Playing Your Part in the Gospel (pt. 1): Planning, Giving, Going, Hosting, and Helping (1 Corinthians 16:1–11)
When Paul finishes his doctrinal defense of the resurrection, he says, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (15:58). Clearly, in his mind the resurrection is not an esoteric point of doctrine; rather, it fuels ministry and missions. Indeed, in 1 Corinthians 16 we find a flurry of gospel activity that prompts us to consider how we are living in light of the resurrection.
In this Sunday’s message, I suggested that we play our part in (proclaiming) the gospel through planning, going, giving, hosting, and helping. You can listen to this call to action or read the sermon notes. Discussion questions are below, as are a cadre of resources on these actions of ministry.
1 Corinthians 16:1–11
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. 5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.
- First Corinthians 16:1 begins with “Now concerning . . .” How should we understand this wording (see also 7:1; 8:1; 16:12)? What is the relationship between chapter 15 and 16? How should the resurrection impact our actions? (see 1 Corinthians 15:58)
- The connection between doctrine and action is seen in Dr Mohler’s message, Don’t Just Stand There: Do Something. In that sermon, Dr. Albert Mohler said it is possible “for your theology to be all right and all wrong at the same time.” How so? What is the purpose doctrine? How might a prolonged study of the resurrection go wrong? How should it motivate us?
- In chapter 16, we see a flurry of gospel activity. What are some of the evidences of action? What are the actions themselves?
- One action that undergirds all Paul says is that of planning. What are some of the ways Paul plans? What motivates his planning?
- Noting that Paul is an apostle, commissioned to preach the gospel, is it reasonable that we can imitate him? If so, how? In what ways does this passage most apply to you?
- In what ways can planning be applied to your giving, going, hosting, helping? In general, what has helped you plan? Specifically related to seeking and serving the Lord, what has helped you most?
- What is the most challenging aspect of 1 Corinthians 16 and the model it presents of planning, giving, going, hosting, and helping? What would keep you from taking steps of application?
For Further Study
The Story of Albert Mohler and Southern Seminary
In a message on doing the work of the gospel, I told the story of Southern Seminary’s turn by the grace of God and under the leadership of Albert Mohler. If you don’t know the story of Southern Seminary, let me encourage you to listen or read some of the following resources.
- Albert Mohler’s testimony to his calling to Southern Seminary (Part 1; Part 2)
- Don’t Just Do Something: Stand There — the first convocation message Mohler preached at Southern Seminary (Fall 1993)
- Don’t Just Stand There: Do Something — the ten year anniversary convocation message at Southern Seminary (Fall 2003)
- This Presidential Forum (recorded in April 1993) shows the open hostility of the students at Southern Seminary and the God-given composure of Albert Mohler.
- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859–2009 — a sesquicentennial history of Southern Seminary.
Like Andy Naselli, I consider Albert Mohler a modern-day hero. His bravery in standing up for truth has been a gift to the church. As a two-time graduate of SBTS, I have personally benefitted from his labors, as have thousands of other graduates who have trained at Southern Seminary.
Living on Mission for the Lord
Here are resources for planning, giving, going, hosting, and helping.
- Generosity in Scarcity by Tim Keller
- Evangelism in the Church and Home by Tim Brister (sermon)
- Neighboring by Tim Brister (sermon)
- What’s Best Next: A Book Review by Justin Taylor
- Hospitality, Evangelism, and Fellowship
- Hospitality and the Great Commission by David Mathis
- More than Money: Tim Keller on How to Live Generously an interview between Matt Smethurst and Tim Keller
- A 93 Million Mile Love by Tim Challies
- What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
- Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung
- The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
- I am Going by Danny Akin and Bruce Ashford
Soli Deo Gloria, ds