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Final Greetings

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2021 8:00 am

Final Greetings

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 11, 2021 8:00 am

A church struggles to come to terms with what it means to serve the Lord. But it's not easy. All around are greedy and debauched people. Inevitably some of sinfulness has begun to infiltrate the church. Sound familiar? This scenario is not just our own; the early church of Corinth faced many of the same problems! Dr. Boice's study 1 Corinthians reveals a striking similarity between own battles and the struggles the early church.

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Welcome to the Bible study human ministry of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically. We been studying first Corinthians together for a number of weeks now and we come here in our final study chapter 16 which is very practical. Chapter it's almost surprising to come to it after the 15th chapter which is this great chapter on the resurrection. There are many great chapters in this book. Early in first Corinthians server has been an extensive discussion of human wisdom versus that wisdom that comes from God. That's a key section of Scripture and then there is the 13th chapter in which the apostle Paul is given us that classic statement of love that magnificent definition of love and then the 15th chapter on the resurrection.

This is been the most extensive treatment of any doctrinal matter in the book.

Paul has laid the groundwork for belief in the resurrection, because it was being challenged Corinth and he stopped about the nature of the resurrection, and then he concludes with this magnificent statement of the victory is ours in Christ because of the resurrection so we read that when we come to chapter 16 and it almost seems like an anticlimax because here he begins to talk about Christian giving them section that deals with personal matters is relationship.

Timothy M Paulus and some of the people from Corinth and then finally they're just some greetings and sort of encouraging statements at the end. I don't think we should think of the chapter. That way, however, when we do what we are really betraying is an imbalance in the Christian life because we are saying and we tend to do this we have to admit it, we tend to say that what really matters in Christianity is theology or doctrine and well practical matters fit in somewhere, but they're less important than proffering situations in life that we can dispense with them. The apostle Paul didn't think that way also. Paul always understood doctrine in terms of its practical application. That's why all of his great epistles, the flow of the plot is from doctrine and the first portion of the book to the application of that doctrine. In the second part defined in the book of Romans Romans the most doctrinal book all Paul's writings, which contains a great statement of the gospel and in the middle sections God's plan and purpose in history all about occupying the first 11 chapters of the book but then chapter 12, and for many chapters thereafter, he begins to talk about how Christian should live because of this great Christian theology, Galatians is the same way begins with some personal matters in the first two chapters of Galatians because the epistle was an occasional letter that arose out of problems in the church at Corinth. He deals with the doctrinal matters in the middle two chapters, chapters 3 and four and then again at the end. Chapters 5 and six. He gets practical once again and that's what we have here.

It is significant that the thing he begins with this is matter of the collection, which he is not too specific about which we know from some of the other epistles in which it is also mentioned he was collecting around the Roman world for the poor Saints in Jerusalem is really a new thing people to know that in his day were sort of accustomed to what we call Christian charity and we have charitable organizations that are not necessarily Christian in our time is just part of our culture, but because of that we we fail to see how really unique this sort of thing was the Empire old time to time somebody may give a colloidal beggar and certainly at a certain amount of charity was recognized in Judaism, but was always within your own culture into your own people and compared to the kind of things that we think in terms of Christian charity was generally a very small thing, and yet here in Christianity.

From the very beginning yellow demonstration of the sense Christians at that regardless of what their national background might be here their race, or the area of the world which they live that they shared a common life. Therefore, the concern of one was the concern of all some time ago Francis Schaeffer was was talking about an experience he had had this in in witnessing somebody he had been talking to a friend of his about the gospel. The man wasn't much interested in Latin. He certainly didn't care for the theology of Christianity, but I got around the practical matters and that Schaeffer was talking about the effect of the gospel of Christ has on people. In terms of their attitude. Other people and they were talking about Cambodia and the refugees from Southeast Asia, and the fact that they had come to the West, and particularly to the United States and the man who nevertheless was not persuaded by the arguments that I do have to admit that it is the Western nations and particularly the United States that is taken refugees in well that is just what is part of Christianity here in the 16th chapter, we have Paul talking about that in very practical ways. On the first four verses, he talks about giving and he lays down some principles for these I think are not rules sense that there on variable what Paul says here has to be followed precisely this way every single situation, but nevertheless pretty good principles where giving is concerned when he talks about here is local giving because you see when he begins to talk about this collection.

