Summary: stewarship sermon - stewardship is hard, but what is faith without risk?
It is some what surprising what an international outlook Paul has as he writes to the Church in Corinth. He mentions Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia, Ephesus, Jerusalem. Even though most of Paul’s readers had never left their own city they understood that they were part of a world wide church body in no less significant way than we are today.
He gives us a picture of the church that stretches beyond the horizon. More that one church starting another. More than one church helping another, but a sense of interconnectedness. So as he wraps up he thoughts he with the Corinthians. He wants to make sure that they are not isolated in their view of Christianity. Here as in many of his letters
He mentions the people he has worked with: Apollos, Timothy
Aquila and Priscilla, Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus.
Paul wants to make it very clear that he is the author of this letter. That these are his words and that these are his friends. So he states in 21 - I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. He is not using a scribe at this point . He has dictated the letter up to this point, now he writes personally. Today it is not uncommon for Christian writers to hire a Ghost Writer. A Ghost Writer is a professional writer who will write the bulk of the book and take payment for remaining anonymous. The named writer will fill in the rest of the book. Chuck Colsen is known to have used Ghost Writers, as well as many popular Christian authors.
Tony Campolo - From Philadelphia. He wrote a new book about Christianity and the environment and hiis first stop on promo your was Princeton Theological Seminary. I was a seminary student and I was looking forward to hearing him speak. Tony got up and was animated and funny as usual. Then came the time to promo his new book that he wrote. He held it up high and said. "I was overcome with emotion when I first read this book", He paused a moment, "I mean when I wrote this book", We all laughed, he was caught, he moved on with his talk.
Paul is not using a Ghost Writer. He has dictated this letter, up to this point, verse 21. He wants the Corinthians to know its authenticity.
Note: Length of 1Cor probably because Paul ran out of scroll to write on. He could have said much more, ut he stops here. It is kind of like writing a note on a post card. Paul sees he is running out of room – so he must say some parting words.
Paul instructs that if certain people are to be held up in honor household of Stephanas – verse 15 - they werer the first believers in the area, something, Paul holds in great honor. They believed, even if no one would follow in belief. Being the first to believe isn’t easy.
He stopped by one day in midweek. His son wanted to see what church was like and he was checking out churches in the area. I showed him around answered his many questions. His family started coming, and got semi involved.
Joe called and wanted to have lunch. At lunch he told me he wanted to commit his life to Jesus but knew his wife would have none of it. They were hurt by a church years ago. He asked if he gave his life over to Jesus Christ – would his marriage be ok. I wanted to say – yes...but I had to say, if it is true that your wife was hurt by church in the past and will have none of this, life, most likely will be very difficult and there is a possibility your marriage will fall apart.
That was that. I didn’t hear or see him for a few of weeks. He showed up one Sunday – I asked how it was going. Joe said he gave his life to Jesus. I asked him about his family. Joe said that he realized that what was faith without a risk. If faith did not carry with it the risk to loose all
then it wasn’t faith at all. Because he had something to lose – he realized his faith was real. Christ was real.
Being the first is never easy. Joe’s son became a Christian. His wife, at first was furious, but now she sees how he is changed…we are to respect those who have been on the Faith before us.
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.
That must have hurt. I think these individuals had a spiritual maturity that the Corinthians did not even though they thought they were spiritually superior. These individuals came, and increased their faith.