Risen Not in Vain

1 Corinthians 15:50–58

Posted by Jared Millican on April 21, 2024
Risen Not in Vain
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Main Idea: The resurrection fits us for the Kingdom and for a life of meaningful labor.

  1. The necessity of the resurrection for the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 15:50-51a, 53)
  2. The nature of Kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:52, 54-57)
  3. The Christian’s meaningful labor (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • Automated Transcription
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    We are in First Corinthians 15. Near the end of the book here, um, if you haven't been with us, either in the last couple of weeks or really the last couple of months. So we'll be going through the book of First Corinthians. And chapter 15 has been a huge emphasis on the resurrection. Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but a little bit more specifically the resurrection of the saints who had been purchased by by His blood. It's been an explanation of the implications of the resurrection. It's been a defense for the resurrection. And to this morning, we get to wrap up that chapter and we get to learn about what is our hope, the kingdom because of the resurrection, and what does it mean for us today? Um, so we're in First Corinthians 15, please stand for the reading of God's Word. We'll start in verse 50. Before I read it, I'll give you the main idea. I think as we read it, you'll see why this main idea fits. The main idea is the resurrection fits us, for the kingdom, and for a life of meaningful labor. The resurrection fits us for the kingdom, and for life of meaningful labor. First Corinthians 15, starting in verse 50. I tell you, this brothers, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable, perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that his written, Death is swallowed up in victory, oh Death, where is your victory? or death? where is your sting? The sting of death is sin. The power of sin is the law. That just means the reason that happens is because sin happens. And the reason sin is called sin is because the law calls it sin. Verse 57, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. There therefore, my beloved brothers, brothers and sisters, Faith Bible Church, therefore, be steadfast, be unmovable always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain. This is the word of the Lord. We pray and then we'll get into this passage.

    God, we are amazed at what you have in store for us. We were amazed at how merciful and gracious you've been.

    We're amazed that you hold such promises. For us we were amazed at your power. We're amazed at your your rule your kingship. We're amazed at how good you are and not only to us in the future, but now how good you are to us now and how how kind you are to provide for us daily how kind you are to give us hope for day to day living. God we acknowledge that often we think a lot more about ourselves and we do about you than we think about what you've called us to learn. I pray that this morning if we are compelled to further obedience if we are compelled to greater sacrifice, that it would be because of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ, that we will be motivated by his power motivated by the promises he has given us that you have given us in him. us this passage to change us for Your glory for the good of this church for the good of the elect in the world and this city and our neighborhoods and the workplaces and our families. Use us for your purposes we pray. Amen. May be seated

