The Kingdom Life

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  16 : 5-12
Subject: Christian Living; Kingdom Living
Introduction

"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” KJV

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” NKJV

In 1 Cor 16:5-12, Paul does not use exhortation as much as an explanation. He explains what he senses the Lord saying to him about His work.

NOTE:

1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

In 1 Cor. 16:10, he mentions how Timothy “does the work of the Lord as I also do.” Early in ministry, I used to say, “I want to take as many people to Heaven with me as I can. Also, I wish to help develop fully-devoted followers of Christ.” The work of the Lord consists basically of two things: Evangelizing and Edifying.

See it clearly in the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe

all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Again in Col. 2:6-7

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

If the Lord has the “whole world in His hands,” we should have the “whole world on our hearts.”

While he was working as a cobbler in England, William Cary was moved by the great spiritual needs of other parts of the world. He placed a world map in front of his workbench and as he worked, he thought, prayed, and wept about what needed to be done and how the Lord could use him to meet those needs. When he finally arrived in India, his first mission assignment, he was ready to begin work. He not only was used directly to make outstanding contributions through teaching, preaching, translating, and printing of Christian literature, but helped prepare the way for every missionary who has served there since.

Because he had prayed, planned, and prepared, he was ready when the opportunity came.

Paul, not unlike William Carey (father of modern missions), was not content with resting on what he had already accomplished. He always saw more work waiting to be done, more souls waiting to be saved, more believers waiting to be edified and encouraged.

OBSERVATION: During our Ga. Dental Clinic

Media waiting around to see where we would cut-off the line. Part of the news was not only how many patients we saw, but how many we could not get to. This illustrates our work for the Lord; we have reached many, but so many not reached.

I. FLEXIBLE VISIONARY SERVANT. 7-10

Vision – unusual competence in discernment or perception.

It empowers and encourages leaders.

“If you don’t see it before you see it, you will never see it.”

Paul was planning his third missionary journey. On his second missionary journey, God had forbidden him to preach in Asia, but now God was opening the closed door.

His ministry plans were controlled by four words in v.7: “if the Lord permits”

Proverbs 16:1, “The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 16:9, “A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

James 4:15, “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’"

A. OPPORTUNITIES. 5-7 PLANS

It is important for us to realize that at any moment Paul is ready to change his direction if God reveals a different one. The Lord’s will is paramount in his life.

Paul’s life is gloriously unsettled and his steps are ordered by the Lord.

Our fondest ambitions and our most determined plans are always to be subject to the express will and purpose of God. No one can be the captain of his own fate and master of his own destiny.

BOTTOM LINE: His yes was on the table. His theme song was, “Yes, Lord, Yes to Your will and to your way.”

Listen to God’s Word in Eph 5:15-16 NIV

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

We cannot afford to kill time or waste opportunities. As Paul was thinking through his opportunities, I believe he would have:

1. Prayed

2. Meditated on the Word

3. Sought the counsel of mature believers

Paul was sensitive, teachable, and humble.

B. OPEN DOORS. 8-9 POTENTIAL

Seems as though, after 3 years of prayer and tears, God gives Paul a wonderful opportunity in service. From the base there in Ephesus, all of Asia would be evangelized.

Acts 19:10, “And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

An opportunity is used of a fixed and definite time; a season, time, while

“a great and effective door has opened to me” – reminds me of the faithful church in Philadelphia

Revelation 3:7, "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’"

The Lord opened a wide door for effective service to the Apostle Paul.

Word for “opened” – stands wide open. Word for “effective” is a word used for a medical receipt meaning tolerably strong. Also used of a mill “in working order” and of “tilled land” and of “wrought iron.”

The Lord, in a strong way, has broken up the fallow ground of Asia.

Like a wise merchant, Paul had to “buy up the opportunities” before they vanished and would never return.

QUESTION: What open doors/opportunities is God giving us today?

2 Kings 7:9, “Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king's household.’"

We have to deal with the stewardship of opportunities. Money and opportunities are valueless without people. The church’s greatest asset is people. If people are prepared, then God will supply both the opportunities and the money so that His work will be accomplished. Opportunities do not ask the question, “Can we?”, but

“Will we?”

C. OBSTACLES. 9 PROBLEMS

“there are many adversaries” – lining up to oppose; against you.

Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Every time God opens the door of opportunity, the devil raises opposition. Every time a man or a church determines to take a city for Jesus, we can be sure that the man or the church will encounter the devil’s hostility.

In fact, if there is no opposition, one wonders if the work we are doing is really being blessed by the Spirit.

ILLUSTRATE: Iran

The government is arresting the Christian leaders in an attempt to curb the growth of Christianity; persecution.

There are doors God has wonderfully opened and doors Satan has woefully opposed.

We can’t win a victory without a battle.

Acts 19:23-41 records the trouble.

Acts 19:23-30, “And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: ‘Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.’

 

Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, ‘Great is Diana of the Ephesians!’ So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions. And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him.”

II. FEARFUL GENUINE SERVANT. 10-11

Timothy was young and timid, but faithful. The Corinthians were proud, self-sufficient, and strong-willed. If they resisted Paul’s authority, they likely would challenge Timothy as well.

This text magnifies the effectiveness of youthfulness.

“He does the Lord’s work, as I also do” – Paul ranked Timothy with himself because of the glory of the work.

Paul did not want the “carnal” Corinthians to take advantage of Timothy’s youthful sincerity, deep humility, and lack of experience. Timothy was Paul’s mentee. Sometimes the Lord allows us to see the benefit of “reverse mentoring” – the younger learns from the older, and the older learns

from the younger.

III. FAITHFUL MATURE SERVANT. 12

“Apollos” – he is a biblical reminder that there are giants who stand on the shoulders of those that invest in them.

Acts 18:24-28, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.”

If Timothy speaks of youthfulness, Apollos speaks of steadfastness.