I spoke last week about the empty promises of the resurrection at Easter time, how the empty cross promises forgiveness of sin, the empty tomb promises resurrection and the empty grave clothes promise relationship. It is simply a fact that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is a reliable historic and scriptural event. It was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. There are many scriptures speaking of the resurrection such as Romans 6 and 1 Thessalonians 4, but Paul uses 1 Corinthians 15 as his great apologetic. 1 Corinthians 15 is probably the fullest and greatest argument for the fact that this really happened and that Jesus is indeed alive, in the closing verse, Paul writes…
1 Corinthians 15:58 – “58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
This word “therefore” means “in light of what has been previously explained“. All scriptural truth is only “theory” until we respond with action of some sort, God always sends his word so that there will be a response on the part of the hearer.
James 1:23-24 – “23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”
So, what should be our response to 1 Corinthians 15, this fantastic news about Jesus rising , the witnesses, immortality, the resurrection body? The first part of this scripture is all building up to one thing in the mind of the apostle, and it is that very verse that many people ignore, yet if we will accept the resurrection then our response to this must be firstly –
A resolute response
“…my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmovable…”
The words used for “steadfast, and unmovable” here in Greek are “hed-ray-os” – “to be sat here” and “am- takeena” – “not stirred up and moved away”. I’ve made my choice where I will sit, and there is a desperate need within the Church to be absolutely settled concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 17:32 – “and hearing of a resurrection of the dead, some indeed mocked; and others said, we will hear you again concerning this.”
Many people hear about the resurrection and do not make their choice and by default make the wrong choice. Forever fence sitting, forever putting it off assuming like the Athenians that “we will hear you again about this”. Many people think that there is no urgency, they don’t need to get caught up with this just yet, they’ve got their whole life to live, and think they can maybe just put it off until they’re older – maybe.
We see death as so final and our minds cannot get around how it can possibly all work out – even with God in control. There are forces at work in our hearts, minds and flesh seeking to draw us away from our decision about Christ’s resurrection, the apostle Paul tells the Corinthians to be immovable. Every day there are problems that stir us up, there are people that stir us up, there are winds of adversity, that blow us off course bringing fear and loss of purpose, so how do we remain immovable?
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the son of God, who loved me and gave himself on my behalf.”
Galatians 6:14 – “but may it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”
The most immovable people are dead people, no amount of cajoling or talking about what they are missing in this world will influence them – they are not stirred up in any way. They are dead to this world and this world is dead to them. My ambition as a believer is just that – to become dead to this world for then I will truly be steadfast and immovable – a resolute response.
Secondly the bible tells us to have –
A ready response
“…always abounding in the work of the Lord…”
In light of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, our labour of love is to abound, Greek: “periseou”, meaning to overflow. This can be both in quantity and /or quality. I need to give myself with fullness to the work that He calls me to do. I must be ready to abound for there is a war on for the souls of mankind.
Romans 6:11 – “…count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”
The Bible says that we are made “alive to God” which means that we can hear his voice.
John 10:27 – “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
We must be people who, when we hear God speak, are ready to say “yes Lord” because ultimately the response we show to the risen Saviour will be a reflection of what we really believe. In Matthew 16:22, Peter said to Jesus, “not so Lord”, and Jesus identified Peters words and work as the work of Satan. If we believe Jesus is risen then we should be ready to respond with fullness, the words no and Lord cannot co- exist. Finally, when we have a resolute and ready response we will have –
A rewarded response
“… know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
The apostle Paul taught all this amazing theology and revelation to the Church – but he wasn’t deceived into leaving it as a theory – he lived it and so could say the following.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 – “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
The currency of Heaven is service on Earth, in Heaven there will be no more opportunity to share your faith with people, no more opportunity to pray, no more opportunity to make the difference in this present life.
What will I be like in Heaven? Will I mourn the fact that I spent all my life being shaken by every breeze that blew me off course and then needed years to get back on track? Will I reflect on a commitment to the Lord that wasn’t all in? Will I grieve the fact that I did not pray for my family and take my authority as a believer over the satanic influences in their lives? I don’t know about you but I would rather look back as one who made an impact in this world, I desire that my life matters here. Your labour of love is not in vain for the day will come when we who are his, who stand fast in him and serve Him faithfully will be with Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 – “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.”
God calls us to respond to the resurrection resolutely being steadfast and unmovable in our beliefs, ready to obey God by faith and live our lives looking forward to our reward in Heaven, you may see no way today how you could do that – that’s OK for God will make a way if we respond and obey.