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1 Corinthians Chapter Sixteen, Getting Personal...

In our study of 1 Corinthians chapter sixteen, we see how Paul ends this letter that was sent to correct the church in Corinth with a personal touch. They had dealt with serious matters in the church but, now, Paul wanted them to know that they were all a team and that his correction was out of love for them.

1 Corinthians 16:1 - 4

"Now about the collection for the Lord's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me." NIV translation

In closing, Paul deals with a final question that had come up in the church which was about offerings. This is speaking of an extra collection that was to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem. They were supporting a large number of widows while they were in the midst of famine and persecution. This was not to be some response to a plea from the pulpit but was to be lead by God. He tells them all to set aside a portion and this speaks to the fact that it was his desire for them to listen to God and give as He directed not based on the need that was presented.

This was near and dear to Paul's heart because he had promised the apostles, when he first met with them, that he would remember the poor saints in Jerusalem (see Galatians 2:10). The offering was going to be delivered by men that were appointed by the church in Corinth and possibly accompanied by Paul.

A big part of this offering was to remind them that they were a part of a much bigger family. The early believers in Jerusalem had demonstrated this by pooling the resources they had to help those less fortunate.

1 Corinthians 16:5 - 9

"After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you - for I will be going through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door to effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me." NIV translation

Paul explains his travel plans to the Corinthians but we see that he learned to be open to listening to God and exchanging his plans for God's plans. He saw that God had opened the door for effective evangelism and was willing to stay there as long as God wanted, even though he truly wanted to go see the Corinthians believers. The key to any person's ministry is a willingness to listen to the Holy Spirit and to only move at the command of God. 

We also see that, wherever that work is, there will be opposition. If we are not persecuted (opposed) for our service to God, we need to ask the question of why because Jesus told us to expect it and the early church demonstrated it.

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