Our Church Service on August 28 will take place at 4734 Samish Point Rd, Bow WA 98232 at 11 am

The Lord's Work - 1 Corinthians 16:1-12

Feb 19, 2023    Victor Kuksenko

Title: The Lord's Work


I. Paul instructs the Corinthian church on financial participation

II. Paul expects partnership from the Corinthian church in his ministry

III. Paul's care and understanding for his co-laborers

- Timothy

- Apollos


- 1 Cor. 16:1-12


• John Wesley once said "Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart

• Gordon Fee says it well "Paul demonstrates remarkable willingness to put the unity of the church and the interests of his coworkers above his own personal desires and fears."


Sermon Notes:

Open with me to 1 Corinthians 16:1-12

What fills the space in this passage? What common things come up?

• We see various churches and people

◦ We are introduced to Galatian churches - who were also desiring to participate in collection for the needs of the saints.

◦ We read about the saints in Jerusalem that are in need.

◦ He addresses his plans to go to Macedonia to visit churches there.

◦ Currently it seems that he is in Ephesus and amazing things are happening there.

◦ Paul is telling the Corinthians that Timothy is coming to them, but they are to treat him well.

◦ And Apollos is not willing to come to Corinth for now even though Paul strongly urged him to go but probably later.

• The whole section is directed to the Corinthian church. And even though they had problems in their church, and some had issues with Paul himself. He still had confidence that they will help him in his ministry.

◦ As Apostle Paul is instructing them, and sharing his plans, in the process he is teaching all of us how to think, and what to do in the Lord's Work.

The work that is being done is our Lords. He is building his kingdom through his people to the ends of the earth.

◦ We know that when God created this world, he told Adam and Eve to populate this world and fill this world with God's presence. God is the Lord of the universe and he desires us to reflect his image, his desires, his will in all that we do.

◘ This Eden is to be all over the world. A place where God reigns and as a result everything works.

◦ Yet, humans rebelled against their Lord, we wanted to be our own lords, and in the process severed ourselves from His kingdom. We created our own kingdom, which lead our souls from paradise into the desert, where there is scorching sun, beating down on our hearts. Where we cannot be satisfied because our satisfaction is from the Lord.

◘ No matter what we do, what we build and where we go, all of it still is not enough to fill our empty souls, that cannot be satisfied without the Lord.

◦ Yet, our Lord who had full right to destroy us, out of his Love promises a Savior who will bring us back into himself. God became man, his name is Jesus. He took our sins that separated us from God and nailed them to the cross!

◘ He died to pay the price of our rebellion against our Lord. He was buried, but on the Third day he arose from the dead.

◦ Now he is calling all of us, to come to Him, for he fills our longing hearts and parched souls with living water.

◦ Those who receive Jesus - by repenting of their sins and trusting in Jesus's work on our behalf is placed into his church. His kingdom!

• But that is not the end of the story. Jesus sends out his disciples, to establish God's reign on the earth.

◦ How is that happening? - Jesus is building his church through us.

◦ Now he wants us to do His Work by His power and His guidance for His glory

◦ This is HIS WORK!

• So the Lord's work is not just for special people, but for all those who have been brought near, all those who know this good Savior of our souls.

This is why we need this word today: To be encourage to do the Lord's work. To see how does this work looks like, where can I serve. What can I do..

We will break down this text into three points:


I. Paul instructs the Corinthian church on financial participation

v. 1-4

The Jerusalem church experienced extreme poverty and needed financial support.

• No one really know exactly why they were in such a dyer need, it might have been numerous factors.

◦ There was a famine of the late 40s, this book was written around 55 AD

◦ A number of poor people flocked into the early church, because everyone was welcomed.

◘ They even created a system to take care of the widows.

◦ Jews becoming Christian would most likely have been cut off from the distribution of food and provision for the needy.

• It was a big enough problem that Apostle Paul made it his aim to raise funds from various Gentile churches to help in the need.

◦ This collection was very important to Paul he dedicates two whole chapters in 2 Corinthians 8-9 on it

◦ Many churches were participating in this need: from Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Greece.

• Money plays a big role in Ministry.

◦ For example, for our church to function as it is, it requires financial support and that is happening from faithful tithers in our church.

◦ When a person comes to Jesus one big change that happens is that person becomes sensitive to the financial needs of people around them.

◘ Especially sensitive to the need of giving to the church to support the work of ministry.

• Often we don't realize how important it is to support something financially.

◦ God blesses people with higher income so they would be able to give more.

◦ John Wesley once said "Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart"

◦ Jesus says that where our money is that is where our hearts will be also!

◘ Our money is a strong indicator of what we care about.

◘ If we care about God's kingdom we will give to it.

But notice how Paul teaches this church to give. It is very organized and careful.

• There is a lot wisdom here. Because it is one thing to give, but also it is another thing to be strategic in giving.

The Corinthian church was asking him about this collection for the Jerusalem saints and he instructs them how to do it well.

