The ministry of the saints. Got a thought tonight, I’d like to bring. First Corinthians, chapter 16. We’ll start with verse number one, but that phrase comes from verse number 15. Let’s look. Get that real quick. Says, I beseech you, brethren, you know the house of Stefanus. That is the first cruts of a chai, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. This whole chapter is the conclusion of One Corinthians. And God has dealt with many things through the apostle Paul in First Corinthians, he started off with telling them that they were carnal Christians and they had a lot of things going on. They had divisions, they had stripes, they had a lot of different problems within the church, but now he’s addressing them as mature Christians. One of the titles of a commentary that I’ve been reading for One Corinthians is it’s where life matures, and some of us may need it more than others, but all of us need to grow up, and the Lord need to grow up just in general. But when we get to this part, there’s going to be a lot of different things that are said here. And it’s regarding the ministry of the saints. I believe there’s some good information here, some good things here. So let’s pray and we’ll get into it. Heavenly Father, Lord, we need your help tonight and pray that you would use this message for your glory and honor. Help me to say what I need to say, what I pray for clarity of thought. And help us in Jesus name we pray. Amen. And all the singing has been good this evening. It’s been a blessing, like to sing a little bit more, but I think all of us are wore out, so we’ll just go right in the message. Okay? So verse number one now concerning the collection for the saints is, I have given order to the churches of Galatia even so do ye upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. So we’re going to talk about stewardship. All right? That’ll be point number one. Giving or stewardship, however you want to put it. When I come, whomesoever you shall approve by your letters, then will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be me that I go, also they shall go with me. Now I will pass. Now I will come unto you when I shall pass through Macedonia, for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide yea and winter with you, that you may bring me on my journey with us wherever I go. And many of us have heard a message on this verse, but that’s going to be number two bringing one on their journey. For I will not see you now, by the way, but I trust to tear you while with you, if the Lord permit. But I will target Ephesus until pentecost for a great door and effectual is open unto me. And there are many adversaries. Now, if Timotheus comes, see that he may be with you without fear, for you work at the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him, but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me. For I look for him with the brethren. As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren. But his will was not at all to come at this time. But he will come, and he shall have convenient time. Just a side note, I thought it was interesting somebody pointed this out, noticed that the Apostle Paul did not dictate where others would go. Timothy, he encouraged to go. Some that were following him encouraged to go. But he was not like a pope that sent people out. He was not like an archbishop that sent people out. He just desired Apollo to go. But Apollo decided that it wasn’t best for him to go at that time. The Spirit of God leads and directs individually. Amen. Now he will lead in God and direct. I think if you’re making a decision, you need to seek Godly counsel. He’ll help others around. You know what that will is. But just to say that God leads and directs individually. Verse 13. Watch you stand fast in the faith. Quit you like men. Be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. And I’ve got a couple of different points here for that one. But the one that I like, I picked up from the commentary I was reading after manliness. Manliness, that’s good. So, verse 15. I’ve beset your brother and you know the house of Stefanos. That is the first fruits of a chai that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, that you submit yourselves unto such and to everyone that helpeth with us and labourth. I am glad of the coming of Stefanos and FORTUNEUS and a chaoticus that which was likened on your part. They have supplied, they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge ye them that are such to the churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord. With the churches in their house. All the brethren greet you, greet you one another with a holy kiss. And we know we’re going to put a little star beside that one. Don’t be greeting one another here with a holy kiss that was accustomed. Holy handshake or holy fist bump is just fine. Okay. The salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. That means accursed meranatha. The Lord is coming. Of the Lord cometh the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. So there’s a lot here, and that’s more than just closing, wrapping things up. And you would have to be pretty significant to make the Apostle Paul’s closing remarks. And it’s interesting, no doubt God inspires him to write these names down, but they had an enormous impact upon the Apostle Paul’s life, but also the church’s life. And hopefully we’ll look at some of that. Let’s go back to verse number one, though, and remember the theme tonight, and I believe this is a good summary of this is the ministry of the saints or the ministering to the saints. See, we’re not in this by ourselves. Think of all that we’ve been able to do to help one another. Ought to continue that two Corinthians eight five says this, turn there with me real quick, it’s not very far off. Saint Corinthians. Eight five. Let’s look at verse number four. Praying us with much entreaty that we’d receive the gift and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. Verse