I Corinthians 4:1-7 THE SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL IS UNDER ATTACK—BY RELIGION!

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But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3).

I find some humor while I am out driving around, and I see these churches named First Corinthians Baptist church and I say to myself, why don’t they have Second Corinthians Baptist churches? Have they even read their Bibles? First Corinthians was written to a carnal, worldly, immature church.

Well, thank goodness for Second Corinthians. A lot of things are restored in Second Corinthians. It seems like the church got a little bit more mature in Second Corinthians and got less complaints from the Apostle Paul.

Let’s begin with verse 1 . . .

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (II Corinthians 11:1-2).

So, we know that this is a church that Paul started, and he is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ—that there is no flaw in Him—and the marriage between those that he led to the Lord there and the Lord Jesus Christ, it is almost like that when he gets up to glory you can almost see Paul presenting them. It’s a good picture, but what I think he was trying to tell them—I think—that since he led them to the Lord, he is jealous for them. He doesn’t want anybody to come and mess with their head—which usually comes from lost ‘religious’ people—you can bet on it, that crowd is going to be there—anywhere where the work of the Lord is. The Devil is there.

But the brethren, oh my soul, other Christians, other denominations—I mean, there is going to be a ton of people coming in to try to tell you something—and Paul knew that ahead of time? Why? I mean, he went through the Acts period, and that is when this is happening. And the people he encountered—the rebuttals, the debates that he did in the marketplace. He knew what was coming. He knew with Peter and those of the circumcision, those that even opposed Gentiles getting saved at the time. There were a lot of encounters which he had with people, and we see that here with his jealousy.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3).

Christian, if you got a King James Bible, you need to do a study on the mind. Sometimes we just pass over it—but folks that preach in prisons—that’s what they deal with the prisoners about, about what is going on in their mind. And they are honest—because they are in prison—and the group therapy class that they have with them is the Word of God being preached to them about certain things and are trying to get them over a lot of things before they get back out into the world.

And then we come around to a lot of Christian people, and it like Duh! Yea, the battle is in the mind. Yea, we know.

Then, if you know that, what are you doing about it? And a lot of times it is just hard to do anything about it. Well, you don’t understand it, but God does it. And God does it because you are honest about it, and you are coming before God and you are talking to God. And guess what else? You are expecting your God to do something. You are expecting it. And that will help your brain out right there, but here in the context, the Apostle Paul is really afraid for this church.

He wrote that first epistle and they had all sorts of carnality in it. And we are living in a day and age today—I’m a dispensationalist, and I’m conservative in that—I chose to be that way. You can go crazy with that stuff, but I would consider myself a moderate dispensationalist. Others might think I’m hyper, but I’m moderate. But anyway, you see the age that we are in, you understand what is going on with Laodicea. Yeah. And if you didn’t believe that that was a type in the Book of Revelation, then, if I was to ask, ‘Is this the age of people’s rights where everybody thinks they are owed something?’ You say, ‘oh, yeah.”

Without doubt, everybody whines about something that’s owed to them. And so, we have a great problem in America with the church—the church is being rocked by this atmosphere. But in that first Corinthian letter, and what I am trying to get back to, is the thought of this—where did Paul find these people? Well, he found them in the community where he was at, which was on that isle, it was a Grecian port. And it had all sorts of gods.

The stuff that we see in America on television that is allowed—without graphically explaining—is everywhere. The atmosphere is sensual, the images are vivid. It’s getting like Europe, like in Germany, where nakedness is not big deal. Everything is everything! But when Paul walked into that city—Corinth—it was open, everywhere! Now, I don’t know about your mind’s eye, but mine says it’s best I don’t go there. Without God, I don’t know how in the world I could keep straight eyeballs, or whatever—to have control of my mind. But you see, Paul was led of the Spirit, therefore he did not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. So, he had something for him going on that we are supposed to have. So, going in there that’s the church he started.

