1 Corinthians 16

1 Corinthians 16 ends Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth.  As he wraps up he handles some housekeeping and future planning.  He begins by talking about giving.  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”.  God does expect us to give to the ministry of the Body.  He gives freely to us, not only that we may live, but that we may learn to give to others as He prospers us.  All we have, after all, is from Him.  We tend to forget that and believe that we make our money and accumulate our stuff all on our own.  That is really a pretty dangerous and self-centered way to look at it.  God gives us the ability to make money.  It is all His.  And it is important we not only don’t forget that truth, but that we learn to give generously back as well.  Paul expected that of the church in Corinth, and God has a similar expectation for you and me – it is called tithing – and we need to live by it.

 

Paul goes on to talk about things in Ephesus – but his description likely is accurate for the places you and I live today as well.  Check out how Paul describes things: ”a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries”.  There was significant opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus where he was – but there was also a battle occurring as well.  Doesn’t that describe your neighborhood and community?  There are many who don’t know the gospel, but it isn’t as easy as it seems it should be.  We have the answer to eternal life – yet people refuse to receive or come against that message.  So people are kept away and in the dark.  Paul is committed to making a difference before he moves on.  Sometimes we just need to continue to minister to those in our patch and not get in a hurry to go to the next opportunity.

 

Paul ends things with a list – a powerful list – of things he asks the church to do.  We would all do well to read and heed this list.  Paul tells them:

       Be watchful

       Stand firm in the faith

       Act like men

       Be strong

       Let all that you do be done in love

       Be subject to such as these (the saints)

       Greet one another with a holy kiss

Paul is giving direction on how the body needs to live.  We can’t forget that we are under attack and face a very real enemy.  Sometimes we think that since we are in the church all will be well.  That is not necessarily the way it works.  We must be vigilant in our efforts to stand together and be ready for the challenges that will come our way.  Are you living the way Paul calls us to live?  If not – now is the time to make those changes!

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