    well the quirky, edgy borderline obnoxious, but brilliant, I will say talk show host of a podcast a show called wretched radio, has been quoted by a handful of my friends on social media this week. His name is Todd Friel. He's an apologist brilliant man. He argues for the faith. Thought Phil of wretched radio said this week, if you're constantly getting into theological brouhaha because you are not a defender of the face. You are immature. If you're constantly getting in to theological brouhaha, as you are not a defender of the faith, but you're immature, what's a brouhaha? new type of coffee? No, it's not. Really, it's just an excited critical kind of fussy reaction to something that's a brouhaha. So you can see where he's coming from with a comment like that, I'm sure essentially, if you're fussing and getting worked up about everything, you've probably lost sight of what is most important, most critical, most essential, most foundational, you're wasting your energies on just just for the sake of argument rather than for the sake of truth and edification and love and the glory of Christ. That could be the case. But let me remind you, brothers and sisters this morning, and as we've participated in the last few weeks in a spelunking through the deep water caves of the resurrection, that Paul has wasted no energy, Paul has misplaced no energy as he has taught about the resurrection of the credit of Christ and of the saints. He wasted no energy and penning these words to the Corinthian church. We waste no energy and studying and figuring out why it matters for us today. If there's a topic that you make a fool of yourself over, it's the resurrection. If there's a topic that you get worked up about, that you get in a brouhaha about it's the resurrection. And part of what we'll see this morning is it's not only the resurrection of Jesus Christ that matters, though we know for sure that that is the most important foundation of our faith. But you better believe that your physical resurrection, your physical resurrection is important as well, it matters if it's not true. If it's not true that we will be resurrected one day, then we can say goodbye to ever seen the kingdom of God. Not because we held an improper theological position on the resurrection. But because without the resurrected Christ, there is no kingdom and without resurrected Christians, they're one there's no one fit to fill that kingdom. The only way we enter the kingdom of the resurrected Christ is if we enter through the gate of the resurrection after him. New heart and soul arrayed in the righteousness of Christ fit for the holiness of God, new body and flesh, reconditioned to eternal design fit for endless activity with God. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of the resurrected. And stating that by way of introduction, I simply am trying to tie in what Dan preached last week to the first verse of our passage this morning. Look again at verse 15. It says it right there flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God the perishable cannot inherit the imperishable. Let's spin that a little more positively. And I'll do that by just answering a question that someone asked this week. This week in our Gonzaga Bible study that meets every Monday nights a newcomer was there. He's an unbeliever. He's curious, he's been there two times now he's very respectful, humble Inquirer of the Bible and of what we believe. And during the time where it kind of the guys and gals split out, the guys went down to the basement and this young man very kindly, very honestly, very humbly, asks this question as we're talking about the implications of the gospel. He says, Can you guys tell me? Again, he's not being critical. I mean, He's genuinely curious. Can you guys tell me what you get out of talking about all of this? Like, like, what benefit did you get? How does it improve your life and puts me on the spot? This is a kind of a wide range question to try to try to answer but I remember thinking benefit. That's an interesting way to put it benefit, like return on my efforts. Is that what he means? I'm trying to figure out how to answer this best like emotional feeling. Is that what he means? Is this something that I do on a weekly basis with these students just for an emotional pick me up? Is that why we do this? Those feelings are there. For sure the joy and the thankfulness and all of that and fellowship over over God's word, it's there. However, I couldn't help but more importantly, think of The first thing is the first question of the new city catechism that asks what is our only hope and life and death? What is our only hope? In life and death? The kids answer to that question that my kids and I and Claire sitting at the dinner table as we go through the New City had a new city catechism questions. This is one of their favorite ones. The kids answer to that is that we are not our own. But we belong to God, our greatest hope in life and death is that I don't belong to myself, I belong to God, and life and death. The more thorough grownup answer to that question is this that we are not our own, but belonged body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior, Jesus Christ. So what did we tell that young men and our group? Why do we talk about these things? Because it means everything to us. This is our only hope and life and death, absolutely. Nothing else matters more than the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is our only hope, and life and death. And we might be quick to accept that Christ's purchase our souls that's a little bit easier to understand maybe for the you know, the eternal implications that has, we can understand why it matters that he purchased our souls for the sake of eternal security and things like that, but But Christ purchased your body also. Christ, you belong to Christ, Christ purchased your your body, your life and what you do with it. Do we think then, when Jesus brings about the future kingdom, that he will be content to only gather half of what he purchased, only our souls? Do we think then, in our present life, that he is content to store away the blueprints of our future body, only for the future? I don't think so. We are his body and soul now and in the future. And we learned in this passage this morning that His merciful Labor's to purchase you for future glory, they were not in vain. They were not empty, they were not meaningless. And the way he proves us now, one of the ways he proves us now is by sovereignly, guaranteeing that your labors in this life Christian faith Bible Church, your labors in this life, in his name are not in vain, either. Which calls us back to our main idea. The resurrection fits us for the kingdom, and a life of meaningful labor. Let's see how our passage proves that point. Let's look first at the necessity of the resurrection for the kingdom of God. That's our first point, the necessity of the resurrection. For the kingdom of God. We'll kind of jump from verse 50, and the beginning of 51 over to verse 53, just to kind of show the necessity of the resurrection for the kingdom of God. Okay, so how can we understand that the resurrection is necessary for God's kingdom? Well, first of all recognize Paul isn't just saying, I really liked the idea of a resurrection. Kind of how like, media in our culture really thinks the idea of zombies is interesting. That's all Paul's doing here. He's not saying I really like the idea of resurrection. So I'm going to do a theological contortion thing I'm gonna be a theological contortionist to to prove my point. He's not doing that here. No, Paul is putting everything on the line. He's risking sounding crazy. Do you realize Kristen how weird we are? Do you realize how strange we are? That we believe in a literal, physical, actual time in place, bodily resurrection of the dead? That's weird. But it's true. But when we understand like, Paul, what God's Kingdom plans have always been, you see, Paul isn't bending and twisting theology to fit his philosophy or his fantasy. All he's doing is saying, look, the resurrection has to happen, or God's plans and his promises fail. And that's, that's simply not possible.