So, what we are looking at is a bunch of people that got saved by the Holy Ghost of God, but guess what, they are flesh. And their habits and behavior were filthy. So, when you read that first letter and you think about things that are going on in that church. It’s almost still better because they are saved—but when you come to the second epistle, where we are right now, it’s no longer just the flesh—and the fleshly behavior that they are doing—no, they graduated, they are getting up there now, they are starting to understand the Spirit, they are getting the power of God to get over some things, to get victory over some things, and guess who shows up? Religion! RELIGION SHOWS UP! The Devil is a pro, man!

Once you think you got this thing figured out, no more smoking dope, no more Jack Daniels, no more this, no more that, God’s given me the victory, Hallelujah! And then, BOOM! the Devil jacks your head up with religion.
 
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#2
You know, if you plead the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the stuff you are doing—He gives you power to get victory. You know, that stuff isn’t going to be up there against you, you do know that, right? The Blood of Jesus Christ’ Blood cleanseth us from all sins. The problem is not occupying. The problem is faith—losing faith. He said, ‘Shall I find faith?’ He told us to ‘Occupy till I come.’ That means to ‘stay by the stuff,’ to stay in there.

And so, the Apostle Paul knows that these people are under attack.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?” (II Corinthians 11:4-7).

He goes on to say . . .

I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service” (II Corinthians 11:8).

What does he mean? He didn’t ask them for any money—he wasn’t a professional preacher—He was a man of God. He didn’t go there because they had bucks. When he said he robbed other churches, other churches gave him money so that he could go to this church and do what he could do. He had to survive. He didn’t charge them. It would be amazing if some people on TV would stop doing that.

But the text here is verse 3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

In John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, I go to a few of those guys and I learn from them, back in the 1800’s. Some of them are Calvinists—some are not—but I know the difference. So, don’t get sucked into something. Amen? If you are a ‘babe in Christ.’ These guys had time to think. They didn’t have all this technology and stuff. So, all they did was the mercy of God, the holiness of God, or the justification of God. They started getting into it, nice and slow. And you glean from the older ones in the 1600’s, the 1700’s, the 1800’s. And how they walked with God. So, that’s why I’m using them.

He says, “But I fear, lest by any means . . .” That phrase, ‘Jealousy is always attended with fear, care, and solicitude, whether in things natural or spiritual. The apostle, as things were in this church, could not but express his fears, lest . . .

as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty . . .” that is, the old serpent the devil, who made use of a serpent, the most subtle creature of all the beasts of the field, and seduced Eve from her obedience to God, to transgress his command, by eating the forbidden fruit. The apostle here speaks the language and sense of the Jews, who say, that, "Satan and the serpent have one name", i.e. are the same; and that it was the old serpent (the devil), "that beguiled Eve", and who is said to be corrupted by him.

So, what the author is saying, the Jews already knew. The serpent and the devil were one. They knew that. As Bible believers, we know that from reading that Bible. Now, the serpent was corrupted first. After that, Eve was corrupted, and after that Adam was corrupted.

So, the Apostle was jealous and fearful knowing that the false apostles were ministers of Satan, artful, cunning men—lest through their craftiness and sophistry, ‘subtilty’—'your minds’ (the Bible says) says he, “should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” that is, lest their judgments should be misled, their minds be vitiated with corrupt principles, and be carried away in any degree with the error of the wicked, from off the pure and simple doctrine of the Gospel, which respects the person and grace of Christ; and chiefly lies in this one plain, easy, and important truth, salvation alone by him.

You’ll find it in Corinthians, you’ll find it in Galatians, by Paul. Every religion is trying to attack ‘the simplicity that is in Christ,’ today, all of them. Intellectually, even physically. It’s a mess out there.

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” (I Corinthians 15:1).

Speaking to those that are saved—that received the same Gospel that he preached.

Now, I use these authors and expositors, but I am really trying to keep it simple with this here, with transcript and trying not to get off track too much, with the way my mind goes. But just so you can get the simplicity of these doctrines that we believe. And these are the ones, right now, that are really under attack.

And this is the Gospel he preached . . .

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (I Corinthians 15:2).

