I 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.”
Welcome everybody, if you’re fast, you can get there. We only have one verse. We’re going to be looking at this morning. If you’re quick enough to get to first Corinthians 15, I’ll meet you there, but I’m going to reading verse 58 of first Corinthians 15. As we focus on the greatest message that the church has to offer that Jesus Christ, the crucified savior has been risen from the grave.
He is risen. He is risen. Indeed. This is what we read that Paul tells us in the culminating verse, the first Corinthians chapter 15 verse 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. Let’s pray together.
Lord, we gather in this beautiful Easter Sunday morning, God, even as we were out at the sunrise service this morning and heard all the birds and just, uh, as Ryan said, just how. Beautiful. It was to be able to join with all creation in giving praise to your name, as we did through song and responding to your word Lord, we come today to worship.
We want to bow the knee to Jesus Christ. We want to learn about him. We want to adore him better because of the things you remind us of in the scriptures. And I pray that you would teach us to that in this morning in Jesus name. Amen. This verse begins with the word, therefore, my beloved brothers and my pastor of many years ago, Carlos, Gina used to always say, whenever you find it, it therefore in the scripture, find out what it’s therefore.
And so. We’re looking at a big, therefore right here, he is actually looking back at the first 57 verses of first Corinthians 15, the most thorough presentation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the scriptures. And he’s saying on the basis of all that, I’ve taught you about the resurrection of Jesus.
He says, be steadfast, be immovable. And so as we look at this, we are reminded that for the writers of the new Testament, the resurrection was not just theology. It was practical. It had remarkably important and inexhaustible ramifications. The ramification that Paul is highlighting this morning is that those who are God’s children can be steadfast any.
Because of the resurrection of Christ, which of course leads to a simple question. What does that mean? Be steadfast, immovable. I mean, the word steadfast actually means stand your ground. The word immovable means don’t be moved. So they both care the idea of, of holding your place. What place, I mean, what is the resurrection help us to, to hold our place in?
So we’re not swayed and swept along. What’s the spot that he’s talking about? Well, there’s only one other passage in the scripture that talks about this particular word that is used here. Be steadfast. And it is, it is used in first Peter 1 23. If we can just jump to that for a second. I know I switched order on your no, I’m sorry.
First Corinthians first. Burt is it Colassians I knew there was a one Colossians, 1 23, Colossians 1 23. Let nothing move you from the hope of the gospel. This is the sense he’s talking about. There is a hope that you have because of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, culminating in the resurrected work.
There is a hope that he says, and he says, don’t be moved from that. Stand in your hope. And in first Corinthians 15, he is giving the reasons that we have hope because of the resurrection that gives us stability and an ability to not be swept along. I have quoted lots of times from the Lord of the rings.
JRR Tolkien’s classic works. And one of my favorite scenes in the movie is a scene where Frodo and, and, um, Sam Gamgee are in the desolate, dark, broken world of more door, the land of darkness. And as they are there, they are on a quest that is far beyond themselves. And Sam is with Frodo at this time. And in this, if you can bring to that visual, there they are.
And as they are there, Sam turns the phone and he says, now you go to sleep first, Mr. Frodo, it’s getting dark again. I reckon this day is nearly over. Frodo ends up going to sleep. And as we look back at, uh, We see that he leaves Frodo and he goes up and he looks out of this desolate broken, scary place.
Mount doom is in the distance that the dark tower of the dark Lord is there. And it’s just a, uh, intimidating foreboding place of despondency. But as he’s looking out, this is what happens. The lamb seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or foot. The night sky was still dim and pale there peeping among the clouds above a dark tower.
High up in the mountains. Sam saw a white star twinkle for awhile. The beauty of it smote his heart. And he looked up out of the forsaken land and hope returned to him for like a shaft clear and cold. The thought pierced him that in the end, the shadow was only a small and passing thing. There was light and high beauty far beyond its.
Now for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the rambles and laid himself by Frodo side and putting away all fear. He cast himself into a deep and untroubled sleep for like a shaft clear and cold. The thought pierced him that in the end, the shadow was only a S a small and passing thing.
