“How do I get ink out of my favorite shirt?”
“How do I treat pinkeye?”
“What do I do if I’ve locked myself out of my car?”
This is a sampling of the questions I received from my children in their first years of college. Despite my best efforts to prepare them for adulthood, there was obviously still much information I needed to communicate! Thankfully, they have continued to seek my guidance even as the years progressed and their footing became surer. And as we approach the college graduation of our youngest son, what I think is most important that my children know is very simple: trust God, build Christian community, follow wise mentors, and love Jesus.
- What is the most important information or advice you received from a parent or mentor?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 16:13-24 (ESV)
13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. 15 Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints—16 be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people. 19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
- What five commands did Paul give to the Corinthians in verses 13-14? What five declarative statements did Paul make in verses 20, 22-24?
- What did Paul say was the motivation for all the actions listed above (vss. 14, 24)?
- In between his exhortations (vss. 13-14) and his benediction (vss. 19-24), Paul spent a few sentences commending exemplary Christians (Stephanus, Fortunatas, and Achaicus). What about these believers made them worthy to be in positions of authority?
- Included in Paul’s closing remarks (vs. 22) is a damning condemnation of some within the church, followed by the emphatic Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”). How might remembering both of these things change the way we live within the church?
- Which of Paul’s exhortations do you and/or your church most need to put into practice?
RESPOND TO GOD
After spending the whole of 1 Corinthians teaching, admonishing, exhorting, and correcting the false beliefs and practices of the Corinthian Christians, Paul ended his letter by giving a few last directions to them. These words expressed his heart’s desire for the Corinthian Church: that they would grow into full maturity as Christians and, above all else, demonstrate the love of Christ. Paul’s message carries straight down through the centuries to us. We, too, need to stand firm, follow worthy leaders, and exercise love in all we do. May we be a church that is striving toward spiritual maturity, living out the fullness of what it means to be in Christ.
- Ask God to help our church to grow in spiritual maturity and to live in Christ, motivated by love in all that we do.