CALLED TO SERVE, Week 5, The Mature Christian, Steve With

THE MATURE CHRISTIAN:  1 Corinthians 16

Pastor Steve, Feb 4, 2018

Intro…Moving from Doctrinal to Practical.  After discussing the resurrection a great deal (All of Chapter 15), he ends the letter with several exhortations in regard to giving, doing the Lord’s work, faithful living and love within the Christian fellowship.

I. Be Giving: Concerning the Collection (vv1-4)

A. The Purpose of Giving

16:1 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. 

1. In Jerusalem, Christ Followers weren’t getting Temple meals and they are Being Persecuted…so Paul is taking an Offering for them!

“For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. Romans 15:26

“For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.” 2 Corinthians 8:3-4

B. The Principles of Giving

On the 1st day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me.

  1. The Period: first day of each week” Jews met on Saturday, but the resurrection was on Sunday, so the Church met and gave on Sunday.
  2. The Participants: “you should each”…this is all-inclusive. We are Stewards of whatever the Lord has given us, no matter how little, or much, we are called to Give.
  3. The Proportion: “put aside a portion of the money you have earned.”
  • Note: No amount or percentage is ever required in the New Testament.  Rather, each believer is to give from their heart.   Jesus and Paul both commented on this…

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Jesus (Luke 6:38)

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”    Paul (2 Cor 9:7-8)

  • The Place: Church.  The 1st day of the week was the Lord’s day and we worship and give in His place.

II. Be a Leader: Principles from the Lord (vv5-12)

1. Vision

5 I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. 

  1. …For the Future : Paul had his plans… “I am planning to travel through Macedonia, then I’ll visit”
  2. The Lord’s worker plans and strategizes.  “Looking ahead for what the Lord might have planned”

2. Flexibility

6 Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination.  7 This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. 8 In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. 9 There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.

  1. Our plans must always be subject to the Lord’s Vision, “if the Lord will let me.”
  2. Hold out your Hands: One hand is Planned, the other open to God, we give the Lord the right to change the plans. 
  3. Wherever Paul was to go, he wanted to Support the Corinthians so they can “send me on my way!”

3. Team

10 When Timothy comes, don’t intimidate him. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 Don’t let anyone treat him with contempt. Send him on his way with your blessing when he returns to me. I expect him to come with the other believers. 12 Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity.

  1. Paul was a Team Worker.  Paul always worked close with other Christian leaders in whatever he did.
  2. Timothy was like a son to Paul.  Connected in Life and Ministry, They were very close and shared a great deal of ministry together, “Timothy, my true son in the faith.” (1 Timothy 1:2).  Perhaps Timothy was going to Corinth to deliver this letter!!

* Paul was with Timothy til the end…“Timothy, please come as soon as you can…bring my coat, books, papers…Do your best to get here before winter.” 2 Timothy 4:9,13,21 (one of the last things Paul wrote to anyone!!)

  1. Apollos was also close to Paul and His Partner in Corinth

“So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries.” 1 Corinthians 4:1

“Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need.” Titus 3:13

III. Be Alert: Make sure your Spiritually Awake! (vv13-14)

13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love.

  • Be on Guard ~ awake, alive, paying attention, alert
  1. Against Satan
  2. Against Temptation
  3. Against Apathy
  • Stand Firm in the Faith ~ believe, study the Word, memorize

“stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

  • Be Courageous ~ mature, confident, sense of control
  • Be Strong ~ spiritual strength, trust in God, self-sacrifice, denial

“He will empower you with inner strength…” Ephesians 3:16

  • Do Everything in Love ~ gentle, considerate, serving

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other,  for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1  Peter 4:8

IV. BE LOVING: 6 Marks of a Loving Church (vv15-24)

– Do we want to be a Loving Church?

1. Out Reach

15 You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, 

  1. The members of Stephanas household were the first people to find Jesus through Paul’s Ministry in Southern Greece.
  2. Through Sharing their Faith the early church expressed its love to others…we need to do the same.  Do we really love others if we never tell them about our Lord and Savior Jesus?  We can’t say we really love someone if don’t share Jesus.  Maybe there is an issue…maybe we don’t love them, or we don’t love Jesus.  If we really love Jesus we want to share Him.

2. Serve

15b and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people.

  1. They devoted themselves to ministering to the Church. 
  2. Stephanas and his household served others, helped them, saw needs and filled them.

3. Submit to Others

15c I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion. 

  1. Submit to those who faithfully do God’s work.  Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

4. Friendship

17 I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me. 18 They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

  1. Serving in church with friends makes a huge difference in life! 
  2. Through your deepest friendships, most often your faith grows! 
  • Paul challenges us to Appreciate such Friends we Serve With.

[some of my closest long term friends are from serving together, working in church together, going on missions trips together…]

5. Open your Home

19 The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. 20a All the brothers and sisters here send greetings to you.

  1. Show hospitality to others.  Open the house.  Share with Strangers. Be concerned with the Welfare of Others.  Aquila and Priscilla were models of this…Paul most likely stayed there the entire year and a half in Corinth.

6. Affectionate

20b Greet each other with a sacred kiss. 21 HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!  23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.

  1. Paul was an Affection Person.  He shared his emotion and was devoted to those he served.
  2. The Apostle closes with words of Grace and Love for those who love the Lord.  Those two words summarize Paul’s message to the Corinthian believers and the Lord’s message to all believers.  Grace and Love