No Fear

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1 Corinthians 15:53-54 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Corinthians%2015:53-54&version=KJV

I don’t know why, but lately the subject of death has been on my mind. It seems that, almost daily, we read on Facebook or see on the evening news that someone has died. Those who have died no longer have a choice in if they accept Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation. But, there are other kinds of deaths as well. Death of a marriage or relationship. Death of a friendship. Business death. In First Corinthians 15, Paul is writing about death. In the ending verses of this chapter, he gives us several important points that we must understand.

 

One day, you and I will die. I hate the thought of that. I hate the thought of my loved ones facing it. Paul says, in verse 53, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” First off, I want you to notice the little word, “must.” You see it twice in these verses. Must means a requirement, or necessity. It is a requirement that the corruptible put on incorruption. It is a necessity that the mortal put on immortality. You see, Paul is telling us what must happen in death, or at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Second Coming, when we who are alive shall rise to meet Jesus in the air, and go to our Eternal home. Amen, I hope that day comes soon! Anyway, Paul is saying that at that time, the corruptible (you and me) must put on incorruption (something that is not perverted, cannot decay). Paul is saying that the mortal (you and me) must put on immortality (something that is unending). For us to gain our Heavenly home, we must do away with the body that is decayed and dissolving to death because of sin. We must be changed into something greater. But, what about now, right this minute? Paul gives us advice on what to do in the here and now.

 

Look with me at verse 58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Corinthians%2015:58&version=KJV

For the here and now, Paul teaches us what we must be doing while we wait on the return of the Lord, or till He takes us home. We must be steadfast. We must be fixed, firm, unwavering. We must maintain our labor, our work for the Lord. We must be firm in doing the things He has called each one of us to. We must be unmoveable. We must be permanent, we must be fixed in our work for the Lord. We must be abounding in His work. We must be constantly doing the work that God has called us to.

 

One day the Lord will return. One day we will all face death. But, let’s not be idle until that happens. Let’s be doing the things He has called us to do. What has God called you to do? Are you doing it?

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Willing To Lose

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Philippians 3:7-8 (KJV)

I like to watch game shows. They can be silly, they can be exciting, they can be frustrating. I’m certain that the games are all slanted so the show has to give out the minimum to keeep people watching. People go on these game shows with the hopes of winning an obscene amount of cash, a dream vacation, a luxury car, anything that will make their lives better. Yet, what if there was a game show that you would not win anything, but you’d lose everything? How many people would line up to play that game. But, if you think about it, that is exactly what we are called to do. Let me explain.

Paul was writing his testimony to the church at Philipi, and teaching them all his accomplishments in the flesh. Take a look at Philippians 3:4-6. That’s quite a list. Remember, before his conversion on the way to Damascus, Paul was a Pharisee. He knew the Old Testament Laws inside and out. Then, after listing all his accomplishments, Paul makes this statement, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” Wow! Paul had some great accomplishments, yet he counts them as loss for Christ. He takes it a step further in verse 8, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Paul puts his relationship with Jesus above anything else. Above any accomplishments, above any other goals, above anything that we would count as great. He says he “counts them but dung, that I may win Christ.” All his accomplishments he counts as dung.

Friends, Paul is teaching us an important principle. In Exodus 20:3 we read, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And in verse 5, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,” For many people, their pedigree is their god. Their accomplishments is their god. There is nothing wrong with the things Paul lists as his accomplishments. But there is something wrong with the things Paul lists as his accomplishments if those accomplishments are more important than God. Paul knew that God must have top place in his life, and he was willing to let go of anything that may take that place. How about you? Are you willing to let go of things to take hold of Jesus? For many people, that is too much to ask for. But for those who do, the best is yet to come. Are you willing to lose?

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Passionate Love

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”      -First Peter 4:8 KJV

If I were to ask you about your love for others, I’m certain that you’d respond by saying your love for others is strong. Most, if not all, of us would say that we really love other people. Do you really? It’s easy to love those who love us. You know, our family & friends. But, what about that annoying coworker who knows how to push your buttons? Or, that driver who doesn’t know how to drive the speed limit. What about that person who loves to spread gossip and has been telling family secrets to the church? Yeah, we all have those types in our lives. How is your love for them?

 

Peter teaches us that we must love. Not just any kind of love-he says a fervent love. According to dictionary.com, fervent means “having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit.” We must have an intense love for others, a great warmth, a genuine spirit of love towards others. In fact, it’s so important that Peter says this should be above all things. An intense love for others should be at the forefront of our lives. An intense love for others should be evidenced in your life. I know, I know, it’s easier to say we should have that kind of love for others, it’s another thing to actually display that kind of love. But we must, and I’ll post more about that in the next blog post.

Why is having this kind of love so important. Because, according to our verse, “charity covers the multitude of sins.” Think about it. When that annoying coworker starts pushing your buttons, the natural reaction is anger or gossip behind their back. If you show that intense love, you may find out that they are struggling to pay their bills and have no food in the refrigerator. That church gossip, you may find out that person is just lonely and wants someone to hang out with. The driver who can’t drive the speed limit? You may find out they are having car troubles and trying to get to a mechanic. You see, when we start to love people with a fervent love, we will keep from falling into sin. Sins like anger and rage.

Why not ask God, right now, who you need to show fervent love to?

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