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The Gospel: Our Partnership

Notes & Transcripts

The Gospel: Our Partnership

1Corinthians 16            July 27, 2003

 

Scripture Reading:

Luke 16:1-9, “The Parable of the Shrewd Manager” (an earthly example on how to get onboard the idea of partnership)

Introduction:

Connect the parable of the shrewd manager with the preceding parable of the lost son and with what follows in Luke 16:10-15 regarding the concept of partnership with God.

Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, July 22, 2003: “Analysis: Key House votes coincide with biggest donations.”

Hidden Acres Christian Camp $1M matching grant (50%).

Paul just ended chapter 15 of 1Corinthians with the command that since we have the gospel and its unalterable hope of glorified resurrection, we can proceed unhindered in our work for the kingdom of Christ – we have become partners with him by faith in his gospel.

Our lives spent for Christ will certainly not be in vain since we will get our lives back in his victory of imperishable immortality.

If we spend our lives fully for the gospel, we will be more than fully repaid in the resurrection of the righteous.

Not only that, but our lives will certainly not be spent in vain since our work in proclaiming the gospel will also bring others under its eternal protection.

Our partnership in the gospel will bear fruit and it will bear reward.

So our hope of resurrection in Christ should make us fearless and generous in serving him.

This leads us to the concluding chapter as the text for this morning’s message – 1Corinthians 16 – as Paul elaborates further on how the gospel makes its appeal to us for our continuing partnership.

Big Question:

In what ways does the gospel appeal for our continuing partnership in its work?

The gospel appeals for our partnership in sharing resources with believers in need.

          Every believer is expected to share in the practical work of the gospel.

          Planned and regular giving for the gospel is expected as a part of worship.

          Graduated giving for the gospel is expected according to ability.

          Accountability is expected in administering collections for the gospel.

The gospel appeals for our partnership in supporting full-time Christian workers.

          This support is for God since God directs the affairs of his laborers.

          This support is for ourselves since Christian workers serve us.

          This support is for the provision and encouragement of Christian workers        since there is great opportunity as well as great opposition.

         

The gospel appeals for our partnership in honoring the saints.

          We honor the saints when we stand firm for the gospel.

          We honor the saints when we submit to those before us.

          We honor the saints when we submit to those alongside us.

          We honor the saints when we discern who the real saints are.

* The gospel appeals for our partnership in sharing resources with believers in need.

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1-2)

          B.      Implication

         

Every believer is expected to share in the practical work of the gospel.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Stewardship

Subtopic: 

Index:  3451-3454

Date:  2/1996.13

Title: 

   Get all you can without hurting your soul, your body, or your neighbor. Save all you can, cutting off every needless expense. Give all you can. Be glad to give, and ready to distribute; laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may attain eternal life.

   -- John Wesley as quoted by J. C. Vaughn, The Gem Encyclopedia of Illustrations (Cranston & Stowe, 1889), p. 46.

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  Of Tithes

Index:  2123

Date:  11/1985.12

Title:  Jacob's Pledge

   When candy manufacturer John S. Huyler started out in business, he took Jacob's pledge: "...of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee" (Gen. 28:22). Going to the bank, he opened a special account which he initialed "M.P." Into that fund he regularly entered a proportionate amount of his income. When anyone asked what the strange label meant, they were told that it stood for "My Partner." As he kept God uppermost in his mind in all his transactions, his industry grew at a phenomenal rate, and each week the "Lord's treasury" received increasingly large sums. His gifts to worthy causes and private individuals amazed his business associates. These contributions were always accompanied with the request that the donor should not receive any thanks or glory for his actions. He asked each recipient to offer praise to God alone, for he said, "After all, the money isn't mine; it's the Lord's!"

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  Of Tithes

Index:  2123

Date:  10/1986.23

Title:  Welfare Tithe

   If every church member in the United States were to suddenly lose his/her job and went on welfare, and yet were willing to tithe from the minimal amount received from public assistance, giving in the nation's churches would immediately increase over 30%!

   Love of the right use of money is the root of all good.

   -- The Herald of the Covenant

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  To God

Index:  2120

Date: 

Title:  You are Always Asking for Money!

   Once again it is the end of the year and every Christian organization badgers its constituents for funds to balance the year's budget. It is hard not to resent such pleas. But President Pearson of Miami Christian College offers us a sobering reminder to be patient:

   "The trouble is, you are always asking for money. You are probably right. But let me tell you a personal story.

   I had a little boy; my firstborn. He was a delight to our hearts, but he was always costing me something. He needed clothing, shoes, food, and had special needs that I gladly provided, for he was my son. Then one day he died. It was an experience that I hope you will never have. He does not cost me a dollar now.