    In reference to a handful of Old Testament and a couple Old Testament, Kingdom related and Resurrection related passages a few weeks ago, so I encourage you to go back a couple of weeks and see how he treats those plans a little bit through scripture for us. Since he did that. All I'm going to say is look at verse 50. Again, and let the Garden of Eden prove to you how true verse 50 is. Remember, this basic understanding of Christianity when sin entered the human race, we all know this part of the gospel. When sin entered human existence, man became perishable, man became dishonorable man became weak. God in His Kingdom are none of those things. His kingdom is not perishable. It's not dishonorable, it's not weak, which is why verse 50 says what it says, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God and nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Therefore, now jumped on verse 53, therefore, this perish about perishable body must put on the imperishable, it's a must, it has to happen. It's necessary. Mortality, a body and soul susceptible to death, must put on immortality, a body and soul not susceptible to death. If this doesn't happen, man never gets to dwell with His creator who is imperishable and glorious and all powerful. Do you see if God's plans to bring human existence and this planet in the universe, back to their original condition, if that plan is going to happen, God needs to discard with the old and death, and he needs to remake it. And so in verse 51, it says, because that's necessary. The second half of verse 51, we shall all be changed, we shall all be change changed. And then again, in verse 52, same words, we will be changed. Because we must be changed. We can't go there like this. And that change happens because of the resurrection. But wait, does that does that mean that every Christian has to die in order to inherit the final state of Jesus's kingdom? Do we all have to die before Jesus can bring us to that final state of the kingdom? Perhaps Paul anticipated that type of a question, or maybe the argument was going around in the church, but look at verse 51. Again, Paul tells them, and he alludes to that type of a question, we will not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. And we know that sleep is a term Paul used to refer to the Christians death. So that's helpful to know, we will not all sleep, Christians, we might not all die, but we shall still all be changed. So speaking of Christians, at any given time of history, from that point on from, from Paul's point on, he then says, We won't all die before Christ comes. But we don't have to die for Christ's resurrection power to be able to transform us. In fact, in a moment, in the in the blink of an eye and a flash, we he will still change us. First the resurrected, then those who are still living. Whenever that time comes. Just as he spoke the universe into being he will speak us a new to be fit for the kingdom. What about the question of when? When is this going to happen? Matthew 2436, you can write that down. Matthew 2436 says no one knows the hour or the day. But we know it will happen when Jesus returns to gather his elect hearts beating our hearts not beating. Matthew 2431 says, and he will send out his angels Matthew 2431, he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. Well, that sounds a lot like our passage this morning, doesn't it? Verse 52, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable. And we will all be changed. You can write down First Thessalonians 416 to 17. That's probably one of your cross references in your in your Bible. Verse testimonials for 16 to 17. It tells us the same story listen to it. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven. That's awesome. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Brothers and sisters, this plan won't fail because this plan can't fail. Our Lord has been behind this plan for all of human history. And so Matthew 24 Verse 35 tells us Heaven and earth will pass away. But my words will not pass away. Jesus's words will not pass away his speaking Jesus's speaking is equivalent to his doing. If he says it, it happens. He will do what He said and he and we will inherit the kingdom of God in His name. Which takes us briefly to our second point. We'll be a little briefer with this one because that's been kind of a recurring theme throughout The last few weeks but point to the nature of the kingdom, the nature of the kingdom. We'll see this in verse 52. We'll jump down to verse 54. And through 57, how do we get an idea of what the nature of the kingdom will be like? And certainly this is just some description of it. It's not comprehensive, obviously. But from what we see in this passage, here's a little bit that we can know about the Kingdom of God. One of the indications one of the signs the the helps we have here comes from the sounding of the trumpet that happens in verse 52. It's the first indicator of what the kingdom of God is going to be like. So first of all, the kingdom of God will be a gathering of the elect. Throughout Scripture, trumpets were used as signals, and they would be used to like like alarms, notifications, to gather people. They were used to set armies on the move, they were used in worship to God. So this trumpet sounding is a summoning trumpet. Verse 52, it's an alert that Christ is coming to gather his people to Himself. Numbers chapter 10. If we were to turn there and read through it a bit, we would see it shows how the armies of Israel the the camps of Israel, they were instructed to use trumpets to call an assembly together. And Assembly of the people and then more trumpets would be used to set those people in motion, one trumpet would call the leaders together. And then a series of trumpet blasts after that would then indicate the movement of each group to go out and to do their part. Usually in battle, and things like that, verse 23, of our chapter, it's outside of our passage, but it's within our chapter, First Corinthians 1523. It speaks of what seems like a similar procession, but each in his own order, verse 23, each and his owner order, Christ the first fruits, then at His coming, those who belong to Christ. We saw that first Thessalonians, that it said something similar to that. So the kingdom of God will include believers being gathered together. And then we'll be escorted to heaven. Those who lived or died, we will be reunited with our Savior at the sound of the trumpet. What else do we know about the Kingdom of God, verses 54 to 57, give us a pretty clear and awesome picture of what the kingdom of God will be like. And again, this is just part of it. But it's probably one of the things that we're most familiar with. When we think about what it's going to be like to live with God one day, verse 54, to 57.

