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Your labour is not in vain!

1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-58
Imagine a life in which you had absolutely nothing to look forward to.
Some in Corinth were teaching that Christians had nothing to look forward to, no resurrection.
In our passage, Paul corrected them, telling them that when Jesus comes, we will receive a body just like His: one that is spiritual, powerful, incorruptible and immortal.
Focus verse:
1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
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.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Sometimes, we can feel that the sacrifices we make for the Lord are a waste of time.
But our future participation in the resurrection will make all our labour for the Lord more than worth it!
Note: We can only look forward to the resurrection if we are labouring!
What is labour? It is hard work. It is the opposite of laziness.
Proverbs 6:6–11 NKJV
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
God’s grace doesn’t produce laziness, it produces hard workers:
Grace doesn’t produce laziness, it produces hard workers:
1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
We are not saved by our works, but true faith is always accompanied by works:
We are not saved by our works, but true faith is always accompanied by works:
James 2:17 NKJV
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
This presents us with the question: are you labouring for the Lord?
There are different types of labour...

Labour of love

Hebrews 6:10 NKJV
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Labour of Love

The labour of love is when we minister to one another.
Notice what we do to each other we do to His name (“you have shown toward His name”).
Whilst we are called to love all people, we are especially called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ:
John 13:35 NKJV
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Galatians 6:10 NKJV
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Labour of giving

Ephesians 4:28 NKJV
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
This labour of giving also extends to giving to God’s house - the church.
In the days of Haggai the prophet, the temple needed to be worked on...
Haggai 1:3–11 NKJV
3 Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 6 “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
The lesson was simple: God wasn’t blessing the labour of their hands, because they lacked in the labour of giving to Him!
Giving to God is an essential part of our labour. He has given so much to us, we should be more than happy to give back to Him.
Giving to God is an essential part of our labour. He has given so much to us, we should be more than happy to give back to Him.
God commanded His people that they were to support His work by giving a tithe (i.e. tenth) so that His house could be looked after.
Jesus commanded that the tithe must not be neglected:
Matthew 23:23 NKJV
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Matthew 23
Note: tithing must not be left “undone” according to Jesus. If we claim to follow Jesus, we must take these words seriously and get involved in the labour of giving by tithing to the church we are part of.

Labour of

Labour of service

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Labour of witness

The task of showing Jesus to people wherever we go...
Acts 1:8 NKJV
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Labour of prayer

Colossians 4:12 NKJV
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Note: “laboring fervently for you”. Prayer is hard work!
When Elijah prayed for the 3.5 year drought to end...
1 Kings 18:42 NKJV
42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees,
1 Kings 18:
1 Kings 18:41–45 NKJV
41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” 45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.
Note his posture: he bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees. We are not told why, but to me it seems that he meant business!
Note: seven times. Sometimes God answers prayer immediately… at other times He doesn’t. But God’s timing is best.
We need to persist in prayer.
We must labour in persistent prayer for each other
Ephesians 6:18 NKJV
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
We must partner with God in praying for His will to be done on earth...
We must persistently pray for our nation’s leaders to rule with wisdom and righteousness...
1 Timothy 2:1–2 NKJV
1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
1 tim 2:
We must partner with God in persistently praying for His will to be done on earth...
We must partner with God in praying for His will to be done on earth...
Matthew 6:9–10 NKJV
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Conclusion

Let us ensure that we continue to labour in love, giving, service, witness and prayer.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
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.
Amen.

Discussion / Prayer

What stuck out to you from today’s message?
In groups of 4-5, discuss: what stuck out to you from today’s message?
Listen to each other’s prayer requests, and spend some time praying for each other.
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