Dear Fellow Believers in Christ, (The Fear of the Lord is to let it only be Christ living in us and through us)
The fear of the Lord is to let it only be Christ living in and through us. Is that not what is really important to be fully expressed in the church today? Why should we just focus and preach on Jesus Christ and Him Crucified? How is that truly and practically going to help people with so many real problems? Why didn't Paul answer the Corinthians divisions and problems that they brought to him?. . .or did he really answer them in truth? What does our Father and the Holy Spirit really want us to say and communicate to the church? Holy Spirit speak to us as we look into the Word of God. We truly desire to know your voice and your answer and fully stand in the fear of the Lord.
THE FEAR OF THE LORD
"And when I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling" (I Cor. 2:3). If someone just pulled this verse out of context and looked at it, they might have these questions, "Who is this Paul?" "Is he some kind of a weakling?" "Canít God get somebody better to speak for Him to His church??"
Paulís example of endurance in the Christ-life
In context, we learn that Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God (I Cor. 1:1). While I may not know everything about the apostle Paul, the Lord Jesus chose him specifically as His chosen vessel to speak in His name (Acts 9:15,16). That answers the first and third questions above that they might have. What about that second question, "Is he some kind of a weakling?" The answer is. . .No! Certainly in the natural Paul had withstood stripes, beatings, stonings, shipwreck in perilous waters, perils by robbers, perils by his countrymen, perils by the heathen, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, weariness, painfulness, thirst, fastings often, with cold and nakedness (II Cor. 11:23-27). This is not a weakling but a strong witness of the life and endurance of the Lord Jesus Christ living in and through him (Gal. 2:20).
Paulís exchanged his weakness for Christís strength
What Paul is telling the Corinthians is that he came to them in weakness of the flesh (I Cor. 2:3). He is not coming to them in his own physical strength of mind and body. Paul did not come to them to boast of his accomplishments in Christ, though there were many. Paul did not even come to them, even to boast in his visions and revelations, although he certainly had experienced some of these also (II Cor. 12:1-4).
Paul knew that when he was weak, the power of Christ would be strong in Him (II Cor. 12:9). He was going to do all things through Christ, Who would strengthen him (Phil. 4:13). Paul chose not to rely on the strength of manís wisdom, but to stand in the strength of the "wisdom and power of God" (I Cor. 2:4). As Paul chose, so must we decide from which tree we are going to operate. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the tree of operating out of our strength as the source. We should be operating out of the tree of the life, where Christ is our strength and life, our only life. We are truly living in a shared-life with Christ and should not attempt living in any manner aside or apart from him. We should be abiding and living in Christ, and with Christ in us as our complete eternal source for all that we do in the temporal. That is the true Christian life! That is true life!
Paulís exchanged his fear for the complete love of Christ
It says that Paul was "in fear, and in much trembling" as he spoke to the Corinthians (I Cor. 2:3). This fear was not timidity toward man. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7). This spirit of fear here is defined as timidity in our relationships with others. That spirit of fear comes forth out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If we have fear, we need to check the source.
In the natural, it would appear that hate is the opposite of love. In the natural, faith would appear to be the opposite of fear. However, on the authority of Godís Word, that just is not true. John provides us the insight on this when he states, "There is no fear in love: but complete love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears in not made complete in love" (I John 4:18). We have to choose to exchange our fears for the complete and mature love of God Ė with nothing held back or restricted.
Our focus must be on the Father and His divine purpose. Paul was focused on the Father and his purpose, and was walking in the complete love of God. He wasnít there to speak to the Corinthians on his own mission. He didnít have his own hidden agenda that he was planning to promote. Paul wasnít there trying to boast of his revelations, and indirectly leading them to all become little Pauls. In reality, it was just opposite. Paul was on the mission of the Father and he knew it. Paul was so filled with the complete love of Christ, that his concern was for the plan and will of God to be complete in their lives.
