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LESSON 13 - PRAISE AND PROMISES 
(REVIEW OF SELECTED VERSES AND 1 CORINTHIANS 16)

Copr. 1998, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984
International Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations
from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes
the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: This week we end out study of 1 Corinthians by
reviewing a few verses and ending up in chapter 16. Let's see what
we can learn!

I. THOSE RIGHTEOUS CORINTHIANS?

     A. Tell me about the impression you have of the Corinthian
     church based on our study together of the book of 1
     Corinthians?

          1. Is this a church racked with problems?

          2. What are some of the leading problems you remember
          from our studies? (Factions-chapts.1 & 3; Arrogance-
          chapt.4; Immorality-chapt.5; Lawsuits and prostitution-
          chapt.6; Food sacrificed to idols-chapt.8; Abuse of the
          Lord's Supper-chapt.11; Lack of love-chapt.13; Tongues
          abuse and disorder in worship-chapt.14.)

     B. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. Read. When we read
     this the first time, we did not have a clear vision of what
     was to follow. Does this square with what you now know about
     the Corinthians?

          1. What is the first thing for which Paul is thankful
          when it comes to the Corinthians? What does Paul mean in
          verse 4 when he says, "I thank God for you because of His
          grace given you in Jesus Christ?"

          2. What does this teach us in dealing with individuals
          who have "slipped" and "need correction?" (We have this
          list of "terribles" about the Corinthians that follow in
          this letter, yet Paul starts out saying that he is
          thankful when he thinks of them!

               a. Does this reveal God's approach to sinners?

               b. Does God approach all sinners this way? Or were
               the Corinthians "special?"

          3. When Paul says in verse 8 that God will "keep [the
          Corinthians] strong to the end," what does he mean?  They
          do not seem very strong now!

          4. Does verse 8 say that they are "blameless" now -- and
          should just "stay the course?"

          5. Who does verse 9 say is faithful?  The Corinthians or
          God? (There is a pattern in these verses. Paul talks to
          the Corinthians in words (in these verses we are looking
          at) that leave little doubt that they are saved.
          However, he is beginning his discourse on how they
          urgently need improvement in their lives. For example,
          v.8, "so that you will be blameless." Verse.9, "God...has
          called you into fellowship with...Jesus."  Our walk with
          our Lord is an ongoing process of improvement.)

II. INSPIRING THE CORINTHIANS

     A. Turn next with me to 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Read. Why do
     you think Paul puts these two texts together? (Twin problems.
     One group may has an overconfident, unrealistic view about
     temptation. The second group lacks confidence about their
     ability to face temptation.)

     B. When Paul says "NO temptation has seized you except what is
     common to man," what does he mean? What is the message for us?

     C. We often read and hear about "victims" who are charged with
     extremely sinful behavior.  In our area a prominent "late
     middle age" lawyer, who ran for a seat in the United States
     Senate, has been on trial for the charges of attempting to
     hire a "hit man" to kill her physician husband and another
     lawyer.  As I understand the newspaper accounts, her act of
     attempting to hiring a "hit man" is not seriously contested.
     (She managed to "hire" a police officer!) Instead, the defense
     is based upon suggestions that she suffered some sort of abuse
     as a child.

          1. How do you think Paul's "No temptation" words apply to
          this situation? (I think Paul is saying, "no excuses,
          Corinthians." You not have to engage in these sins. Your
          temptations are not unique.  You are not the only person
          who ever lived who has faced this problem.)

               a. When approaching a sinner in the church, how
               would you mix what we just learned from 1
               Corinthians 1 with what we are reading now? (Kind,
               encouraging, but not coddling or compromising.)

          2. What gives you the most comfort from verse 13? (God's
          hand is on the throttle. He will not let the temptation
          become too extreme for us, and He will give us a way
          out!)

     D. Put the verses we studied from chapter 1 together with
     verse 13, what picture is Paul painting about God's attitude
     towards sin? (That He accepts us sinners into fellowship with
     Him right now, big old ugly warts and all, but calls us to a
     partnership with Him to put sin behind us!)

          1. Be honest. Do you look for a "way out" of temptation?
          Or do you generally look for a "way into" temptation?

          2. If you are looking for a "way in" have you entered
          into a "salvation partnership" with God?

III. THE FINAL INSTRUCTIONS
     A. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 16.  Read verses 1-4. Notice
     Paul's introduction, "now about the collection for God's
     people."  What did we previously learn that this meant?
     (Remember we have exchanges of letters between Paul and the
     Corinthians. In answer to one or more of the Corinthians'
     letters, Paul writes his response. This is a response to one
     of their questions. See the similar pattern in 1 Corinthians
     12:1, 1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Corinthians 7:1)

     B. Why does Paul tell them to collect their money "on the
     first day of the week?"

          1. Is it because they are all together in church?

          2. If they were turning in their money at church (like
          you do each week), would that be consistent with the
          other instruction that "each one of you should [be]...
          saving it up...?"

               a. Most translations that I checked (NAS, RSV, NKJV,
               KJV, CEV, Phillips, Jerusalem, NIV) do not give the
               complete picture. The Greek (v.2) is literally (in
               part) "every one of you by himself." The last word
               of this phrase, "heautoo," is properly translated
               "himself." (See, Strong's, Thayer's, Mare & Harris,
               Expositor's Bible Commentary, p.121.)  The KJV
               comes the closest to acknowledging this by saying,
               "lay BY HIM in store," but the way it says it is
               confusing. Apparently, these translators did not
               think "by himself" added anything to the meaning,
               but it seems to me (in my vast ignorance) this is
               critical to the issue of whether they are, in fact,
               together in church. How can a person be laying in
               store, "by himself" and be in a crowd at church?)

          3. How did they know how much to give? (v.2 "in keeping
          with his income...." It was tied to the amount of their
          income.)

          4. Do you figure that these guys were on "direct
          deposit?"  Did they get a weekly paycheck from their
          employer? (If you think about the practicality of this,
          it hardly seems that they could be in church. Their
          income probably varied each week.  This would require a
          calculation.  The idea that they were doing the math,
          "saving it up" "by themselves" points unmistakably to
          home activity.)

          (5. Those teachers who are proficient in Greek should
          consider whether v.2 is properly translated "first
          Sabbath."  As I understand it, the word translated "week"
          can refer to either seven days or the seventh day. The
          word "day" is supplied in the translations.)

     C. Why does Paul tell the church (v.3) to designate local
     church members to take this collection to Jerusalem?

          1. Why does Paul (v.4) leave open the possibility that he
          might not go to Jerusalem with this gift?

          2. From an accountant's point of view, what do you think
          of this arrangement? (Paul was above reproach. An
          accountant would call this idea of having the people who
          "owned" the money designate representatives to handle the
          money an accounting "control." You have more than one
          person handling the money so that you can have a "check"
          on what is done. If one person collects, counts and
          records the money, you have inadequate accounting
          controls -- and you can quote Paul in addition to the
          AICPA!)

     D. Do you see any eternal principles in Paul's overall
     instructions in these verses?

          1. What do we learn about spur of the moment
          contributions?

          2. What do we learn about the amount of the contribution?

          3.  What do we learn about collections during church
          services?

          4. What do we learn about protecting reputations and
          God's money? (a) How much you contribute should be
          carefully calculated, in keeping with your income; b)
          Offering collections should not interfere with the church
          service; and, c) Adequate accounting controls should be
          in place in the church family so no one can be accused of
          misappropriation.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: New quarter and new study!  We will be studying the
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). ounting controls should be
          in place in the church family so no one can be accused of
          misappropriation.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: New quarter and new study!  We will be studying the
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).