   Every need is an unfailing sign of life and growth. Body, mind and soul have their needs and they must be met continually. A ministry that is constantly in need of funds is alive and growing and going somewhere. A dead ministry has no need, and will not bother you."

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (v. 2)

The first day of the week refers to Sunday, so we take this verse as the first known reference to a weekly offering as part of Christian worship.

          B.      Implication

          Planned and regular giving for the gospel is expected as a part of worship.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  Of Tithes

Index:  2123

Date:  9/1992.25

Title: 

   A. A. Hyde, a millionaire manufacturer, said he began tithing when he was one hundred thousand dollars in debt.  Many men have said they considered it dishonest to give God a tenth of their incomes while they were in debt.  Mr. Hyde said he agreed with the thought until one day it flashed upon him that God was his first creditor.  Then he began paying God first, and all the other creditors were eventually paid in full.  If a man owes you money, it would be wise business policy on your part to encourage him to pay his debt to God first.

   -- Sunday School Times

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  Of Tithes

Index:  2123

Date:  1/1995.25

Title: 

   "Churches that tie giving to beliefs and tradition receive more money from their congregations than churches that don't," says a new study. Researchers in the Lilly Endowment sponsored study spent two years examining giving of 10,000 church members from five denominations.

   Assemblies of God congregations gave the most money, the study says. The Assemblies teach "tithing is obligatory and secures God's favor and spiritual protection," says researcher Dean Hoge, Catholic University of America.

   Baptist churches also stress giving, but the study found tithing optional at Catholic, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. Individual contributions from Assemblies of God members were $628 annually; Presbyterians, $611; Baptists, $550; Lutherans, $415; and Catholics, $160.

   -- USA Today, 11-8-94, p. 1D.

Topic:  Stewardship

Subtopic: 

Index:  3451-3454

Date:  12/1997.1750

Title:  Only the Beginning ...

   I heard about a little girl who experienced a major breakthrough in her life when she learned to tie her own shoes. Instead of excitement, she was overcome by tears.

   Her father asked, "Why are you crying?"

   "I have to tie my shoes," she said.

   "You just learned how. It isn't that hard, is it?"

   "I know," she wailed, "but I'm going to have to do it for the rest of my life."

   My hunch is that some of us feel the same way when it comes to Christian stewardship. We learn that it's exciting to give. But isn't there just a tiny bit of dread because we know we have to do it over and over again for the rest of our lives?

   -- Heidi Husted, "The Sermon on the Amount," Preaching Today, Tape No. 122.

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  Scriptural Rules for

Index:  2121

Date:  12/1997.1965

Title:  Giving Is Theological

   Because it's unpopular, the idea that giving is a theological matter and a major expression of your Christian faith has been, for the most part, lost.

   -- Haddon Robinson in Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 4.

          D.      Application

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (v. 2)

Neither here nor in any other NT passage is the tithe taught as a requirement for Christian believers.

The only NT reference to giving 10% comes in a passage in which Jesus is instructing Jewish scribes and Pharisees on how they should live under the old covenant, and in which he is drastically subordinating the tithe to “the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Mt. 23:23).

“"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices— mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law— justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23 NIVUS)

Paul’s ideal appears in 2Cor. 8:13-15 where no one is ever permitted to get too rich or too poor.

Paul refuses to legislate any percent, but rather supports a ‘graduated tithe’.

But he does stress the ‘each’ must give.

“13  Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14  At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15  as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15 NIVUS)

          B.      Implication

          Graduated giving for the gospel is expected according to ability.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  According to Ability

Index:  2122

Date:  7/1996.1551

Title:  Does Your Gift Represent You?

   It happened one time after a pastor had made an appeal in church for a great and worthy cause, that a certain woman, a member of the church, came to him and handed him a check for $50, asking at the same time if her gift was satisfactory. The pastor immediately replied, "If it represents you."

   There was a moment of soul-searching thought and she asked to have the check returned to her. She left with it and a day or two later she returned handing the pastor a check for $5,000 and again asked the same question, "Is my gift satisfactory?" The pastor gave the same answer as before, "If it represents you." As before, a truth seemed to be driving deeply. After a few moments of hesitation she took back the check and left.

   Later in the week she came again with a check. That time it was for $50,000. As she placed it in the pastor's hand, she said, "After earnest, prayerful thought, I have come to the conclusion that this gift does represent me and I am happy to give it."

   Perhaps in this light the words from 1 Corinthians 16:2, "as God hath prospered him," may take on new meaning.

   John Allan Lavender

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 462.