five. And this they did not as we hoped, but first gave their own what selves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God. Talking about giving here in this chapter. But they gave of themselves first, and then they gave out of their pocketbooks of their time, of their treasure. When you give your heart to God first, everything else follows suit. Everything else just flows naturally. He says, here there’s a collection that’s going to be gathered, but it’s not the collection that we gather here all the regularly, all the time. This is for the saints. There was a spiritual, there was a physical need for kindred spirits, for believers in Jerusalem. They had been persecuted, they were run out of their houses, they were threatened. No doubt many of them lost their livelihood. And there was a need there in Jerusalem. And Paul is saying, what the collection for the saints that you’re getting? Go ahead and lay that up in store on the first day of the week, because they established that precedent that we meet on the first day of the week. That’s the Lord’s day. It’s the day he resurrected from the grave. And not on the 7th day, the Sabbath day, which was Saturday. That they did in the law. Because we’re under a new covenant, right? We’re under a new testament. So the collection for the saints, kindred spirits with a need, not just every need that comes down the pike, but kindred spirits have a need. We’ve done that here. On occasion when people have needs, we take up an offering. We gather collection together. This writer said, we have belittled the greatness of Christianity’s cause by the littleness of our financial methods. So, for an example, when we attempt to collect for the relief of saints, not just we here, but in general, some will conduct a sale or may serve a supper. I think I agree with this writer. I believe that belittles the cause. Why can’t we, out of our own pockets, support the need of God’s people? Are we not in the greatest cause there is? We should not have to resort to fundraising to support the work of God. Amen. We can do that. We can sacrifice to do that. Now, if you want to do that personally as your business, that’s fine. That’s not the work of God we’re talking about. We’re talking about the work of God that deserves our very best. We should be willing to do without in order for the cause of Christ to go forward. He said now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Glacier, even so do ye for the first day of the week. Let every one of you it’s personal. Let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him. It’s proportionate that there be no gatherings when I come. The amount depends upon the blessings of God. Not everyone makes the same amount. Not everyone spends the same amount. But it’s dependent upon the blessings of God and the willingness of the servant as you’re able. Brother McBride used to say this. It’s not how much you give, it’s how much you have left over after you give. I think that’s a good way of saying it. Scriptural giving is more than the tithe. The tithe was Old Testament in the law that we’d bring the 10%. But Scripturally, really, God wants all of us, right? If we give in our heart and our all to him, then everything belongs to him. Somebody has need. We ought to be willing to give to that need. Now. We got to be responsible stewards. That doesn’t mean that we have our family suffer and go without to help someone else. We got to make sure that everything’s in its order, everything’s in balance. God expects us to be responsible stewards of that. But we often like to hang on to and hoard our gifts. But I want to commend you first that you all have done well in giving of yourselves and giving of your finances to those that have need. That’s a blessing. When I come who serve you shall prove by your letters then will I send to bring your liberality under Jerusalem. And if it be me, then I go also they shall go with me. So let’s go down to verse number. Well, let’s just do let’s keep breathing. Now I will come unto you when I shall pass to Macedonia for I do pass through Macedonia and it may be that I will abide yea and winter with you that you may bring me on my journey with us wherever I go. Bringing one on their journey. Let’s talk about that for a minute. What is the hardest season of the year? Wintertime. Right. Winter is tough. Winter is hard. It’s a struggle for many people. For different reasons. And it would be hard for the Apostle Paul traveling to be able to support himself, be the hardest time, hardest season for him to go through. And look who he had to help him go through that seasoning, season with him. He said, you bunch of cardinal Christians, I’m going to come over there and if the Lord will, I’m going to spend the harshest time of year with you that you might bring me on my journey. Think about this in our church family, how many people right now are going through not just physical winter, but spiritual winter, going through hard seasons in their life. You know what they need? They need a loving church family that stands behind them, says, we’re going to bring you along on your journey, we’re going to support you, we’re going to come behind and undergird, strengthen comfort, whatever we can do to help you on your journey. I don’t know what this entailed for the apostle Paul. No doubt, I’m sure he traveled light. It’s not like us when we go on vacation, we have like bags and bags and bags of things. So he didn’t need an entourage for physical things. But no doubt he got comfort and encouragement and help from the people around him. They were praying for him, they encouraged him. We ought to do the same thing in this season of life. Think about those around us that are sitting in our church views, that are going through harsh times in their life, hard times, difficult times, season of life, we all go there. Think about this, if you’re in that spot, wouldn’t you like for somebody to go along with you? So let’s do that for