I Corinthians 16

Steve Viars September 19, 1992 1 Corinthians 16:

- I'd like to introduce our verses tonight by asking you to
  think about this question:
     - What are some of the things that God allowed the
       apostle Paul to accomplish in both his personal life
       and his ministry that especially impress you?


- the question I'd like us to think about now is: How did
    Paul do it?
    (you know that when I ask that, I'm speaking humanly)--of
     course the Lord empowered and enabled him--but Paul did
     some things that were right
       - as a result, he had a tremendously effective
         ministry for our Lord.

       - I hope every person here would say--that's the kind
          of person I want to be.
       - I don't want to drift.
       - I don't want to mark time.
       - I don't want to be simply punching a spiritual
           time-clock.

       - I want to be effective--I want to be productive in
           my service for the Lord.
          - Sure the Lord can/will determine how much He will
            bless those efforts...but WHEN IT COMES TO MY
            SIDE OF THE EQUATION, I want to be doing all I
            can to be effective in God's service.

- now you might say - PV, why are you bringing this subject
   up and what does it have to do with our study in the book
   of I Corinthians?
- the answer is - Chapter 16 in the book of I Corinthians is
   completely different than anything else we've studied in
   this book.

- it reads like an administrative communique.
   - it's the kind of things you would expect to read in a
       memo from a manager to his employees...
     - or from a general to his troops
     - or a coach to his team

- as a result, the statements are very brief and to the point
- the topic switches from one subject to another pretty
  rapidly
- you might even be tempted to title these verses "Paul's
   Administrative Potpourri"

- but what I especially like about these verses is that they
   give us some insight into Paul's relationship to the
   churches he had started
- or ... insight into Paul's relationship with those he was
    trying to disciple

- as a result--the verses help us answer that question--How
   did Paul do it?
    - what characteristics did he have in place that helped
      him be so effective for Christ?

- please be thinking about those questions as we read verses
    1-14 (READ)


- We're asking how Paul was so effective in his ministry for
   Christ, and one of the primary answers that surfaces as
   you read these verses is
    "Paul had a genuine TEAM MENTALITY"
      --and that mentality comes through loud and clear as he
        writes these verses.

- Tonight, I'd like us to organize these verses around that
    theme: "Having A Team Mentality In The Church of Jesus
    Christ."

- one of the great truths in God's Word is that once a person
   has trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he/she
   becomes part of God's team.
     - it doesn't matter about your background
     - it doesn't matter about your IQ
     - it doesn't matter about your economic status

     - If you're a believer in Christ tonight, you're part of
       the team

- Because of that, there are many metaphors (word pictures)
   in the Bible to communicate the "teamship" and the
   "comradery" that the Lord wants to characterize His church
     - we're in the family of God
     - we're in the body of Christ
     - we're joint-heirs with our Savior
     - we're fellow citizens of the heavenly kingdom
     - we're co-laborers together in Christ's church
     - the Bible is filled with passages describing our
       relationships One To Another
     - see, our Lord is emphasizing the concepts of
        "teamship" and "comradery" that ought to characterize
         His church.

- one of the questions each of us in the auditorium need to
   ask tonight is: "What kind of a team member are you?"
     - the apostle Paul is modeling what it means to be a
        team player
          - He was building a team of disciples for God
          - Q is "Is that the kind of person you are in the
             church?"

- now, as we're thinking about this tonight, there will be
   times we're going to broadening the subject out.
- as a believer in Christ, you're on a number of teams
   - the Lord wants you to be functioning as an effective
     member of each team He's placed you on, and the
     principles in this passage can help you.

- if you're married here tonight, you're on a team
    - the first statement in God's Word about marriage
      involves this very subject
         - developing oneness with your spouse
         - The Lord wants you to be developing as a team

- if you're in a family, you're a team
   - the Lords wants you to be living in that family in a way
     that contributes to "teamship"
   - you need to ask as we think about these ideas, does the
     way I function in the family contribute to a team
     spirit, or does it tear it down?

- we could broaden this out even more
   - we could talk about being a team member at work
   - a team member in the neighborhood
   - a team member in your Sunday School class

- See, what impact do you have on the various teams the Lord
    has placed you?
- the apostle Paul was effective at making disciples and
    building churches because he had a team mentality
- tonight we're going to look at five characteristics that
   made Paul an effective team player.

