Good morning my friends. This is my last week of vacation. If you are looking for something to pray for me pray that I will receive wisdom to rest this week.
Here we are at the end of 1 Corinthians 15. There is a lot here that we could consider but I want us to focus on Paul's summary statement:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. vv. 13-14
We would do well to consider this command as it is a well balanced command. We often become unbalanced in our walk with the Lord, emphasizing one thing while letting other parts slide. For instance, many people love to worship but they neglect the study of the Word. Others study the Word but fail to put it into practice. Others are courageous in their faith but fail to do everything from the motivation of love. Paul's charge to the Corinthians is worth considering.
"Be on your guard." Paul is not warning us to look for demons under our bed and behind every bush. There were a lot of false teachings going around at the time, as there is today, and Paul wanted the believers to guard against these teachings. How do we do that? By knowing the Word of God; by relying on the Spirit to give us fuller revelation; by checking the five-fold ministers because no one is perfect. Do not just drink in the teaching and preaching. We all have the responsibility to check it out for ourselves. Be on your guard.
"Stand firm in the faith." Paul says "in the faith" and not "in faith". So stand firm in the foundation you have been taught. Stand firm in the knowledge and trust of Jesus Christ. Do not waiver in your hope. Do not let go of any of the promises that Jesus has given to us. Stand firm in your belief of the cross, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus. Do not let anyone knock you off your feet with an fine sounding argument because any of us can make anything sound good. Trust the Word. Trust the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
"Be men of courage." It takes courage to be a member of a rescue team, especially when people do not want to be rescued. It takes courage to face rejection and sometimes hatred. It takes courage to overcome our fears and to follow the direction of the Spirit. It takes courage to deny yourself for the sake of people who would rather spit on you. It takes courage to stand for what is right in society when all of society no longer sees wrong as being wrong. It takes courage to live for Jesus by living for others.
"Be strong." Does this not sound similar to the charge that Moses gave to Joshua, that God gave to Joshua and that Joshua in turn gave to the people?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
What is the source of our strength? The fact that we do not operate under our own will but the will of the Father. I can be strong because I do not work for myself but I am busy with my Father's work. That makes me strong in my conviction, in my faith, in my determination, in my perseverance and so on. Knowing that this work was not my idea but the will of the Father makes me strong and bold. And knowing that it is his work I am convinced he will provide for it, so there is no fear to weaken my strength.
"Do everything in love." As we understand from 1 Corinthians 13, this must be our motivation for everything we do. If it is not then whatever we do is a waist of our time and effort. Whatever has not been motivated by love will not stand the testing fires. It is the purpose of everything. "For God so loved the world ..." We can't serve out a sense of duty. We can't be kind because of obligations. We can't do good deeds because we were commanded to. We must first discover love which will become the source of motivation for everything we do for God and for others.
We will do well today if we consider these things and put forth our desire to live our life in this manner today. Not only will we do well but others around us will do well as the Spirit works through us to work the Father`s will. May we give him all the glory for what he will do with us in this day.