Paul’s last set of instructions is couched among his closing greetings so we really might be tempted to tune out. But we would miss more than you think if we did. For one thing, this is where most of us find ourselves. We are not the ones being sent out, nor do we have to worry much about receiving new teachers – but here Paul gives the day to day instructions. Paul shows yet again that everyone who shares in Christ’s Life will share in His service with Christlike devotion!
Surely God is Good (1 Samuel 30:1-31)
Instructions For All part 1 (1 Corinthians 16:10-31)
People are the greatest earthly resource the church has! No church is poor that has Christian people! Why this message is so important for all of us this morning is that the work of the LORD is not just for professionals. God can and does have plans to use all of us! Everyone who shares in Christ’s Life will share in His service with Christlike devotion!
Where to Serve (1 Corinthians 16:5-11)
The cost of ministry is the total devotion of our personal resources. We addressed that in the first 4 verses. The Where of ministry is everywhere and anywhere because we have been left behind enemy lines. We are in the strongman’s house with the task of always abounding in the work of the LORD. We are that king or army general in Jesus’ parable, and these verses teach us to serve God where you are until everywhere you go belongs to God!
Total Service (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
Paul has just been encouraging the church to always abound in the work of the Lord. The church will not fully abound in resurrection power till she fully abandons herself to His service! and as we come to the final question that Paul addresses for the Corinthians concerning the collection we see the greatness of service to God with all we have and all we are. The whole chapter addresses three areas of stewardship: personal resources (1-4), ministry opportunities (5-11 which really hit on the “Where” of service), and variety of people (10-24 which really hits on the “Who” of service) – these are the greatest resources the church has today, and they must not be wasted. This is what “Always abounding in the work of the LORD” looks like. It looks like the church fully abandoning herself to His service! because Gospel ministry is total service to the LORD!
Go Labor On! (1 Corinthians 15:45-58)
There is no doubt that God wants us to be happy! The idea that God is a curmudgeon or is too snooty and too good for us until we clean up – is a distortion of God’s holiness and wrath based on Works religion. We often present ourselves with a false dichotomy = God wants me to happy and not holy / God wants me holy and unhappy. This false dichotomy is so tempting because of the world that we live in, this present evil age. Much like Asaph in Psalm 73 – we look around and see the wicked prosper and we are envious of them because our situation is hard we feel like we have been stricken and rebuked every morning! – Why do we do this? Why do we think this way? BECAUSE we fail to keep the fact and importance of the resurrection before our eyes! In fact, it was Asaph’s view of the resurrection promise that transformed his thinking. It was Union with the LORD that all of a sudden gave meaning to Asaph’s entire life and this is what we see even in grander scale in our chapter where Paul shows us that the resurrection gives the most precious and triumphant meaning to our lives!
Grand Illusion (1 Samuel 28:1-25)
Things do not appear as they really are until the LORD reveals the truth of them. This condition of illusion is from one source only – sin. Remember that in chapter 27 God was NOT mentioned at all, and yet He was NOT inactive even if David had lost confidence by the constant pursuit of Saul. In both of these chapters 27 and 28 we are forced to recognize that We are not to look at the things that are visible (the age that now is), but to the invisible eternal things to understand what we see! The Lord will vindicate all His own no matter how precarious life gets!
We All Must Change (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)
When it comes to the Resurrection it can’t be a surprise to us that it evokes many questions. It baffles many minds. So, Paul imagines that someone will ask the “How” and the “Detail” questions. Some scholars say that this was an expected part of Good Speech for the Greeks and the Romans called the “Refutado” – by doing this Paul is removing all the objections even and sealing the case. Paul is now pressing the POINT because he wants to show just how much the resurrection matters. Derick Thomas said of this chapter that Paul never speaks about other aspects of salvation history or of Christ like he does here. Paul is doing this because our whole identity is wrapped up in Jesus Christ and his resurrection. You see, we become our truest most distinct self when we are fully conformed to Christ at the resurrection!
Super Subjection (1 Corinthians 15:20-34)
The Gospel is so much bigger and more triumphant than we usually think of. The great finale of Human History is marching forward in every conversion, in every event, as Christ by His power subjects all things to himself until that day when He hands the kingdom over to the Father. What I wanted you to take away from this whole text was that Christ’s exaltation is our exaltation, and there is nothing grander! The main point I want to convey today is that exaltation is gloriously connected to humiliation – in Christ and in us.
Good Grief (1 Samuel 27:1-12)
We cannot always tell how God is working out his purposes – but we can know that He is! So, my dear saints, take comfort in God’s mysterious ways. God establishes his kingdom even while we are faithless! We can take comfort in deeply feeling that Jesus Christ was pushed further than David was, that even the Son of God himself suffered so greatly that He was tempted to “Cross-over” to give in to His pain of heart, the irrational depression that thinks God is absent when He is silent. By the most strenuous battle, Christ prevailed in faithfulness – HOW DEEP HIS LOVE!