- the first evidence of this subject is in verses 1-2 where
    Paul had:

I. Concern When Someone On The Team Was Hurting

    let's talk about this:

    A. What was this collection for the saints?

        - INPUT - If we read these first three verses
            carefully, Paul tells us who the offering is for.
            Who does Paul say it's for?  (believers in
            Jerusalem)

        - the believers in Jerusalem had been in especially
          difficult "straits" since the inception of the
          church

        - Acts 11:27-30 (before the ministry of Paul--a
            severe famine)

        - even though Jerusalem was known for being a
          religious center, it was also known as being a poor
          city

- point is - the Christians at Jerusalem was facing difficult
    times simply because of the general economic conditions
    of the city.

- but what made matters worse was the fact that many of these
   folks, after they trusted Christ as Savior, were
   ostracized by their family members and society in general.

- there was great discrimination against Christians--
  especially among the Jews
    - so these believers in Jerusalem had really paid a price
      when they came to Christ.

- now, Paul, on his third missionary journey, has been
    encouraging the churches to take up a collection for
    these brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.

- the verses we read in Corinthians also said he had been
    talking to what other church?  (Galatia)

- another passage that sheds some light on this is
    II Cor. 8:1-5  (READ)
- one last passage is Romans 15:25-26 - READ

- so this "collection for the saints" was a special offering
    being taken up by many of the churches to help meet the
    material needs of those in the church at Jerusalem.

- one other thing we need to say about this offering is found
    in Romans 15:27 (READ)
      - Paul says the Gentiles must recognize a debt of
         gratitude to the Jewish believers.
      - The Jewish nation had meticulously preserved the
         Scriptures
           - John 4:22 says that salvation is "from the Jews"
               our Lord told the woman at the well

- so Paul's point is - this offering will continue to develop
    unity in the church
     - we have reaped spiritual blessings from these dear
       believers
          - now it's time to show our gratitude by meeting
            some of their needs.

- now, let's look at:

    B. What were Paul's instructions?

        - INPUT - What main ideas doe Paul state in verse 2?

            1) receive an offering on the first day of the
                week (when the church meets)

                - not a big splash, or a one-time special
                  offering when I get there
                    - but regular, generous giving

    - let me just take an aside here to let you know that
      verses like this one affect the way we do things
      financially as a church.
    - there are many good ministries out there
        - many of them are worthy of support

- but often those groups are pushing to have special
   offerings all the time, or getting people together for
   special banquets, and other gimmicks in order for people
   to give money.

- now it's a shame that some folks in some places don't seem
   to be motivated to give without some of those things.
- but the bottom line is - We as a church could have a
   special offering or a special drive going practically
   all the time.

- We just don't believe that's fair or right.
    - many of our folks are already giving generously and
       faithfully week after week.

    - yes, we ought to be growing in the are of giving just
      like every other area of the Christian life--but not
      through some sort of gimmick week after week.

- our position is and will continue to be that at budget
   time, we ought to set an aggressive, and generous
   financial plan that includes liberal giving to certain
   other ministries
     - but then we ought to limit the "specials' to just a
       few a year.

- that's what Paul is talking about here.  Regular,
    consistent giving without the "flash" or the "show"

- Paul also says:

    - every person should be involved
    - the involvement of course won't be at the same rate--
        but as God hath prospered and blessed.

- INPUT - what was Paul's reasoning at the end of verse 2 for
    these kinds of offerings?

    C. What was Paul's reasoning?

       "that there be no offerings when I come"

        - not because Paul was embarrassed at an offering

        - but because this need was urgent.
      - he didn't want them waiting around till he got there

- this offering needed to be in place so he could get to the
    Jerusalem Christians as soon as possible.

- the questions I'd like us to especially think about is:

    D. What does this show? (about the apostle Paul and how
        he was so effective?)

        - Paul developed a team mentality by showing genuine
            concern when someone on the team was hurting.

- now I think we need to interject this idea here:
   - Paul had a number of reasons why he could have been
       angry with the Jews.

    - INPUT?
        1) the nation had rejected the Messiah.
        2) his primary ministry was with Gentiles--therefore
            some competitiveness could have developed.
        3) non-Christian Jews were still involved in
             persecuting the church.

- point - Paul could have played a significant role in
    dividing the early church by discriminating against these
    Jewish believers
      - or by ignoring their needs.

- but Paul had a team mentality---and when one person was
    hurting--Paul wanted everyone in the church to get
    involved and help.
- Can I ask you tonight--Are you a team player?
    - Praise the Lord that after we're saved, we become a
      part of the team.
        - we become part of the family of God.
        - we become part of the team, both of our local
           church--and other churches and ministries of like
           faith.

- But everyone of us has to make a decision--that is--
    - Am I going to be a "lone wolf"--or am I going to be a
        team player?

