Sharing the Love of Jesus
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1 Corinthians 16
Sharing the Love of Jesus
Anybody watch you tube videos on how to get things done?
When you have received helpful advice you want to change it. Years ago, my life changed when I had a friend tell me he fixed his washer by watching a you tube video. He just searched on the problem found a video, and did what they said. He saved hundreds of dollars. Having just heard a friend complain about spending a lot of money to get a washer fixed I thought this was worth looking into. Suddenly I was able to fix things I had no idea how to fix. And now guys get together and discuss things they have fixed just by watching a video. Shared this with others because of blessing we found in it.
We are finishing our series on Corinthians today. Paul concludes this letter with a prayer that the Corinthians know the grace and love of Jesus. This is not just the final line of a hallmark card that sounds warm and fuzzy. This is the reason for all of his hard work, for all of his patience in working with this messed up group of people, the church. It is the reason he has endured their misunderstandings, their questioning him, and all the hardships that he faced in his ministry.
When you know the grace and love of Jesus,
you want to share it with everyone.
In this conclusion Paul shares his final thoughts to the church and reminds them of a few ways they are to continue sharing the love of Christ with others.
Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.
5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. 12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity. 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
15 Now I urge you, brothers–you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints– 16 be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such men. 19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. (1 Corinthians 16:1-24 ESV)
He speaks of several ways we make the love of Christ known.
- Financial Giving
V1-4 a financial gift is being prepared to relieve the poor in Jerusalem. Churches came together to pool resources to bless others in need.
The practice of all the churches. He is instructing them to do what churches in Galatia were doing. That is another Roman province. He encourages a practice of setting aside something each week for the offering. This is one of the reasons most churches receive offerings each week.
Tithes and offerings. This is not a gift to keep the temple or church afloat. It is to the poor in Jerusalem.
Unpretentious. No promise that your wildest dreams will come true. There is an allusion that we give as God prospers, but no promise that you give and God will bless you. It is an act of faith. It is a part of the faith.
There is also care in regards to the offering. Finances can be mishandled in any organization. Paul makes efforts to be above reproach here. He is taking the offering not by himself, but with those whom the church has recommended by letter. Paul will go along if it is suitable.
V2 “setting something aside” is literally treasuring up in the Greek text. I think it is a reminder of Jesus teaching to store up treasures in heaven not on earth. “
But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, (Mat 6:20 CSB)
When you know the love of Jesus you want to use all you have to make him known, even financial giving.
Start a habit of giving to the church. If not there yet start giving something. $5, $10 or 1%.
One of our goals here is to build healthy churches. Giving to churches enables them to minister. If we are going to rereach this nation it will take healthy churches. A few years ago I found myself willing to spend money on myself and then when it came to give to an offering I had to pray about it. Didn’t have to pray when it was time for me.
Few things are as objecting in your Christian walk as giving and where you spend your time. Reminds where your riches are at. Reminds you what is most important in life.
- Mission Focused Relationships
There are a number of people mentioned in this passage. They know each other, relate with each other, work with each other.
-Fellow laborers, received help from.
The mission of the church is not intended to be kept a safe distance from you. The mission gets up close and personal. It comes into your home, living room.
Genuine relationships are where ministry happens. We need others. When isolated, we are separated or distanced from others the mission grows cold. The churches’ emphasis on making Christ known brought them together.
Greet each other with a kiss. Signs of affection. This is part of the job description for the greeting team!
Greeting others with a kiss is mentioned in four of the letters of the New Testament. It was a way of greeting in the church. It was a part of the culture of the time, but it was most likely how family members would greet one another. Probably would not greet the cashier at the grocery store with one, but would your sister or grandmother. Here we see the place of the church as a family, where people know one another and have a genuine relationship with each other. They greet in the church as they greet in the family.
It will be interesting to see years from now what is the conclusion on Corona. I don’t know. A lot of people have died. The death rate, based on some, it’s around the rate of the normal flu. There should be affection for God’s people. We should have affection for others. Are we so concerned with personal well being that we will no longer show affection to others. If I told the church to greet others in this way some people would be mortified. I would probably make it on the news. Perhaps it is unwise in this time. Perhaps we have strayed too far from God’s intent. Let me leave it at this, when you see others, how will you greet them in a way that shows the grace and love that are in Jesus Christ.
Teach your kids to greet others. It is a way to show affection to others. Take time to teach your children how to say hello to others, to look the person in the eye, to shake an adult’s hand. It shows love and respect. And I hope we will be a church and people that loves others.
But it goes beyond greeting. Church meets in your house.
v17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours.
Paul baptized Stephanas’s house (1 cor 1:16).
Priscilla and Aquilla is a couple Paul met in Corinth. When the Roman emperor Claudius expelled Jews from Rome they went to Corinth. They were also tent makers like Paul. and they were committed to the mission of Jesus. They met Apollos and took him to their house and “explained the way of God to him more accurately” (Act 18:26 CSB).
These people knew each other. They worked with each other. They talked with each other. Went to each others homes. Most today go to church on Sunday and they don’t ever bring the church home to them. It is hermetically sealed off.