    The kingdom of God is going to be free of death. It's going to be free of anything related to death.

    Here's how that will play out. We're going to be caught up into heaven. We're going to be caught up with the Lord, we're going to be at the marriage supper of the Lamb, we're going to be feasting at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And during that time, Christ will continue the preparations of his kingdom, who continue preparing for it, who let the Antichrist have as little brouhaha as little time in the spotlight, so to speak, to let that happen, he will judge the Antichrist and then he will judge the people of the nations that followed the Antichrist. Battles will then rage against the Land of Israel, but he will deliver his chosen race, he'll judge the nations once and for all, he'll cast Satan into the bottomless pit. But then, since the day with the Lord is like 1000. Elsewhere, it won't feel like long before we are living in the new heavens and the new earth that he makes. Satan will be finally obliterated. Death won't even be a faint memory to us anymore. Pain will be a foreign word, and the sounds of suffering will be silenced. And the power of the resurrected KING will accomplish this tells us that in verse 57, thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Here's, here's how else we can be helped to understand what it's going to be like, what the nature of the kingdom is going to be like. And before I read this passage, this passage for you to look forward to, or for you to help you look forward to what we put our hope in. Before I read it, just pause for a second and recognize perhaps we've read a passage like this before. It's from Revelation. It's from Revelation 21. Perhaps we've read a passage like this before, but we still haven't experienced it yet. Don't Don't let the glories of this passage be snuffed out by familiarity. We still haven't experienced it. recognize and acknowledge how desperate your heart is, for this day that we are looking forward to. And my heart recognize how eagerly this beautiful but sinfully pitiful world awaits this future day, recognize that you're going to need this hope. Tomorrow, you're going to need this hope the next day. Because either one, something's gonna hit you. Or two, you're gonna very easily be distracted to just say your eyes and your hope on something else, myself included, I struggle with that. Or three, God, God's gonna call you to something that requires more face. So you're gonna need this hope this week. Look at your current life. Look at your current life, and listen to your future life. Revelation 21, one through seven. And you can turn there if you want. I'm going to read it for you. Revelation 21, one through seven. This is what we have to look forward to. This is our hope in life and death. Revelation 21 Starting in verse one, then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem where Jesus is gonna rule from coming down out of the out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, what

    a beautiful sight. heard a loud voice from the throne saying, not gonna yell, but it was loud. Behold, it means Look, stop. the dwelling place of God is with man. That's incredible. He will dwell with them. They will be his people. And God Himself will just be there God will be with them as their God.