“. . . unless ye have believed in vain . . .” Now this doesn’t mean that they lost their salvation, that means when they heard Paul preach the Gospel, some didn’t understand it. If they believed what he preached—they got saved! And what he preached was the Gospel! Yet, some of the message fell on rocky ground.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

“. . . that which I also received . . .” Right now, you are wondering what people are preaching and teaching—what they actually received—because of the corruption that is on the airwaves and the modern movement. There is so many things going on that it is hard to keep up with it. And always remember that there are different ways that people interpret Scripture. It is either literal—every word—what I believe, or it’s thought. And thought seems to be winning out today, in these large churches.

“What I ‘think’ God is meaning.”
“What I ‘think’ about this.”
 
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#3
People today are using, “I think” to explain the Bible instead of “God says!” A ‘thus saith the Lord’ is world’s apart from ‘I think.’

And we are seeing a fluffy weak, anemic Christianity that is happening today, and it is going to be easily consumed into this globalism. I can already see it happening. Barriers are down, and everybody is saying that that is good. It isn’t good.

When you break that separation—you see, it’s about the Book—it’s either the Book or it’s not the Book. If you don’t have the inspired, preserved, perfect Word of God that you believe—that you have—then you’re going to fall for anything out there. Anything that sounds good. Oh, this is archaic, it’s a little obscure. Well, I like this better—but while you’re liking all these thoughts—you are destroying, DESTROYING doctrine. Destroying the chain of references that God has put in this Book. Some things you just got to dig in and fight for.

And the Apostle Paul is telling these folks, ‘Hey, they are coming in, they got some Bible. Oh, they got some thoughts.’ He was fearful because he wasn’t staying there, he is writing these letters to them. He wasn’t there yet. And so they were at the mercy of these people that knew the Bible. They were older—more religious—you know. After all, we are taught to obey our elders.

And so there is a mess going on here, and it boils down to the simplicity of Christ. It comes down to the Gospel which Paul preached. Once again . . .

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

Thank God that it says ‘according to the Scriptures.’ Because that makes you go to Scriptures to see how He dies. ‘Well, the Blood ain’t emphasized.’ Have you read the Scriptures about the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have you read how He suffered—how He bled, how He died? All of that, believe it or not, is involved in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For as you see the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ—which is the very Gospel.

You go, and you research about the death—you read about the rich guy that gave up his tomb—you know, the burial. Next thing you know, lo and behold, that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Wait a minute, this is getting good. See, all the Scriptures! You get into Isaiah 53 and you start saying, “My goodness! 700 years before it happened! No wonder the Jews don’t like talking about Isaiah 53.” Isaiah is their favorite prophet, but chapter 53? They’ll say, “Well, I’m unlearned.” It’s just amazing. We, that are saved, if you read that—if you really read it solemnly—you could even shed a tear. Isaiah 53.

So, you think about the Gospel—it is the death, burial and resurrection—but each one of them can be defined. And that’s where you get to see the suffering of Christ, and what really took place on Calvary. And how God provided the tomb, and how God worked on Nicodemus and the rich man that was there, Joseph to give up his tomb, and how they took the Body there. And you really start to get a fuller picture.

And then you come to the Pauline epistles and you begin to learn about that Blood of Jesus Christ. Wow. Then you understand the Old Testament, how that the blood of goats and bulls could not take away sin—they just covered it up—and that there was one sacrifice for ever, and then He sat down.

All that stuff, you see, that they messed up by adding works to it. By polluting it.

That’s why Scripture, when you get into this King James Bible—when it tells you something—like, ‘according to the Scriptures,’ you may go to some other translation and they don’t have that there.

MacLaren says about this,

“Mark how ‘that Christ died,’ not Jesus. It is a great truth, that the man, our Brother, Jesus, passed through the common lot, but that is not what Paul says here, though he often says it. What he says is that ‘Christ died.’ Christ is the name of an office, into which is condensed a whole system of truth, declaring that it is He who is the Apex, the Seal, and ultimate Word of all divine revelation. It was the Christ who died; unless it was so, the death of Jesus is no gospel.

passed through the common lot . . .” What do you mean? He was born in a manger, I guess that’s as poor as you can get. A carpenter’s son. According to Hebrews “He learned obedience.” Yea, the flesh part of Christ—100% --the common part of Jesus Christ.

the death of Jesus is no gospel . . .” This author points out, ‘Christ, not Jesus!,’ and that is so true. Christ is the anointed One. Christ is the Messiah. If he had said Jesus, he would have got the man part. So, the Word of God is expressive, man. Definite! And we see here that Christ died. Big difference!

