On Closing a Letter That Never Ends.

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DAILY TEXT AUDIO WILL RETURN AFTER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND. GIVING THE TEAM A BREAK. ;0) 

daily text logoNovember 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:15-26

16 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 labors 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

CONSIDER THIS

TO THOSE SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST JESUS AND CALLED TO BE HIS HOLY PEOPLE (i.e. “US”): 

It seems Paul closes out his letter in an effort to remember what he may have forgotten. It’s a collection of practical reminders and closing exhortations. In that spirit I will make my comments. I’ll come back tomorrow with a larger summary of what I’ve learned this time through the letter.

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.

Right to the end, Paul remains consistent with his ethic of planning. Paul makes plans loosely, stating his intentions and hopes yet always qualifies with, “if the Lord permits.” This is no small thing. It’s one of those subtle signs of surrendered-ness. Your itinerary matters to the Holy Spirit. You say, “But I make my plans prayerfully.” So did Paul. Even after making prayerful plans, lean into them, but never close the door on the intervening plans of God. It’s yet another one of the implications of living under the banner that says, “Jesus is Lord!”

But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 

Note that “great doors for effective work” opening up are often, if not always, accompanied by “many who oppose.” It’s the nature of the game. If you are drawing opposition, you are doing something right. Stay the course.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

Words to live by. Four simple and clear admonitions all qualified by the fifth: “Do everything in love.” I am becoming more and more convinced—which is still a step shy of convicted— that most of what I do I do in self-interest. They may be good things and even loving things, but doing things “in love” in the biblical sense means doing them from a different source of empowered motivation.

See you tomorrow when we will tie this thing up and put a bow on it for good measure. Stay tuned.

CALLED WITH YOU TO BE HIS HOLY PEOPLE.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How are you coming on your need to be in control of your plans? Are you beginning to acknowledge the sovereign will of God in the midst of your planning? How can you take steps in that direction?
  2. Where in your life are you experiencing the hardships of opposition in the midst of fruitful ministry in the Gospel? Are you allowing discouragement to creep in? How can you stand firm?
  3. “Do everything in love.” Are you coming to realize just how comprehensive this calling is and the comprehensive scope of this word, “everything?” Are you in touch with your lack of natural capacity to do this? Are you opening yourself up to the fullness of the Holy Spirit to give you supernatural capacity to, “Do everything in love?”

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J.D. Walt serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief.  jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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