1. Giving should be planned

◦ on the first day of the week which is Sunday, set aside and save.

◘ Side note: this was the time the church gathered together, so they were instructed to save weekly for this need.

◦ When Paul comes then they don't need to overburden the people, the gift is already ready to be collected.

◦ It is not chaotic or random, but planned and carefully thought of.

◘ How is our giving?

◘ Often even in tithing the best way to give is when you get your paycheck you give right away and then calculate your bills and things.

◘ But also when need comes, it might be wise to save up a small portion from your income and when a need arises you can take that and give generously and more if you want.

2. Giving should be proportional

◦ he says "save in keeping with how he is prospering"

◦ If God is blessing you then give more and participate more.

◘ If you are very tight then you are not obligated to give. We all have seasons and we can use the times of blessing to save to give.

◦ It is not spiritual to give everything because there is a need and wait for God to provide for you.

◘ You consider how can you move your expenses around and then decide to give for a need.

◘ Yes, God might call some to give radically, but that is not a norm.

3. Giving should be under accountability

◦ Notice he is asking them to find trustworthy people whom the church recommends to send this gift.

◘ Paul does not bring his own people for this, but rather he gives them a way to not only give but also deliver this gift to Jerusalem.

◘ So there is no question where this money went to.

◦ Also there should be a few people, not just one.

◘ There are checks and balances,

◘ He gives no room for corruption and theft.

 How are we participating financially for God's kingdom?

• Are we sensitive to various needs? Do we realize that as people of God we need to care about the poor and the widows.

• Yet, many of us may be living from paycheck to paycheck and are unable to give for various needs, maybe in those situations we need to seek wisdom and understanding how to work with money and budgeting.

◦ Maybe we need to look through our expenses and close some of them down, various subscriptions and change our habits? Before we even give.

◦ We need to realize that if we don't plan on it we will never have money to help in financial needs.

◦ Maybe it may mean when you get your paycheck you set aside a small amount into a specific "special needs savings" and it starts growing, and as you see a need around you you can pull from that and give.

• Are we careful in giving? Is there accountability? Not all people who ask for money are in need.

◦ There are so many businesses that operate on peoples "good" desire to give.

◦ Some may say, well God knows my heart, but are you not lazy to do your homework? -

◘ What if your money is keeping a system alive that is based on lies?

◘ What if your giving is promoting a lazy lifestyle?

◘ Did you know that the best results in missions is when the local church is able to self-support and care for their needs outside of foreign funds?

◦ We need to be generous but also wise in our giving

• Do we care about the condition of our brothers of sisters?

◦ When we see a need in our church or a person going through a financial challenge, do we look for ways to help?


II. Paul expects partnership from the Corinthian church in his ministry


Paul is most likely writing this letter from Ephesus.

• We read about him staying in Ephesus for 2 years in Acts 19

◦ For the first 3 months Paul speaks boldly in the Synagogue,

◦ After he withdraws from them and starts gathering people in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. Where it says that "all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord" (19:10)

◘ Paul is also performing extraordinary miracles there, healing and casting out demons

◘ The people respond favorably by burning their magic books a total of 50,000 pieces of silver.

◦ This is precisely why Paul says that "a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me"

◦ But also he adds "yet many appose me"

◘ this was when Demetrius developed a riot in the city of Ephesus.

Paul shares his traveling plans:

• He will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost (which is late Spring, till May)

• Then he will plan to travel to Macedonia (which is north, by the Agean Sea)

• Then go down south to Corinth and stay there for the whole winter, not just in passing.

Why does Paul share his blessing and struggles and his plans?

• Because he saw them as partners in his ministry.

• He says "So that you may send me on my way wherever I go"

◦ The word for "send me" is often referring to sending with provision or supplies.

◦ Meaning he is expecting them to help him in his stay and journey.

◦ Paul has expectations of this church, that if they are partners they will help him in any need

• He desires to come to them and not just visit in passing but really stay there.

In the Lord's work Paul expects the church to be ready to serve.

• Notice that this works is reciprocal.

◦ Meaning that Apostle Paul served these people but also he expected these people to serve back.

◦ Our culture has a "consumer" mindset. Where I receive and that is it.

◘ The church often gets into the same rut.

◘ But in reality the church seek to help and to give in any way it can.

◦ Ex: just think of our children, if you do everything for them will they learn to do things that blesses others?

◘ We need to love them and let them do things for us and others so they learn.

◦ So is the church, it exists as a body, where every piece plays a significant role in taking and giving.

◘ Where I receive the blessing, but I also sacrifice myself in ways to bring about that blessing.

◦ In this context: we see a need to provide your home for someone. Hospitality is huge. Where you take someone under your care and provide for them.

◘ What did God give you? - you use it for the blessing of others.

◦ We need to learn to share our ministries with our brothers and sisters, so they may help up in the load.

◘ This requires us to share our struggles, challenges and blessings at times.

◘ It requires us to share our goals, ambitions and plans with others.

