Paul’s Advice to the Corinthians
Introduction. (I Corinthians 16:13,14) For a few moments let’s focus on the admonitions given in verse 13.
I. “Watch” (vs. 13). Gr. gregoreo “to watch, to be awake.” What must Christians watch for?
- Jesus’ teachings on watchfulness.
- His coming (Matthew 24:36-44).
- For temptations (Matthew 26:36-41).
- For persecutions (Mark 13:9).
- Paul’s teachings on watchfulness (I Thessalonians 5:1-10).
- The “watchman for the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 33:1-10).
II. “Stand Fast in the Faith” (vs. 13). Jesus speaks of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jesus asked the question - “...when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
The longer a Christian lives the more he or she will see examples of those who have not maintained their faith. The parable of the sower which Christ tells in all three of the synoptic gospels perhaps explains why this is:
- Some hear the word but Satan snatches it from their hearts - Luke 8:12 Does Satan exercise some supernatural control over the human heart?
- The heart of the believer & unbeliever (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). This must be understood to mean that God allows them to receive a delusion; James 1:13 teaches that God tempts no one.
There were times when God allowed demons to control the will of people whom they possessed (Demon possessed man - Mark 5:1-20). Does this continue to the present?
- Satan’s limits (Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 20:1-3; Zechariah 13:1,2). When we choose to do the will of Satan we are in a sense under his control. As II Timothy 2:26 points out.
- Some receive the word but fall away quickly when tempted (Luke 8:13).
It is vitally important that the new convert become deeply rooted in their faith. This involves growing in the knowledge of the word, reshaping their deeds and their thoughts and cultivating associations that are edifying. Without this one will not have the resources needed to conquer temptation.
- Some allow the word to be choked by cares, riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14).
The Bible offers a way to conquer each of the obstacles mentioned here.
- Cares. Should be conquered with the realization of the Lord’s care and presence in our lives (Matthew 6:25-34; Hebrews 13:5).
- Riches. Should be rejected with contentment with life’s necessities (I Timothy 6:6-10).
- Pleasures. Must be resisted with the realization that they are temporary, and that eternal pleasures await the righteous (Hebrews 11:25; Revelation 21:3-5).
III. “Be Brave, Be Strong” (vs. 13).
- The fate of the cowardly (Revelation 21:7,8).
- True fear (Matthew 10:27-31; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14).
- The strength of the faithful (Ephesians 6:10-16; I John 4:4).
Let us all strive to follow this same advice in our life. Let us watch (for the Lord’s coming. temptation & trial). Let us be steadfast in our faith. Let us be brave and strong (in resisting evil and standing up for what is right).