1CORINTHIANS 16:1-24 (NIV – UK)
The collection for the Lord’s people
1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 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. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you – for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 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. 7 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. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.
12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labours at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.
19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
BE ON YOUR GUARD
Paul has written to the Corinthians about so much in his letter to them, and now he makes his closing statement. And what does he ask of them? He says: ‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love’ (v. 13-14).
Be on your guard: In other words take care to listen to what I’ve written to you about and be careful that the the world around you doesn’t influence you and lead you astray.
Stand firm in the faith: Keep your gaze firmly fixed on Jesus. Don’t look elsewhere for answers of satisfaction. Don’t look to the things of this world. Just look to Jesus in everything.
Be courageous, be strong: Be aware that you are in a spiritual battle. As a follower of Jesus you will need to be courageous and strong to live for him. You will find that strength in Jesus himself.
Do everything in love: Love is the way of Jesus. Look to him to see what love truly is. Receive the love of the Father displayed in him and share that love between yourselves.
This encouragement is not just for the church in Corinth, but also for you and I.
Question: Do you find you need to be encouraged in any of these ways?