◘ There is this healthy horizontal element of doing ministry together.

• This work is planned yet open to change

◦ Notice that Paul had a specific plan, yet "if the Lord wills".

◘ He also a reason to stay in Ephesus "because he sees an open door for his ministry"

◦ God is constantly doing something in around us, in us and through us. Are we sensitive to his leading.

◘ We should plan, strategies and think deeply about our next steps but also we need to be sensitive to what is God doing among us and in us and through us.

◦ For many of us change came be very scary

◘ We like where we are and what we have now and we don't want to change that. Yet God often calls us to change and go through challenges so that his will would be done in different ways.

◘ We need to learn to function amongst the change.

◘ This means we need to submit to God as the ultimate arbiter of my life and of the ministry that I have.

◦ If God opens the door for ministry in places we don't expect and it will require us to go through challenges, are we willing to go?

◘ Are we willing to do hard things for God?

• Obviously there is wisdom here too we should not be quick to change as well, when God opens the door we are to stay where we are and be faithful in serving. 


III. Paul's care and understanding for his co-laborers

v. 10-11

We read about two ministry partners Timothy and Apollos in this section.


~The Corinthian church had many problems, so Paul send them a letter to answer a lot of the misunderstanding but also he is sending Timothy, his fellow co-laborer to help remind them the ways of Paul.

• Paul himself does not see it a good reason to leave the work he is doing in Ephesus, so he sends someone he trust will teach them the truth.

• Paul is sending Timothy into a difficult church. Paul is actually worries for Timothy, so he tells the church to treat him well. he says it twice

◦ He says: "See that he has nothing to fear while with you" and "so let no one look down on him"

◦ Paul is worried. He could have just come himself, but he doesn't drop everything, he sends Timothy, this is a way for him to learn and to be able to represent Paul.

◦ This church already had people who were not liking Paul, and to have Timothy come could make it worse.

• We learn here about the importance of delegating tasks in ministry

◦ There might be a need and you cannot fulfill it, then you trust another person enough to send him or her to that need.

◦ Jesus did that as well, he sent out disciples who would proclaim the message of Jesus all over Judea.

◘ They were untrained and had little experience and Jesus entrusted them the work.

◦ Often we think we can do something better, and never bring someone around with us, or even delegate someone that need.

◘ Yes here is a chance they may mess up but in reality they will learn so much more.

◦ We are not all there is, there are many people who are along side us doing the Lord's work

◦ That is why in our church we seek to develop more leaders and ministers who will serve along side us in the work that God called us to do.


• We know that Apollos plays a significant role in the lives of the Corinthians.

◦ Some were saying in the Corinthians church "I'm with Paul, others saying I'm with Apollos and others saying I'm with Christ."

• Yet because Apollos was one of the focuses for disunity Paul "strongly urges" him to come and make things right.

◦ He might be able to provide significant help in the time of strife and conflict.

◦ And it seems that this church was asking for him as well.

• Yet, Apollos did not agree to come for his own reasons, but suggests that he might visit later.

It seems that Paul and Apollos both understood that both of them were not responsible for the troubles in the beginning of the letter.

• It seems that the church took positions because of internal struggle.

• Also, notice how Paul calls him "our brother"

◦ this indicates that Paul is united with this brother, even though he is doing his own work. 

◦ Paul definitely does not see this church as his own ministry, he sees that God is ultimately working in their church and bringing various people who influenced and shaped them.

◦ If Paul were at odds with Apollos he would be the last person that he wanted to come.

Notice Paul's respect to Apollos

• Apollos disagreed to come for his own reasons, and Paul really wants him to come because it might be better for them. But Apollos does not and Paul is ok with that.

• He does not push him or use his authority to do what the "apostle" sees right.

• Gordon Fee says it well "Paul demonstrates remarkable willingness to put the unity of the church and the interests of his coworkers above his own personal desires and fears."

Do we treat other ministers with respect?

• We might have our favorite preachers or teachers and might reject those who are starting out.

• Do we see value in each minister in our church.

◦ Or do we "use" them for our own benefit and when they are done we get rid of them?

• God is bringing up leaders in our church for the blessing of others, are we willing to care for them and to listen to them?

• It seems that in our day and age we are very quick to smother people or churches for differences of opinion of an issue that occurred?

◦ But do we have a sense of godly respect for them?


In Conclusion

Apostle Paul is a great example of a careful minister, whom we need to imitate!

• He has a heart for the needs of other believers, and is willing to bring other Christians into that need.

• He is careful organized and planned.

• He is open to God's leading and guidance.

• He delegates and hopes for the best.

• He places others interests above his own.

Where did he learn to be such a minister? - From our Lord Jesus Christ.

• Jesus cares about his church.

• Jesus is building it from imperfect people.

• He desire us to seek his will and guidance for our lives and the life of our church.

• Do we take part in this work?

◦ Are ministering with our own unique abilities?

◦ Are we seeking his Kingdom to be spread around us?

◦ Are we faithfully serving?