          D.      Application

American Christians give on average about 3% of their income to charitable causes all put together.

We can increase our ‘ability’ to give by searching our hearts with the these ideas: living in smaller homes, buying less expensive cars, eating less, eating out less, buying fewer clothes, utilizing garage sales, car pooling, conserving water, recycling, watching videos rather than going to movies, avoiding cable television buying in bulk or wholesale, traveling less by car when bicycling is possible, traveling less by jet when driving is possible, sharing rarely-used household tools and equipment among families on the same block or in the same housing complex, setting up baby-sitting cooperatives, gardening for food, spending less money on pets, conserving energy in our homes and buildings, planning more modest weddings and funerals, giving donation to Christian ministries as birthday or Christmas presents, avoiding disposable diaper, regularly giving away unused clothes, books toys and other possessions, etc.

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 3-4)

          B.      Implication

          Accountability is expected in administering collections for the gospel.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

* The gospel appeals for our partnership in supporting full-time Christian workers.

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (vv. 5-6)

          B.      Implication

          This support is for God since God directs the affairs of his laborers.

          C.      Illustration

“6 ¶ Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6-10 NIVUS)

          D.      Application

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (v. 7)

          B.      Implication

          This support is for ourselves since Christian workers serve us.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

VII.   Cycle Seven

          A.      Narrative (vv. 8-12)

          B.      Implication

          This support is for the provision and encouragement of Christian workers        since there is great opportunity as well as great opposition.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Opportunity

Subtopic: 

Index:  2656-2659

Date:  3/1998.1632

Title:  Opportunity

   In a little bit of verse, Robert Richardson, a nineteenth century writer who paraphrased the Greek poet Horace, wrote that there are three things that will never return no matter how much we pray or weep. He said they were (1) the arrow shot from the bow, (2) the spoken word, and (3) the unimproved opportunity.

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

Topic:  Opportunity

Subtopic:  Open Door of

Index:  2659

Date: 

Title: 

   As we move into the 21st century, the church should take note of the following:

   "The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious."

   -- The Marketing Imagination

Success

Cradle of J. S. Bach's Creativity

Conflict; Creativity; Failure; Music; Musicians; Opposition; Success; Suffering; Work

1 Corinthians 16:9

After various moves and prominent jobs, [classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach] finally settled down in Leipzig in 1723, where he remained for the rest of his life. . . . Bach's stay in Leipzig, as musical director and choirmaster of Saint Thomas's church and school, wasn't always happy. He squabbled continually with the town council, and neither the council nor the populace appreciated his musical genius. They said he was a stuffy old man who clung stubbornly to obsolete forms of music. Consequently, they paid him a miserable salary, and when he died even contrived to defraud his widow of her meager inheritance.

Ironically, in this setting Bach wrote his most enduring music. For a time he wrote a cantata each week (today, a composer who writes a cantata a year is highly praised), 202 of which survive. Most conclude with a chorale based on a simple Lutheran hymn, and the music is at all times closely bound to biblical texts. Among these works are the "Ascension Cantata" and the "Christmas Oratorio."

In Leipzig he also composed his epic "Mass in B Minor," "The Passion of St. John," and "The Passion of St. Matthew"—all for use as worship services. The latter piece has sometimes been called "the supreme cultural achievement of all Western civilization," and even the radical skeptic Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) admitted upon hearing it, "One who has completely forgotten Christianity truly hears it here as gospel."

After Bach's death, people seemed glad to wipe their ears of his music. He was remembered less as a composer than as an organist and harpsichordist. Some of his music was sold, and some was reportedly used to wrap garbage. For the next 80 years his music was neglected by the public, although a few musicians (Mozart and Beethoven, for example) admired it. Not until 1829, when German composer Felix Mendelssohn arranged a performance of "The Passion of St. Matthew," did a larger audience appreciate Bach the composer.

à        Citation: Mark Galli, 131 Christians You Should Know (Broadman & Holman, forthcoming)

Topic:  Perseverance

Subtopic: 

Index:  3441

Date:  10/1991.15

Title: 

   In 1873 D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey sailed to England for a series of evangelistic meetings.  But once there they found to their dismay that all three of their prime contacts had died.  Meetings had to be hastily arranged.  Some of the pastors who had endorsed Moody's ministry turned against him.  At Sunderland, a group of pastors covered the public buildings with material warning about the Americans and their "questionable procedure" and "probable evil results."  Rumors about Moody traveled ahead of him.  He and Sankey went to Scotland, only to encounter deep skepticism.  But Moody persevered, and revival swept the British Isles.

