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
Paul’s letter to the people at Corinth was an exhortation to remain steadfast. The church in Corinth was an undisciplined church, and he was letting them know that even though the culture around them was in flux, their faith in Jesus Christ needed to remain focused and sure. It is true for us today also. How can we remain steadfast in our faith and avoid the pressures of this ever-changing world? By devoting time each day to the study of God’s Word.
As we read the Bible and immerse ourselves in God’s truth and character, our lives are changed—we become more like Him. God’s Word is a powerful litmus test for our souls and actions. As our lives center on God, giving priority to hearing His voice and reading His Word, we become bolder in sharing our faith.
Joshua had the confidence and courage to lead God’s people into the Promised Land because He believed in God’s promise and presence. We serve the same God who said: “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
You can place your steadfast trust in Him.
When we find a man meditating on the words of God, my friends, that man is full of boldness and is successful. Dwight L. Moody
The Mystery of Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)
You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14
In the summer of 2015, a group from our church was sobered by what we saw in Mathare, one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya. We visited a school with dirt floors, rusting metal walls, and wooden benches. But against the backdrop of extremely humble surroundings, one person stood out.
Her name was Brilliant, and the name couldn’t have fit her better. She was an elementary school teacher who possessed joy and determination that matched her mission. Colorfully dressed, her appearance and the joy with which she instructed and encouraged the children were stunning.
The bright light Brilliant brought to her surroundings resembles the way Christians in Philippi were to be positioned in their world when Paul wrote to them in the first century. Against the background of a spiritually needy world, believers in the Lord Jesus were to shine “like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15). Our assignment hasn’t changed. Bright lights are needed everywhere! How encouraging it is to know that through the One “who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (v. 13) believers in Jesus can sparkle in ways that fit Jesus’s description of those who follow Him. To us He still says, “You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14–16).
How can you reveal the light of Christ to others? What can you do to bring His joy to those who desperately need it?
Churches are filled with believers who have a go-go-go attitude. Serve in this way! Go on that mission! Teach a class! Lead worship! These are good things, but the activity of doing can overshadow the power of being and get us off track.
Today’s passage offers a perfect picture of this “doing versus being” dichotomy, as it reveals Martha and Mary’s unique responses to Jesus’ visit. We immediately see that Martha is the doer. She runs around, cleaning, making the meal, and operating in a whirlwind of activity. Mary, however, is more concerned with simply being—she wants to be near Jesus and absorb every moment of His presence.
Neither sister was necessarily wrong in her response. Martha is often looked down upon in this scene, but the truth is, her heart was in the right place in wanting to meet the needs of her Master. She was going about the ministry, while Mary was engaged in worship.
In His rebuke of Martha in Luke 10:41-42, Jesus never said Martha was wrong for what she was doing; He said only that her busyness wasn’t the best thing at the moment. This interaction is a message for the church, as the Lord calls us first to honor Him. Only then—once we are fueled by His Spirit and an intimate encounter with God—are we best prepared to go about the activity of ministry.
The church needs both Marthas and Marys. Thinking about whom you identify with more, ask, Do I keep an intimate relationship with God in the midst of my activity? Do I allow private worship to fuel my ministry fire?
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)
Although most Christians are aware of the biblical doctrine of angels, few appreciate what a tremendous resource this may be. Even though they are invisible to us, angels are real, and are more involved in our personal lives than we realize.
The primary purpose for which they were created by God was, according to our text, to be servants (i.e., “ministers”) to those who are to inherit salvation. They are beings of great wisdom, “to know all things that are in the earth” (2 Samuel 14:20). Furthermore, they “excel in strength” (Psalm 103:20). They can travel at tremendous speeds, “being caused to fly swiftly” (Daniel 9:21). Furthermore, there exists “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), so God is able to dispatch any necessary number of them to “do his commandments” (Psalm 103:20) on behalf of His people.
Since their very existence is related to the heirs of salvation, they are intensely interested in all of God’s plans and in our own individual roles in those plans—“which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). They serve as guardian angels (Psalm 34:7; 91:11), especially in relation to children (Matthew 18:10). They are present in each local church (Revelation 2:1; etc.) and, while they minister to the church, they also themselves learn “by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). They are directly involved in the accomplishment of many providential miracles such as Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:22). Finally, they accompany each believer at death into the presence of the Lord (Luke 16:22; 2 Corinthians 5:8).
Perhaps, in that day, we’ll meet the particular angels who have been assigned to our own protection and guidance and can thank them properly. HMM
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
What a great responsibility God has laid upon us preachers of His gospel and teachers of His Word. In that future day when God’s wrath is poured out, how are we going to answer? How am I going to answer? I fear there is much we are doing in the name of the Christian church that is wood, hay and stubble destined to be burned up in God’s refining fire. A day is coming when I and my fellow ministers must give account of our stewardship:
What kind of a gospel did we preach?
Did we make it plain that men and women who are apart from Christ Jesus are lost?
Did we counsel them to repent and believe?
Did we tell them of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit?
Did we warn them of the wrath of the Lamb—the crucified, resurrected, outraged Lamb of God?
With that kind of accounting yet to come, the question John hears from the human objects of God’s wrath is especially significant: “Who shall be able to stand?” (6:17). Who indeed? JIV108
Lord, how am I going to answer?
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearty to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.—Colossians 3:15 (R. V.).
May faith, deep rooted in the soul,
Subdue our flesh, our minds control,
May guile depart, and discord cease,
And all within be joy and peace.
The repose, the quiet balanced rest which marks our Lord’s perfected life, is intended to grow more and more steadfast in those who are truly His; not the repose of indolence, not the calm arising from absence of trial and lack of temptation, a mere accidental freedom from inward struggle or difficulty, but the repose which lives in the conquest of passion, in the crucifixion of self, in a subdued will, in the reconciliation of every thought with a perfected obedience, as the whole inner being, entranced in God, yields itself in delighted harmony with His perfect mind. Such repose is attained through the continual progress of a life of grace, as it gradually overcomes the restlessness of nature, the excitements of self, the disturbance of temper or passion, the fruitless impatience of the will.
T. T. Carter.
Peace, when “ruling” the heart and “ruling” the mind, opens in both every avenue of joy.
Sarah W. Stephen.
“I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee.” Acts 18:10
So long as the Lord had work for Paul to do in Corinth, the fury of the mob was restrained. The Jews opposed themselves and blasphemed; but they could neither stop the preaching of the gospel, nor the conversion of the hearers. God has power over the most violent minds. He makes the wrath of man to praise Him when it breaks forth, but He still more displays His goodness when He restrains it; and He can restrain it. “By the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone, till thy people pass over, O Lord.”
Do not, therefore, feel any fear of man when you know that you are doing your duty. Go straight on, as Jesus would have done, and those who oppose shall be as a bruised reed and as smoking flax. Many a time men have had cause to fear because they were themselves afraid; but a dauntless faith in God brushes fear aside like the cobwebs in a giant’s path. No man can harm us unless the Lord permits. He who makes the devil himself to flee at a word, can certainly control the devil’s agents. Maybe they are already more afraid of you than you are of them. Therefore, go forward, and where you looked to meet with foes you will find friends.