them, bringing one along on their journey. The greatness of the opportunity Paul mentions in verse number nine is not because of the size. He said, I trust to tear you with you if the Lord permit. He’s tearing at Ephesus for a great door of verse nine and effectual is open unto me and there are many adversaries. He says, not necessarily because of its size. The greatness of an opportunity is not because of its size. Just say that right. The greatness of a church is not because of its size. I believe we have a great church here. We would probably have a small church compared to some places, we have a large church compared to some places. But our greatness isn’t dependent on our size, it’s dependent upon our likeness to Jesus Christ. And I believe that we have a church family here that loves one another, loves the Lord, wants to see soul saved, and it’s working towards that goal. And so I believe we’ve got a lot of those good things there. He said, there’s a great door, there’s a great opportunity. But along with that comes adversaries, comes enemies. Tell you this, not everybody, I am sure, was pleased with the tracks that we handed out yesterday. And not everybody will be pleased when you go and you witness at your job site, at your workplace or shopping place, shopping store of your persuasion, not everybody’s going to be pleased when you take a stand for the Lord. There’s going to be adversaries. B says, a great opportunity, great door. In other letters, he says, I want you to pray for me. I believe he’s implying that here we ought to pray one for another. Pray for your preacher, pray for your teachers, but pray one for another. Great opportunity, but there’s enemies there. So he says, enter while the door is open. Speak while the ear is listening. Act while the strength is sufficient. Work while it’s yet day, the night’s approaching. We can see that in our world, can’t we? People are closing their ears, refusing to hear. But there’ll be some that will hear. Let’s go back to verse number six. And it may be that I will abide yea and winter with you, that you may bring me on my journey with us wherever I go. Just because there were some carnal things in the church doesn’t mean that God was done with them. He says, let’s get them fixed, let’s get them straightened out, let’s mature, let’s get past that. Verse number 14 says, we’ll get there. Let all your, let all your things be done with charity, in love, out of love. The gifts, let them be directed by love. The works that you’re giving, the giving that you’re doing, let it be driven by love. You’re praying one for another. Love is the bond between us, right? Obviously the blood of Jesus Christ. But we love the brethren, we love each other because his love is shed abroad in our hearts. So this whole chapter is about supporting one another, supporting the church family, supporting each other. Collection for the saints, bringing someone on their journey, bringing your pastor on their journey, bringing your son to school, teacher on your journey, bringing your spouse with you on your journey. Sometimes it’s easy as a husband to say, we’re going this direction, and I’m sure it feels like she’s being dragged along and it would be better to probably get in behind her and say, let’s go together and be a little more sensitive about how we do things, how we approach things. Say, this is where I believe the Lord’s leading us. Let’s go together. Let’s support and support them in that fashion. Does that make sense? Bringing them on their journey, that involves a little bit of reflection. That involves stepping aside, saying, what can I do to help them? Somebody that may need help being brought on the journey. It’s encouraging to me to note that even the apostle Paul, as great as he was, needed help, needed strength, needed encouraged some along the way. All of us need encouragement, all of us need comfort. We need that. We need the support of the local church family, and we’re not going to get that in the world but you’re going to get that in your local church family that loves you and cares for you. Young people, let me say this to you, you’re not going to get that in your friends either but you’ll get that in your church family that love you and care for you. Bringing one along on their journey, brotherly kindness. And then verse number 13 says watch ye be alert, be on the lookout. He’d already said there’s enemies out there that want to hinder the work of God. Watch ye stand fast in the faith. Don’t be moved. Quit you like men and doesn’t mean stop doing don’t be a quitter. That means act the part of a man. He said discharge your duty as God would have you to discharge it. Quit you like men. Be strong. So this isn’t time for sissies to be in the fight. Amen. It’s not a time to be a sissified Christian. It’s time to stand up. Dirt up your loins and stand and speak the truth in love. But speak the truth. Tell people what they need to hear. Let all your things be done with charity. Speak the truth in love. Whether giving give in love encouragement, encourage in love go tell somebody about the Lord. Do it in love. This group here, verse number 15 this household had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. There’s bad things to be addicted to but this is a good thing to be addicted to. That means they were so engaged in it they couldn’t think of anything else. They couldn’t think about going to the church house unless they thought of how they could minister to somebody else’s needs. That’d be a good thing to good way to approach the house of God. Come not just say on what can I get out of the message out of the song service for me no wonder when we leave the church house we say I didn’t get anything from the message, I didn’t get anything from the songs. They should have done something different. What were you going for? You’re going to see how you could be blessed? How you could be full? Were you going to try to minister to someone else or to worship the Lord? That