MacLaren continues . . .

‘He died for our sins.’ Now, if the Apostle had only said ‘He died for us,’ that might conceivably have meant that, in a multitude of different ways of example, appeal to our pity and compassion and the like, His death was of use to mankind. But when he says ‘He died for our sins,’ I take leave to think that that expression has no meaning, unless it means that He died as the expiation and sacrifice for men’s sins. I ask you, in what intelligible sense could Christ ‘die for our sins’ unless He died as bearing their punishment and as bearing it for us? And then, finally, ‘He died and rose . . . according to the Scriptures,’ and so fulfilled the divine purposes revealed from of old.
 
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What are you saying? ‘Christ died for our sins.’ A lot of verbiage, they were thinking about it. We know—in simplicity—that man, I was once lost, but now I am found. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, I once was blind, but now I see! How’d that happen? God! That’s all that happened. Simplicity of the Gospel should drive us to know more about our new life.

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12-14).

You look at these verses and what you got is an equation. You got an outline of what took place.

It says, ‘that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.’ Now look what it says, ‘In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed.’

See how that worked? It’s really pretty simple. What happened? We are mouthpieces. We are witnesses. We give out the Gospel. They hear it. God says, ‘Okay, let us now reason together.’ They got a brain. They can reason. What do we reason about? The truth. The truth smites them. It cuts them. It pricks them in the heart. They hear that Gospel. The next thing you know they believe it. I don’t know about you, but when I got saved I always go back to that cross where the thief was hanging—because that was my experience—I know there is a lot of Catholicism involved in ‘The Passion of Christ,’ but, wow . . . something about that . . . and I can know that I can be negative about all of it scripturally, but he captured that thief, man. When I connected on that thief’s eyeballs on that cross in that movie—now I am not promoting Hollywood—but I’m just saying, man! Remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom. Man!

Now how can somebody 2,000 years later be able to see Christ on the cross? Somebody that’s got God’s Spirit wooing them to Him. Somebody that finally heard the Gospel that they needed.

THEY HEARD . . . THEY BELIEVED . . . AND THEN THEY WERE SEALED.

They didn’t seal themselves, God did. Why? Because God saved them. That’s why you can’t lose it. And you can search every square inch of your body to see where God put Him in, you ain’t gonna find it. When God sealed you, He sealed you. The same way He mysteriously circumcised your flesh off your soul. Same way!

So, this Gospel drives us to know more about our new life, and to deliver us from the fears and doubts of this life.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).

And then also to deliver others . . .

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 1:13).

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (II Timothy 4:3).

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9).

Today, people are saying that they are against doctrine—doctrine divides—my Bible is constantly telling me to know doctrine. Christ is telling you to know doctrine. You have to learn doctrine. We are to dispute with others that have no doctrine but are religious.

The Apostle Paul is looking at that church in Corinth and hoping that they got some of the things that he taught, trying to keep in communication with them, even telling them that the same Spirit that is in me is in you.

They were growing, and they were getting victory over their flesh, but yet the religionists were messing with their head. It is the simplicity of Christ that you don’t want to lose sight of. If you are born again, you can see spiritually—what—evil days are upon us and the world. I mean, you can even talk to an unsaved person, they see that there is something going on. They don’t know what, they are just grasping. They are wanting to know. They are getting increasingly superstitious. People are getting into all kinds of things now, because they sense something is happening. That spirit of Antichrist is global—it’s getting out of control—that’s what’s going on. It’s accepted.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:1-3).

You got doctrine. You got this Bible. You know what makes you dirty, and you know what doesn’t make you dirty. It’s up to you to stop doing things that makes you dirty. How is that for simple? He tells you it’s us. We are the ones that have to do it. Why? Because He is coming back. We need to purify ourselves. We’ve got a reprieve a little, but my goodness, that may be for us all to get right with God so that we have less to face at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. And maybe you are going to pray more because you know that the day is approaching. You are not going to miss church—you are going to want to be IN church. Why? You are going to occupy. People got to know where you are if you are occupying, and if you’re occupying—people know! If you don’t occupy, you are all mixed up, and messed up and blending with everybody. You fit right in with the world.

