Phil Cox

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Stand firm in your faith - Part 2

12th June 2009

Towards the end of his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 15v51-58
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O 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.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

The start of this passage reminds us that Jesus will return to Earth. We - the church, His chosen people - will become imperishable - eternal. We will be changed, and we will know eternal victory through our faith in Jesus Christ. It's good to remember these things - every Christian should get excited reading these words!

And following these thrilling words, verse 58 says:

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

And it's this verse that I want to focus on this week. It tells us many important things.

Firstly, we are dear brothers. The Greek word translated here as "dear" is agapetoi, meaning "beloved". We are all important to God, and to His church.

Secondly, our reason to stand firm is the sure hope of glory for those who do so:

2 Thessalonians 2v13-15
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

Thirdly, we must let NOTHING move us from our devotion to God. Get a self-image of being immovable, whether by circumstances, or health, or poverty, or oppression, or worry, or family, or anything else.

Fourthly, all Christians should give themselves fully to God's work. It's not just for leaders, or for the young, or for the old, or for the fit, or for those with good marriages, or those we are not busy with the things of this life - it's for all of us to serve Him wholeheartedly.

Fifthly, nothing we do for God is wasted. It does us good, and it does this world good. It may not always feel like it, but every prayer you pray, every kind act you do, makes a difference.

Dear brother or sister, let's not waste our lives. There is nothing more important than the Kingdom of God, there is no-one more deserving of your service than the God who saved you. There is no more fulfilling life than a life devoted to Him, trusting Him and serving Him. And one day He will return, and will reward His faithful followers.

Every day, you will think of a reason why you can't stand firm today, why you can't give yourself to the Lord's service today. And every day we listen to those thoughts will be a wasted day. Choose to ignore those thoughts! Think instead about the vital importance of serving God, the eternal significance your prayers and deeds can have, the joy that comes to those who give themselves fully to Him, the need of millions of people - some very close to you - who need His gospel. Choose to make today a day when you put God first!