TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
READING: 1 Peter 4:1-19
SUBJ: An encouraging close to a letter from Paul to a people he greatly loved and the fact that we are to be encouraged by the same thoughts.
AIM: That we might give due diligence in the pursuit of all aspects of the service of our Lord and love to Him and each other.
INTR: In reading the epistles and other books we tend to lessen our attention to things said in the openings and closings. Perhaps they seem to us as courtesies rather than substance.
THESIS: We often encounter strong terms in those things to which we are directed in the Word of God. These are not topics for compromise with our old nature; they are absolute but tempered with love and tenderness.
I. Watch – Be alert to both danger and opportunity.
1. The nearest thing to watch is ourselves – our hearts, our thoughts, our affections, and our conversation in general.
2. We are to be watching as to our adversary (we are not ignorant of his devices and so our Lord would admonish His disciples in Gethsemane: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)”
3. Scripture references:
1) The manner of our watching: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (Colossians 4:2).”
2) In expectation of His coming: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:42-44).” And we remember the foolish virgins who were not watchful.
3) Watch and be sober: “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6).”
II. Stand – and withstand
1. Which means that we are to be firm in Him whom we trust and in the good news concerning Him – “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).”
2. As matter of unmovable faith: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58).”
3. In and for the liberty given us in Him: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1).”
4. With good reason as we consider the matter of our salvation: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15).”
III. Quit you like men – be strong
1. Paul was a man of action and often used athletics as illustration of spiritual needs.
2. As to action we would note: And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).”
3. Consider the manner: Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (1 Corinthians 14:20).”
4. We are to put on the Armor of God, not as a fashion statement; rather it is to be used! “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11).”
5. Two men come prominently to mind here:
1) Joshua – “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7).”
2) Timothy – “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12).”
3) See further: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3).”
IV. All with love – “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8).”