The Book of 1 CORINTHIANS
James J. Barker
A GREAT AND EFFECTUAL DOOR
- The apostle Paul had been laboring in the city of Ephesus for three years and was ready to move on (16:8). Paul refers to the three years in Acts 20:31.
- And so he wrote in I Corinthians 16:8, 9, “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
- A GREAT DOOR IS OPEN AND IT WILL TAKE MONEY TO GO
- A GREAT DOOR IS OPEN AND SO WE MUST WORK
- A GREAT DOOR IS OPEN AND SO WE MUST BE STEDFAST
A GREAT DOOR IS OPEN AND IT WILL TAKE MONEY TO GO
- The Bible has much to say about money, about stewardship, about tithing, etc.
- The Bible teaches that our financial situation is determined by God. First Samuel 2:7 says, “The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.”
- Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power (strength, ability) to get wealth.”
- Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
- He also said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
- Here in I Corinthians 16:1, 2, we’re told to take up our “collection” on “the first day of the week.” Not on Saturday!
- “Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” could mean much more than a tithe. That is why the Bible often refers to “tithes and offerings” (cf. II Chron. 31:12; Nehemiah 10:37; 12:44; 13:5; Malachi 3:8-10).
- “As God hath prospered him” (16:2). Henry P. Crowell wanted to be a preacher but he contracted tuberculosis when he was a young boy. His illness prevented him from attending school.
- After hearing a message from D.L. Moody, young Henry Crowell prayed, “Lord, I cannot be a preacher, but I can be a good businessman. Lord, if you let me make money, I promise to use it in your service.”
- His doctor advised him to work outdoors to regain his health. After working outdoors for seven years he got much better and he bought an old run-down mill in Ohio called the Quaker Mill.
- Within ten years, God had “prospered him,” and he was making a fortune producing Quaker Oats. Henry Crowell did not forget his promise to God. He started giving ten percent, and was soon giving seventy percent of his income to the Lord.
- I have read similar stories about R.G. LeTourneau (inventor of earthmoving machinery), J.L. Kraft (Kraft Cheese), Henry Heinz (Heinz Ketchup), Wallace Johnson (Holiday Inn hotel chain), William Colgate (soap and tooth paste, etc.), J.C. Penney (department stores), Welch’s Grape Juice, and many others.
A GREAT DOOR IS OPEN AND SO WE MUST WORK
- Paul said in verse 10, “Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.”
- “Let no man therefore despise him” (16:10). Paul said to Timothy in I Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
- Apollos was another good worker (16:12). And so were Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus (16:17, 18).
- And Aquila and Priscilla (16:19).
A GREAT DOOR IS OPEN AND SO WE MUST BE STEDFAST
- “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (15:58).
- “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men (to show yourselves to be men, act like men), be strong” (16:13).
- Here in the USA, there is a big problem with people addicted to drugs and alcohol and cigarettes and pornography and rock music and other terrible vices. But in Corinth, some of them had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (16:15). That is a good addiction!
- This Scripture reminds us that it is the saints who are to do the work of the ministry, not just the pastors.
- “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11, 12).
- I have known some people who are hard workers but they lack love. Verse 14 says, “Let all your things be done with charity (love).”
- The book of I Corinthians comes to an end with a most solemn warning – “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (16:22).
- The word “Anathema” means “accursed, or devoted to destruction.”
- The idea here is, that those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus, and do not love him, are devoted to destruction. They are accursed of God.
- The Gospel of Mark ends with a similar warning – “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
- The word “Maranatha” means “our Lord will come.”
- Strong’s Concordance says the two words together form “an exclamation of the approaching divine judgment.”
- For those who do love the Lord, the epistle ends with “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” and Paul’s love for all in Christ Jesus (16:23, 24).
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