1 Corinthians 16:19-24 — Nothing Else Matters but Making Disciples of Jesus Christ – Let’s Focus on What Needs Focusing On!

Posted: August 16, 2015 in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 16:19-24 — This the final blog on 1 Corinthians. Paul has dictated most of this letter to his helper (his name is mentioned as being Tertius in Romans) but has written the ending of this letter in his own hand. It is like a handwritten postscript to a letter written in Microsoft Word. It gives emphasis to these final words of the letter. His final words are

“If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.”

As we close out this study of Corinthians, let us look at these final words sentence by sentence. Ultimately, we will see that this letter has been about seeking unity in Jesus Christ, the thing that unites us together. Nothing else matters.

Paul says, “if anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed.” The church at Corinth was a church in trouble. Paul lovingly and forcefully confronted them and pointed them back to Jesus. He dealt with divisions and conflicts, selfishness, inconsiderate use of our freedom in Christ, disorder in worship, misuse of spiritual gifts, and wrong attitudes about the resurrection. In every church, there are problems that create tension and division. We should not ignore or gloss over problems in our churches or in our own lives. Instead, like Paul, we must deal with these problems head-on as they arise. Unity and love in a church are far more important than leaders and labels. When are seeking to please ourselves, getting mad of the slightest thing, leaving a church when our needs are not getting met, we are not displaying that we love the Lord. When we do not love the Lord, we open ourselves up for the lack of blessing from Him. The Lord does not bless that which is not of Him. Let us always remember that we are here at our local bodies of Christ to praise and worship Him and to give Him honor in everything we do and to serve Him in humility and to spread the gospel to the world around us. Anything less is not of the Lord. There is a hurting world outside our doors that needs to know of the Savior Jesus Christ because of the curse that awaits those who have rejected or turned deaf to Jesus Christ. The stakes are too high. There are souls in the balance. We cannot waste time on anything less than loving the Lord and showing that love to the world around us.

Paul says, “Our Lord, come!” This is a simple, short sentence but it is packed with meaning. Paul wanted to the Lord to return and make all things new again and to set things right. Paul could hardly wait. We all should be living our lives as if Jesus were returning within the next 24 hours. Would that not change our attitudes about what is important? It ain’t the color of carpet at our church. It ain’t whether or not I am considered part of the pastor’s inner circle. It ain’t about me getting passed over for some position of leadership at the church. It ain’t about any of the selfish things we think are important. It is about whether we are ready for Christ’s return. It’s about a lost world that will be condemned when He returns if they have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. With Christ as my Savior, I have assurance that if he returns within the next day that I will be assured of a place by His side. In that sense, oh, Lord please come quickly. I am ready to spend eternity with you. Please come quickly and establish your reign. Please come quick and establish the New Jerusalem and your earthly reign. But for those who do not know Him, we have work to do. We cannot put off the work we have to do in spreading the gospel. Jesus could come in the next 24 hours but we often act as Christians nowadays as if He is not coming back for 240 years. Let us be a church that concentrates on the important thing – seeing people become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Paul says, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. According to pastorrodney.wordpress.com,
“Paul prays for the believers in Corinth that the grace of Jesus would be with them. As a believer we need his grace with us every moment. We are never done with grace. We never outgrow his grace. We never come to a point when we begin to deserve. We never earn. We are eternally dependent on his grace. We are forever those who receive. Salvation and the Christian life are all of grace.”
Grace is the undeserved get out of jail free card that we have been given. We should be living lives full of grace for others just as much as the grace we are constantly in need of ourselves. In grace given to others as we have been given ourselves, we find unity in Christ. When we realize that we are all just sinners given a stay of execution and a stay of execution that we need given to us over and over again, we develop a heart of love for our fellow Christians. We also develop a heart of compassion for those who reject God. We were once on the outside of grace ourselves and the only difference between us and those who blatantly shake their fist at God is grace. May we treat each other with grace. May we find hearts of compassion in grace. May we consider sharing the gospel the most important thing we do because of grace.

Paul’s final sentence of 1 Corinthians is “My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.” Paul loved this church. For all its flaws and errors over which he chided them, rebuked them, confronted them, and called them out, he loved them. Just as a parent loves a child even with they have to punish them for violating family rules about good behavior and parental obedience. We may spank our kids or put them on restrictions or whatever the correct punishment may be for a given situation but we never stop loving our children. They drive us crazy at times but we still love them. They may cause us to have to show them tough love at times but we never, never stop loving them and we would willingly give our lives for them. Paul was like this about the church at Corinth. He knew their potential and what they could be in Christ Jesus if they would just grow up. We are like that about kids. In both situations, God is like that about us. He loves us so much that He has given us a way to be reconciled to Him through Christ Jesus. Jesus went to the cross willing for you and I. We once shook our fist at Him but He loved us anyway. May we be a church that loves no matter what. May we be a church that has forgiveness for one another. May we be a church that loves like Jesus. In that kind of love, there is unity. In that kind of love, there is the power of the gospel.

The point of 1 Corinthians is for the church to keep its eye on the ball. We must focus on what is important. Satan smiles when we get sidetracked over issues that divide God’s people. Satan smiles when we get hung up on petty issues that cause strife in the church. Satan smiles when we let ourselves get in turmoil over things that keep us from doing what we are here for. We are here to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Plain and simple. That’s it. Go. Make Disciples. All Nations. There is a world out there that has a dismal eternity in hell if we do not do the job we were saved by grace to do. Let’s get to it! Jesus may return soon!

Tomorrow, we will move onto the Gospel of Matthew. See you there tomorrow!

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