Summary: Our main text today is I Corinthians 15:58. And in this verse Paul tells Christians what they need to do to overcome discouragement as they live for Christ, he tells them how to breakout, from the dungeons of despair.
"YES! IT’S WORTH IT"
TEXT: I CORINTHIANS 15:58
I am really excited about the study we will be doing together today. I was already to study another text with you this morning, BUT I was convicted, I believe by the Holy Spirit, of the need to share and study I Corinthians 15:58 with you.
Is anyone out there discouraged today (you don’t need to raise your hands). I am sure many of you are, and if you are not discouraged now, I am reasonably confident that many here have been in the past and many more will be discouraged in the future.
You know the more I study and read through the book of I Corinthians, the more I realize that this group of Christian men and women, that were serving the Lord in Corinth nearly 2000 years ago, had many reasons to be, more than just a little discouraged. They like other Christians throughout the years discovered that the Christian walk at times gets hard. Many members of this church, were no doubt tired and weary. Let me introduce you to a few of the men and women who were serving the Lord in Corinth.
But before I do, let me again emphasis the fact that when a person in the first century gave his life to Christ, they suffered in many ways right from the start. Many lost their jobs, their social standing, their homes and even their families. So within the church in Corinth you have people, real people like you and me, with hopes and dreams, who have given up a lot for the Lord, and have also found out that life isn’t always easy, that it isn’t always a bowl full of cherries.
Take Bill for example he had to give up a lot when he came to Christ and he did it willingly, he wasn’t looking for applause. But can you imagine how he felt when a brother in the Church took him to a Roman court and was now suing him before ungodly judges.
And then there is the Jones family, they were very poor but they came to Christ, and felt that in Christ they were as good as anyone. But lately at the agape feasts, that they have before Church (similar to a pot luck dinner) those with great wealth didn’t wait for them to get there (you see Mr. Jones works late). So the rich were eating all of the fine foods that they had brought and Mr. Jones and his family, when they finally got there, only had the small bowl of rice that they had brought. The rich made sure they had their fill and that they ate the best, but The Jones and the other poor families were going away hungry.
There was also a woman named Mary. She had been a prostitute, and she was given hope when she heard of the Love of Jesus for the women at the well. "maybe he will forgive me too? " she thought to herself. Later she repented of her wicked ways and gave her life to Jesus. And now, as Mary looks around the church, which was supposed to be different then the world she sees gross acts of sexual immorality, of kind that even those in the world she left behind would be ashamed of, and not only were the Church leaders not ashamed, BUT they were proud and they applauded what was taking place.
There were so many good and Godly people in the Church at Corinth who served the Lord faithfully, but all the quarreling, all the jealousy, all divisions, all the boasting and putting other people down was wearing upon them and it was beating them down and it was crushing their spirit. And they wondered many times with tears in their eyes, where is the Love? where is the fellowship?
From within the church body itself, they suffered tremendous hardship, and from without the Roman and Jewish persecution was pounding them everyday, it was making it hard to buy and it was making it hard to sell, and was beginning to make it hard for them even to feed their families. And now, The Apostle Paul is telling them that things are going to get worse, the persecution is going to grow, the fire is going to get much hotter. That the storm is on the horizon.
Without a doubt, many in the Church at Corinth were discouraged, they were tired, weary and worn, and they were wondering if the Christian life was worth it, "is really worth all the effort, all the sacrifice or should I just throw in the towel and quit". And the tides of discouragement came crashing in.
Times were tough for the Church in Corinth, Paul in his letter writes about real problems that were in a real Church, and real problems effect real people, and real people get discouraged! Maybe their names weren’t Bill or Mary, but nevertheless they were there, they were living and surviving through the hard times, problems crisis we read about, AND they were hurting, they were discouraged, and they were weary, and many times they just wanted to quit.