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William H. Banegas April 16, 2017
Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Theme: Be Faithful!
Introduction: Folks, I genuinely hope that today’s reflection through both Scripture reading and song has been an encouragement to you. If anything, it’s just like what the choir is going to do in a few hours only you’re the ones actively participating! In closing our time together, that is before breakfast, I want us to consider what the Resurrection Reality means for us right now, where we live. I believe that, since Jesus rose from the dead and promises to raise us also, Christ calls on each of us to be faithful.
Be faithful because Jesus rose from the dead and promises to raise us also!
We can be confident that Jesus rose from the dead because of the power of God in raising Jesus from the dead
1 Corinthians 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
I have a 2-page listing of other references which discuss the power of God in raising Jesus that anyone is welcome to pick up a copy during breakfast
We can be confident that Jesus rose from the dead because there’s still an empty tomb
Matthew 28:5-6 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
We can be confident that Jesus rose from the dead because of the great number of witnesses
1 Corinthians 15:5-8 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
We can be confident that Jesus will raise us with Him because He rose from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The Resurrection Reality not only consists of Jesus’ Resurrection but also our Resurrection that He has promised to us!
We look back to Jesus’ Resurrection but also forward to our own.
Be confidently faithful in our belief in Jesus' resurrection and our own.
Fight any personal threats to our Belief in Jesus' resurrection and our own.
Suffering creates fertile ground for Resurrection doubts to fester.
Evangelist Will Galkin once told about how his father-in-law became sick and died suddenly while he was at the Wilds preaching. In shock from the news, Will went back to his room that the Wilds furnished him with for the week and laid on his bed, staring at the ceiling and cried out, “Is God even real?”
Such suffering is not distinct for many of the Psalms passionately vocalize such wrestlings
Personal disappointment contributes to personal doubts.
From Jesus’ followers’ perspective, their Messiah was a failure and therefore they began to doubt God’s Word.
We all know what it is like to be let down by circumstances or even someone.
We firmly hold to our belief in Jesus' resurrection and our own to filter our interpretation(s) of circumstances.
Evangelist Will Galkin similarly shared that when his father passed away relatively recent to his father in law he verbally and publicly affirmed Jesus's Resurrection
He affirmed the Resurrection Reality and allowed that to interpret his circumstances
We can’t minimize suffering, but, as Christians, we don’t suffer alone - we have our God Who strengthens us to remain firm in our belief in Jesus' resurrection and our own
Sufferings are the pangs of a broken world that serve as prompts for Christians to anticipate something so much better to come as Paul illustrates in Romans 8.
Do you know someone who is suffering today? - Why not remind them of Christ’s Resurrection which guarantees our Resurrection to a better day with Him forever!
Combat any external threats to our belief that Jesus rose from the dead and that He will raise us to live with Him forever.
Just as in Paul’s day, detractors abound who would attempt to undermine the validity of the Resurrection
In such times we need to ask, “Who am I going to listen to?” - man who is prone to error or the Perfect Sovereign of the Universe.
One final word, to those who are struggling with questions - God invites you to bring them.
He is not intimidated by your questions - He knows everything (Psalm 139:1-6)
If you legitimately want your questions answered, go to God’s Word and prayerfully seek answers.
Additionally, you can seek out Bible teachers here that you trust and invite them to walk with you through your questions, asking for their insight.
Be confidently faithful to serve Christ.
Lovingly serve Christ through your spiritual gifts
Time would fail us and breakfast would be cold if we were to exhaustively treat Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
The point of God entrusting you with a gift for His service to His church is that you would use it
Unfortunately, like the Corinthians, we can use our gifts as the basis for pride rather than to serve
As Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 12, the church needs everyone in the body
God has equipped this church with unique gifts to accomplish the work of the ministry and because Jesus rose and will raise us, we must be faithful to serve
I want to encourage you to dedicate some time either this afternoon or this week to read through 1 Corinthians 12-14 diligently seeking to understand what God has gifted you with to serve His church
Serve Christ by compassionately confronting sin so that the sinner might be restored (1 Corinthians 5)
In the context, Paul had to take decisive action for the sinning couple was unrepentant and the Corinthians church had tolerated it
Notice, however, that the confrontation was so that the unrepentant individuals would repent and be restored to Christ.
While confrontation is never easy, elsewhere in Galatians 6, Paul encourages us to approach confrontation with humility, lest we also fall into the same trap (cf. Galatians 6:1)
There really is something to be said for approaching another brother in sin in humility
Unfortunately, I know all too well what it’s like to approach in a spirit of harshness someone sinning and though I sought their forgiveness, my relationship with this individual has never been the same
Beware of confronting sin in harshness for you may just end up losing further ministry opportunities with that individual
Serve Christ through unwaveringly sharing the Gospel
Share the Gospel unhindered by societal pressures
Unfortunately, since some thought that the Gospel message was foolish, the Greeks, and others found it a stumbling block, the Jews, there was a temptation to alter the Gospel message
Similarly today, we must stick with God’s Word rather than attempting to make it more appealing through changing the message for to do so would be developing another Gospel, something that Paul strictly prohibits in Galatians
Share the Gospel relying on the Spirit
First, Paul demonstrated that in sharing the Gospel he had a singular focus: to preach the testimony of God, Jesus Christ crucified.
He didn't come to gain a following through the magnificence of his own speech or forcefulness of his own character in order to draw attention to himself and therefore boast of himself.
When Sharing the Gospel, we’re not out to impress others but rather to share with them the Truth that Jesus Saves!
Second, Paul used a singular source of strength: he relied on the power of God.
Paul humbly and candidly shared his initial feelings of physical weakness, fear and overwhelming anxiety.
These all point to the weakness of trusting singularly in one’s own power for any one of these, if trusting in one’s own power, would have demolished Paul, and anyone, and thwarted the work that God wanted to accomplish in the Corinthians.
Paul preached trusting in the power of God to overcome his then present circumstances of weakness, fear and anxiety.
Third, Paul demonstrated that he had a singular goal when he preached the testimony of God: that the Corinthians’ faith would be in the power of God.
Paul preached in spite of his physical and emotional circumstances with the understanding that God’s message would be accompanied with God’s power, wherein the Corinthians needed to place their faith.
Should the Corinthians, and anyone else for that matter, rest their faith on anything but the power of God, all that is left is the power of man and the forcefulness of his character which Paul has already proven is weakness and wholly unreliable when compared with the “weakness” of God.
Paul’s method of sharing the Gospel, wholly relying on God’s power (especially in spite of his frailties) demonstrates the power of God.
Paul chose to rely on the power of God because that’s where the faith of the Corinthians must rely.
To do anything else would present a contrary message of relying on the weakness of oneself which will ultimately fail.