Jim Stephenson preached a fantastic message on 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. The following is my interaction with God’s Word and Jim’s encouragement.
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.
Who are we?
We, like the Corinthians, are sinful practitioners. We continue to do that which is unlawful and displeasing, and we deserve nothing but God’s excommunication, condemnation, and damnation.
We, like the Corinthians, are victorious and beloved brothers; we are sinful saints. Great is the love and grace of God which has been bestowed upon us. Jesus is our representative law-keeper and wrath-receiver. He lived for us, and then he died for us. But then he rose again from the grave proving himself to be God’s accepted sacrifice and our risen and victorious Lord. Now, because of God’s compassion and work, we are family. And because of this truth, we shall one day hear the trumpet sound. On that glorious day, we will be raised from our sleep, receive our perfect and immortal bodies, and enjoy Christ’s victory over sin and death.
Who are we to be?
We, like the Corinthians, are to be steadfast or immovable. Because of our union with Christ, these adjectives apply to us, and we are to emulate them. We are to be those who firmly stand with conviction. We are to be like the old palm trees in Florida’s coastal regions. Because of their root structure, they majestically stand firm before, during, and after hurricanes. As Christians, this is our birthright and our practice. Because of God’s preservation, we persevere. We are those called to be unshaken and steady.
What are we to do?
We, like the Corinthians, are to be always abounding in the Lord’s work. We get to follow Christ’s model and lead and participate with him in worship and self-sacrifice. With Jesus and his Spirit, we get to be Good Priests and Good Samaritans. And what sorts of work will the Lord do through us; how will he fruit us? As brothers, we are those privileged to praise, intercede, evangelize, teach, show mercy, encourage, defend the broken, promote righteous government, and practice stewardship.
What are we to know?
We, like the Corinthians, are to know our labor — in the Lord — is not in vain. Our life has meaning. We and our labors have significance and lasting value. Our days are not futile. Yes, because we are branches attached to the vine, delightful fruit has been predestined and is being performed through, in, and with us. Because of this, today is not vain.