“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain,” 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Do you know what today’s key verse follows? It is the end of 57 verses that speak of:
1) how the resurrection is essential to the gospel –
Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures,
4 that He was buried,
that He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Cephas,
then to the Twelve.
6 Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;
most of them are still alive,
but some have fallen asleep.
7 Then He appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one abnormally born,
He also appeared to me.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.
2) how the resurrection is essential to our faith
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
3) Christ’s resurrection guarantees ours
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death. 27 For God has put everything under His feet. But when it says “everything” is put under Him, it is obvious that He who puts everything under Him is the exception. 28 And when everything is subject to Christ, then the Son Himself will also be subject to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.
4) how resurrection is supported by Christian experience
29 Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I affirm by the pride in you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord: I die every day! 32 If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with only human hope, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Come to your senses and stop sinning, for some people are ignorant about God. I say this to your shame.
5) the nature of the resurrection body!
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?” 36 Foolish one! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow—you are not sowing the future body, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He wants, and to each of the seeds its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones. 41 There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; for one star differs from another star in splendor. 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead:
Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption;
43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory;
sown in weakness, raised in power;
44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.
47 The first man was from the earth
and made of dust;
the second man is from heaven.
48 Like the man made of dust,
so are those who are made of dust;
like the heavenly man,
so are those who are heavenly.
49 And just as we have borne
the image of the man made of dust,
we will also bear
the image of the heavenly man.
6) And lastly, the victorious resurrection we have to look forward to one day!
50 Brothers, I tell you this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption. 51 Listen! I am telling you a mystery:
We will not all fall asleep,
but we will 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 will be changed.
53 For this corruptible must be clothed
and this mortal must be clothed
54 When this corruptible is clothed
and this mortal is clothed
then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
55 Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?[b]
56 Now the sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” … and that “twinkling” isn’t even known by Jesus, so why would we think we could know the date(s) of that moment of victorious resurrection? But, if we truly believe the first 57 verses of 1 Corinthians 15 — not just in our minds, but we believe with our obedience to the “Lordship” of verse 58, then…..as my boss just sat here and said to me, “It will set the course of our life. In light of all that Scripture, verse 58 sums up what we are to be doing. We will be “always excelling in the Lord’s WORK. We will be working.”
God has a work that He wants to accomplish through your life.
But this will not be a work we’ll be able to do – solo. Honestly, the only thing I like solo is cups! But when it comes to carrying out the work of the Lord, it would scare me to death if I thought for a moment I’d be the only one at the table!
God’s “work“ for my life requires me, absolutely requires me, to lean in and trust and depend hard on Him and His provisions. His strength, His wisdom, His creativity, His guidance, and His power. This work will fail if I even slightly attempted it with even a smidgin’ of self anything. Self smarts, self skills, self talents, self plans, and especially self awareness. Even when my work is blogging, or parenting, or ironing or running my household … I realize I’m not alone – I do it all with the fellowship of the Trinity. The intimacy, the fellowship and the works of the Trinity is mine in every “work” God gives me to do. I literally am never ever alone, thanks to the company of the Godhead! Now, that gives a fresh perspective on every bloggers posts — every homemakers meals — every wife’s words — and every mother’s expressions.
God’s “work” for my life is also possessed – not by me, but possessed by the Creator of the work. He owns the work, not me … not you … not a friend, or family member. And because He owns the work, it is one created to display His glory and power. It is a work for His name sake, not ours. It’s also a work that, if I were to walk away from it, I would be fully aware of my deliberate decision to disobey Him.
I also know it’s a “work” from Him because of another very obvious reason – I will NOT be able to do it alone – relationally. I will need the fellowship of the Trinity, yes….but I will also need His people.
He is a relational God and His works require relational people.
Just know this —
If you’re the only one at the table of any work,
you’re at the wrong table.