should be primary is worshiping God and then ministering to one another, helping one another. Did you go with the mindset I’m going to try to be an encouragement to somebody tonight. He said they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. Want you to look down in verse number 17 I am glad of the coming of Stefanos and Portugueseus and Akaicus for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. Paul was saying what you have failed to give they took it upon themselves to make sure I had what I needed. In other words the work of the ministry didn’t stop because somebody else maybe failed to do their part. You remember what Jesus told Peter when Peter said, lord, and what shall this man do? More or less? He said, It doesn’t matter, Peter, you just follow me. If you see somebody else slacking off in their work for the Lord, listen, don’t worry about it, pray for them. But it doesn’t mean you can slack off. That means maybe you ought to pick up the burden a little bit. You go to the job site and somebody’s slacking off and you know if they slack off that your workload is going to get harder. It’d be better to go ahead and get it done, even though the workload is harder than to have to stay longer in the day to get it all done right. But that’s also a challenge for us to not slack off and put the workload on somebody else. They have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. They see a need and they go to see that that need is met. And I want to encourage you. I’ve seen that. You’ve seen that in each other here in the church house. That’s good, that’s wonderful. Let’s not stop that. That’s great. Even if and somewhere along the line I’m not saying that that’s happened somewhere along the line, you give yourself enough, you’re going to get taken advantage of. You ever found out to be so? How many of you know that to be the case? Most of us in here, right? You want to take advantage of. But that doesn’t mean that you stop doing what you know to do is right. That means you just keep on going because God sees he’s keeping a just record and he will reward you for your faithfulness and he will also make sure that everything’s taken care of, that the things are made right. He said, I want you to look at verse number 17 again. That which was likened, they have supplied. Verse number 18. They have refreshed my spirit and yours in and a blessing. When somebody comes in and you get refreshed by some kind word that said some gracious thing that said when the preacher comes by and the message that God gives him is refreshing to your Spirit, it’s exactly what you needed to hear right at that moment in time. We all ought to be that way, be an encouragement to one another, help to one another. Say, listen, I know you’re going through a hard time and I may not be able to walk in your shoes, but I want you to know I’m praying for you and I love you in the Lord and I care for you. They have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge them that are such. The churches of Asia salute you equivalent Priscilla salute you much in the Lord with the churches in their house. We’ve touched on this before, but can you imagine having church meet in your house? That’s hospitality. Back in these early days, they didn’t have church buildings. Many of them didn’t have church buildings to meet in. So they’d have to go and find somebody’s house to get for it to be hosted in. I saw my brother, Dale Rowe. He showed me around town a little bit where they first started out in a house, and something happened there. They had to go to a different house and meet there. And I can’t imagine that my wife can’t imagine that one of these days we may try it, just come over and see how it works. But we’ll try it at your house, not mine. I want to stay happily married. Amen. But the hospitality. Can you imagine the love that they had? So much for the gospel, for the work of the Lord. They said, Listen, if you need to meet in our house, our house is open to you and to whoever may come in. This is not just a civilized group of people. There were still people that were coming. Being saved had just been saved. You know what it was like when you were first saved. All the cobb webs haven’t been knocked off yet. Still a rough bunch. They said, we’re opening our house for you to come in, worship the Lord here, because we care more about the work of the Lord and about you than we do our comfort, our convenience. That’s what this chapter is all about. That’s what love does, is love says, Lord, you’re first, others are second, and I’ll put myself last. We get that out of order and we get miserable. We get miserable with the churches in their house. All the brethren greet you, greet you one another with a holy kiss. That was the custom in that day. So that is a holy handshake now. Okay? The salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand. If any man love the Lord, not love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be a Nathan, Paul said, through inspiration of the Spirit of God. Now, he said, if any man doesn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be a cursed. It’s as if he’s saying, let him die as sinner’s death and go to an awful place called to hell. He said, if they don’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, he said, I have no use for them. I’ll give them a gospel. I’ll try to win them to the Lord, but I’m not going to fellowship with them if they don’t love Jesus Christ. They’re all the time cursing my Savior. What fellowship can I have with them? Listen, be careful who we run with and who we eat with. Does it not stir your soul when somebody takes the Lord’s name in vain and starts talking down about your Savior? It should. And then he follows that immediately with the word marinatha, which means the Lord cometh. He said, Remember, always keep that in mind that Jesus is coming. This is why we can have hope in this life. This is why we can love one another, encourage one another. Back to verse