- one of the ways that mentality is going to be manifested is
   how you respond to the hurts and needs of others in the
   body of Christ.
- Can I ask you - How do you rate in that area?
    - in other words, on a scale of 1 to 10, on the issue of
       how sensitive you are to needs of others--and what
       that reveals about your commitment to the team
         - HOW WOULD YOU RATE?

- you might ask, well, what would that concern and
   sensitivity look like?
     - here's some of the things that would be involved:

- concerned team members pray for the hurts/concerns/needs of
    others on the team.
      - how are you doing on that one?
- see, is it possible that you don't "feel" like you're part
  of the team when in fact you're not participating like a
  faithful team member ought to?
   - Do you take the "prayer prompter" Nancy has prepared and
      pray for folks in the church in special need?

- Please don't say - Well, I'm new, and I don't know anybody
   yet.
     - listen, there's nothing wrong with picking up the
       phone and saying something like, "hello, Mrs. So and
       and so--you don't know me put I've been attending the
       church and I've been praying for the request and the
       prayer list.-- I was wondering if there are any
       updates so I can pray more effectively."
     - see, that kind of concern builds the team

- cf. folks asking about Papa

- also related to this idea--good team members know when to
    choose an opportunity over the daytimer.
    - do you know what I mean by that one? (and I'm preaching
       to myself on this)
    - I like everything organized -- to have my ducks all in
       a row
    - the hurts and needs of others don't always fit into
        schedule
- sometimes its best to forget the daytimer and take
  advantage of the opportunity.
- I'll be the first one to admit that I need to work on this.
    - this is one of the things I really appreciate about my
       wife -- we are complete opposites on this and I need
       her balance.


- please don't say - "well, people in Lafayette aren't
   hurting"
     - they might not be hurting in the way these saints in
       Jerusalem were hurting -- but there are spiritual
       needs everywhere.
     - that person who sits across the room in Sunday school
       for the first time may have just found out his spouse
       is leaving him.
     - they may have just moved and are having trouble
       adjusting to a new job, and a new community, and a new
       home.

- We're saying that team members show the right kind of
   concern when someone else is hurting.
- Paul modeled that for the Corinthians by his concern for
   the believers in Jerusalem.

- how are you doing on this one?
   - what one thing could you work on that would help you to
      grow in this area?

- these next verses in the chapter are almost shocking based
   on everything else we've studied--but I think they make a
   marvelous contribution to what we're studying.

- READ Verses 3-4
- INPUT - what is surprising about these verses?
   (that Paul would give these carnal believers a "say" in
    the whole issue of how the funds were distributed)

II. Concern That Everyone On The Team Had A "Say"

    - the Bible makes it very clear that the major decisions
      made by a church are to be made by the congregation

    - that has to be qualified.
      - the congregation has to be in submission to the Lord.
      - they have to be following God's Word.
      - they have to be submissive to the spiritual input
         from their leaders.

- but, the Bible teaches congregational government.
   - the church has the privilege and responsibility to make
      at least four categories of decisions.

     1) sends out missionaries - Acts 13

     2) chooses leadership - Acts 6, I Tim. 3, Titus 1

     3) disciplines its members - I Cor. 5, Matt. 18

     4) decides how funds are spent - I Cor. 16


- some folks are arguing against this today and saying that a
   few people ought to make all the decisions
- usually that goes along with some form of elder rule
    - that's very popular even in some Baptist churches today

- the argument goes - you can't put authority in the hands of
    sinful people -- so we'll have a certain group that will
    make all the decisions and then everyone else will be
    expected to follow along.
- the question isn't - "what method makes the most sense
    humanly speaking?"
     - the question is - what method is closest to the model
         given to us in Scripture?

- clearly, the answer from these passages is - the
  congregation makes the kind of decisions we've just
  mentioned along with the disclaimers we gave.

- now I think if we step back from that, though, and look at
   the question we're addressing tonight--we gain some more
   insight on Paul's effectiveness.

- Paul was able to build a team mentality in the churches
   because there was a place for folks to give their opinions
   on certain matters.
- if ever there was a time to bypass this idea--it would have
   been with the Corinthians.

- in fact, you almost expect to read--"after you solve all
   the problems I've written to you about--then we'll talk
   about any ideas you have on the administration of this
   offering."
- really to be honest - you almost expect Paul to say -
   "Because of all the problems in your church, I couldn't
    care less what you have to say about the administration
    of this offering."

- But Paul was building a team.  That included, at the
    appropriate times, gaining the input of any member who
    had an opinion to share.

- Now we're not talking about "mob-ocracy"
    - Paul didn't say they could vote on all the doctrine
       he's just shared.

    - he didn't say - "here's God's truth on Christian
      liberty--take a church vote to see if you agree."
    - he didn't say - here's why you should believe in the
        resurrection--take a vote and decide whether you like
        these ideas.

