1 Corinthians 4:15-16 – “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
In the portion of Scripture from which our text is taken, Paul compares himself to the gladiators of his day who were condemned to die for the entertainment of the spectators. They entered the Roman arena knowing they were there for the express purpose of enduring the worst their enemies could do to them.
The brave Soldiers of the Cross were called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Yet Paul was undaunted by the tremendous persecution similarly imposed upon him because of his heavenly calling, for he says to the Corinthians that in this way he has begotten them “through the gospel.” He then admonishes them to follow his example, enduring all things to glorify God and bring the good news of grace to others.
A minister once delivered a sermon on the evidences of Christianity. He was surprised to see in the audience a well-known atheist. A few days later he encountered the man again, this time standing in the doorway of his shop. He asked the atheist to believe the witness he had given, but the man replied, “What! Believe? Certainly not! If I accepted what you and your Christian friends profess, it would change my whole way of life. Realizing the terrible consequences which you say await the dying souls of men, I would earnestly strive to win them. No! You and your congregation don’t actually believe what you say!”
How many tears do we shed over the lost? How zealous are our efforts in Christian service? May God help all of us to live the truths to which we often give only lukewarm mental assent. With shame we must agree that many of us deserve the atheist’s rebuke!