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What Bodily Resurrection Means for Our Work

1 corinthians on work May 10, 2021

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 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. (1 Corinthians 15:12-14)

Bodily resurrection was a big deal to Paul. So big that Paul dedicated the longest section in his letter to the Corinthians to this topic. 

Why does physical resurrection matter so much? Because without it, Paul says our faith is “useless.” And I would argue our work is as well.

Unfortunately, the false teaching Paul was combatting here is still alive and well. Today it appears in our caricatures of heaven as a glorified retirement home where disembodied souls float around doing nothing but relaxing and singing for all eternity. That false vision is a distortion of what theologians like Randy Alcorn call “the intermediate...

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Home Runs and Hard Work

1 corinthians on work May 03, 2021

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

In reading Paul’s letters, one thing about the Apostle jumps off the page to me: Paul worked incredibly hard. You can see this in today’s verse as well as 1 Corinthians 4:12, 2 Corinthians 6:5, Colossians 1:28-29, and 2 Thessalonians 3:8.

Why did Paul work so hard? Because as Paul makes clear in today’s passage, hard work is part of a believer’s reasonable response to the gospel. “[God’s] grace to me was not without effect,” Paul said. And so, he “worked harder than” all the other apostles.

Just like Paul, part of our response to the gospel is to work diligently on behalf of our Savior’s agenda. That’s why Paul commands us in Colossians 3:23 to follow his example and “work heartily as for the...

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Meet the Parents and the Dignity of Work

1 corinthians on work Apr 26, 2021

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

This morning’s short passage offers two startling truths.

First, while it’s natural to say that we are drafting an email, delivering a presentation, or waiting tables, it is actually God who is working through us. “In all of [us]…it is the same God at work” (verse 6). 

Second, because it is God who works through us, all work has dignity and meaning. This can be easy to forget in our culture which looks to work as the primary card in our never-ending game of one-upmanship.

A comical example of this is found in the movie Meet the Parents. Pam is introducing her fiance Greg to her family. First, she introduces Dr. Bob, followed by “the world-famous plastic surgeon,...

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Why Paul Refused to Be a “Full-Time Missionary”

1 corinthians on work Apr 19, 2021

In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast….To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:14-15, 22-23)

While the Apostle Paul’s work as a church planter is well-known, it’s easy to forget that he also chose to work as a tentmaker (see Acts 18:2-3).

Today’s passage makes this clear. Paul says he had every “right” to work as what we might call a “donor-supported missionary.” But he didn’t. Why? Paul chose to work as a tentmaker in order to “become all things to all people so that by...

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Will God consider your work “gold” or “hay”?

1 corinthians on work Apr 12, 2021

The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:8-15)

Today’s passage is one of the richest on the topic of...

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New Series: 1 Corinthians on Work

1 corinthians on work Apr 05, 2021

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

Have you ever felt less than “influential” at work? Or felt like you were “lowly” or lacked the right “noble” family or pedigree for your career? Have you ever lacked the wisdom you need to do the work God has called you to do? 

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The Ultimate Incentive for Your Work Today

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you….Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip….Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you...

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How Our Work Reveals Jesus’s Kingship

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11)

We’re in a four-week series exploring what Easter means for our work. Two weeks ago, we saw how Easter gives us an...

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Jesus’s Inauguration Day

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). (John 20:11-16)

Last week, we saw how Easter gives us an identity for our work. This week, we look at how Easter gives us a King to direct our...

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New Series: What Easter Means for Our Work

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)

Now more than ever, our culture tells us to look to our careers for our sense of self-worth and identity. This, of course, leads us to work out of a sense of fear rather than freedom. 

I don’t think anyone summarized this idea more honestly than Madonna when she said, “My drive in life comes from a fear of being mediocre. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being but then I feel I am still mediocre and...

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