Paul exchanged his words for the Word of God
Paul was coming to the Corinthians to deal with and stop divisions among the them, from those who were being men followers of Paul, Peter, and Apollos (I Cor. 1:11,12). There were even super-spiritual saints there who boasted to be just of Christ. However, every part of the boasting on the part of all of those saints was out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yes, and that even includes the so-called super-spiritual saints as well. Paul let them know that Christ was not divided (I Cor. 1:13). Paul didnít want to focus on the divisions. He didnít want to teach the law. Paul didnít want to entice the Corinthians, by using manís wisdom out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He had to exchange his words and thoughts for the Word of God. Paul made a radical decision to preach and teach only in the wisdom and the power of God. He would speak only the word that Christ would give him.
Paulís total dependence upon the Lord
The scriptures in this I Corinthians chapter 2 passage speak loudly by the Spirit of Paulís total focus and dependence upon the Lord in all things. Paul lived and spoke the Word and the Spirit, and lived in its truth and validity with Christ as his only life (Gal. 2:20). Paul came to these Corinthians sent by God to correct the divisions and center them on Christ and the cross, the only answer for their problems and divisions. Truly, it was the only answer, even for their lives. When Paul came to Corinth, he knew by the power and wisdom of God, that he could not come to them and operate in the flesh, expecting to correct their flesh. We just cannot and must not, combat flesh by the flesh. There will be no spiritual results.
Paul knew by the Spirit of God, that this was a critical position in their walk with the Lord. He knew what he said to the Corinthians at this point would significantly determine their future destiny and fellowship in the Lord. They would be making many decisions based on what he would tell them right then. Paul loved the Father so much, and His people there, that this became an "intense" burden and concern for him to carry. While he could fully trust the Father, he did not fully trust himself. Paul did not want to get sidetracked by somebody or something there, that might cause him by mistake to move back into operating in the flesh. Paul knew that if he should fall in that direction, that most of what was necessary now for the Corinthian believers, would be lost for Godís redirection for their lives. What an awesome burden! What an awesome challenge!
When Paul came to the Corinthians, I donít even think he prepared or planned a message. He was so concerned for them, that he wanted to be absolutely sure that there was nothing of him in what was to be shared with them. Out of that deep love, Paul fully trusted the Father only to provide what he was to share and say to them.
I think he prayed and asked the Father what he should preach and teach on. And, I think the Spirit of the Word surely came to Paul from the Father, "Just point them to my Son and tell them about all that He has already completed for them on His cross." "You just begin to speak to them of my Son and Him crucified and Iíll give you all the rest of the words that you need to say to them in that hour."
When Paul arrived, the Corinthians talked about their divisions and baptisms. Paul talked about Christ and the cross. Paul told them that he didnít come to them with a prepared sermon or teaching, devised in his own wisdom (I Cor. 2:1). Paul came to them just to share the testimony of God, and just say only what God told him to say. For that very reason Paul "determined not to know any thing among them, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (I Cor. 2:2).
When Paul came in the complete love of the Lord and of the Corinthians that day. He was fully walking in the Spirit and obeying the will of the Father. However, in that close communion, and fully knowing his impact to the Corinthians, he came that day in the fear of the Lord. He was in weakness, and fear, and in much trembling, because of the awesome responsibility he had been given by God. And knowing that he could make a wrong decision, say something in the flesh rather than 100% in the Spirit, caused Paul to be fearfully concerned. It was not a lack of faith or trust in God that he faced, but knowing at anytime he could move into the flesh and stop Christ from flowing forth spontaneously in and through Him to achieve the Fatherís will and purpose.
After Paul spoke those words of focus that the Father gave him, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified," I believe the Holy Spirit opened up everything that he was to say to the Corinthians in that day and hour. Paul began to speak the Fatherís words and fulfil his will in the hearts and minds of the Corinthians that day. Oh, to have such complete love, reverence, and respect of the Lord that we would ask and clearly hear His topic to speak. Oh, to be walking totally unprepared in ourselves, where we could just speak His Word and His Spirit would abundantly flow forth to speak the Fatherís Word in and through us. This is walking in the fear of the Lord. This is the Fatherís way to allow Christ to edify his own body.