1 Corinthians 16:3
And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality to Jerusalem.
Apart from the historical interest of this subject, which was one of the chief causes of anxiety to the apostle, it may be studied as illustrating for every age the principles on which older and younger Churches, richer and poorer Churches, can be brought into practical union and fellowship. Then the topic for consideration becomes this - How can the idea of the Christian brotherhood be applied to Churches? As introductory it may be well to show, concerning the duty of brotherliness,
(1) its ground;
(2) its character;
(3) its examples;
(4) its natural forms of expression.
These may be treated in connection with the personal and individual relationships of life, and also in connection with the social and Church relationships. Then in practical detail, varying according to the sentiments and associations of the Christian bodies to which we may belong, we may consider -
I. BROTHERLINESS AS EXPRESSED TO EQUAL CHURCHES. In this case the brotherliness will take such forms as:
1. Fellowship in worship.
2. Mutual aid in enterprise and work.
3. Due watchfulness of each other's honour and spiritual health.
4. Anxious repression of all jealousies of each other's successes.
5. Manifestations of sympathy in times of Church depression or sorrow.
Among equal Churches there is little opportunity for the charity of material help.
II. BROTHERLINESS EXPRESSED TO INFERIOR OR DEPENDENT CHURCHES. Besides those already dealt with, there should be these further expressions.
1. Careful conservation of the rights of the dependent Church.
2. Readiness to give material and moral help, as occasion demands.
3. Avoidance of superior airs or assumptions of authority.
4. Use of all opportunities that may be offered for the manifestation of sympathy.
While it is true that times of calamity find special occasions for brotherliness, it is also true that those in any way dependent on us would not have us wait for the trial times. True Christian brotherhood wants to find utterance for itself every day, and to fill all the ordinary associations of life with its helpful spirit. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.