You don’t have to be stupid, just be biblical. The simple things. No, I’m not drinking. Why? Then tell them! You know, we’re kind of weak. ‘I don’t want to be an alcoholic.’ ‘My mother was an . . .’ I guess you can play the whole thing. But I’m telling you—it’s a whole lot better to just cut the stuff, man, just get right to the point. ‘I want to serve God, and I can’t serve Him if I don’t have a sober mind.’ ‘I want to please my Lord, I want to stay clean, so I don’t do this or that.’
 
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#5
Whatever causes you to be impure in your mind—you get control over it—I can’t tell you everything, write you a big list. I can give you parameters—I can give you the Book. You know, everybody that is saved knows what makes them dirty. If you are saved, you know exactly what it is. So, that’s what you work on. Isn’t that a blessing that God loves us unconditionally? And not only that, but He is giving you a little more time to get right! That’s good! Once you get raptured, that’s it! Judgment Seat of Christ next!

Wouldn’t it be neat if you looked at this and said, “Oh, God, Please! The Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ cleanse me from this!” It either does or don’t. I believe it does. Get that thing right, now! Whatever it is, man, get it right NOW! You’re going to go up there and say, ‘My goodness, wasn’t He merciful!’ He gave us time. He gives us more time on our knees too. You got a Book, and it keeps you from sinning. When you are looking up stuff like this, you aren’t looking up bad stuff. Isn’t that good? Amen!

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Timothy 2:19).

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work” (II Timothy 2:20-21).

Why isn’t America going in that direction? Well, maybe they are the ones on the shelf that don’t care about honor or dishonor. They’ve been captivated by whatever it is that they are doing—pornography, alcohol, drugs, whatever it is—they’ve been sucked in with that. That’s happening all over. But we may be talking to people today that don’t want to stay there or are maybe sitting there and want to get off of the shelf. And that’s God’s power that’s needed. And it is our humility that gets that into action. You got to admit that there is something wrong. But, you see, everyone—individually—has to stand before God.

He’s a good God.

The Gospel is simple, the results of it—it saves. And those that are saved should serve. The simplicity that is in Christ. Never forget that Gospel. And I’ll tell you this again. There are a lot of people that say we don’t have the Gospel. Then I say unto them, ‘Find the Gospel.’ I want to know about the Gospel. What is it that I am lacking about the death, burial and resurrection? What can you add to the death, burial and resurrection? ‘Well, that’s not the full Gospel.’ Well show me the full Gospel. Show it to me in Scripture.

Don’t go hither and yon and show me a verse over here and a verse over there. Did any of your ever argue with some of those people?

They go to the Book of Acts! I’m trying to help you people today. Religion is what is going to mess your head up!

You got people taking one thing from the Book of Acts when people did six different things to get the Holy Spirit. Anybody ever read the Book of Acts? Which one of the six are you going to choose? Right? Go through the Book of Acts? In one place, wonders, another laying on of hands, in the name of Jesus they received it. Which one? Go through the whole Book!

Did you ever read the whole Book of Acts? ‘Well, no.’ Go through and read the six accounts and why exactly do you choose that one? ‘Well, uhm, uhm.’ Yea, that’s what I thought! Let me show you the Gospel. And then I introduce them to Paul because apparently, they don’t know who he is. And I show him those scriptures in Corinthians. Now how can you add to that?

Same thing with the works ethic. What can I do to be saved? Hey, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved! Believe—period! –no works. That’s how you get in. You need to get in. I mean, you got to be saved to be eternally saved. You want to be secure get saved, if you’re saved, you’re secure. That is the ‘simplicity that is in Christ!

And if you are secure, you’re supposed to serve. And if you’re not serving, you don’t feel good. Simple.

Simplicity that is in Christ.”

You need to understand the power, and the simplicity, of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s what you need to find out from people—are you saved. Time is short. Time is really short. Think about yourself, Christian. How far are we away from God? We will always get from God better than we deserve. Maybe it’s time to really consider how much time we have left—who needs to be told about the Lord.