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...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
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?