1. Thanks to the elders, congregation and preacher for the invitation.
(1) Extend greetings from Russ Thomas.
(2) Thankful for this lectureship and its theme – “Being Christians.”
(3) Last night's lesson = "Being light."
2. Text: 1 Cor. 15:50-58.
3. Regarding the text:
(1) Paul is concluding an entire chapter focused on the resurrection.
A. Declared (vv. -11).
B. Denied by some (v. 12).
C. Defended by Paul (vv. 13-34).
D. Described (35-49).
(2) Paul does so with one of the most memorable of all verses (v. 58).
A. Considering the reality of the resurrection here's the sum.
B. Since the resurrection is a reality, here's what it boils down to.
C. Since the resurrection is a reliatiy, "You should be motivated to live properly. If you are in Christ, you share the victory of Christ.
(3) Steadfastness is not something about which a Christian has a choice.
4. Paul instructs us that the resurrection should serve as the motivating force in certain attitudes and actions that are essential if we hope to maintain that balance and live faithfully.
I. ESSENTIAL ATTITUDES. A FAITHFUL BALANCED CHRISTIAN IS --
(1) Vines - "primarily denotes seated, hence steadfast; of moral fixity.
A. In context = "morally seated or fixed.
B. The thought = “stable in purpose, something that is not easily disturbed.”
C. Heb. 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”.
A. Cf. The balance we seek.
B. I believe the brotherhood (in far too many places and ways) is letting the Lord down here.
C. Rather than being morally fixed or seated ,in many circles we’ve been (and continue to be) tossed too and fro by every wind of doctrine.
a. Some seek new interpretations of age old Scripture to address contemporary concerns.
b. Nothing wrong with consulting God’s word for guidance in contemporary matters.
c. BUT – we need to stop interpreting the Bible in light of the difficulties we’ve created in our culture. Instead – correct our culture in light of what Scriptures teach.
D. We know that television & other media have moved us! Laughing at sin!
(3) Christians should be people of strong CONVICTION:
A. What convictions do you strongly hold? Influenced more by Bible or culture?
B. Cf. Abortion; Homosexuality; Fornication; Honesty; divorce; drinking; immodesty…
C. If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
2. Immoveable (KJV - Unmoveable).
(1) “Not to be moved from its place.” Metaphorically = firmly persistent.
(2) Seems to be saying same as steadfast, but emphasis is different.
A. Unshaken even in face of skepticism and attack!
(3) Illustration: Man placed sign in front of his market that read, “Fresh Fish For Sale Today!” One critic asked, “Why use the word fresh? Is some of your merchandise spoiled?” The man marked through the word fresh. Another critic asked, “Why do you use the word today? Will you sell less than fresh fish tomorrow?” The man marked through the word today. A third critic asked, “Why do you use the words For sale/ Everyone knows that you are in business to sell fish!” The man marked through the word for sale. So, the man marked through the words “for sale.” He was left with a sign that read – Fish! At last a man walked up and said, “Why do you use the word fish? Everyone can smell your merchandise a block away! The man marked through fish and displayed a sign with every word marked out.
A. When Christians seek to please men rather than God they mark through one conviction after another….
B. Pretty soon they have become little more than a shadow of what God wants!
(4) In light of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, in addition to conviction, God’s people are to avoid COMPROMISE.
A. Immovable in our purpose (Phil. 1:21).
B. Immovable in our progress (1 Cor. 4:6; 1 Jn. 1:7-8; Mt. 7:13-14).
C. Immovable in our pursuit of the NT pattern (Col. 3:17; 2 Jn. 9).
(5) As we live in this world, yet serve our Lord in heaven, Christians must seek balance, but not compromise (Rom. 12:9; 1 Pet. 2:11; Eph. 5;11).
(6) We shall not be , we shall not be moved!
3. God’s people should be steadfast / morally fixed and unmovable. People of CONVICTION who avoid COMPROMISE.
II. ESSENTIAL ACTION.
1. The Lord’s church was (1st century) and is supposed to be (present) a force to be reckoned with.
(1) People of energy, unafraid.
(2) People of direction, pushing forward.
(3) People with a reservoir to draw from unlike those who draw from a reservoir of filth and ungodliness.
A. Letting our lights shine in a way that our good works are seen and God is glorified (cf. Mt. 5:16).
B. Walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects… (Col. 1:10).
C. In all things showing ourselves to be an example of good deeds (Titus 2:7).
a. With purity of doctrine AND soundness of speech.
b. Our opponents are to be “put to shame” not having anything bad to say about us!
D. People purified and zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).
2. Christians are to be always abounding in the Lord’s work.
(1) Abound = “to exceed a fixed number of measure; to be left over; to overflow.”
A. This is the word used in Jn. 6:12 (5 loaves + 2 fishes fed 5000 with leftovers).
B. This is also the word used in Lk. 12:15 – (Priorities of life.)
(2) The overflow is to exist – always.
A. What is the point of saying “always abounding?”
B. Illustration: 3 men working as masons, laying brick. We ask the first, “What are you doing?” His answer = “I’m laying brick.” We ask the second the same question, and he responds, “I’m earning a decent living.” We ask the third, and he responds, “I’m building a home that will provide pleasures and warm memories to the family within. Difference = level of enthusiasm!
a. It was written of Jesus – “Zeal for Your house will consume me” (Jn. 2:17).
b. Jesus was zealous and obedient to the point of death (Phil. 2:8).
C. Christians are to have the “mind of Christ” – How is your overflow?
a. Not only is there work to do for all!
b. We are supposed to be fired up to do it! (Cf. Vince Lombardi – If you’re not filled with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.)
D. Are you and your congregation abounding (cf. budget time coming up).
3. Christians must direct their enthusiasm and involvement to the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain.
(1) Work – “that with which we are occupied” (Thayer).
(2) Labor – “toil resulting in weariness.”
A. I recognize my audience – I know that you are here (or at least appear to be).
B. However, I ask you as well those who are not – When was the last time you were really weary / physically worn out from your labors for the Lord?
(3) James 1:22 – “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
(4) Do your work well here, and you will hear Christ in the hereafter say, “Well done!”
1. In light of so many recent “corporate scandals” involving “cooked books” and “insider trading” we are painfully aware of the lack of “moral fixity” by CEO’s and even companies entrusted to audit accounts. Seems the reasoning is, “The company is in trouble, going down tubes – Me first and then every man for himself.”
2. As disappointing as it is, it is understandable?
(1) Would you work as diligently or ardently for a corp. or govt. about to topple?
(2) Would you desire to go to work for a corp. that just filed bankruptcy?
(3) Not much to be fixed on! No place to gain footing for stability.
3. However, for the called out of God the story is the antithesis!
(1) In light of the certainty of the heaven that awaits the faithful.
(2) In consideration of the permanence of the promises of God.
(3) In view of the certain past resurrection of Jesus and future res. of each of us desiring something more than death, decay and destruction – cf. 1 Cor. 15:50-58