There was light and high beauty far beyond its reach. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is to his people that shaft of light shining in the darkness. It is the resurrection declares. There is hope in the midst of darkness in the midst of the most foreboding of life experiences in the most foreboding of lands, the resurrection of Jesus speaks to us that we can stand our ground.
That we can hold on to this, that we can be immovable. The hope that the good news of Jesus Christ gives you here in verse 58, is that we don’t need to lose hope stand firm, be immovable because of all the truth that is found in this resurrection, there are fearful futures that some of you are facing there’s conflict with people that you care about.
It casts a shadow there’s habits and addictions and destructive behaviors. Does losses does worry some forecasters reminders of your own failures. All of them Rob us of hope. As we feel in the Shadowlands of life. Paul is here presenting to us five reasons why the resurrection enables you to. Immovable steadfast with hope, even in the midst of those seasons of life, I’d like to look at those five things quickly.
The first one I’ll take the longest on because we find there are five reasons. First of all, because the resurrection of Jesus is real. If we look back in first Corinthians 15, we notice verse 20, this statement, but Christ has indeed been raised from the dead in the ESV version. It says, but Christ in fact, in reality has been raised from the dead many people.
I would guess a number here today of sorts who suddenly watching online, the resurrection, the idea of the resurrection is. It’s like a good moral story. The symbol of a fresh start, the idea of a new beginning of picture of a man standing against tyranny or good triumphing over evil. But there’s lots of fictional stories that, that do that for us right there.
Good moral tales. Most of the great tales of history, uh, the fables are a character that, that, that conquers things triumphs, but they look, but many individuals today would look at the resurrection with skepticism and its illness as if we think back in, in ancient times while they just, you know, they just accept fable as fact, but they were actually extremely skeptical.
Paul faced incredible cynicism. When you look at the book of acts, you see, he is constantly confronted in the Greco-Roman world with people who are questioning this reality because the primary message of the new Testament church. Was the resurrection of Jesus. They didn’t primarily talk about his death on the cross because the death, the cross was non-functional without the resurrection.
We’ll see why in a little bit. But the reality that these people went forth with was the resurrection it’s real years ago, there was a movie out of the three Amigos, Steve Martin, Martin, short Chevy chase. Some of you have watched it obviously, um, others of your shit. It’s a story of three guys. And the scene that I’m referring to is a scene where they’re actors and their act is to be these, these heroic, um, Uh, Cowboys that come in and rescue towns and they’re called into a town and they think they’re called in his actors and they think they’re on a movie set, but they’re actually with real bandits, real bad guys, mean bad guys.
And so they’re in the scene and they’re acting out their thing. And then they come up to these bandits who just are incredulous and, and there’s been noise and shooting in the air and everything. And while they’re doing their stuff and they’re trying to act like they’re in a real battle. And then they know it’s just an act.
All of a sudden, Steve Martin gets knocked off his horse and he’s lying on the ground. His friends run over to them and they look at him and they realize he got wounded by a real bullet. And he’s just overwhelmed. Fury and anger. And he goes up to these guys and they’re all sitting on a horses in front of him.
And as he faces a me, he looks at the guy that he, that he thinks shot him. And he says, let me see your gun. And the leader of the bandit says, so he lets him look at his gun and he pulls out and he goes, oh right. I’ll reel bullet. And then he says, you’re in a lot of trouble, buddy. And at this moment, he’s looking at the guy and the guy’s looking at him with this very ominous perspective.
He glances over at the Bandido leader who has a low chuckle to him. And you can see the lights are just going out as Steve Martin is sitting there thinking, oh my goodness. So he says, hold on just a minute. And he turns around, he goes back to his buddies and you remember the scene. And he says, he sorta croaks it up.
It’s real. It’s real. And they said, what, what he said, it’s real. We’re going to be killed Martin short Ray Chevy to, he says, what are we going to do in Martin short responses? What we’re sure not going to get paid that’s for sure. It’s real. I’m done them. I think a lot of people about the resurrection it’s, it’s cool.
It’s a set. I mean, we got the tool lips, we got the lilies, we, we got the whole thing, you know, empty tomb. We got the songs, but for those of us that have embraced Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord it’s real, it is the most real reality in our lives. He is risen. Indeed. In fact, this is what we have built our lives on ethic.
