#703. GIVE YOURSELVES FULLY (2/11/22)
On Sunday, we continued with our series in 1 Corinthians. This week's devotionals are based upon Paul’s teaching on the resurrection body from 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.
‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Summary: Knowing and 'standing on' the truth of Jesus' return and our future resurrection frees us to live for God's work - the only work of any true value!
As we approach Christmas, most of us are feeling the need to get various things prepared. Any big event or celebration inspires preparation. The preparation reveals the value that we place of the event. So too with the coming of Christ; God wants us to be inspired in such a way that we prepare for His return our future resurrection.
Our hope is not designed to create complacency. True understanding of resurrection will result in giving ourselves ‘fully to the work of the Lord’. This is because resurrection power is at work in us right now. If we’ve received Christ, if we are children of God, we are becoming like Him in this life. Yes, at the resurrection we will be perfected and glorious, however, that perfection and glory must be seen in us now! This is why John could write:
‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.’ (1 John 3:2-3)
WHAT IS THE WORK OF THE LORD?
Here are three examples of things that are the kinds of work that we are to abound in.
i. GIVE YOURSELF FULLY TO BUILDING THE CHURCH
Firstly, this is about ‘Abounding’ in the work of the Lord in building His church. Loving the church and using our gifts to build her up is a main theme of this book. ‘Give yourself fully’ is same word as ‘excel’ in 14:12 regarding using our gifts to build the church:
“So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)
Response: How is are your heart and hands being employed in building the church?
i. GIVE YOURSELF FULLY TO MISSION
The work of the Lord in being a missionary in the place God has put you. It’s ‘not in vain’. God is pleased. God will save people as we prayerfully seek to share our hope with others.
Response: How can you abound in being a missionary in your community?
ii. GIVE YOURSELF FULLY TO USE YOUR INFLUENCE FOR GOOD
The work of the Lord in ‘being salt and light’. This is wisely seeking to challenge evil and encourage goodness.
Response: How can you use your influence for good?
Radical devotion to God’s work is always the result of the revelation of our hope in Christ. This radical response comes about when anyone truly understands their hope of Jesus’ return and their resurrection. This hope frees us from living for this life alone. We are given an eternal vision by which we are enabled to invest ourselves in things of true, eternal worth. The only things of true, eternal worth are God’s work.
YOU MIGHT FIND THIS SONG INSPIRING ON THIS WEEK'S SUBJECT:
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
TRUE HOPE LEADS TO WORTHY LIVING
On Sunday, we continued with our series in 1 Corinthians, looking at Paul’s teaching on the resurrection body from 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. In this study, we only have time to consider a few ideas.
Please read the whole of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
1. THE RESURRECTION BODY
‘So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.’ (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
What will our bodies be like when they are raised? In summary, we can simply say that they will be like Jesus’ body after His resurrection. Paul uses three contrasts here which tell us a great deal:
i. Perishable to imperishable - This, in essence, means that our bodies will become immortal. Our current existents involves birth, ageing and death; in our future existence, we will never decline. (See also 15:53–55).
ii. Dishonour to glory - Our bodies lack honour in that they are fallen. Sin has corrupted them. The glory of God is defiled in us. Our bodies have appetites that are against the Spirit. We were made in God’s image but we now ‘fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) in our all aspects of our lives including our bodies. When we are raise, we will be glorious. Our whole being, including our bodies, will be restored to the image of God. Our bodies will bring glory to Jesus.
iii. Weakness to power - ‘Weakness’ (astheneia) refers to frailty, illness and suffering. In this age, our bodies are weak and subject to illness. Paul likens our bodies to ‘jars of clay’ that are ‘outwardly wasting away (2 Corinthians 4:7, 16). In that day - When Jesus comes - we will be ‘raised in power’. Our bodies will have new strength and capability. No longer will we be subject to sickness or weakness.
iv. Natural to spiritual - ‘Natural’ means that which is natural to all people. the term ‘natural body’ is a summation of the previous terms; the natural body is fallen and so is perishable, dishonoured and weak. All of us are in this condition by nature. However, when Christ comes and we are raised up, our bodies will be ‘spiritual’. This is not about our being ghostly our lacking substance. Rather, this is a summary of our being perfected by the Spirit at our resurrection (See Romans 8:11).
2. GIVE YOURSELVES FULLY TO THE WORK OF THE LORD
’Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)
The title of Sunday’s message was: ‘TRUE HOPE LEADS TO WORTHY LIVING’. Paul finishes this section with application. A true grasp of our future hope will lead to 'giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord'. The work of building the local church, sharing the gospel and being ‘salt and light’ in our communities will flow out of true hope. Hope of future resurrection causes us to live for things of eternal worth rather than for the things of this passing era.
i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii. What about our future resurrection do you feel most excited about?
iii. Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. Why does true hope lead to worthy living?
iv. What is the ‘work of the Lord’ that we should give ourselves to?
SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?
SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?
SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.