Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Your Labor is not in Vain”
1 Corinthians 15:58, “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.”
1 Corinthians 15 is one of the grand chapters in the New Testament. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul expounds the glorious truth of the resurrection. As Paul states, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain … And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (vv. 14, 17). But the glorious truth is that ‘he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures’ (v. 4). Indeed Christ in his life, death, and resurrection, has inaugurated his kingdom; he has been raised as the ‘firstfruits’ of his people. His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection. The age of the resurrection, the last days, the messianic age, the age of the Spirit has come in Christ! Such a truth must impact how we live as believers. And indeed it does. Paul closes this majestic chapter with the following words: “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” (v. 58). There are a few items to note in this verse.
First, note the transition term, ‘therefore.’ In light of what Paul has just declared in chapter 15, something follows. Specifically, in light of Christ’s resurrection – in light of his victory over sin once and for all (“O death where is your victory, O death where is your sting”) – we are called to do something. His resurrection – inaugurating the last days and defeating sin, death, and the devil (Col 1:13; Heb 2:14-15) – must impact the life of his people.
Second, negatively, in light of Christ’s resurrection, we are not to be moved from our hope in the gospel (‘be steadfast, immovable’). We stand on the gospel of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection – and we must stand firm as good soldiers for Christ (2 Tim 2:3). Just as the world was seeking to move the Corinthians from the sure truth of the gospel, so the world today tries to move us from the sure foundation of the gospel. But we must stand firm!
Third, positively, we are to be ‘always abounding in the work of the Lord.’ Serving the Lord is not a part-time responsibility; it is a full-time job. There is no ‘day off’ in the Lord’s army. We are to serve him and to live for his glory all the days of our lives. How do we ‘serve him’? We spend time with him in prayer and in his word. We encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray for one another. We fight against sin. We live as salt and light. We share the good news of Christ with the lost. We actively serve in the local church. And on and on …
Finally, we labor with a firm assurance: “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Wonder of wonders that the Lord would use oor feeble efforts to advance his kingdom and purpose. Even the smallest ‘work’ for the Lord is not empty; but is pleasing in his eyes and used for his glory. The faithful prayer of a grandmother, the simple faith of a 5 year-old boy, the Bible reading of a tired, single mom, the leading in family worship of a busy father pulled in a hundred directions, or the humble, faithful testimony of the young professional … all pleasing to our Lord. Our believing is not in vain (1 Cor 15:2) and our labor for the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor 15:58). Stand firm dear friends!