He says that he's telling them to do the same thing that he told the Galatian churches to do. Presumably, what he would also instruct the Roman churches to do churches in Philippi.

All the other places where he had visited. He saying that giving in Christianity should be on a local level doesn't mean of course that can't be such a thing as said national organization or even an international organization that raises money for particular cause does mean that giving is a local expression of faith is a valid principle not only a valid principle of good one because of course it has to do with accountability. See if you have a organization that is somewhat remote from the people that are giving the lines of communication are straitened and accountability oftentimes gets lost along the way where giving is local, or the people in the given locality will give you Christian work and give to people that they know will then manage it and responsible way.

You have kind of accountability which all Christian organizations and particularly local churches should have so much dishonesty in raising money and I might say also so much waste and money that is raised the best possible guard against that is to have money raised and distributed at the local level only talks about here is regular giving CD says the first day of every week now and I don't think that means that didn't every single instance in every single place for every single person giving has to be once a week is matter fact if someone comes by his need, regardless of when that is a Christian has an obligation to help out and that to go to the other side of that some people pay their bills monthly and it's just convenient for them as they write out checks to write out checks to Christian work on a monthly basis. This is not the kind of statement that excludes that saying the giving should be regular because of course that means that it's built into the fabric of the Christian life is not simply to be thing that is done at whim as if it doesn't enter our thinking. Most of the time we go on living our lives basically for ourselves and then when somebody presents a particular need in this pricing certain deplorable situation in the church, then we say well the IATA responded that we give a little bit. That is what Paul is saying he saying that giving should be the essence of Christianity, we have received abundantly from God and and therefore as Christian people we should give naturally and regularly so he says very practical terms. One way to do that is to do it on the first day of the week. That is to say when Christian people gather together to worship as they do in their churches. Space also of individual giving notice to each one of you should set aside some money.

He's not saying giving is for the rich. He's not saying giving is for somebody else is not saying giving is for certain saints who have reached a certain high level of spirituality. Each one of you.

We know because we have been reading this letter that some of these people were not terribly spiritual. All all kinds battles going on there in their midst. All kinds of problems speaking to everyone up anything you see, this is something that touches every Christian in the fourth principle that the… What you would have to call proportionate giving each one of you should set aside a sum of money and keeping with his income. Every talk about proportionate giving people always raise the matter of the time tied was an Old Testament pattern. Titus templates what the word means. The question is sometimes raised in Christianity. Well, our Christians bound to the Old Testament time people and raise a question are usually giving less.

So they're a bit worried that perhaps is more there bound to usually say when I respond to that question that so far as I can see the tide is not established as a legal thing in the New Testament. That's understandable because in the Old Testament, the time was really a practice. It's the money that was given to support the government and support the temple worship which went together in a theocracy and it's quite understandable how that would function in Christianity, the life of the spirit is to be the life of the heart is quite the same thing we don't find the same kind of legalistic guidelines laid down in the New Testament that are laid down in the old and so I read the New Testament. I don't see it saying, anywhere. Yes, Christians are to give one time all I possess to the Lord's work and I like to say whatever I comment along those lines that New Testament when you speak of New Testament morality and speak of the ethics of the heart as opposed to the legalism of the law standard generally is higher. The Lord seem to express that when he was talking about the law you have in the fifth chapter of Matthew, we said you heard it said don't do this, I say to you, and that is interpreted that Old Testament law for his day expanded to show that had to do the hard it was much higher and grander thing than anybody had been handling it as that time so I say the Old Testament principal was the pants were not bound to attend why we can give 15% of our income or their 20% of our income. Also, when I look at this and it talks about a certain sum of money in keeping with his income. If it's not suggesting I'm not sure it is but I wonder if it's not suggesting that those who have more should get proportionately more see someone who has a small amount of money and is trying to get by on that might say well the Old Testament they gave 10%. I want that to be at least my minimum so they give 10% of their money and then they struggle to get by small amount that's left the other hand, you have somebody who makes a great deal. Lots and lots of money. 10 2000 times what the poor person makes in this person says well Old Testament principles 10% I want to give 10% gives 10% because it's 10% of a lot.

