An Invitation to Real Apostolic-Like Living

The Challenge of 1 Corinthians 4.9-16

From some corners of evangelical Christianity come the cries for apostolic ministry – ministries of authority, physical healing, signs, words of knowledge, prophesy, and the “supernatural.” The desire is for apostolic results. But, what about the apostolic kind of life that goes with it? These results did not come through empty vessels but through men shaped by asceticism, hardship, resistance, and prayer. A modern apostle might say, “It doesn’t matter. The supernatural is God’s work. It matters little how I live or who I am.” The Apostle Paul would disagree.

In 1 Corinthians 4.9-16, the Apostle Paul, from first hand experience, describes what being an apostle looks like: 

  • last of all
  • sentenced to death
  • a spectacle to the world, angels and others
  • a fool for Christ’s sake
  • weak
  • held in disrepute
  • hungry and thirsty
  • poorly dressed
  • beaten
  • homeless
  • involved in manual labor
  • reviled yet blesses
  • persecuted yet endures
  • slandered yet speaks well of the slanderers
  • the scum of the world
  • rejected like garbage

Contrast this with the modern-day “apostle,” who is trying hard to be:

  • relevant
  • distinguished
  • privileged
  • popular
  • successful
  • influential
  • diplomatic
  • well-liked
  • recognized
  • powerful
  • comfortable

Paul’s description could easily be dismissed as only applying to first century apostles. If only he had not gone on to say,

 I admonish you because you have countless guides who want to tell you how to live but not many fathers who are actual examples of how to live. That’s why I say, “live as I live; imitate me.”

You and I are not apostles. But we are to become apostle-like Christians as Paul describes. This is at the core of our journey with Jesus Christ and his apostles.

It is a journey to nothingness.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle writes, “Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies”  (4.10). Nothingness is the place we experience everything good. 

It is only in dying that we experience real life.

Do you know much about the Apostles? Unfortunately, I don’t. 

Today, let’s find out more about these men who changed the world in their living and in their dying.  

Spoiler alert: with one exception, they all died as martyrs. How did they live? How did they die? Let’s do some research. Then, let’s do some self-examination in light of what we find. 

Share below a gem that you discover and how it impacts you. And share this post with others. 

Dr. K

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “An Invitation to Real Apostolic-Like Living

  1. Sounds like we moderns could all use a dose of humility! I love St. Bernard, “You will never have real mercy for the failings of another until you know and realize that you have the same failings in your soul. Our Savior willed to suffer so that he might have compassion. Heb 2:17” Thanks Dr. K. A good reminder to be thankful and obedient in infirmity and shortcoming as the true path for God’s manifestations…for Love.

    • Thank you for sharing this quote. St. Bernard is correct. We relate to others out of who we are. Our need for humility, love, and obedience is great. We see so little of these in ourselves. Only in the life of the Triune God can we have hope of experiencing their reality. Thank you for reading and engaging. Dr. K

  2. Wow. Well stated.
    Just read this one today.
    I confess that the only characteristic of Paul’s kind of apostle that I find easy to claim is being “poorly dressed.” I have absolutely no fashion savvy. :-/
    I know that’s not quite what we are looking at here, but it’s been a long day at work. Good, but long, and I am grateful to have gainful work for my hands to do each day.
    I am also grateful for your “interruptions” of my work days, Keith. Thank you for posting words that redirect my thoughts to what really matters in our lives. It is most appreciated.

    • Thank you, Karen, for your kind words. I’m glad you find my interruptions helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to read and engage. Thanks be to God for all things!! Keith