Posts Tagged ‘I Corinthians’

Our Labor in Christ

August 26, 2013

Here are the notes from 8/25/13.

I.  The Crucified Christ:  I Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Some people want to be able to reason their way into believing.  God has ordained that we cannot know God through reason.  Reason can serve faith, but it cannot produce faith.  Other people want to physically demonstrate the reality of God’s existence, but God exists outside of the material realm, therefore empirical proofs do not work.  God has established our existence in such a way that we must come into a relationship with Him on His terms.  He requires faith, and faith not in a generic god, but in the crucified Christ.

II.  Christ the Foundation:  I Corinthians 3:6-15

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Christ is the foundation.  The starting point of our faith and our lives.  Our lives are to be spent in service to God.  “Only one life, will soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last.”  I am not sure where I first heard that saying, but it is a good saying.  It does not mean that we can never have a moment of rest or relaxation, but it certainly does imply that we should carefully consider how we use the resources of our life in serving God.

I also appreciate the realization that it is God who gives the increase.  We are responsible to do our part.  God is responsible for the results.  We are called to be faithful servants.  We do not have to measure our success in the same way that the world would measure us.

III.  Our Hope in Christ:  I Corinthians 15:50-54

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Our greatest hope is not in this life, but in the life to come.  If God blesses us in this life, then we should take to heart “to whom much is given, much will be required”.  We are to be good stewards of all that God gives to us, recognizing that our true reward is not in the things of this world, but the promise of the life to come.

IV.  Our Labor for Christ: I Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Our labor for Christ is not in vain.  Sometimes we may become discouraged because we do not see the fruit of our labor.  It may seem as if nothing is happening in our work for Christ.  We can take heart, even if we are not seeing the results with our own eyes, that our labor is not in vain.

Be steadfast, don’t give up.  Continue your work for Christ.  It is not in vain.