V17. made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours.
Many people are struggling in life because they don’t have relationships. And the church is failing in its mission to share the love of Christ because it is not willing to slow down and be with others.
We need refreshing and we need to refresh others. “sweet repose one enjoys after toil”. Are you experiencing that sweetness of relationships?
When I was a young believer I heard someone say biblical fellowship involves the deepest level of human relationship, a relationship with God. I believe that is true. People who are close with God grow close to each other. When we have God at the center of our lives and are pursuing his intent for our lives it brings us into relationship with others on the deepest and most significant purpose that we have. We talk about our dreams, our fears, our worries, our hurts and how to make Christ known through it all! That is a church on mission.
You don’t get these relationships because you desire community. Your desire for community can become an idol. It’s not the first thing. When we put God and his mission first you get byproducts of meaningful relationships.
**Discovery Groups. Go deeper in knowing God, others, and how you can be of service to others.**
- Endurance in the Work
It is not easy sharing the love of Christ. You will be resisted. You will need to endure.
Paul is telling the Corinthians he is staying in Ephesus for a time because a wide door for effective work has opened… and there are many who oppose him. v9
Let that sink in. He is staying in Ephesus partly because of opposition. We get that you would stay because a “wide door for effective work.” Literally mega, mega opening.
Are you hanging in because it is hard? Are you hanging in there as a dad because it is hard. Are you hanging in with school because it’s hard? Are you hanging in the office because there are many who oppose you?
Ephesus is the city in Asia that Paul went to and riots erupted because he was teaching about Jesus. First, he taught and about 12 guys were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, he spoke in the synagogue for about 3 months until some people became hardened, and then for about two years he met in another hall. He says all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord. Many miracles were done by Paul. There was a lot of fruit, but also opposition.
“many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value, and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver. (Act 19:19 CSB)
A riot would later break out because people were turning from idol worship to the living God. They quit buying idols and the idol makers got angry. A riot broke out and Gaius and Aristarchus are dragged into the amphitheatre. The disciples wouldn’t let Paul go for fear he would be killed.
Paul said he fought wild beasts in Ephesus. Maybe it was this. Or perhaps the opposition could have been Or maybe the opposition is coming from those in the church that Paul instructed Timothy on how to deal with, people who distorted the teaching of Christ, who led others astray.
We don’t know exactly what the opposition is but know this, ministry is hard, serving God brings opposition. We had an extremely difficult few years as a church. We had opposition. I’m glad we are through that. And this has been something that drove me to want to stick out this replant. We had a lot of opposition. That opposition is gone and we have a good path forward.
But consider this. Perhaps the opposition you want so badly to leave is the reason God has you there. Are you a dad and it is hard. That is why you are there. To do what only a dad can do. Don’t bail. Don’t check out. Don’t turn to a bottle for solutions.
Church. Look, you will get hurt in ministry. Paul got hurt in the church so don’t expect anything less than that. Cut grass. Deliver mail. Work on cars. Ministry you get hurt by others. Relational hurt.
The way you are healed by relational hurts is not by talking about how hard it is, or leaving the church, but by discovering how much Jesus has done for you. See what he did for you. And let go of your hurt as an offering to the Lord. Stop holding onto it. You have been hurt. And if you are going to minister to others you will be hurt again. Heal wounds, and go back out. There is more opposition ahead.
If you don’t heal what hurt you then you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.
Apollos didn’t want to go see them.
v11 So let no one despise him (Timothy). Can you imagine that, a church despising someone.
13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Whatever God has called you to do will not come easily. Be on your guard, know that the enemy is coming to attack you, to cause you to doubt, to intimidate you, and cause you to make bad decisions. Be strong. Act like men. Guys, andrizomai. Andros is man. Literally be a man. It denotes bravery. Guys be strong. This is a term that assumes there is a quality of being brave related to being a man. Don’t be wimps. Ladies, he is also telling this to the whole church. You will need to be strong.
There is a strong warning at the end
22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!
It is possible to be in the church and have no love for the Lord. You are not concerned with greeting and loving others. You are not concerned with giving yourself so others may know Jesus. You have no idea what the needs are around you because you are too self absorbed.
This may be the very thing he is telling them to watch out for. To be strong. To stand firm. You keep loving even when you have been hurt. You keep giving when you have been attacked. You act like a man and do the things you are supposed to. You act like a man and love!
Do you have a burning desire to share Christ with others? If not, do you care that you don’t. If you don’t care that is the worst place to be. If you do care, if you are bothered, then humble yourself and ask God to change you, to open your eyes, to open your heart. Read his word. Spend time in it. Find a way this week to follow Jesus. Give to the offering. Go serve someone. Pay attention to them. Seek out their needs.
In Jesus we know we have a love we don’t deserve, it is a better deal than we could ever imagine.
When life cuts we pull back, and we can become very cold and lifeless. Jesus frees us from that. He makes us whole. He restores us. He makes it possible for us to share the excitement of a new found hope, something that changes us, and brings great joy. It changes our finances, relationships, and even our ability to endure hard times.