Paul says in his book, if, if he’s not risen where the biggest fools on earth, because we’re counting on and I want to highlight this because there’s certainly many of you here that are processing, you know, and they think, well, the religion thing, I am glad it works for some people or maybe even you’re attracted to, you know, things that seem to, I want you to know when we’re talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we really believe this man literally died and literally rose from the grave he is now living today.
Changing lives impacting people. Paul is saying here, if you are facing real trouble, real death, real calamity, real darkness, you need to embrace the facts. I’m talking about Henny. I received this idea of Jesus being raised from the dead. And he says, I received, and then I pass it onto another passage.
What do literally means? He says, I took it in, I took the data, I processed it and I’m passing it along because I’ve come to absolutely believe he is alive. And what he’s saying to us here is if we’re going to experience what he’s talking about in this passage, there is the dawning reality. Oh my goodness.
It’s real. The animal’s real that’s being used in, in the experience. It’s why Paul said I interviewed 500 people who were, uh, prepared for Fest eye witnesses. And gathered the data. It’s an interesting scene where he stands before a gripper. And as he stood before this, this king Agrippa, he argues with him and he’s presenting to them his case.
And in that scene, Paul says Jesus was raised from the dead. The lessor leader, a guy named Festus says this, Paul, your great learning has made you mad. Now Paul does not say, look, just, just go with me here. You know, just turn off your brain. You don’t really have to, I know this is impossible to really believe, but that’s not what he says.
He says, he turns to a gripper who is the king of the area. And he says, you know, these things are true. This is 15 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And he says here, you know, these things are. You can’t dispose of the evidence. You can’t produce a body. You can’t, you can’t get these witnesses.
We, why would they stand and testify about a dead guy with all they’ve lost because of that declaration? Why would they keep standing and saying it is true. You grew up a response, you know, he does not say there’s no net data to back you up, Paul. He doesn’t say there are no facts. We have his body. As a matter of fact, we have contrary testimonies.
No, he just says, well, pull your you’re trying to make me a Christian. He’s trying to deflect it. I want to just, I landed on this first point for a reason. I think it’s important that you know, whether you embrace it or not. That we really believe those of us, that name, the name of Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord, that all we’re talking about today, the hope is founded on the fact that we really believe that Jesus Christ is living and alive and is impacting our lives.
There’s a second thing he says, you can have hope because the resurrection means you can be free of your sins. Verse 17 of chapter 15. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile. You are still in your sins. And he’s saying not that you’re going to be apart from the existence of sins, but you’re going to be free of it.
Sentence at the penalty for sin has been paid by Jesus Christ on the cross. It was his statement, as we heard good Friday is one of the guys shared it’s finished was one of the things she’s a said. The word literally means the debt is paid. The resurrection is the proof that the payment worked. I’ve told this before.
I, I am, legendarily uncomfortable with papers in my pocket. I just, I don’t know what it is. Everybody has. You have your problems. I have mine and I just don’t like papers in my pocket. And it does not work well at Costco because at Costco, you go through the line and I love Costco and I go through the line of Costco and they give you the receipt and you have to hold onto that paper forever, all the way from the cash register to the door.
And I have on at least seven occasions done what I always do with papers. As soon as I see a trash, can I just dump it in and I get to the door. And so it’s, I have the option of going all the way back and getting them to give me another one, which at the desk, which they’re gracious. Or I can go back and be your pastor who is noticed to be diving into the trash can.
So on most occasions I go back, but that receipt is the proof that the payment has been made. And that’s why they let me leave. And they check it with the products that we have and it’s proof that they have been paid for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the proof at the payment that he made on the cross, where he died for sinners like you and I was enough, the price was fully paid that no matter what you’ve done, and there are things you’ve done that you don’t, maybe nobody knows, and you don’t want anybody to know, but God knows.
And he says, yeah, that was included. Yeah. That’s includes included what you did yesterday. It’s included where you’re going to do tomorrow. As a matter of fact, if you embrace me as your. Ultimately, he says, don’t let anything move. You be a movable in your hope, because the resurrection says you’ve been freed from your sins.
Number three, because the resurrection means a new era has begun in first Corinthians 15 verse 20 to 23. It says this, but Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. The first fruits of those who have fallen asleep for since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man for, as an Adam, all die.