    He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. A lot of you in this room have a lot of reason to take joy in these verses right now. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning, sadness, or crying. Have you cried this week? Have you had reason for sadness this week? You won't be familiar with that. There will be pain anymore. Do you suffer from pain? for the former things have passed away. And he who is seated on the throne said Behold, I'm making all things new.

    Also, he said, Write this down. For these words are trustworthy, and they are true. And he said to me, it's done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

    It's our Lord. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life for free. Without payments. faithful church, the one who conquers will have this heritage. And our Lord says, and I will be his God and he will be my son. That is our only hope and life and death. That's amazing. Therefore now faith Bible Church today. Now in this life, the apostle Paul instructs us to be steadfast because of that be immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that in the Lord your labor is not empty. It's not meaningless. It's not vain. It's not which gives us our third point. Coming from verse 58. The Christians meaningful labor the Christians meaningful labor from verse 58 with a guarantee of the Through over death. Like that the guarantee of victory over death was a king who mocks the face of darkness. You can stand with your feet bolted to the ground by the mercies of God, while your head is held high, in hopes of home. You can sit down in peace and the peace of Christ when sin demands that you rise to serve it. You can lift your hands to serve Christ when the law presents the shackles of guilt and shame. Paul was well aware of what this church in Corinth was going through at the time, the temptations, the allurements, the weaknesses. More importantly, our Savior is aware of our life right now. There are difficulties and trials and pains that just are timeless that always exist, that every generation goes through. So this applies to us as well. Our labor is not in vain today, Paul's aware that we're going to be bombarded with trials and temptations. Don't have to raise your hand. But has anyone been bombarded with trials and temptations this week? I have. He's well aware that unexpected trials and persistent pains they they will present themselves as if they're this massive mountain that you have to get over to get to something greener. On the other side, he's aware that that's how it feels. He's aware that our willingness to sacrifice is often injured by our fear of discomfort. He knows that you're gonna have moments where you're inspired, you're inspired to try new things, you're inspired to take a leap of faith out of your comfort zone, for the sake of pouring yourself out for Christ. But that those moments of inspiration can often be persuaded with a greater will to just stick with what we know. As if it's wrong to jump out of a groove. He's aware, the days are long. He's aware that they're often repetitive and mundane and that the feelings of monotony tend to pinch the wick of resolve and grit. But we need to understand we need to know that when we lay down under those thoughts. When we succumb to those thoughts. We lay down under them, we are believing that our labor is in vain. And we're believing, therefore that Jesus's labor for us was in vain. And we are believing that even his resurrection is in vain. But that's simply not true. We know that. Listen to what Paul said in verse nine of this chapter. Again. First Corinthians 15, outside of our passage, but maybe turn back to page or to verse nine, First Corinthians 15. Look there. Here's what he said to kind of correct this thinking that the our work or labor for Christ feels vain sometimes here's what he says in verse nine. For I, Paul, I'm the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. Do you ever feel that way? unworthy? Well, it's true, we are unworthy we acknowledge that but Listen to how Paul realigns his thinking as it's not our unworthiness does not mean that our labor in the name of the Lord is in vain. Here's how he corrects that thinking. And as he realigns his thinking, he also therefore realigns his will, in the next verses, here's what he says, By the grace, but by the grace of God, I am what I am. Listen and his work, God's work, his grace toward me, was not in vain. If God's work toward you, if God's grace toward you is not in vain than your work in his name is not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them. Paul said, do you hear that? Because Paul believed that God's grace to him was not in vain. He worked hard for Christ. Why was he trying to make up for something? Was he trying to make up for being a persecutor of the church? No, he wasn't. Was he trying to prove something? Was he trying to earn something? No, he wasn't. Look at verse 10. of chapter 15. It was not I but the grace of God that is in me. He lived in the grace of God, and he acted on his faith in the grace of God. What are we seeing from this? We're seeing that the grace of God shown to us through Jesus Christ was shown for a purpose it accomplishes something. There's something that the power of God's grace drives. It drives a life that is not not vain drives a life that is not meaningless. But one that is useful for the Kingdom. Ephesians 210. You know this first, we Christians, we are God's workmanship. We are created in Christ Jesus, you know it, you know what the rest of that phrase says, We are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, he prepared the works beforehand, that we should walk in them. What makes the good works good works. It's not the outcome that they produce. It's not the recognition they get. It's not how measurable the fruit is what makes the good works, good works is that God prepared them for you to do. They are prepared by God, they are made by God for you to do so for you to do them is not vain. That can't be. We will always know that to do good works, to live out our faith, to obey and to serve and all these things, we will always know that that pleases our God. That makes him happy when we labor for him. And that alone should be enough for our obedience. That's a huge motivation. That's always a guaranteed outcome when we obey when we serve when we live in the Lord God is pleased. But even if we never know otherwise, what the outcome of our doing is, we do it because the labor God has set out for us is never in vain. Second Corinthians 515, it says, And he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him, who for their sake, died and was raised. It's why we pray what we pray in the Lord's Prayer. Your kingdom come, your kingdom come, Your will be done. On earth, as it is in heaven. Just so you know. When you pray the Lord's Prayer, you're not cheating. You're not less holy for praying a prayer that's been written down for you. You're obeying and you're falling in line with the instruction of the Lord and, and the will of the Lord as you pray the Lord's Prayer. And we pray that when we pray, the Lord's kingdom come, this will be done on earth as it in as it is in heaven. We're saying, God, I have an idea of what your future kingdom was going to be like. Make my present life, my present heart that way now. And use me for your kingdom work. That's what we're praying. We often pray in Jesus name. Amen. That's how we tend to close off our prayers. Is it just a signature is a closing remark? What is it? We pray, because of him, we pray according to His blood, we pray for the glory of his name. And we pray this way, rightfully so because we come to the Father only on the basis that Christ has made it possible for us to do so that's why we pray in Jesus's name. I'm coming to you in the name of Jesus. Because if it's not in the name of Jesus, I can't. We ask God's blessing in Jesus name. We asked his help in Jesus name, we ask his power in Jesus name. And there's gonna be a day in the kingdom of God. When these things, these blessings, these helps this power, it's going to flow abundantly and it's going to flow freely, and we won't even have to ask for it. It's just going to be happening all the time. But a passage like ours this morning, also tells us that in the meantime, right now, we can live in Jesus's name.

