Summary: Want an overall outline? Fix your focus. Forgo your feuding. Face your foolishness. Forsake your filthiness. Figure out your freedom. Function as a family. Factor in your future. Now just be found faithful.
THE CALL TO BE THE CHURCH
INTRODUCTION: Want an overall outline? Fix your focus. Forgo your feuding. Face your foolishness. Forsake your filthiness. Figure out your freedom. Function as a family. Factor in your future. Now just be found faithful.
Because Jesus is alive His followers should be motivated to become involved in ministry, (15:58). We may be waiting for the end but we should be working now! Note Paul’s words in 15:58. “Stand firm” = stable in thinking and action. “Immovable” = not disturbed by trends of society. “Give” = abound. “Labor” = toil to the point of exhaustion. Exert some effort. “Vain” = ineffective. Only God can bring success. While we wait for that blessed hope let us be busy now.
Some are sitting back and waiting for their “ship” to come in (a more convenient season). Brother, I’ve got news for you, “You’re ship is already here! You just need to get on board.” What “ship” are you talking about?
I. The Steward-Ship (v.1-4)
Notice what Paul teaches here about:
A. The Collection (v.1): The simple point is believers were called on to help others going through difficult times. Some had lost their jobs for the sake of the gospel. Why take up a collection? Have you ever heard of such things as utilities, staff, literature, missions or the cooperative program?
B. The Direction (v.2): When? Sunday. Who? All. Why? An act of worship.
C. The Selection (v.3-4): Accredited representatives. Accountability. Set high ethical standards where every dollar is accounted for.
II. The Fellow-Ship (v.5-8)
Note “Come to you” (v.5), “Stay with you” (v.6), “Spend some time with you” (v.7). Everybody has a need for relationships/fellowship. What does fellowship accomplish? It:
A. Enables us to help others with problems
B. Energizes others to help us along the path (v.6): Paul had previously refused financial aid. Now he’s willing. He’s not using people. Don’t deny people the blessing of helping you.
III. The Lord-Ship (v.7)
Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Look back and see his guiding hand. Look forward, but we don’t know the future.
A. God’s Sovereignty: Paul knew God can open or close doors. Paul understood changes to be under God’s control. (Prov. 16:33; 21:1)
B. Our Submission: All plans should be contingent on God’s will. (James 4:14)
IV. The Hard-Ship (8-9)
A. The Opened Course: “Effective” = active, divinely directed. He could not walk away prematurely from his efforts.
B. The Opposing Force: Anytime you have an opened door you will face an opposing devil. Many would faint or quit (see 15:58).
V. The Leader-Ship (v.10-18)
How should a church treat her leaders?
A. Accept (10-11): Don’t mistreat. None of us are above or beyond criticism. We fail. Let God deal with certain matters. As wrong as King Saul was David said “I won’t touch God’s anointed.”
B. Affirm (12)
C. Acknowledge (18): Be loyal.
D. Act (13-14): Look at his series of commands. “Guard” = watch. “Stand firm” = stable. “Courage” = conduct. “Strong” = inner strength. “Love” = I Cor. 13.
CONCLUSION: Note how Paul closes. A word of greeting (19-21). A word of gloom (22). A word of grace (23-24). It’s a stressful letter that ends with an expression of love.
Your ship is here. It’s waiting for you to board. Bon Voyage!