It looks like a lot proud of himself.

All that money that he's going yet. He has an enormous amount left live on. I would suggest the proportionate giving should be something like the graduated income tax. If the government can do it.

Certainly we can do it as Christian people, the more we have, the more we ought to be able to give and fortunately I know many cases this is precisely the way Christian people operate any rate, here we have very practical suggestions on the next portion of this 16th chapter, beginning with verse five, Paul speaks of himself and his fellow workers. An interesting kind of relationship you have their Paul of course is the apostle so he speaks with a special divine authority that not everybody else had. And in his writing. He wrote by inspiration. Therefore, with the authority of the Holy Spirit.

There's Timothy Timothy who he was training to carry on a lot of the leadership of the church after he was gone. A younger man a godly man, one know about whom he speaks very favorably. He does so extensively in the letter to the Philippians saddened in his letters to Timothy himself man who is we read those various references to him was probably somewhat insecure in his position of leadership.

He might even have had. We tend to call today an inferiority complex. I don't think Paula said that but you know you he was with Paul and Paul was the great apostle dynamic leader.

The dynamo in the church, and Timothy was quiet and happened in Timothy's case picked that up from various references that those who saw him didn't always think quite so highly of him because I probably wasn't. Paul and he wasn't does dynamic as Paul was the was younger than Paul was.

So again and again as Paul writes to these churches. He tells them to receive Timothy and to be kind to him and and except that which is what he does here and when he writes to Timothy says to him, don't let anybody despise your youth, but instead be an example of the believers. All the various Christian braces upon the one hand, and Timothy in any mentions this man Paula's here Paul is apparently was a very eloquent man.

The Greek who spoke with the eloquence of the Greek orators therefore was very well received in the Greek city states Paula's had been to Corinth because earlier in the letter we find out that part of the factionalism that was there in the church was as a result of Paul and Peter in Paulison. The fact that the Christians there in the church more or less divided up among these Christian leaders.

One said well I will Paul I follow his party and Elwood said well I'm of Paul as I follow his party hasn't been there in the apparently been a great leader. It would be possible, I suppose, for Paul to have been jealous of the Paula's you notices she read the reference to them in verse 12 that he says that he urged him to go to Corinth that Paul is was unwilling to go, at least for now obviously means that the policy didn't consider himself under Paul's authority, Paul may have been the apostle but when Paul said will Paula's I'd like you to go to Corinth, Wallace didn't feel obliged to go Timothy. Of course it Timothy did what Paul said but Wallace didn't feel under his authority as we read this, we don't find any jealousy on the part of Paul. We don't feel any resentment what you have here instead is Paul talking about. Paula says brother and uploading his ministry before these Christians wonderful thing when Christianity functions that way. One of the sad things in the church is the kind of rivalry that exists between minister, sometimes within a local church itself in wraps even more often between local churches in the neighborhood are between denominations. I believe in denominations. I think they have their place in, I certainly believe the local church should belong to something greater than itself because it's a matter of accountability and in terms of denominations. I certainly believe in a Presbyterian form of government and all that and I have to say that the church is bigger than any denomination.

