Faithlife
Faithlife

Devotion like Stephanas

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction: Paul founded the church in Corinth and had an extended visit there as he ministered (Acts 18:1-18). Paul was in Ephesus when he wrote this letter, after receiving information and a letter from Corinth (between 49-56 A.D.)* The first letter to the Corinthians is considered an occasional letter.

  • The church at Corinth was thick with troubles. They were judgmental, proud, boastful, arrogant, divisive, and had terrible sexual immorality (which they condoned), as well as chaotic worship services.
  • They also had questions for Paul: (ch.7) food sacrificed to idols, marriage relations, divorce, worship, spiritual gifts, resurrection of the dead, and gifts for the needy in Jerusalem.
  • Interesting; a previous letter written to Corinth of which we have no record (1 Cor. 5:9-11) is not in our canon.

Stephanas, one of the first converts in Corinth. His household is one of the few families that Paul baptized himself (1 Cor. 1:16).

            Stephanás, Fortunatǘs, and Achaicǘs (Στεφανᾶ καὶ Φορτουνάτου καὶ Ἀχαϊκοῦ) brought the letter from Corinth to Paul in Ephesus and made him aware of what was happening at Corinth.

1 Corinthians 16:13-18 (HCSB)

13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave and strong. 14 Your every action must be done with love.

15 Brothers, you know the household of Stephanas: they are the firstfruits of Achaia and have devoted themselves to serving the saints. I urge you 16 also to submit to such people, and to everyone who works and labors with them. 17 I am delighted over the presence of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, because these men have made up for your absence. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore recognize such people. [1]

Serving

The Greek is where we get the word Deacon, but it literally means to serve. Sometimes it is translated “to minister.” In the SBC we have an office in the church for ‘deacons’; who’s responsibility it is to serve communion, aid the pastor in leading the church, and to minister to other families in the church.

            Although the office of deacons is reserved for men because of the biblical descriptions in Timothy and Titus,

  • Notice that the activity of serving is mentioned about the entire household of Stephanas.
  • So Stephanas is not being referred to as an official deacon, but his family is recognized as those who devote themselves to serving the saints.

** A pastor was asked why his children always seem to be the ones that were acting up in the church. He said, “Because they are always playing with the deacon’s kids.”

Devoted

Various meanings of this word: arrange, institute, direct, regularly do

Realize that this is stressing:

  • Regularly doing
  • Arranging your schedule
  • Making an effort on your own to serve the Lord and others.

Paul is stating that the household of Stephanas did not let anything get in their way when it came to serving the saints! dedication

            NO EXCUSES.

There is a bag that contains a never ending resource of excuses. Just pull out another one.

  • The church is doing some special event, hmmm… let me pull out another excuse.
  • The church is going to be in a parade, hmm… let me pull out another excuse.
  • The church is meeting 52 weeks a year, hmm… I wonder if I have that many excuses?
  • Dedicate yourselves – eliminate excuses!
  • “An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie; for an excuse is a lie guarded.” Alexander Pope

As a new church meeting in the high school, we are going to need to have such people that will dedicate themselves to ‘serving the saints.’

Consistence is key

To win a championship, a team needs to be consistent. Not a few big plays, not a few big wins, but consistent quality performance.

            My view of successful churches have always had families like Stephanas’ household.

  • Southside celebrated 50yrs, the Walkers, Fosters, Harmons, and Clines
  • Good Shepherd, Rev. Snider has always had families like Stephanas’ to keep the ministry going.
  • Spirit & Truth needs for the families here to be the kind like Stephanas, who will consistently be there for the work of serving the saints.

Romans 12:11 (HCSB)
11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.[2]

Who is Paul talking to here? Preachers? Deacons? Musicians? Song Leaders? Sunday School teachers? Hmmm… people holding bags of excuses?

He is speaking to people in church.


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[1] The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

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