Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NTDS (45): Stand Firm

1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. NIV

When you think of an object that stands firm, one that doesn’t move, what do you think of? A tree, whose roots are so deep and wide that only a bulldozer could get it out of the ground? Maybe a steel girder, sunk into twelve feet of solid concrete to be the support for a bridge? Possibly a skyscraper, built to sway with the shock waves of an earthquake, but not moving off of its foundation.

These would all be good pictures, illustrating physically what Paul is teaching us about spiritual matters. He is encouraging the Corinthians, as well as all of us, to not let anything move us from our position of trust in Christ for salvation.

Why would they or we need to be encouraged in this way? Because, as imperfect human beings, we are often easily be moved. Be honest, how many times in your Christian life have you been challenged about your beliefs and thought, “maybe they are right and I am wrong?” How often have you faced a trial and wondered if you could really live this “Christian life?” Maybe you have even given in and wandered from the faith.

Then I, along with the apostle Paul would say to you, stop, don’t move from your trust in Jesus. Stand firm in your faith. Now, neither of us would say that to you without good reason and Paul gives us that reason in verses 1-56 of chapter 15. He teaches the doctrine of the resurrection unto eternal life. It is a guarantee that there is life after the death of our physical bodies. He tells us that the resurrection of Jesus proves it. Not only that, but it also proves that He is the one that who has power over physical death. That single fact is so important to our faith, that Paul says if it were not so, then we might as well forget being a Christian and just go play golf instead (my paraphrase). 1 Cor 15:13-14 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

The proof of the resurrection of Jesus is so undeniably strong that every attempt to disprove it has failed. In fact, when people have set out to disprove the resurrection, it has sometimes resulted in them putting their faith in Christ, eg: Lee Strobel, author of the “Case For Christ” and Frank Morison, “Who Moved the Stone?”

Paul himself met the risen Jesus while he was persecuting Christians and his life was changed forever. He knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, the authenticity of the resurrection. He endured ridicule, persecution, beatings, imprisonment and eventually death because of his firm stand for Christ and the certainty of resurrection.

So he says to all of us, do not let the world sway you from your faith in Jesus Christ. Don’t let any hardship you may endure move you away from your relationship with Him. We already have victory over the worst thing that happens to us, death. If we have victory over death, what is there left to fear? Our physical bodies will change from ones that have suffered the consequences of sin, to imperishable, immortal, eternal bodies. What a glorious truth! What could be better than that?

Paul closes the chapter, with one more exhortation. 1 Cor 15:58
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Let us respond to this calling, standing firm in our faith, with joy in our hearts, being certain that we will live forever in the presence of the one who gave His life for us. Amen!

God bless you


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