And certainly I hope it's bigger than the Presbyterian denomination. And we have to find ways of reaching out across these barriers to deny what we think is important and a valid expression of the faith, reaching out across these barriers to say that person is a brother in the Lord, that person is a sister in the Lord and all that we function in different spheres of her doing things in different ways. We are nevertheless all members of the body of Christ, because unless we do that creating the same error that these Christians at Corinth were guilty when they said well worth Paul were apostle of the Paula's, and so on.

Paul, as I say, didn't do numbers 13. He has a series of statements in which he's encouraging the Christians at Corinth.

There are five statements there first. Be on your guard second stand firm in the faith. Third, be men of courage for three strong and finally do everything in love is a good challenge for any group of Christians at any time because it speaks of our work in Christianity is a warfare that there are enemies and Paul speaks of those that he was facing doesn't just earlier in this chapter. Those who were his enemies, and emphasis acknowledges the enemies but it says that the Christians in the power of Christ are to stand firm against first thing is to be on your guard.

Well let makes us think of first Peter the fifth chapter verse eight, where Peter is talking about Satan and he says virtually the same thing. He says be on your guard because your adversary the devil is a roaring lion walk about, seeking whom he may devour. Say would be bad enough if we just Adam and enemies in the world. Lots of enemies out there that hate Christianity and everything it stands for the very apparent in our American culture. But that's not the most dangerous thing all it's it's hard thing to have human enemies and some of them can be very powerful. But Peter says our real adversary is the devil, he is sent against anything of God and therefore he does whatever he can to oppose the gospel and Peter says in Paul is saying the same thing here. The wise Christian one, who was living as God wants them to be on his guard against such things. That means we must be on guard against temptation. Be on guard against factionalism. We must be on guard against error on the kind of things that can creep in to a Christian life or into a church in hard piece and secondly they were to stand firm that brings to mind the six chapter of Ephesians where Paul is speaking of the same kind of warfare that Peter is speaking about is letter speaking about the devil, the principalities and powers deposes on every hand and where he says several times over in that great passage about the Christians armor that we are to stand stand therefore he says, and having done everything stand. I don't know whether is he wrote that he had specifically in mind the difference between offense of in defense of what warfare but I think it may be what was in the back of his mind. Offense of warfare is where you go forward and take new ground in defense of warfare is where you stand ground on that land what you already taken.

I suppose it would be true to say that any land that is taken in Christianne it is taken by Jesus Christ because he is the great warrior and our responsibility therefore is to possess that language.

He is already taken of the spam firm on maybe that's what he has in mind here. At any rate is emphasis is upon standing standing firm in the faith being shaken from my position to which we have already been brought by Jesus Christ. He says thirdly, men of courage for three be strong so easy to lose courage or the week because we look out we see the enemies that are arrayed against us, we say well we can stand against that were just poor. We insignificant smaller numbers. What we need to have as our eyes open like the servant Elijah to see the hills filled roundabouts with chariots of fire.

The Angels of the Lord. That's our armament. That's the host of the Lord. That's the strength which we stand and he's selling his Corinthians to do that and finally talks about love. He says do everything in love some years ago he Stanley Jones when he was in India and Mahatma Gandhi was still living had an interview with Gandhi and he said in the context of the interview because Gandhi knew the Western world so well said to Mr. Gandhi want with the Christians have to do when India for Jesus Christ.

Gandhi said well first of all the Christians have to live like Jesus Christ and secondly he said you mustn't compromise your faith and 30 said. Learn everything you can about the non-Christian religion. Then he said fourth.

This is the most important thing of all, let everything you do be characterized by love is what Paul is saying here all aside all we're engaged in a battle not battle requires strength of character and God is looking for soldiers were able to stand but that warfare is not the kind of warfare in which the world engages is not the kind of warfare that is carried forward by arrogance or by hatred of the enemy. This is the kind of warfare.

