The Kingdom Life: People We Wish To Grow

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  16 : 10-12
Subject: Growth
INTRODUCTION

Paul wanted to teach every Christian everything he could at every opportunity he had. Paul was not an agenda person, he was a people person. Paul mentions simple, ordinary people being used in extra-ordinary ministries.

Paul was a man with great discernment. He learns to deal with the church’s greatest resource, people. People possess the resources needed such as time, talents, and treasures, but the greatest treasure (resource) is people. That is why I believe the next greatest word after LORDSHIP is RELATIONSHIP. In other words, Paul was a builder of team spirit and built team workers. Though he was an apostle and was privileged to receive great revelations from the Lord, he always worked closely with other Christians in whatever he did.

“He was never an ecclesiastical superstar lording it over those ‘below’ him.”

NOTE:

♦ Paul and Barnabas

♦ Paul and Silas

♦ Paul and Luke

♦ Paul and Aristarchus

♦ Paul and Mark

♦ Paul and Timothy

In the book of Romans, Paul devotes the last chapter to commending a long list of co-workers, 24 individuals and 2 entire households. Paul not only acknowledged his dependence on the Lord but also his dependence on other Christians. Truth is, let it be told, “I am who I am because of Jesus and so many of you.”

I. YOUTHFULNESS: TIMOTHY THE MENTEE. 10-11
 

A. PAUL’S FEAR. 10a

Corinthians were known to be proud, self-sufficient, and strong-willed, therefore, Paul exhorted them to treat Timothy with respect.

In their minds, the older generation may indeed be the “greatest,” but it must not be the last.

Jimmy Draper said to me while I was in my 30’s, “Bring the next generation behind you, with you.”
 

B. TIMOTHY’S FAITHFULNESS. 10b

“for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do” –

Paul saw them as equal in the Lord; he was the Lord’s faithful worker. Timothy was worthy of honor and respect, just as was Paul.

God calls some people to be leaders and others to serve leaders. Sometimes those who serve leaders do that throughout their lives. Often, however, they are being prepared by God to be leaders themselves.


C. PAUL’S FORWARDNESS. 11

“let no one despise him” – to think little of him


II. STEADFASTNESS: APOLLOS THE MENTOR. 12

Acts 18:24-28, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.”

Apollos was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leadership.

NOTE: Apollos - Objected

Paul – Respected

The Lord sometimes speaks through His Word, or circumstances, or friends to show us His will, but His basic leading is always direct. This text magnifies the Spirit’s subjective leading. Why

1 Corinthians 3:3-7, “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?”

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”

III. FAITHFULNESS: STEPHANAS THE MINISTRYSERVANT. 15

A. HIS CONVERSION.

“Stephanas” – Paul personally baptized him

(1 Cor 1:16) and his household (family/servants)

“first fruits” – were the part of a crop that was planted first and ripened and was harvested first.

EXAMPLE; Marty & Betty Lewis – my “first fruit.”

Stephanas came to Christ from a region where the gospel was rejected and the people were skeptical, only a few believed.

Acts 18 tells of Paul’s journey into Corinth

Acts 18:4-6, “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’"

Stephanas was a Gentile.

As a result of Paul’s evangelistic heart, Stephanas came to know Christ. If we love in the way God loves, and in which Paul loved and the early church loved, we, too will reach out with the gospel to those who do not know Christ.

The love in which we live and witness is ours only because God has given it to us. Paul loved because Christ’s love controlled him.

2 Corinthians 5:14a, “For the love of Christ compels us…”

Evangelizing love, or any other manifestation of Christian love, cannot be generated by the flesh. It is the work of the Spirit to produce and direct our love, and, through it, to bear fruit for God.

Romans 9:1-3, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh”

We often give up too easily when those to whom we witness resist the gospel, and in so doing we betray the thinness of our love.
B. HIS DEVOTION.

“that they had devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints”

“devoted” – to set in order, appoint, assign, ordain, or designate a specific person to a specific office or work. It emphasizes that Stephanas and his household served entirely on their own initiative. They did not wait to be appointed, they appointed themselves. Their service was self-motivated and self-assigned.

William Barclay writes, “In the early church willing and spontaneous service was the beginning of official office. A man became a leader of the church not so much by any man-made appointment as because his life and work marked him out as one whom all men must respect. All those who share the work and toil of the gospel command respect, not because they have been appointed by a man to an office but because they are doing the work of Christ.”

“ministry” – service, deacon, used of table waiter and various kinds of household servants. Basic idea always had to do with humble, submissive, personal service.

“devoted” – one expressive translation of (tasso) is addicted, (KJV). They addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.

Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

ILLUSTRATE:

Drug addiction has 3 primary characteristics:

1. Involves a strong habit, an overpowering desire and compulsion to take a given drug.

2. It involves a growing tolerance to the drug, so that, in order to maintain the desired effect, larger and larger doses must be taken.

3. It involves dependence, the state in which the addicted person must have the drug in order to function.

Paul and Stephanas did the Lord’s work habitually out of a powerful, driving compulsion. The more he ministered the more he felt compelled to minister. His tolerance for godly work caused him never to be satisfied with what he was doing, much less with what he had done. He became dependent on the Lord’s work in order to function. He could not live normally if he were not engaged in some needed service for His Lord. If he took it easy and relaxed for any length of time, he would have severe “withdrawal symptoms.” He was not a workaholic, compelled to work for work’s sake. He was addicted to ministry for love’s sake.