    We can die in Jesus's name because we will be resurrected, in Jesus's name with a hope like that, Faith Bible Church, your labor is not in vain. It's not meaningless, is not empty. It is meaningful and the Lord. This is the hope for whatever situation you're in lately. I don't know all of them. I know some. It's your hope for every daily, hourly situation. The one day life is going to be like that. It's your hope for any trial you might trust you might need to trust Christ through in the future. It's your hope for any sacrifice you might want to make. For Christ's sake. It's your hope for any step of face that you might try to take to do something risky for Christ so to speak something uncomfortable, something difficult that it will be your hope and that time as well. It's your hope for those difficult moment by moment decisions to yet again, yes yet again. Don't get angry. Resist the urge to be impatient or covetous or angry or snarky or Are snippy or lustful, you're hoping that situation is the kingdom of God. It's the resurrection. And to obey in those moments is Kingdom work. It is God's Kingdom work in you until he brings you home. There is not a situation this can't or shouldn't be applied to, in fact, it must be applied to every situation. And praise God that it can be right

    the family who unexpectedly lost a teenager it is not in vain that they grieve. Nor that their hearts grown for peace. It's not in vain. It's not in vain that they say,

    God, I believe, but help my unbelief is not a man. The man diagnosed with cancer, it's not in vain, that he refuses to doubt God's love and God's sovereignty, nor is it in vain, that he mourns the inevitable impending difficulty, and yet remains faithful to his God.

