1st Corinthians 16 Building Biblical Church Culture

Paul ends this letter to the Corinthian Church with some specific instructions that give us principles for how we should do things here at Midtown Church.

This whole letter is full of building blocks for a Biblical Church Culture.

The purpose of this scripture is to give them & us clear direction for Christ’s church

1 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. 2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

  • This is the Scripture that sets the cultural standard in Christ’s body for giving
  • Giving / allocating is to be done regularly
  • The longer you have it the better chance you will spend it
  • This is a prescription for how we should give. Why?

3 When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. 4 And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me.

  • The norm is not to just give, but to be involved in the ministry
  • Working with others in our church and others is how ministry is to be done:

5 I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination.

  • This is an example of on-going involvement as a church with other ministries
  • Taking the time to build relationships that honor Christ

7 This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. 8 In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. 9 There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.

  • Paul is an example of investing in others based on being led by God
  • Working hard where you are, looking for the next opportunity
  • Opportunities to serve God will come with Opposition: Paul trusts God

10 When Timothy comes, don’t intimidate him. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 Don’t let anyone treat him with contempt. Send him on his way with your blessing when he returns to me. I expect him to come with the other believers.

  • There may be people doing ‘The Lord’s Work’ that you don’t think should be in that position
  • Proper authority structures are put in place by Christ to lead HIS church
  • The standard is that people will be sent with Timothy to do missionary work

12 Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity. 13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love.

  • The Corinthians were big fans of Apollos, they want him to come, so did Paul
  • Apollos had to do what Christ wanted, not what the Corinthians wanted
  • The exhortation is to do what Apollos stood for in his absence (Grow Yourself)
  • This echoes previous messages: Love has to be the overriding influence in life

15 You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion.

  • Stephanas was an example of one who came to Christ and poured out his life
  • God’s Leaders (proved by the laying down of their lives) are to be followed
  • Why are the Corinthians not in tune with God’s chosen leadership?
  • Apollos was the flasher, more accomplished leader, but God placed Stephanas

17 I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me. 18 They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

  • These Corinthian men had brought the questions to Paul from the Corinthians
  • These are men who were surrendered to Christ and the work of the Gospel
  • Christ’s Churches are to show appreciation to those who sacrifice like this

19 The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send greetings to you. Greet each other with a sacred kiss.

  • There is to be fellowship with other groups of believers
  • They know each other well enough to really care about each other

21 HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! 23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.

  • This letter was dictated by Paul, he wanted to be sure they knew it was from him
  • This statement is much like what Jesus says in Matthew 12:31

So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.”

Application Questions:

How do you give? Do you see a Scriptural imperative to do what is being prescribed?

How are you getting involved in ministry besides giving monetarily?

What investments in Midtown are you making right now? What are you planning to do?

Are you in tune with what the leadership of Midtown is doing? Why or why not?

‘Buried in Brokenness, Raised In Glory’

Being limited by my body as I grow older has opened up my perspective on time & eternity

The last month dwelling in this chapter…has been enlarging my desire for heaven

Knowing I will have another body one day, a completely different existence = HOPE!

God wants us to have hope. He has given us this “Scripture’ providing hope for eternity

1st Corinthians 15:35-58

35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first.

  • The foolishness is thinking it’s going to be a different version of this life
  • Eternity is about dying to this life
  • The seed is buried, we must give up this life

37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.

  • The first life is sacrificed to enable the second
  • God makes things on earth different, they are suited for the purpose of that thing
  • For an entirely different existence it would make sense to have a different body

40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.

  • God’s creation is ordered with unique things having unique properties
  • There are unknown layers of God’s creation, but what we can see shows patterns

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. 44 They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.

  • Eternity is a unique and totally different existence than the life we know now
  • Transformation occurs, but it is predicated on the death / ending of this life
  • All that is less than perfect will be buried so that we can be raised up to perfection
  • The differences are profound: Brokenness to Glory!
  • What do you imagine a ‘Spiritual Body’ will be like?

For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. 45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later.

  • Nooma, Hebrew word for: breath / spirit / wind / force
  • Adam was given life, this kind of life, by God ‘Breathing’ life into him
  • Through Christ’s death and resurrection God ‘Breathes’ life

47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.

  • The difference between the dust of earth and heaven: Temporal VS Eternal
  • This is God telling us how it will be: we will be ‘Heavenly People’

50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!

  • This body is finite, not suited for eternity; God makes things suited for purposes
  • This body is not going to be adapted or evolve it is going to be replaced
  • For us, death not the end but the beginning!
  • For those who have surrendered this life to Christ, death is the best thing EVER!

52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

  • The ‘last trumpet’…how did Paul know what John was going to see and write?
  • When Christ returns His followers begin their “Eternal Life’ with ‘Eternal Bodies’

54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: 55 “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

  • God uses his previous Word to add to the revelation of current (at the time) Word
  • Isaiah & Hosea describe eternal life as a ‘conquering’ of death & it’s punishment
  • Punishment of Death: Eternal separation from our Creator, Our Father, Christ!

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

  • Sin is why death exists, The Law proves sin is too powerful for us to overcome
  • God gets all the glory for each and everyone who HE gives the gift of Salvation
  • That victory allows us to share in HIS glory…cruising around in ‘Spiritual Bodies’

Application Questions:

How do you imagine eternity? What is your imagination based on?

If we’re going to have new bodies, why should we take care of the one’s we have now?

What does it look like to live as though you have been given victory over sin & death?

Application Scripture: John 12: 24 & 25

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.