- "mob-ocracy" says that there's no authority
    - that’s not right either
    - we don't vote on what the Scripture has already
       revealed   -  we obey that

- but in areas like we're talking about tonight, the exact
   way funds would be dispersed...
     - there may be some different opinions and Paul wanted
       to hear them.


- Can I ask you tonight--Do you have a "team spirit" when it
   comes to the issue of being open to hearing the opinions
   of others on issues that aren't specifically addressed in
   the Scripture.

- Lord willing, in a few years, we'll be building a new
    educational wing--if the Lord tarries.

- that'll be a great test of each person's commitment to the
    team----because there are so many decisions that have to
    be made.

- see, is it going to be 1) one story or two?
                         2) tile on the floor or carpet?
                         3) brick on the outside or steel?

- listen, some churches have split over issues less important
    than those.
- there's nothing wrong with having an opinion on those kind
    of issues....
    - and even having some good reasons to back up those
       opinions.

- but--Can you listen to the opinions of others with respect
    and patience because you have a commitment to the team--
    and you recognize their right to have a opinion that’s
    different?

- How about in the ministry that you work in?
   - Can others come and ask you a question without getting
       their head bit off?
   - Can someone share a concern without you becoming
       defensive?
   - would those in the area you minister consider you an
       approachable person?

- See, Paul built a team mentality -- and one of the ways he
   did it was, at the appropriate times, being sure that
   everyone on the team had a "say."

- we're talking about relationships in the church primarily
    tonight -- but we could make some of these same
    applications to the family.

- it's important that we be developing a team mentality in
    the family.
      - one of the things that impacts me in counseling is
        the great number of counselees that come in
         - they act like they're enemies
         - they're anything but team members

         - you throw out practically any subject, and
           they're ready for a fight on it.
         - somewhere along the line, that family hasn't
           learned to function as a team

- Are you contributing to a "team mentality" in your family?

- Husbands, are you doing with your spouse what Paul was
   doing with the Corinthians?


    1) do you get input before making major decisions?
        - or are you one of these guys, who the first time
          your wife knows anything about the new car is when
          she hears the "honk" in the driveway?
    2) do you ask for her input about problems you're facing
        at work?
    3) does she know that you value her opinions and she has
        freedom to share them whenever she desires?

   - see, are you building a team mentality with your spouse?
- are you doing that with your children?

    - you know we're not talking about letting kids run the
       home -- but we've got to deal with what these verses
       are saying--and the characteristic of leadership that
       Paul was modeling.

    - there are times when parents can build a team
      mentality by getting input from every family member.

         - INPUT - can you think of some appropriate times to
             get input from each family member?

              (hit the issue of how some people don't know
               much about determining God's will as young
               adults because they've never been involved in
               decision making at home)

- one other thing we need to say about this issue before we
    leave it is: This idea of "wanting every person to have a
    say" is a two way street.

- one of the reasons why many families don't have much of a
   team spirit is because the young people (the children) in
   the family are not contributing to it by following this
   principle.
- that seems to be especially true in the teenage years where
   young people don't want to hear what their parents have to
   say.
    - there's a lot of tension in the family as a result.

    - Shakespeare - when a child reaches 13 - stuff him in a
       barrel and feed him through the knothole.
    - when he reaches 16, plug up the knothole!

- the point is - sometimes a significant amount of that
   tension comes because the young people are don't doing
   what Paul is advocating here.
- families that function as teams are open to what each
   person has to say
      - and of course that's especially true for those that
        we're to be in submission to.

      - Proverbs 15:5 - The fool hates (despises) his
         father's instruction.
      - more than a few Christian families have been hurt
        because one or more of the family members were
        behaving foolishly on this issue.


- Can I ask you - is that an area that the Lord would have
    you to work on?
     - is it possible that you would need to go home and ask
       another family member's forgiveness because of this
       issue?

- point is - the apostle Paul did a tremendous job of
   building a team mentality with those he was discipling--
   - one of the ways he did it was to allow, at the
     appropriate times, each member of the team to have a say

- another characteristic is found in verse 7-9  -- READ

III. Concern For The Team's Future Ministry

    - the verses we just read are almost shocking in light of
      the other 15 chapters we've studied
    - but this tells us something about Paul

    - he was thinking about future ministry and communicating
       his vision to other members of the team.

       - now this "Open doors" issue of verse 9 obviously
          gets abused a lot.
       - I like what Jay Adams says about that - sometimes
          open doors lead to elevator shafts.

        - but see, here's a man who was always thinking
           about new ministry opportunities.
      - new ways the team could advance the cause of Christ.

