4:8 Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9 For I think that God has set forth we the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things to this day.
Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes you have to tell it like it is to wake a person from their delusion. Jesus did it. He called the religious leaders of his day vipers, blind, hypocrites and other unflattering things. He didn't do it to be mean. He didn't do it because he hated them. The same lips said "Love your enemies" and also "Those I love I rebuke and chasten."
When love must be tough it is still love. Love that wasn't tough wouldn't be love, it would be apathy or worse. When I refuse to tell you the truth about yourself so that you will think well of me or to avoid conflict that is not love for you but love for myself.
When Paul speaks of wealth he is not talking about money. Money was never part of the discussion. They are rich in their ideas and opinions of themselves. Ideas which have kept them warm and secure while Paul is out on for front lines of ministry with the other apostles. False religion is like that. It's long on meaningless rules that may curb your wardrobe or diet a little but in the end cost you very little. False religion is self-absorbed and has no time for the legitimate needs of the world. When the money hungry and power hungry are as at home in the church as they are in the world something is wrong. When the cost to follow a Saviour who gave everything including His life costs relatively nothing something is wrong with that religion.
Paul is contrasting his walk with Christ with theirs. He has nothing and most people think him nothing. He is in and out of prison and hated by many. They in Corinth claim to be following the same Jesus yet have found a way to be just fine. The greatest enemy they have is each other as they try and argue themselves into a religion that is called Christianity but doesn't involve following Christ at all.
This year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. It happened in an era when most couldn't read. I had the privilege of going to that church and touring the key places of the reformation a few years back. One thing that struck me was that church art became popular so people could see the Story without being able to read.
One painting I'll never forget had two sides. One side was Jesus and His disciples walking a dusty road. Were it not for the halo over Jesus head you wouldn't even have known which plain clothed bearded man He was. Opposite this picture was a picture of the pope riding in an elaborate chariot with guards and attendees in front and in back of him. No words were necessary.
One of these things is not like the other and one thing is certain. All division, all heresy, all corruption and all bad religion begins when we take our eyes off the humble carpenter from Galilee who lived to give. End of story.