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Summary: The people of God’s church must be on guard against the ploys of Satan to discourage, divide, and defile, and thereby to hinder or halt the work of God.

Counsel For The Church

Text: 1 Cor.15: 58

Intro: In the 15th chapter of First Corinthians, Paul is seeking to prove the resurrection of the saints, using the resurrection of Christ as the foundation of proof. He points out that just as Christ arose from the grave with a glorified body, even so, every child of God, who experiences death before the return of Christ, will one day come forth from the grave with an eternal, glorified body.

But Paul did not leave his readers in the by and by. As we come to the last verse of this resurrection chapter, he encourages them to live in the here and now. He exhorts the Corinthian Christians to stand firm in the faith and keep serving the Lord. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that to simply sit and wait for the Rapture, or the resurrection of the dead is useless. One must be busy serving the Lord until that time.

The same thing is true of us today. As members of this church, we cannot and must not simply live for what God is going to do in the future. We must be living for the Lord in the very real present. We must do as Paul said: “…Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1 Cor.15: 58b).

As I view the condition of our church, I feel compelled to offer some words of caution. My purpose in doing so is that we might be encouraged to keep standing firm in the faith, that we might not be moved from our trust in God, and so that we might continue to serve the Lord Jesus until the day He returns to take us home. We must be faithfully serving the Lord; for Paul said, “…forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (v. 58c).

Theme: By way of offering caution, I want to say that:

I. WE MUST NOT ALLOW DISCOURAGEMENT TO DEFEAT US

A. Obstacles Sometimes Incite Discouragement.

1. The Israelites became discouraged about their provisions.

Ex.15: 23 “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”

Ex.16: 2 “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:

3b …for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

NOTE: [1] Folks, just because you find yourself in need doesn’t mean that God has forsaken you. God knew that His people were going to need water, food, and other necessities in the wilderness. But He permitted those things to become scarce for a time to teach the Israelites to trust God for their needs. God wanted His people to learn not to panic and fret over their needs, but to put their faith in God, and rest in His love and power to provide.

[2] Keep in mind that though the children of Israel had already witnessed God’s great power in delivering them from Egypt, and again when they walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, they still balked in unbelief every time a new problem arose. That sounds a lot like some Baptists. God engineered every situation the Israelites endured in the wilderness to teach them to rely upon His faithfulness. He actually permitted problems, so that He could reveal His power and provision. Moses related this idea to Israel, shortly before his death:

Deut.8: 2 “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

3 And he humbled thee, and suffered (allowed or permitted) thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.”

[3] George Mueller was a great man of faith. 2000 hungry orphans, in England, during the 1800’s, looked to him for all their needs. Though he was not a man of wealth, he was a man of prayer, as the following story reveals:

Always when needs were pressing, Mr. Mueller would call the staff together for prayer. And often, when getting off their knees, they would see dray wagons [drawn carts] backing up to the kitchen door, loaded with buns, bread, apples, cakes, potatoes, boxes of soap, sacks of peas, haunches [sides] of venison, rabbits and pheasants, and every other conceivable edible article.

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