True toughness is making sure you and those you're responsible for are growing in the Lord.
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1 Corinthians 16 (ESV)
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints:
as I directed the churches of Galatia,
so you also are to do.
2 On the first day of every week,
each of you
is to put something aside and store it up,
as he may prosper,
so that there will be no collecting when I come.
3 And when I arrive,
I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.
4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.
5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia,
for I intend to pass through Macedonia,
6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter,
so that you may help me on my journey,
wherever I go.
7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing.
I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.
8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost,
9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me,
and there are many adversaries.
10 When Timothy comes,
see that you put him at ease among you,
for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.
11 So let no one despise him.
Help him on his way in peace,
that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.
12 Now concerning our brother Apollos,
I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers,
but it was not at all his will to come now.
He will come when he has opportunity.
13 Be watchful,
stand firm in the faith,
act like men,
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.
1 Corinthians 16 Summary
The Corinthian congregation was not an individual church, disconnected from the Ephesian, Galatian or Jerusalem churches. Jerusalem was in the midst of a terrible famine, and the other churches were collecting money to send to the church there. This passage reminds us that we are one church, which is found in many locations around the world.
On the first day of the week (v2) - People in Roman culture knew nothing of a 'weekend;' all days of the week were the same. Yet, we see that it was the early church's custom to meet together on the first day, in contrast to their society and also in contrast to the Jewish practice of meeting on the seventh day. We still follow this habit of meeting on the Lord's Day.
As a Christian, know and be prepared to be attacked at all times. Verse 13 tells how to do that:
Stand firm in the faith.
There are two ways you stand firm:
FIRST: Act like men
Our culture has no idea what the phrase 'act like men' means. Some will understand it as acting in a immature, juvenile way. In contrast to that, society is trying to soften men to the extent that they're no different than women. Neither of these extremes are what Paul means.
The Godly man that Paul wants you to emulate has at least three attributes. He:
PROTECTS: Keeps himself, and those entrusted to him, from being corrupted by the sinful world;
PROSPERS: makes sure that he and his family are fed well from God's Word
PROMOTES: Encourages all those around him to live according to Godly principles as well.
SECOND: Be strong.
Know what you believe, and why you believe it, and don't let this world push you around.
As you stand firm in the faith, do so in love. If you're wondering what that means, go back and review chapter 13.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The One who has assembled people from every tongue, tribe, nation and even time into His people, the Church
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray Marana Tha, an Aramaic phrase Paul uses in v22 meaning "Come, Lord"
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: