give you a tangible perspective on the role that Paul played as spiritual father to the Christians of Corinth.
In our text, Paul is strongly warning the Corinthians that their wicked behavior, both in the man-centered and arrogant wisdom of ch. 1-3, and the other vices to follow in ch. 5ff, are worthy of the strongest sort of censure and chastening. Paul uses the “father-son” motif to illustrate the need for chastening, and the application of it. But as we examine the text today, we discover that the reasoning for chastening, either from God or from Paul the Apostle, is quite different than what we might typically think.