That is one by love because, of course, love is the character of God tells us in Scripture. God is love. Therefore, where love is seen in the hearts of God's people. God is at work people see God and are drawn to him, particularly as that love is manifest in Jesus Christ. Now the very end of this Paul talks about a number of individuals that he always does that are generally does that in his letters very interesting because it shows that Paul flawless theology and all insensitive missionary strategies. Always thinking in terms of where he is going to go next what his plans are to be for the next 12 months and that's evident here as he tells where he is going to be and what is going to do all that for all of his intellectual ability and all of his strategy in terms of missionary things nevertheless was always thinking about people we thought about them in a very warm way, here's Stephanie's this man was one of the first converts in the K out there in Corinth and he opened his house Paul and that's where one of the first churches in that city was established that man probably was having difficulty because he says I urge you, brothers, submit to such as these easy to understand how that was happening because they were very willing to submit to Paul and they were going to submit to Paul are working to submit to Stephanie's either but he says this man's leader is an elder in the church. I think that's what he would imply.

He said submit to him and he speaks favorably. These men had, Stefansson Fortunato's syndicate this perhaps others probably they're the ones that Ted brought a letter from Corinth to Paul when he was an emphasis where he found out about the problems that he's responding. It's probably these men are going to take letter back positive, appreciative of them. He says they made up for what was lacking from you. It might mean that he has a gift in mind any spanking the board in an indirect way. I think probably what he's thinking of is the fellowship that he had enjoyed with the Corinthian Christians saying I've missed you in here were these three that came in they represented your church and your fellowship in so to some degree they made up that point in my heart that I've had, because you are not with me.

I'm not with you all. He says such men deserve recognition. Many turns to those among whom he is currently in a string those in Asia where emphasis was well and Priscilla had made their way there. He says they send their greetings and so all the brothers and finally he Paul verse 21 following sentence is on reading. All seems to have written last words of the books with his own hands. He must've had what's called an amanuensis to do most of his writing. That is, he would dictate it in this person probably a slave would function as a secretary and write it down. Paul seems to have written last words himself.

Some of speculated because Paul speaks of an affliction that he had the perhaps he had trouble with his eyes very likely that is the case, he would write with large letters, he does say that at the end of Galatians look with what large letters I am writing it might be just didn't have the polished Greek hand of the scribe. We don't know that for sure, but any rate, Paul characteristically wrote the end of the letters himself as an authentication, because there were counterfeit letters. Forgeries were going around that were supposed to be from Paul's late work. This himself at the end he writes I Paul write this greeting with my own hand in here it is. If anyone does not love the Lord occurs be on them, O Lord, the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. I loved all of you in Christ Jesus Greek language or in the original text are two interesting words there. One is the word anathema, which is a Greek word word.

We have translated the curse and then there is the Aramaic word Maranatha which is translated in the new international version, O Lord, I word Maranatha can be divided up into ways and it can mean a statement. The Lord is coming, or it can be a prayer come, O Lord probably is to be taken in the latter way which is how it's translated here all recognizes the seriousness of Christ judgment.

Jesus is coming and those who are not in Christ and not love them because their natures of been changed because they're born again experiences judgment they are under the curse of God.

It's a serious serious thing yet at the same time. He says that Paul can express a prayer for Jesus return because that prayer will mean the resolution of all things will bring judgment upon sin mean the reward of the godly and Christ's reign forever and ever wonder.

He says the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. I loved all of you in Christ Jesus. On a practical epistle.

Thank you, Paul for giving it to us, may we have the courage and grace of Jesus Christ to live by the principles we find here. Let us pray our father, we confess when we read even a short portion of Scripture that it is far beyond us to live up to what we find there perfectly but father, help us to make a beginning. Particularly, we pray for those specific matters that you have laid upon our hearts each one individually as you've spoken through the study. It was grace to do we know in our hearts we must do so to be faithful little things in order that your buyer grace.

In later days we might be found faithful and greater things to thank you for your grace. We thank you for that love which is in the gospel we thank you for the presence of Christ, we thank you for the promise of his return. Father, help us to live as if we were going to meet the Lord Jesus Christ.

This very you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this

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