Instruction about Collection for the Saints:
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
In this concluding chapter, Paul reminds Corinthians about the contribution for the Jerusalem church. They have inquired how they could participate in the collection for the saints in Jerusalem. Paul instructs that they should follow the same procedure he gave to the churches in Galatia. When believers gather for corporate worship on the Lord’s Day, they should give generously (1 Corinthians 16: 1-3). It is not an optional matter but the Christian’s obligation to meet the needs of other believers. Our motivation for worship and generosity is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). God has blessed us generously with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Our giving is a fragrant and acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18). We give because we love Christ who immeasurably blessed us (John 12:1-8). Those who know Christ and appreciate his great work on Calvary for them should give generously. On the first day of the week each believer should give proportional to their income. Their giving is to be systematic. Paul wanted that this collection be taken before his arrival at Corinth. Paul did not want to apply any pressure on them when he came. Since Paul was not sure when he would visit Corinth, he reminds them that they should be prepared with the collection now. Also Paul suggests that they should appoint stewards to carry their gift to Jerusalem. Paul felt that it was appropriate for him to go along with those who carry the gift to Jerusalem and write a letter of recommendation for the stewards. Paul shows the importance of accountability in handling finance in the church. Because of Christ’s great generosity toward us, Christians should show generosity toward those who are in need.
Paul’s Personal Plan:
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:5-12)
Paul planned to visit Corinth after visiting Macedonia and spend the winter with them. Though this church was facing many problems, Paul had genuine love for them. But he was waiting for God’s timing (1 Corinthians 16:7). In the meantime Paul decided to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost because a wide door for effective ministry had been opened to him. There are many adversaries also (1 Corinthians 16:9). God’s servant should avail all the opportunities to serve Christ. Paul spent three years in the ministry at Ephesus. Though the Corinthian church had many flaws, Paul loved them dearly. It is important that the servants of God must graciously endure many challenges for the sake of the spiritual growth of fellow believers. Paul models Christ-like patience and commitment to serve others. At this time Timothy was traveling to Corinth. Paul is afraid that Timothy may be intimidated, being young, timid and physically weak (1 Timothy 4:12; 5:21-23; 2 Timothy 1:7). So Paul requests that they should treat Timothy with respect and not despise him because of his youth. He is doing the work of the Lord just as Paul. He asks them to send him on his way with their blessing when he returns to Paul (1 Corinthians 16:11). Paul was expecting Timothy along with other brothers. Paul urged Apollos to visit Corinth with other brothers to encourage them. At that time he was unable to visit them. Paul was confident that Apollos would visit Corinth when it was convenient. Our ability to serve God is motivated by Christ’s love for us.
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:13-20)
Paul gives practical advice to the Corinthian church. Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous and do all things with love (1 Corinthians 16:13). The believers must be alert because Satan is out there to destroy them. Also the Lord’s return is at hand. They should stand true to what they believe. Faith, conviction, courage and love are essential qualities of Christian life. The believers should stand firm in the faith (16:13). Paul urges them to respect the household of Stephanas. They are the first converts in Achaia and they devote themselves to serving other Christians. Paul was rejoicing at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they had refreshed Paul’s spirit and helped him when he was in Ephesus. Paul exhorts believers to honor all those who serve Christ. The churches in Asia send greetings to Corinthians. Aquila and Priscilla with the church in their house send warm greetings. Paul met them when they were exiled from Rome and moved to Corinth (Acts 18:2). They have since moved on to Ephesus (Romans 16:3-5). Paul asks Corinthians to greet one another with a holy kiss. In those days it was a custom to express mutual love and friendship by kiss. These days Christians don’t practice this custom. Pray that God would strengthen you to love believers who may not agree with you. Do you pray for fellow believers who don’t agree with you?
(Read 1 Corinthians 16:21-24)
Paul writes greetings to Corinthian church with his own hand. Paul says “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be cursed” (1 Corinthians 16:22). Only a personal relationship with Christ provides freedom from the curse of sin. Obedience to the Lord is the result of knowing Christ and loving him. Christian life is sustained by the grace of God. Our Lord is coming. “Maranatha” is an Aramaic expression used by early Christians to signify the second coming of Christ. Paul concludes the letter by writing “May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you” (1 Corinthians 16:23). Salvation from A to Z is by grace. Grace enables us to love all who are in Christ. Paul extends his deep love not only to those who agree with him but also to all who disagree with him in the church (1 Corinthians 16:24). Our understanding of God is the result of his gracious revelation to us. Pray that the Holy Spirit gives you insight into the things of Christ to follow his example. Amen!