What Christianity Does for a Man
1 Corinthians 16:5-9
Now I will come to you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.…

1. These sentences, casually thrown in, as it were, at the end of a letter, reveal incidentally, and therefore really, the spiritual quality and tone of the writer. It is one thing to make a formal statement of what Christianity has done, and another to show its results without any attempt at composition or eye to effect. An incidental touch will reveal the whole man.

2. Paul comes within sight in these instructions. In the previous chapter he was quite beyond the range of our vision. Here he becomes more like one of ourselves. These are only little sentences after the great thunder-bursts of the resurrection chapter, and come too soon to get their full force and value; but they show what Christianity did for Paul. It made him —

I. MOST DAUNTLESS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES OF AN INTENSELY DISCOURAGING KIND. Paul looked at the door rather than at the adversaries, and therein the quality of the man is disclosed. The great soldier must be in the thick of the fight. When the wolf is most dangerous, the shepherd must be most watchful. Paul seemed to have a kind of inborn liking for danger. Herein he was most Christ-like, and quietly but severely rebukes the most of his successors. What an eye we have for the adversaries! and therein is our quality revealed. What moaning there is in the ministry and the Church! The neighbourhood is going down; the population is moving; trade is bad; people are opposed to us. There are many adversaries: Paul is perfectly aware of that; and he counted them one by one, and said, "Humanly speaking, they are an overwhelming majority, but Divinely speaking, they are for ever in a minority, for He that is for us is more than they that be against us." We must take the completer view, and then we shall see that the great host that is encamped against the Lord is but a handful of moths. And so every adversary should be a stimulus to nobler endeavour — a prick in the side causing us to spring forward with more vital alertness and determination to win the battle of the Lord. We should have said that there being many adversaries was an excellent reason for leaving Ephesus; Paul made it a substantial reason for remaining there.

II. PATERNALLY AND MOST TENDERLY CONSIDERATE (vers. 10, 11). Timotheus was young in experience; the kind of man that would soon be lost in a crowd; shrinking, modest, one who would never count for much if tumult were to rule the day. See, then, says Paul, "see that he may be with you without fear." When you shake hands with him, let him feel the pressure of love in the grip which welcomes him by holy symbol: under encouragement he can do a great deal. If he find you critical, pedantic, fault-finding, his young heart will sink. To be with the Church without fear — that is to elicit all that is best in the young minister. "The fear of man bringeth a snare."

III. MAGNANIMOUS (ver. 12). Apollos was "an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures," Paul's "bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemptible." He knew that, yet he says, "As touching our brother Apollos," — there is tenderness in the very utterance of the man's name; he is not "Apollos," but "our brother Apollos," etc. We are now and then very human: there is perhaps a temptation to persuade Apollos to go in some other direction and so keep out of our particular way. Conclusion: We cannot put these things on from the outside; these are the fruits of the Spirit. All assumed courage is cowardice, a pretended considerateness is the most objectionable patronage, an affected magnanimity is hypocrisy. We must grow in these graces, but the growth must be from within; these are not to be taught or learned in the schools: these are the victories of grace, the miracles of God.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.

WEB: But I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am passing through Macedonia.

The Opening of a Great and Effectual Door
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