   -- Moody, 5-10-91

Topic:  Christian Calling

Subtopic: 

Index:  622

Date:  1/1992.5

Title: 

   The ministry of British preacher Charles Spurgeon was often marked by controversy, as journalists and other groups carped at his work. One day a friend of Spurgeon's remarked, "I hear you are in hot water again."

   "I'm not the one in hot water," Spurgeon answered.  "The other fellows are.  I'm the man who makes the water boil."

Topic:  Faithfulness

Subtopic: 

Index:  1228-1229

Date:  9/1995.19

Title: 

   People with inner strength and conviction seem able to find a way to overcome adverse situations. Jonathan Edwards was a strict Calvinist and a powerful preacher who helped mold the religious climate of 18th-century America. Yet, after a long-running dispute with his church council over standards for church membership, he was dismissed from the Northampton, Massachusetts, church that he served. He went to a tiny church in Stockbridge, where his major duty was to convert Indians. Most people would be chagrined, sick at heart, and discouraged to be treated so ungratefully by a Christian congregation, but Edwards refused to let adversity defeat him. He turned to writing, and his treatises had a wider and more powerful effect than his sermons.

   -- Albert P. Stauderman, Let Me Illustrate, (Augsburg, 1983), p. 12.

          D.      Application

“23  About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24  A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen.” (Acts 19:23-24 NIVUS)

* The gospel appeals for our partnership in honoring the saints.

VIII.  Cycle Eight

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 13-14)

          B.      Implication

          We honor the saints when we stand firm for the gospel.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Walk of Believers

Subtopic: 

Index:  3763-3765

Date:  9/1989.4

Title: 

   A man bought a new hunting dog. Eager to see how he would perform, he took him out to track a bear. No sooner had they gotten into the woods than the dog picked up the trail. Suddenly he stopped, sniffed the ground, and headed in a new direction. He had caught the scent of a deer that had crossed the bear's path. A few moments later he halted again, this time smelling a rabbit that had crossed the path of the deer. And so, on and on it went until finally the breathless hunter caught up with his dog, only to find him barking triumphantly down the hole of a field mouse.

   Sometimes we as Christians are like that. We start out with high resolve, keeping Christ first in our lives. But soon our attention is diverted to things of lesser importance. One pursuit leads to another until we've strayed far from our original purpose.

Topic:  Temptation

Subtopic:  Resisting

Index:  3589-3590

Date:  11/1998.29

Title:  The Good Fight Against Temptation

   I know a group of Christian businessmen who are plain about the fight against temptation. They meet once a month and ask each other questions: The last time you traveled on a business trip, did you stay pure in your hotel room? When you returned from your business trip, did you stay honest on your expense reports?

   Those are tough questions. Why would they put themselves in such embarrassing positions? Because they are in the fight. Because they are at war for the goodness of their souls, for their relationships with each other and with the Lord.

   -- Bryan Chapell, "The Great Escape," Preaching Today, Tape 181.

          D.      Application

IX.    Cycle Nine

          A.      Narrative (vv. 15-18)

          B.      Implication

          We honor the saints when we submit to those before us.

          C.      Illustration

Topic:  Giving

Subtopic:  Generous

Index:  2124

Date:  12/1997.2038

Title:  Planting for the Future

   A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

   -- D. Elton Trueblood, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 1.

          D.      Application

“5 ¶ Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5-6 NIVUS)

X.      Cycle Ten

          A.      Narrative (v. 16)

          B.      Implication

          We honor the saints when we submit to those alongside us.

          C.      Illustration

“3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NIVUS)

          D.      Application

XI.    Cycle Eleven

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 19-24)

          B.      Implication

          We honor the saints when we discern who the real saints are.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

In what ways does the gospel appeal for our continuing partnership in its work?

The gospel appeals for our partnership in sharing resources with believers in need.

          Every believer is expected to share in the practical work of the gospel.

          Planned and regular giving for the gospel is expected as a part of worship.

          Graduated giving for the gospel is expected according to ability.

          Accountability is expected in administering collections for the gospel.

The gospel appeals for our partnership in supporting full-time Christian workers.

          This support is for God since God directs the affairs of his laborers.

          This support is for ourselves since Christian workers serve us.

          This support is for the provision and encouragement of Christian workers        since there is great opportunity as well as great opposition.

         

The gospel appeals for our partnership in honoring the saints.

          We honor the saints when we stand firm for the gospel.

          We honor the saints when we submit to those before us.

          We honor the saints when we submit to those alongside us.

          We honor the saints when we discern who the real saints are.

Timeless Truth:

“1 ¶ If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4 NIVUS)

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16 NIVUS)

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