Paul’s Final Exhortations to the Corinthian Believers
1 Corinthians 16:13-18 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with love. I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to everyone that helpeth with us, and laboureth. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such. KJV
Paul now gives them some encouraging but very needful exhortations in order that they would not be carried away with the error of the wicked and plunge or immerse themselves into many sorrows. The first thing Paul exhorts them to do is to watch gregoreuo which means to keep awake or to be vigilant; give strict attention to, be cautious, active to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one. Paul wanted them so desperately to keep awake spiritually so that they would not be found to have believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Our Lord Jesus Christ used this very same word gregoreuo during his time of agonizing in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when he found the disciples Peter, James, and John sleeping, as it is recorded here for us by Mark, “And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” (Mark 14:37-38). Paul despite his many achievements or accomplishments in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ was well aware within his own heart the vile corruption that remained (as he discoursed for us so clearly in Romans 7), therefore, he wanted them to constantly be watching or gregoreuo keeping themselves in the love of God as the Apostle Jude so wonderfully put it in these words, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21).
Secondly, Paul wanted them to stand fast and this English phrase is translated by the Greek word steko which means to be stationary or to persevere or to persist to keep one’s standing in the truth of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul exhorts them to persist in the true faith “in Christ” no matter the consequences nor the enemies made by doing so, as again the Apostle Jude wrote to all believers when he said, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3). It is out of love and gratitude that we stand for our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of every trying circumstance knowing that our Lord fights for us daily against all of our unseen enemies (satan and his demons) and He is continually making intercession before the Father’s Throne on our behalf. It is the duty and obligation of the believer to stand for Him.
Thirdly, Paul exhorts them to “quit like men” and this English phrase is translated by the Greek word andrizomai which means to act manly or brave or courageous. Paul knew what the culture was like that these believers came out of and were now sent back into as Christ Followers, so he exhorts them to be manly and brave and stand up for Christ despite the mocking, ridicule, abuse, threats, and even physical violence against them. Paul knew much about this Greek word andrizomai because it was what he had to do daily everywhere he went as Paul listed for these same Corinthian brothers and sisters in his second letter written to them all of the horrific evil attacks against his tent, house, his body from satan through evil and wicked men in 2 Corinthians 11:23-26. Paul knew it was possible by the grace of God and wanted to exhort them to the same manly stand for Christ Jesus our Lord.
Fourthly, Paul exhorts them to be strong and this English word is translated by the Greek word krataioo which means simply to empower or increase in vigor. This fourth exhortation ties in with the previous one as Paul wants them to be manly, strong, unmovable, and powerful witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Paul declares that they are to live in this way for the glory of Christ abiding by His Law of Love, for it was Christ Love for humanity that brought Him out of the Ivory Palaces in Heaven into this world of sin and woe to stand fast, and to be Manly, and strong as He paid the penalty or fine for our sin taking our sin into Himself and killing it on the Cross of Calvary, then Resurrecting three days later to declare us innocent of all of sins charges against us. Finally, Paul reinforces what he has been setting in order throughout his entire letter and that is that they would submit themselves to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:21) and to proven or established beyond doubt brothers outside of their fellowship like Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus whom Paul held in high regard in the service of Christ Jesus our Lord and so he wanted them to do likewise with these men treating them as they would even treat Paul when he is with them.
“That was a hard lesson for these Corinthians who were splitting themselves into factions and sects, and tearing each other’s eyes out in their partisanship for various Christian teachers. But the advice has a much wider application than to the suppression of squabbles in Christian communities. It is the sum of all commandments of the Christian life, if you will take love in its widest sense, in the sense, that is, in which it is always used in Paul’s writings. We cut it into two halves, and think of it as sometimes meaning love to God, and sometimes love to man. The two are inseparably inter-penetrated in the New Testament writings; and so we have to interpret this supreme commandment in the whole breadth and meaning of that great word Love. And then it just comes to this, that love is the victor in all the Christian warfare. If we love God, at any given moment, consciously having our affection engaged with Him, and our heart going out to Him, do you think that any evil or temptation would have power over us? Should we not see them as they are, to be devils in disguise? In the proportion in which I love God I conquer all sin. And at the moment in which that great, sweet, all-satisfying light floods into my soul, I see through the hollowness and the shams, and detect the ugliness and the filth of the things that otherwise would be temptations. If you desire to be conquerors in the Christian fight, remember that the true way of conquest is, as another Apostle says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God.’ ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’” Alexander MacLaren
“Paul was ever concerned for the converts he had witnessed the gospel of grace to and did so express it much by way of letters, prayers, and exhortation to make sure that they were not false converts, but genuine believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. We hear his deep concern, even from the man who wrote to us telling us to worry about nothing (Philippians 4:6) in these words he wrote in his second letter to these Corinthian believers when he said, ‘I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness’ (2 Corinthians 11:27-30).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…