Audio Of Sermon:
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (KJV) Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 14 Let all your things be done with charity.
As the Great Apostle closes his first letter to the divided Church of Corinth he wants the Church to understand … they are not alone. No Church ever stands alone. The Church belongs to Jesus, and Jesus will be glorified in His Church. There are many religious groups in the world, but only one Church. The Church is marked by unity and love in Christ Jesus. The Church is MADE by the Grace of Christ. A Church formed by Grace is marked by five things. We are to …
Watch (γρηγορέω grēgoreō)
Stand Fast In The Faith (στήκω stēkō)
Quit You Like Men (ἀνδρίζομαι andrizomai)
Be Strong (κραταιόω krataioō)
Do All Things With Charity
You are not saved by works, but once saved you DO WORK. Your life is changed. Your priority aligns with that of Christ. We have FIVE things the Apostle commands the Church. Five is the number of Grace. You have five fingers on your hands, and it is with your hands you work. So today we’re going to look at what the Apostle said as if it were five fingers on a hand.
Grace leads to work. These are the five fingers of Grace!
God’s Children Are To WATCH
We are to WATCH (γρηγορέω grēgoreō) for our Lord. Jesus told us:
Matthew 24:42-44 (NKJV) Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour YOUR LORD IS COMING. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Jesus is coming again, and He comes for His child. We do not know when our Jesus is coming again, and we do not know when He is coming for us.
Matthew 25:13 (NKJV) Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Jesus is coming again to receive His Church to Himself. We do not know when that day will be. We know that Jesus will come and receive each of us one day into His Heaven.
We do not know when the final day of our life will be upon this earth.
So we WATCH.
We live our lives as those under His constant care.
We do not want to be found of Him when He comes to be doing that which is unworthy.
We do not want to be like Peter, who claiming that he would never deny our Lord, could not stay awake in Gethsemane. Jesus asked Peter:
Mark 14:37 (NKJV) Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?
Watching means to pray, and keep your eyes open to opportunities to honor our Lord. I’m reminded of a story a missionary told me one day. He said that he spoke to the children at an orphanage overseas, a poor place, and told the children that Jesus was coming again. After that moment the caretaker of the orphanage said that every morning those precious children would get up from their beds, run to the window, and look out at the sky, trying to see Jesus.
Are you WATCHING for Jesus? The Apostle said in:
Colossians 4:2-6 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
The devil is lulling the world to sleep in sin. The devil has, from the beginning, tried to lull the Church of Christ into a sleep. But God tells us …
1 Thessalonians 5:6 (KJV) Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Watching means to stay sober, to be alert. We are to WATCH for our Jesus is coming again!
God’s Children Are To Stand Fast In The Faith
The Apostle said: Stand Fast In The Faith.
The Greek (στήκω stēkō) implies a troop
of soldiers bracing themselves against the enemy assault, holding the high ground. We are to “stand fast – hold the high ground – of FAITH”.
What is “the faith” that we are to stand fast in? We studied this just a week or so ago.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (KJV) 15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve..
When we abandon the Gospel of Christ we abandon the faith.
It is the Gospel that gives us strength. There are people today who cherry pick what they want to believe in the Scripture. The Bible is not a buffet where we pick what we want, and turn up our noses at what we don’t want.
If I throw away the text that says:
1 Timothy 3:2 (KJV) A bishop (overseer, Pastor) then must be blameless, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE,
and ignore this text – a requirement from the Apostles – then what value the rest of Scripture? If we read:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither FORNICATORS, nor IDOLATERS, nor ADULTERERS, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor SODOMITES, 10 nor THIEVES, nor COVETOUS, nor DRUNKARDS, nor REVILERS, nor EXTORTIONERS WILL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Do we toss this text out in order to be politically correct, or do we accept it as truth? The Gospel brings with it conversion and agreement to the Way of God. If a kleptomaniac comes to me and says:
“Preacher, I used to love to steal. Now that I’m saved, I love to steal, but don’t feel guilty about it”.
What should I say to that person? Good job? Absolutely not. Salvation brings conversion. So why is it that when people claim to be saved but still live in lifestyles frowned upon by God do we say it is all right. I submit to you, we are not being God’s Church. God saves completely. When Zacchaeus the Tax Collector was saved how did he respond to Christ?
Luke 19:8 (KJV) And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
Jesus told the crowd “this day is salvation come to this house”. Salvation comes when there is evidence of CONVERSION, and this only comes by the Holy Spirit of God.
The Scripture says:
Galatians 5:1 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; STAND FIRM therefore, and DO NOT SUBMIT AGAIN TO A YOKE OF SLAVERY.
We are not called to be religious nor self righteous, but to love God and His Word and stand together, believing what He has said. The Scripture says:
Philippians 1:27-28 (NKJV) Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
Converted Believers Are To “Quit You Like Men”
This is the Greek ἀνδρίζομαι (andrizomai). What does this mean? It means MAN UP. Or as some have said, COWBOY UP. Be brave, not a coward. Be brave, not a coward. Jesus told His disciples:
John 15:18-20 (NKJV) If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
In is in the atmosphere of easy believism, the gospel so readily preached from pulpits today, that people profess Christ but have the stamina of a snowflake.
