Summary: Another in the series on the resurrection chapter... why the resurrection matters
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is NOT in vain.
On the afternoon of August 2, 1997, James Acliff, a 39 year-old unemployed construction worker, woke up in a precarious position. He was lying face down between the rails of a railroad track.
Acliff told police he “SLIPPED” on a rock while walking his dog and was KNOCKED out.
When he finally came too, he soon realized he was NOT ALONE – for passing over him was a 109-car freight train.
“I got one terrible headache, let me tell ya,” he later said from his Florida hospital bed. “About every 3 or 4 seconds an axle would come along and crack me upside the head. It’s a good thing I wasn’t on my back or that train would have ripped my face off!”
The Moral of the Story? There are CERTAIN places where a body can’t afford to fall asleep! Amen???
THIS is one of those places! The Church is one of those places.
Years ago, someone called the church – “a sleeping giant.” But it is my observation that we aren’t just drowsy – we are comatose! The church is incredibly complacent. Comfort and entertainment have become our chief concerns. We have no appetite for the things of God – no burning passion to do His Will – no willingness to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others! Satisfied with the “appearance of godliness” – callously standing by - as the world burns.
A. W. Tozer once said, “One of the greatest foes of the Church – is religious complacency. We have fallen to our present state of carnality from a lack of spiritual desire. Among the many who PROFESS faith in the Lord, scarcely one in a thousand possesses any real passion for God!”
You may find this ‘unfair.’ You might think I’m ‘too cynical’ for your taste. But show me where I am wrong. SHOW ME! Faith has been supplanted by the amount of money we have in the bank. Vision for the work of God is forfeited out of fear of personal sacrifice. Holy boldness has fallen victim to political correctness and the fear of being labeled ‘intolerant.’
We - ARE - asleep!
We have mistakenly assumed that our lack of numeric growth has been caused by being too conservative. We FEAR that taking a stand on holiness and truth will cost us our INFLUENCE. So, “the way back into the good graces of the world is to water-down doctrine – and present a vanilla Christianity that is less offensive and more entertaining and inclusive.”
But through our efforts to be less offensive to man, are WE becoming offensive to God? Modern Christianity stands on the precipice of irrelevance because we have moved away from the only message that can save a lost and dying world.
What will it take to jar us out of this slumber – this complacency? What will it take to reach our world for Christ? Paul’s answer??? The RESURRECTION. Everything we believe - everything we could ever HOPE to accomplish - is through that power that raised Christ from the dead.
Though the Corinthians were self-centered and worldly… the CURE for what ailed them was found in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though afraid of being labeled ‘radical,’ they forgot the resurrection IS radical. So in verse 58, Paul says, “Therefore (or, in light of this great doctrine of the resurrection) be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
In that brief statement, Paul shows us how the resurrection should shape our lives:
1. First, we see the Results of Resurrection Living in the first part of the verse when he says, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…”
IF we are convinced that the resurrection of Jesus is true… THEN it WILL produce three results in our lives according to Paul:
First, faith in the resurrection gives us a Settled Mind – that is what is implied by the word “steadfast.” It is the Greek word “He-drai-os” which literally means “being seated, settled, or firmly situated.” The fact that Jesus has defeated death ought to SETTLE some things for us. We don’t have to look for ways to “improve” the gospel or make Christianity more attractive. The Gospel wouldn't be the gospel without the resurrection. Jesus IS who He said He was… He MEANT what He said… His truth is for all people in every place – there ARE NO alternative routes to heaven.
It’s time we settle these things once and for all. Amen?
Have you made up YOUR mind yet? Over the years, lack of certainty about Christ and His Word has paralyzed the Church. Too often, Christians shrink away from the core truths of the Word of God when challenged by the world. It’s time we settle the issue once and for all. IF Jesus rose from the dead --- His Word is TRUE - - - GET OFF THE FENCE! You are never going to grow, until you settle the issue once and for all in your mind – Christ is Risen! Settle it!!!