number 58, chapter number 15. Look at this. Therefore, my beloved brother, be steadfast unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. For as much as you know that your labor is not what in vain in the Lord. So Jesus is coming. He’s bringing his reward with him. When he steps out in the clouds, we go to be with Him in the air. And whenever that may be, it will be worth everything that we faced here on this earth. It’ll be worth all the times we’ve been taken advantage of because we love somebody and that love wasn’t returned or reciprocated. We gave out a gospel track and they rejected it. Maybe they threw it back in our face, whatever it was, and it’d be worth it all when we’ve supported our brothers and sisters in Christ, because Jesus said, as much as we’ve done it unto them, we’ve done it unto him, unto our Lord and Savior. So it’s going to be worth it. Let’s just keep that in focus. He said, remember, Jesus is coming. Let’s keep our fellowship pure. Let’s keep our relationships clean. Let’s stand in the truth, stand fast in the faith. Verse 13. And what keeps us all in this life is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He said, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, my love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. Paul said some we might say pretty rough things in this letter. Okay? I might be offended if somebody came and sat down and told me some of the things that Paul said to this church. Do you know what he encompassed? It in love. Somebody can say a lot of things to another person if they’re saying it in love and it not be taken the wrong way. You know what I mean? When I was younger and needed correcting and probably still need some correcting, but when I was younger and living at home and and my dad would take me to the side and correct me, he did it in love. There would be hurtful things, but it would be easily received when I know that he was loving to me. Since no matter what you do enclosing in love, why did he dedicate a whole chapter to love? It wasn’t that necessary. So it is necessary. So what are the results of being faithful? Well, we need to do well to remember the faithfulness of somebody else. He includes that in this list of names here. He remembers those that have been faithful in the past who have aided the cause of the work of the Lord. We’ve had many here that have been faithful in the past. Many of you have been faithful in the past, and we would do well to remember that. Don’t rest on those laurels and say, I’m done. I’ve done my part. Keep going. But let’s not forget what’s been done before us, what our forefathers have done. If we do forget that, we lose appreciation for that. I think we’re not worshiping them. We’re just grateful and realize the importance of why we need to be faithful too. Okay, so verse six. I love this phrase. I love this phrase. It says that you may bring me on my journey. Who are you bringing with you on your journey? All of us have somebody. It may be your children, maybe your spouse, maybe a coworker, maybe a neighbor, maybe a friend. It may be all the above. Maybe a church member. It may be your pastor that you’re encouraging. Who are you bringing with you on your journey? There’s many things that we can do, and I think that we’ll just sum it up like this, but let’s be careful to minister to the needs of someone else. There’s hurting people out there and might be hurting people in here. So let’s be careful to be kind one to another and gracious to one another. And as we have done already as a church family, let’s continue to lift one another up in prayer, encourage one another and go forward for the cause of Christ. Because, listen, we’re on the winning side. Amen. I know the end already. I’ve read it. I like to skip to the back every now and then, say, we’re just going to turn out okay. We’re still on the winning side. We are. We’re still on the winning side. And we know that Jesus is coming, so let’s be faithful because he’s always faithful. Amen. All right, let’s stand, bow our heads and close our eyes. And maybe the Lord spoke to your heart about something that was mentioned, or maybe it wasn’t even mentioned at all, but God spoken to you about it. The altar is open. You’re welcome to come and pray. Let me ask you this. Is there somebody that you know that you can help bring along on their journey? I’ll not embarrass anybody, but I can think of numerous instances in our church tonight where you’ve done that already. You’ve helped encourage a broken heart. You’ve helped comfort somebody that was grieving. You’ve helped keep somebody from walking afar, walking away from God. That’s a blessing. They may not have appreciated it then. I don’t know what kind of response you got, but God sees. God knows that’s what we’re supposed to do. No matter what we’ve done in the past, let’s keep doing it and stay faithful to the Lord, because he’s always faithful. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain. If you need to come, you come and pray. Above all else, pray that God would help us during this time of year to lift up Jesus. Father in heaven, we love you because you first loved us with I think of think of the men in my life that have helped me, encourage me. And Lord, I prayed that you had helped me in some way to be an encouragement to others around. And those that are following me or walking alongside me helped me to not tear them down, not to fight against them, but to bring them along on our journey through this life will show us how to be an encouragement, be a help. And Lord, sometimes there are things I know that need to be said. But help us to say them in love, be as gracious as we can, and speak the truth. And, Lord, help us do all things in a way that would honor and uplift our Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord, for our wonderful church family. Help us to continue to be what we need to be, do what we need to do. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.