Bible Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:1 - "Following a Man"


Situation: There is an age-old accusation that if a firstfruit is following a man, he or she is not following God. Is this a valid accusation?

This is not necessarily a valid accusation.

"Following a man" is not an action.  It is a matter of the heart or an attitude.  In fact, there are two ways in which a true Christian may follow a man.  One is biblical and justified while the other is not.

If a person is worshipping a man or following a man because of the man, himself, the person is spiritually wrong in doing so.  This is the Work of God and not one of man.  Having said this, there is a biblically justified and clear admonition to follow men under specific circumstances.  Notice:

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.  –Phil 3:17-18

In verse 17, Paul is encouraging people to follow him and to follow those who follow Christ.

In verse 18, Paul warns against those who seem to follow Christ but are actually enemies of the cross of Christ.

"Enemies of the cross [stake] of Christ" denotes those who do harm to Christ, His Work or to His Church. It does not speak of personal sin.

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.Heb. 6:12

This verse is saying we should not become spiritually dull and indifferent, but that we be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience.

James 5:10-11 from the Living Bible:

For examples of patience in suffering, look at the Lord’s prophets. We know how happy they are now because they stayed true to him then, even though they suffered greatly for it. Job is an example of a man who continued to trust the Lord in sorrow; from his experiences we can see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good, for he is full of tenderness and mercy.

Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. –1 Cor. 4:16

For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you. –2 Thess. 3:7

The word "disorderly" means loafing, so the verse could read, "you never saw us loafing around". (See Vines)

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. –1 Cor. 11:1

As you can see from these examples, we witness Paul as a good example to follow because he followed after Christ. But notice the following…

Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? –Rom. 7:24

Wow! The man who urges us to follow him is a man who laments his sinful, fleshly nature. I believe by calling himself a "wretched man" we are talking about something more severe than an occasional taking of the Lord’s name in vain or breaking of the Sabbath. Don’t you?  Therefore, we cannot dismiss following a specific man because he sins and is subject to sin.  We follow him as he is used by God, does the Work of God and is in close adherence to scripture as stated in Matthew 7:15-20, which speaks to true and false ministers.  See Study on this subject.
 

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