Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Touching Base - Part 243

TB 243
The Body – PART 17
All In!
13 July 14

(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Great teams are “All In”! I cannot imagine that anyone would disagree with this statement. We have all probably worked on teams where someone was not “All In”! As a result, the performance of that team is in jeopardy and the attitudes of the other team members are probably greatly challenged.

Today we conclude our study in the book of 1 Corinthians with the big idea, Great Teams Are All In!

Note several aspects of what being “All In” looks like as Paul concludes this REALLY long book.

1. Great teams are “All In” when it comes to their financial resources (v.1-4):

Read the first four verses and answer the following questions:
• What is the pattern for giving?
• What is the expectation of how much?
• Where do you see integrity in the process?
• Why Jerusalem?-Check out Romans 15:26

Notice that Paul is not talking about “tithing” here , but a special collection for the poor. (NOTE:Tithing as a legal requirement had passed away with the Old Covenant and been replaced by the greater challenge of “giving” in the New Testament)

• Why is our money the hardest thing to separate with?
• How do you know when you are being generous?

Note the context of this appeal of Paul. He has just talked about how all of us are poor in one way or another:

• Spiritual Poverty - 15:3-4- Our sinful state makes us spiritually poor before God, lacking the resources to make ourselves right with God. Check out 2 Cor. 8:9

• Physical Poverty - 15:42-44- What is it about our current physical state that demonstrates we are “poor”?

This is an important point for us who are not materially poor because when we reach out to those who are materially poor, there is no room for thinking that we are reaching down to them (or we have it all together) as we help them out. We all are poor in many ways and need help. We all have experienced poverty.

2. Great teams are “All In” when it comes to the resource called “time” (v.5-8):

Read these verses and note how Paul wants to spend time with these folks:
• What is the opposite of just a “passing visit”? – see v.7b

This is a pattern we often see in Paul. Note the following text:

“Even though we had some standing as Christ’s apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else. We weren't aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-8 (MSG)

• Talk about how time is a gift we can give.
• Who needs the gift of your time these days?
• Why is it hard to give?

People will more likely remember that you gave them some of your time, versus what you said to them. This gift of time is a huge blessing when it is given.

• What might giving people the gift of your time look like in your small group, on a Sunday am?

3. Great teams are “All In” when it comes to their courage (v.9-13):

Do you see the courage of Paul in v9?
Paul understood that there was a cost to being “all in” and all there. This is the “labour” part we talked about last week. It says something about Paul’s perception of his ministry, that the presence of opposition was a sign to him of the viability of his labour and reason for pressing on, not running away (cf. Acts 19:30–31).

Note the courage of Timothy (v.10-11).
What was the possible emotion that Timothy was experiencing when thinking about ministering to the Corinthians?
What is the emotion you experience in those difficult assignments? Anxiety, anger, frustration?

Apollos also knew of the challenge of Corinth.
V.12 - Perhaps Apollos did not want to add fuel to the fire of the Corinthian party spirit and to their playing of favorites. Remember 1 Cor. 1:12?
Then notice v.13 and how the corrective words of Paul to Corinth demonstrate this was not an easy place. In many ways the opposite was what described Corinth.

Some may have prayed, “Oh God send me anywhere - even Moose Jaw - but not Corinth!”

• What are the circumstances that can drain your courage?
• Are you a courageous team member?

Note Paul was a mentor to Timothy. I wonder if he sometimes had to say to Tim, “Don’t let your fear get the best of you.”
Note Paul with Apollos - I wonder if he had to encourage Apollos to press in.

I think we need people around us who can, essentially, say, “ Muster up the courage and take this next assignment, press in on this next part of the vision, hunker down and get at this next part of the project.” Without that “Paul”, we might not have the courage.

• Who is your Paul?

4. Great teams are All In when it comes to their attitude – humility (v.14-18):

Read through this and note how Stephanas and his household ministered to the saints. It is believed that because of the names of Fortunatus and Achaicus that they were probably household slaves.

What makes this really interesting is that the mention of Stephanas’ household suggests that he was a man of considerable means. The Good News that Paul preached was for all people, but it often required the greatest sacrifices of the socially better-off, since they had more to give and the most to lose in honour, power, and social position by converting to a new minority religion. While Paul drew on the benefits of the social structures of his day, he would not allow those structures to dictate the structure of relationships in the new “ekklēsia”.

I would like to meet Stephanas - as a new convert he was unadulterated by the arrogance of some in Corinth, not soiled yet by the establishment, just wearing his WWJD bracelet and doing it.

Final Greetings (v.19-24):

Note Paul’s love for this Church, which had done so much to hurt him:
- the passing on of greetings (v.19-21)
- the desire to protect the church. Note his desire to protect the body with the statement in v.22. This a passionate warning, probably aimed at false teachers who were not “all in”, whom he believed to be already present in the congregation (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3–4).
- the words of blessing (v.23, 24)

Paul loved the Body!

This week, why not pray into the four characteristics of teams that are “All In”! Bethel values and needs teams of people that are “All In”!

Mark Kotchapaw
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

No comments: