1 Corinthians 16
(New International Version)
The Collection for the Lord’s People
1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.
Paul is referring to a collection he was gathering for the saints in Jerusalem. In several other passages it speaks of this effort among many different churches to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30, 24:17, Romans 15: 26, 2 Corinthians 8:13, 9:9-12).
As I have given orders to the churches of Galatia: Paul mentioned his heart for the poor Christians in Jerusalem in Galatians 2:9-10. “The business of relieving the poor members of the church is a moral duty, a sacrifice with which God is well pleased, Philippians 4:18; our faith must work by this love.” (Poole)
Why was the church in Jerusalem so needy? There may be many reasons. We know they supported a large number of widows (Acts 6:1-6) and were in the midst of famine (Acts 11:27-30).
Generally, Christians have excelled in these efforts of practical ministry. For example, why do you think the Red Cross is named the Red Cross? It started as a Christian organization.
2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
We shouldn’t fear giving generously. Proverbs 11:24 is a great commentary on this idea: There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. No one thinks a farmer is “wasting” grain when he scatters it as seed; the more he plants, the more he will harvest.
3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 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. 7 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.
“I know the fascination of having a programme, and having everything in order, and knowing where we are going; but let us leave room, at any rate, for the interference of God.”
–G. Campbell Morgan
8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9because 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.
1 Timothy 4:12 (English Standard Version)
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
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.
“The terms in this verse are all military: Watch ye, watch, and be continually on your guard, lest you be surprised by your enemies . . . Stand fast in the faith – Keep in your ranks; do not be disorderly; be determined to keep your ranks unbroken; keep close together . . . Quit yourselves like men – When you are attacked, do not flinch; maintain your ground; resist; press forward; strike home; keep compact; conquer . . . Be strong – If one company or division be opposed by too great a force of the enemy, strengthen that division, and maintain your position . . . summon up all your courage, sustain each other; fear not, for fear will enervate you.”
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.
Paul holds up the family of Stephanas, who have taken as their particular responsibility, their piece of Christian service, the task of the service of the saints. They did not assume a place of leadership or prominence, but one of lowly service. That is the Christian way, and Paul commends it to the church at large.
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. 20All 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!
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Decades of living have taught me it is much easier to be a Corinthian than a Christian. Were it not for grace . . . were it not for the love of God . . . were it not for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . I would be truly without hope.
But the grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God are with me! And I have been buried and raised with Christ! So the question, “Who Am I?” has a wonderful answer: Praise God, I am yours. By Casting Crowns.