The darkness always hates the light. Those who sin in darkness do not want a light turn on them, for their sins to be exposed for all to see. No, the darkness bids us not be light, but dim our light, be like the world. Jesus sent His disciples out into the darkness with full knowledge of what they were facing. He said:
Matthew 10:21-28 (NKJV) Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus did not want His disciples to be fearful, but to go forward with the Gospel of God no matter who it might offend. We live in a day where the greatest offense is to offend in any way, to go against the established wisdom of the world. Beloved, the darkness will always hate the light.
The first murder in Scripture was when believing Abel
offered a sacrifice to God, offending his brother Cain.
Joseph was sold into slavery because he spoke God’s Word to his brothers.
Jesus Christ was executed, not for treason, but for being Light.
We who are Christ’s are not to speak to please the world, but to please our Father Who is in Heaven. We are to magnify our Lord and be obedient to His Word in all things. We are to MAN UP and obey Him and His Word whether or not anyone else agrees with us or not. Many Churches are compromising the truth of God’s Word because they feel that they will lose their audience if they don’t mellow the message down.
I read an interesting article in The Baltimore Sun this past Monday. The article was entitled “Churches Merge, close: We no longer live in Christendom. We really have to accept that it’s a thing of the past’”. Yes, that was actually the title. The article was published October 10, 2017, and was an op-ed piece written by journalist Jonathan M. Pitts. Is Christ and His Church dead in America.
Absolutely not! Here’s a few pieces from the article:
“For a decade and more, Govans Presbyterian Church and Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church have labored in the manner of many mainline Protestant congregations: Working ever harder to provide spiritual resources for a dwindling number of congregants.
… Brown Memorial Woodbrook (Presbyterian Church), about two miles from Govans (Presbyterian Church) on North Charles Street, has been running its busy Sunday school and community garden and working on LGBT equality and other social justice issues. … But with attendance stagnating, maintenance costs rising and the population of Christians from which to draw shrinking, the two have decided to join forces. … they’ll become one congregation before the end of the year … The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has closed a net eight churches since 2007 and plans to shutter one more ….. if the congregation can’t present a feasible financial plan by January.
Listen Beloved – these are all liberal, not Bible believing Churches. But hear what the article says next:
… A few faith traditions have fared better… evangelical Christianity’s numbers are holding steady.
The Bible believing and Bible preaching and teaching Churches are holding steady. The numbers are not dropping. Why? It’s only spiritual common sense.
When the Church decides to compromise with the darkness to reach the darkness, that Church loses those members who were walking in the light. People of faith are bailing out of Churches that adopt the darkness of the world.
Christ is still alive and well – and so is His Church. Jesus said:
Luke 9:62 (NKJV) No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
We are not to look back to Egypt, but to look upward and forward as we follow our Jesus. Israel looked back, and that entire generation died out, never taking the Promised Land. God’s people are to be committed to God’s Word. We are not to be obnoxious, but we are to be clear.
Christ died for our sins so that we would live in a right God approved manner.
Christ died to take us out of sin’s control, not to make us compromisers.
1 Peter 2:21-25 (NKJV) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
God’s purpose for us is that we follow in Christ’s steps. Jesus died so that we might live to righteousness – not self righteousness, but God’s righteousness.
Children Of God Are To Be Strong In The Lord
1 Corinthians 16:13 … be strong
The Apostle Paul exemplified what God said through Him:
Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
God never asks us to be strong in ourselves, but to be strong in the Lord. To take our weaknesses and our fears to God, and let Him transform us into the powerhouse that He wants us to be. God watches over His Children. God’s strength comes to us when we trust and live in His promises.
As Moses prepared to die, and to pass over into Heaven, he called Joshua to his side. Moses told both Joshua and the people:
Deuteronomy 31:3-8 (NKJV) The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said. 4 And the Lord will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them. 5 The Lord will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
What gives us who are His the strength to continue on is to know that God goes before us. He is greater than anything that comes against us. God is always with His people. He has said:
Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) … “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Our strength is knowing that our Savior is near. And He is, and will always be.
The Thumb Of Grace Is LOVE
1 Corinthians 16:14 (KJV) Let all your things be done with charity.
On every hand there are five fingers, but I submit to you the most important finger is the THUMB. Without the thumb it’s hard to pick up anything. You can lose a finger and continue life relatively normal. You can even lose three fingers and still function. But if you lose the thumb the hand becomes largely useless. The Apostle spoke on love in 1 Corinthians 13, ending up by saying:
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Our faith is built on love. We are saved by the Gospel because “God so LOVED the world”. We are born of the love of Christ, Who willingly and without reservation went to the Cross of Calvary for us. Love defines us. You cannot love as Godf wants you to love until you have experienced His Love in Christ. Jesus said:
John 15:13 (NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Jesus did that for us. Since He did this for us, we who are loved into Heaven are to do the same. The Apostle said:
1 John 3:16 (NKJV) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
You cannot love as God wants unless you have experienced His love in Christ. Have you? Have you heard His Gospel, and believed on Christ as Lord and Savior? Do you lay down your life for Him as He laid down His life for you? If you have not, make today the day you meet my precious Savior Jesus Christ. Call on Him. He will receive you as He received this worthless man, and He will make you ready for life and God’s Heaven – Praise His Holy Name!