        - sure, they had messed up in dozens of different
          ways but one of the things that would motivate them
          to change is that Paul is still treating them like
          members of the team.
            - he's talking to them about future ministry and
              it's exciting and motivating to be on a team
              with this kind of person.

- it reminds me of King David.
- yes, David sinned greatly in his adultery with Bathsheba and
   all the sins that went with that event, but the NT still
   speaks of David as a man after God's own heart.

- we're not going to take time to look at this passage
   specifically--but II Samuel 7 gives us some insight into
    why David was given this great title.

- in that chapter, God has given David rest from his enemies
- and David has some time to think, plan, and dream

- do you what David began planning?
- that's the chapter where David tells the Lord:
    - I'd like to build you a temple
    - I'd like to build a great place for the Lord's Presence
        to dwell in, and where all of Israel could come and
        worship Jehovah God

    - now if you know the rest of the story, you know that
      God didn't allow David to build the temple, but He was
      still pleased with the desire.

    - in fact, one of the most important covenants in the
       entire OT, the Davidic covenant, was given later in
       that same chapter.
    - God was pleased by David's spiritual ambition, his
       concern and desire for future ministry.

- that's what Paul is doing in these verses
- People like that are great to have on the team.

- its great when people don't have the attitude "this is the
    last chapter in the book"
- its great when people are aggressive
    - they're looking for future opportunities for the team
        to minister if the Lord should tarry.
- I'm convinced that one of the things that hurt a church the
    most is if all they have is a past.
    - some of the churches in our fellowship that were the
       "great churches" a generation ago are stagnant and
        dying today.

    - because all they have is a past.
       - "Oh, when Dr. so and so was here."
       - "those were the good old days..."

- I was in a church on a Wednesday night and one of the
    members came up (didn't know me from Adam) and said -
    "When Dr. so and so was here, this auditorium used to be
     filled on a Wednesday night."

     - I wanted to say--when was the funeral?  When did the
        church die?

     - it's depressing to be on a team where all you have is
        a past.

- on the other hand, a great past can be a tremendous
   blessing if the characteristic we see here is present.
    - what a joy it is to be part of a team where there's
      excitement about future ministry if the Lord tarries,
      and where that ministry is communicated joyfully and
      enthusiastically to other members of the team.


- a fourth characteristic is found in verses 10-11  - READ

IV. Concern That Team Members Relate To One Another Properly

    - these verses add more truth to this idea of building a
      team.
    - Paul wasn't threatened by somebody else on the team
      ministering, and leading, and being effective in the
      church.

    - If he would, he would have tried to undermine Timothy.

    - Put Paul did everything he could for Timothy to insure
      that he'd have an effective ministry
        - he laid down the guidelines to insure that folks
          related to Timothy properly
        - Why? - because he was a team player


    - see, that’s one of the signs of a strong team.
      - are there more and more effective servants being
        developed in the ministry because biblical guidelines
        have been established for how folks are to treat one
        another.

- see, there are some churches where there will always only
   be one or two strong people in the church.
    - sometimes it's the pastor
    - sometimes, its a deacon or two
    - frankly, sometimes it's a lady

    - but those folks are threatened if anyone else on the
      team ministers effectively.

    - in fact, sometimes they do exactly the opposite of what
      Paul is talking about here
    - they actually undermine that person and his/her
      ministry -- or they allow others to do it

    - you can never have a team with those kinds of actions
       and attitudes.

- A good question to ask tonight would be - Do I hinder the
    effectiveness of the team because I undermine other team
    members.

- Proverbs 6 says it this - in a list of things the Lord
    hates -- the last one is: - "he that sows discord amoung
    the brethren"


- this issue affects the family as well
    - cf. Aunt Betty - "here's $20 - I'll cover for you"


- so far we've mentioned four principles
- let's look at one last one

- read 17-19

- the last way that Paul built a team mentality is by having:

V. Concern That Each Team Member's Contribution Be Recognized
     and Appreciated

    - in some of the adult classes this morning, we studied
      the gospel of John
    - one of the best-known verses in the last one in the
       book - "And there are also many other things which
       Jesus did, which if they should be written every one,
       I suppose that even the world itself could not contain
       the books that should be written."

     - what that verse teaches us among other things is that
       the Scripture is very selective.
     - that means that every word is of critical importance,
        or it would not have been included in God's Word.

     - yet here we have a letter by the Apostle Paul that
       closes with personal commendations of believers who
       are working with him, or who are dear to him.

     - Paul wasn't a lone wolf.
     - he didn't overemphasize his contribution to the
       ministry and underemphasize everyone else's.

     - he was a team player.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video