So in Christ all will be made alive, but each in his turn Christ the first fruits, then when he comes, those who belong to him, he’s saying, Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection. There is a world coming that he’s the first fruits of the first fruit was the first thing taken out of the garden and taken out of the.
It’s the picture of what is coming. He’s saying the future of God has landed. It is the reality of what is coming. And Jesus resurrection has begun the, the, the, the arrival of that new era that will ultimately be what heaven and the new heavens and new earth is all about. We’ve been placed in a world that was designed to be lived with unselfishness, kindness, justice, and goodness.
We’re built to serve each other and to serve God and to enjoy each other as we enjoy God, but it is not how we live. Of course, self is most important. We find ourselves living out abberant lives. The world does not work as it should. Our lives don’t work as they should in the resurrection. A hole was punched in the walls of the.
And the shaft of light has begun to come in of this new era that Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruits of it will ultimately cut calm and produce a time of complete restoration and a cosmic garden of Eden. But he says for now the resurrection has begun its work in our lives. In the resurrection of Jesus.
The shaft of light is shining in, in darkness has come light in. Despair has come hope. Now it’s partial, but it’s real. God is bringing in the reality of the future into the present in the lives of those that embrace him as their savior is still scarred, still broken with sin. However, the new era is beginning to shine.
When you forgive others, it’s the light shining into a dark and world. When you have love with Jesus love when you have peace in the shadows, because you know, God is in control. When you find God to be the safest, most welcoming person in your life. And you long to have others know him in that same way, you’re allowing more and more of the light of this shaft of light to shine in and through your life.
And Paul is here reminding us you’re part of something, momentous, something you turn all the beachhead of God is expanding now in your generation. And if you’ve experienced Christ as your savior and Lord, he says that resurrected power is beginning to move incrementally. Two steps forward, sometimes three steps back.
It feels like, but it’s beginning to manifest. The first fruits is manifesting himself in this error.
And he says in light of that, let nothing move you because the resurrection guarantees a new era has begun through the work of Christ resurrection. The fourth thing, he says reason because the resurrection shows that death is defeated. He says this in verse 55 to 57, where oh, death is your victory, where O death is your sting.
The sting of death is sin. And the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, Aristotle called death. The thing to be feared because in his words, it appears to be the end of everything. Robert Green Ingersoll was one of America’s most outspoken agnostics at his brother’s funeral.
He had no words of hope. He said. Life has a narrow veil between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the Heights, Francoise rebel a was equally pessimistic. I’m going to the great, perhaps he said, but death is not just the end of everything. It is not just a narrow veil between Baron peaks or a or entrance into the great, perhaps Jesus has assured that there is life eternal, that there is hope beyond this world.
And he says, take hope in this, no matter how dark grim difficult things are when you get the medical response that is terrorizing to you, he says, remember, don’t be moved from your hope. The resurrection is real. The last thing he says, because the resurrection shows that your labor is. In vain. This is our verse.
Be beloved. 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. Some of you are weary in well-doing. Some of you are tired of trusting, tired of waiting, tired of fighting off the voices of condemnation, tempted, maybe moved into self-pity grumbling, envy.
We’ve all been there.
Jesus has says, Jesus is saying here we can be steadfast and immovable in the Lord. That means that we are trusting him to be in control, casting him on him, our burdens, believing that he is ready and Willy to take care of us. In the face of the cacophony of sounds that are speaking fearsome, frightening, proclaiming disaster and danger into our lives.
But our life live for Christ. He says in Christ with Christ is not vain. The power of the risen Christ guarantees it. There are many shadows in our lives, many frightening discouraging things in which the light and goodness seems to be hidden. Your life may feel like the barren broken desolate terrain of more door.
Life is dark and foreboding, but there is a living Jesus who conquered death and offers his resurrected power to rejuvenate your broken wiry existence. The resurrection gives us hope. Let’s pray, Lord, we come to you.
We love you, Lord, that you gave us your son. We love you, Jesus, that you chose to give yourself and Lord, as we reflect on hope, that gives us hope in the midst of the darkness of life. That gives us hope in the face of an unknown future. Our hearts are lifted to praise. So Lord, we do praise your name, your grace, your goodness.
You are the giver of hope in which we can stand in Jesus name. Amen.