If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come! (1 Corinthians 16:22)
Would You Hire Paul?
It would be hard to imagine how difficult the task of writing a church like Corinth and dealing with all the problems they faced and many they brought on themselves. Paul was a master craftsman selecting the right words and exhortations to admonish the saints, rebuke their sin and challenge the spirit to be united in Christ. His letters to Corinth are classical examples of tact, diplomacy and gentleness all wrapped into one. The ending of the letter does not go unheeded as he simply, boldly and clearly sums up the message – if you do not love Christ there is no hope. It becomes an emphatic statement of truth that brings all of his arguments to bear on the hearts of the disciples. There are no vague exhortations in this letter. Paul demands by the authority of Christ for the brethren to shape their lives in accordance to the will of the Father or else. This is hard preaching but must be heard. If the love of the Lord Jesus Christ is not first in the hearts of the saints then they should expect the wrath of God. Truth does not change because of a misguided view of what is right and wrong. Believing the world is flat does not make the world flat; it just deceives the mind of those who believe in falsehood. What Paul dealt with at Corinth was a multiplicity of problems plaguing the early church and the only solution was to make the heart right with God so the sin would be removed. Hard preaching. A tough message. Bold truth. There are two choices: either serve God and live or to rebel against the gospel and perish.
Preaching in the New Testament was not a watered down message of accommodating truths based on any man’s endowments of wealth, standing or popularity. The message of the gospel was a two-edged sword piercing to the marrow of the soul and discerning the spirits of truth and righteousness. Paul’s final admonition was a demonstrative message about Jesus Christ. There is only one Lord and service to Christ must be total and absolute. Minimal Christians were unacceptable who sought to do as little as they could and be impressed with a cavalier view of obedience. If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ he was to be accursed or anathema. There are a lot of churches of the Lord today that would not allow Paul to preach for them. His message would be too stern and revealing. It must be said the apostle began his letter with love and compassion for the brethren. He spoke of his continual thanksgiving for their faith remembering them in his prayers. What remained were the many problems the church had and quickly the apostle directed his letter to their division and carnality. With a pen of love he stripped away the façade of their hypocrisy allowing a man with his father’s wife to be accepted among the saints. Their mockery of the supper of Christ, rebellion of women, legal wrangling, insensitivity to others, abuse of the spiritual gifts and denial of the resurrection of Jesus all became the foundation of his message to the saints. Repent was the message of the day. There could be no quarter given to the appeal he gave the Corinthians to correct their lives to be in harmony with the word of God. He was not suggesting things they should be doing but commanding them to repent. Paul said what Jesus said Himself: if you love God you will obey His commandments. There is nothing else a man can do to find happiness before the Lord but to love Him and obey Him. If you do not love the Lord Jesus Christ you are in serious trouble.
Many churches today do not hear the message of God’s love and His wrath. Often they hear only one to the detriment of the other. Preaching only the love of God will not bring about a heart of repentance and fear. Suggesting the wrath of God is all a person must hear will create a heart of unrighteous fear and loathing for the Lord. Paul had a huge problem to deal with at Corinth and he began his letter showing the love of God. Throughout the message he used the style of steel and velvet to impress upon the hearts of the saints the love of God and the will of the Lord. When he finished his letter he announced to every child of God a choice must be made and that choice will determine the eternal destiny of the soul. If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul and mind they would be accursed. Loving the Lord is not just in name alone. Showing up for services does not prove love. Expressing love is through the action of the heart, hand and mind giving them totally to the word of God. Do you have a man who will preach like the apostle Paul? The whole counsel of God includes the goodness and severity of God. Sin must be rooted out and challenged. Love is at the root of the message for the salvation of the soul. Preach the whole counsel of God. Anything less is not the gospel. Preach the word.