Paul Admonishes the Church at Corinth
1st Corinthians 16:13-23
No church caused Paul more concern than the one he helped found in Corinth. The apostle, to insure the continued health of that congregation, expended much energy in both writing and prayer. I think we fail in our understanding of Paul’s letters if all we see is the negative. His interest was generated by love for the Corinthian people and by a realization of their great potential for Christian service.
The Corinthian Church was busy doing many things. Mostly negative in their direction and purpose, they nevertheless had a potential for greatness if their energies could be redirected into positive service. Paul’s letters offered helpful criticism and advice. Every New Testament church can benefit from the suggestions made in Paul’s closing statement to the Corinthians.
I. Be Watchful – Aware and Alert
A. Against dangers from the outside
1. False teaching and bad examples
2. New ideas that sacrifice truth for apparent success
3. The encroachment of government
B. Against internal dangers
1. Personal pride and selfishness
2. Those tossed about by every wind of doctrine
C. For opportunities of service
1. New ways to reach the lost
2. Helping one another
II. Stand Fast In the Faith
A. Resolved to be faithful regardless of how we feel
1. Not always agreeing yet loving and faithful
2. Working and attending when we would rather not
B. Problems caused by a lack of steadfastness
1. Hindered growth
2. Our usefulness is diminished
3. Christ is offended and our joy is spoiled
III. Be Brave – “Quit You Like Men”
A. Not afraid but standing firm
1. Facing the Evil One
2. Willing to support unpopular causes/ideas
3. Able to endure many failures
B. Encouraged by Whose we are
IV. Be Strong In the Lord
A. How can a weak man be strong?
1. We gain strength as we accept our utter hopelessness apart from Christ
2. But then, no man is stronger than me and God
B. The means for obtaining strength
1. Abundance of prayer – a commander is at great disadvantage without good communication
2. Exercising the small strength we have. This is faith! Confidence in Christ makes us strong!
3. Avoiding evil influences
4. Seeking God’s will
V. Love Makes It All work
A. Without love we have no dynamic to drive us. A machine may require a push to start and oil to keep it going. Love for Christ and one another are the reason and maintaining force for Christian service.
B. Every thought, plan, action, and word needs to be provoked by the great motivator – Christian Love
Christian service entails much of thought, prayer, and labor. If we follow these five principles we cannot help growing individually and collectively. No Christian can please or serve Christ from the sideline. If any would be obedient, let him answer the call of Christ to faithful service.