1 Corinthians 16:13, 14
Watch you, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.…
This the Corinthians needed. It fitly comes near the conclusion of the Epistle, summarizing much that has gone before. The Corinthians tended towards false security, reliance upon gifts and teachers; so the apostle says, "Watch ye." They were wavering in adhesion to the gospel which Paul preached; so he says, "Stand fast in the faith." They were but "babes" (1 Corinthians 3:1); so the apostle incites them to seek more of the qualities of manhood: "Quit you like men." They were enfeebled by false doctrine, Church abuses, irregularity of spiritual life; so he says, "Be strong." They were more remarkable for jealousy, rivalry, contempt, pride, than for the pre-eminent Christian grace; so Paul says, "Let all that ye do be done in love." Corinthian perils are our perils. Corinthian failures may be our failures - perhaps are. Let us heed the apostolic exhortation to -
1. Against dangers from without. False teachers, bad examples, unholy influences, Satanic attacks. We who are of the day should be awake.
2. Against danger from within. We often tempt ourselves, often deceive ourselves, often injure ourselves. Our greatest enemy is within, not without. It is the traitor in the camp who does the mischief.
3. For opportunities of usefulness. Our day is short. Soon the final account must be rendered. We have many opportunities, but they never wait for us. We must watch for them, and catch them as they come. Opportunities have no resurrection.
4. For the coming of Christ. The Master himself enjoined this: "What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:37).
II. STEADFASTNESS. We have to abide in the faith. He that "endureth to the end" shall be saved. Lack of steadfastness
(1) hinders our spiritual growth;
(2) mars our usefulness;
(3) imperils our salvation;
(4) is a stumbling block to others;
(5) a great offence to Christ;
(6) spoils our spiritual joys.
III. MANLINESS. Christians should be robust. They are not always to be children in the faith. They need a manly temper,
(1) to contend with difficulties;
(2) to bear up under opposition;
(3) to endure temporary defeat.
Christians should be bold and fearless. Every Christian should be a courageous Christian. The service in which we are engaged is grand beyond conception - the issues how momentous! "Quit you like men!"
IV. STRENGTH. Does it seem strange that we are commanded to be strong? Some will say we can only be what we are, and it is worse than futile to say to a weak man, "Be strong." But Paul said, "When I am weak then am I strong." When we are bidden to be strong, then we often feel most our weakness; but then we go to the Strong for strength. The Lion of the tribe of Judah can give to us a lionlike might. As to means: if we would be strong we must
(1) abound in prayer
(2) and in work - using all the strength we have;
(3) avoid evil influences - not be more than duty calls us in pestilential worldly atmospheres;
(4) seek solid knowledge of things Divine;
(5) strive against sin.
V. LOVE. Love should rule all our thoughts, purposes, words, and acts. We are nothing if we are without love (ch. 13.). This is the key to the preceding exhortations. If we have a real living love towards God and man, it will become easy to live in watchfulness; we shall not want to relinquish our faith; our Christian manliness will rapidly develop; and we shall be strong, for we shall be like God. "God is love." Love is salt; it will preserve from corruption our whole spiritual life. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.