Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 33 – CLOSING THE LETTER

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul, having received word in the form of a letter from the church in Corinth, is responding to that letter, as well as to information he has received from trusted sources about the condition of the Corinthian church. Adultery, members suing each other, married couples abstaining from physical relations in order to gain a more "spiritual" relationship with God, as well as the misuse, or abuse in the realm of Spiritual Gifts.

Paul addresses these issues in his letter to the Corinthian church and urges them not to go beyond what is written.

He warns them about their sexual immorality, as well as not becoming a stumbling block to those who are weaker in faith. He explains for those who think some foods are not permissible, or that they are not allowed to drink wine, or one day is holier than another, if they believe this for God's sake, then let it go, do not fight amongst yourselves. 

Paul tells them to be self-disciplined, and warns that when the Israelites sinned against God and did not repent, they did not receive forgiveness, and never made it to the Promised Land. Look at them as examples. There MUST be repentance if there is to be forgiveness. Paul then warned the church that communion was to be taken together as a body, not for eating and getting drunk. The congregation must be one, looking out for each other.

The last few weeks we have been looking at Paul explain certain Spiritual Gifts. This points to the notion, since only a few are mentioned, that these may have been the gifts which they were abusing, or exploiting.

Paul explains that all parts are important, no matter the size or number of gifts. He explains that it is OK to desire and even pray for certain gifts, but there was a way greater than the gifts for bringing people to Christ, rather than use the gifts like parlor tricks, Paul says use I Corinthians 13. Love is the greater way. Then in Chapter 14, Paul explains prophecy, tongues and the importance of intelligible words being greater than tongues.

Paul wishes he could come, but those who are coming can be trusted to speak as he would.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 16:5-18
 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost,because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.
12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

a.      Paul is sending Timothy as soon as possible
                                                                         i.      Until then, the church is to look at other's as leaders and teacher's of the truth

1.      Specifically named in verses 15-18 as Stephanas, Fortunatus & Achaicus

                                                                      ii.      Paul also states that when he travels through Macedonia, God willing, he will stop in and spend some time with them as well.

1.      Not a short visit, but time to help them get back on track

b.     VS 6 tells us Paul wants to spend as much time as possible with them
                                                                         i.      However, it has to fit into Paul's calling to spread the Gospel

                                                                      ii.      He will not leave his calling (his post) but will try to fit them into his schedule

                                                                   iii.      The scripture also shows they will be helping his mission financially as well.

c.      Paul states, rather apologizes that he cannot come immediately
                                                                         i.      The timing is bad, not just because f his current calling by God but because of the Jewish Passover celebration

                                                                      ii.      He states he will leave Ephesus after the Jewish celebration of Pentecost though.

                                                                   iii.      Because there is an "open door" for him
1.      Meaning there is a great opportunity for him to preach the Gospel

a.      "Make sure Timothy has nothing to fear"
                                                                         i.      Paul was worried the Corinthian church may treat Timothy poorly because of his young age

                                                                      ii.      Paul explains they are to treat Timothy as they would him

b.     "Let no man despise him"
                                                                         i.      Paul explains also, not only are they to treat him right, but respect him as well

                                                                      ii.      Do not hold his youth and inexperience against him

                                                                   iii.      Paul gives warning that he does not want to get a bad report from Timothy about the matter

c.      We see that Paul knows the Corinthian church respected him and Appolos
                                                                         i.      He wanted to ensure they treated Timothy with that same respect

a.      vs. 13 - "Watch Ye" (NIV be on your guard)
                                                                         i.      This is a military command

                                                                      ii.      Given by a superior, in this case Paul

                                                                   iii.      "Stand Firm in the faith"

                                                                     iv.      Paul is commanding them not to be moved by the devil from the faith of the cross to anything else

                                                                        v.      This was a continuous problem in the Corinthian church
1.      Adultery, fornication
2.      Believer's taking each other to secular court
3.      Accepting false doctrines and teachings such as the resurrection not taking place
4.      Going beyond what was written and believing false teachings of "higher spirituality"

b.     Be courageous, be strong
                                                                         i.      and in everything do it in love
1.      referring to what he said in I Corinthians 13

c.      Submit to the likes of the House of Stephanas
                                                                         i.      The first fruits of Achaia

                                                                      ii.      Paul brought the Gospel to them, they accepted and were baptized

                                                                   iii.      Paul knew they would preach and teach the Truth!

                                                                     iv.      Paul explained they should be followed as leaders in the church because they would not teach false doctrines.
1.      They were taught by Paul

d.     vs. 17 Paul wishes he could have spoke to the entire church in Corinth
                                                                         i.      but knows that those he sends will be sufficient

                                                                      ii.      Paul would send Stephanas, Fortunatus & Achaicus
1.      and eventually Timothy

2.      Because Paul knew they would preach and teach the TRUTH because they were taught by Paul!


Paul gives the church in Corinth hope of getting back on track, moving past their sins, getting back to the Word, and being right with God, as well as encouraging them to stand firm.

New teachers would soon be arriving, and eventually Paul.

Paul closes his letter (epistle) to the Corinthian church with final greetings to the readers.

19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord! (Aramaic expression "Marana tha")
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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