I Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 14 Let all your things be done with charity. 22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
In the last verses of this great epistle we’re introduced to words used frequently in the early church. It doesn’t take a whole lot of words. When you get to the end of your road, you don’t see a sign that says “slow down, put on your brakes and halt your car.” It says one word: STOP. That word says everything that was said before in one word and it carries a lot of weight. STOP. GO. DAY. NIGHT. It would take a lot of words to explain them while just one days does it. It takes a lot to explain God but just the word tells us a great deal.
In these verses are simple phrases that give us sound instruction. Two words caution us. The Corinthian church had lots of problems, many brought on by themselves. There was a lot of sinning and spiritual immaturity making a mess in the church. Any church is what the people make it. It’s up to everyone to do the will of God. Paul said “these things ought not to be.” God is our Father and we must be united and single minded. We’re all different but we have a common God. We belong to his church. Dissention is no cause for splitting apart. We all have seen two sides and both say they’re doing the right thing. If there is division, no one is right. Division is not in the will of God. He is not the author of confusion.
In these verses Paul said “watch ye.” This is not being suspicious of one another. It’s a self watching. Watch yourself. I need to watch myself more. We tend to watch others more and miss our own shortfalls. We’re all in the soup together. Watch yourself. When we’re doing this we don’t have to watch the adversary as much. We’re on guard already. Remember we’re under God’s eye. There’s not a lot we can do about another’s shortcomings, but we can do something about our own.
“Stand fast in the faith.” How? In the Word of God. How well do you understand what you read. If you read just to gain a goal it does no good. Don’t read it; study it. Paul said we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God. We are tested in life. Just as a teacher used to test us in school to show us how well we know the textbook, we find out how well we know the Bible. Our teacher is the Holy Spirit of God. There is no reason to be ignorant. If you don’t understand words like repent, justification and sanctification, study the Bible. The devil and the world play on the ignorance of Christians. Religions make their people study and when they come door to door they can confuse just about anyone. Can you show them in your Bible why they are wrong? They get converts to their religion by playing on the ignorance of others to the truth. Know HIM. Continue to study. We’ll never know it all but we can learn. We have to learn what it means to be saved and learn about salvation and pleasing God.
“Quit you like men.” Act like men. In other words, act like a grown up–all of us–men and women. Quit acting like a spoiled child. We boast of how long we’ve been saved but some are still babies. Paul told the Corinthians they were still on the milk and should be on the meat of the Word. Mature Christians need to act like it and not be wishy washy. Be strong. Our source of strength is the greatest strength in the universe. GOD.
“Let all your things be done with charity.” Do it all in love not because you have to but because you want to. That’s what charity is. We’re servants of the Lord with a daily work to do. He’s a good Master and Lord. Our labor is not hard; it ought to be a joy to serve him. It if is not, something is wrong. Then we see the warnings. The life of any relationship is love. Parents and children, brothers and sisters. We’ve got to love each other or we might as well stay home. Paul said without love he was nothing. The life of faith is through love. Jesus entered into a relationship with us. If that love becomes hypocritical, people know. It takes the love of God to love others. How can we say we love God if we don’t love each other? It’s of vast importance to keep our love for the Savior alive. If not, it is to become accursed–Anathema. We never want that word said to us. Maranatha–the Lord is coming. An answering time is coming. We’ll appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our life as a Christian. Ready or not, he is coming. Whether we want it or not, he is coming. With all our love and faith it is time to serve the Lord. Be pleasing to him because at his coming we’ll stand before him.
This was a greeting in the early church and would give pause to the sayers and the hearers. Have I done what God wants? Have I done my best to please the Lord? He’s coming. These are God’s words and we need to take heed. Because of that we will not hear Anathema. We won’t have to worry at his coming. We can have boldness in that day. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”