    The single parent, it's not in vain that you load the kids by yourself into the car, to take them to church. Or make them pancakes for that matter. Or sing them a song? Or read the Bible with them? Or answer their endless questions with grace. It's not in vain. And it's not in vain that you trust in Christ while you hurt for a partner.

    The teacher who isn't sure that their effort isn't paying off, it's not in vain that you decorate your classroom. It's not, it's not in vain that you remind the students of respectful social skills. It's not in vain, that you answer to their immaturity with gentleness instead of annoyance. It's not in vain that you're exhausted from faithfully stewarding the dominion of your classroom that God has given you. And you're exhausted from it. This is Kingdom work. The missionary family on their way to the mission field and the loved one saying goodbye to them, it is not in vain that you sacrifice. The pastor who has faithfully served for 20 years, it's not in vain. That he preaches his 2000 and first sermon or whatever it might be, I don't know. It's the hidden vein that you handle the he handles the shepherding cycles that seem to just be on repeat every five to seven years, the same issues that come and go and come and go, and does it with grace. Son vein that he's sometime misunderstood. It's not in vain that he carefully balances the pastor, Father, friends dynamic with his children. In order to honor Christ in his relationships, it's not in vain. The person unexpectedly laid off, it's not in vain that you fill out another application. Say another prayer. It's not in vain that you express your patient trust in the Lord, to yet another person who has asked so how's the job search going? The children's ministry worker who has served the least of these for 30 years, I'm 31. There's some children's workers in this room who know more about me than they should ever know. The children's ministry worker who has served the least of these for 30 plus years, or 30 months for that matter. None of it is in vain. It is not in vain that you labor yet again, to simplify the lesson just a little bit more for them, so that they can understand it. It's not in vain that you clean the toys every week or two. Did you know that there's a there's a lady in our church that every week or two sanitizes every single children's toy for you and for your kids? She would never want me to tell you who that is. She doesn't want you to know she's serving the Lord. It's not in vain that you think of yet another way to illustrate the Bible with a silly lesson. My my son Bennett today, this week pointed out a U turn signing says that that means repentance. Yeah, that means repentance. That's really good. I didn't correct them. That means repentance is yeah, that it means turning away from sin and going to Jesus. Perfect. It stuck, whoever did that it stuck. Thank you. He makes it into all of my sermons. It seems like the guy who feels called and gifted for a certain career, but for the sake of his family takes up a career better suited for providing, it's not in vain that he denied himself. It's not in vain that he does this other form of work when he would much rather be doing a different form of work, because he's providing for his family. And he's honoring the Lord, the young man, the young man or woman who has chosen to follow Jesus, even though the rest of his family hasn't. It is not in vain that you asked for someone to pick you up from church. It's not in vain, that you ask as many questions as you can about what you're learning. It's not in vain that you've chosen to live for Christ when it seems like none of your friends understand.

    The family watching their loved ones, suffer through a near death, car accident. It's not in vain that you cry out to God for their comfort.

    It's not in vain that you allow somebody else to care for them when you would want to be there caring for them. It's not in vain that you pray yet again, that God would use something like this, to mend relationships in your life. It's not in vain. The families who have taken on the care and the well being of refugees. It's not in vain that you spend another dollar. It's not in vain that you cook another meal, it's not in vain that you complete yet another week of going to bed exhausted and waking up exhausted, for the sake of another. The Christian who has made it their aim to show Christ to their unsaved family members on every occasion, but still sees seemingly no fruit, it is not in vain that you reevaluate, yes, reevaluate yet again, how you could do it with even more grace, even more wisdom, even more care. It's not in vain that you cry out and appeal to the God who fashioned their hearts. It's not in vain. The wealthy person or the person have very little wealth for that matter. Who sacrificially gives to the work of Christ church expecting nothing in return. It's not in vain, that the Lord is the only one who knows you did that.

    The man or woman who suffers from chronic pain, but resolves never to complain or speak unnecessarily of it. Suffering quietly, it's not in vain that you asked the Lord yet again. Give me this day, my daily strength. It's not in vain that you push through the pain, and that you keep serving, even if it means you have to lean on a desk to have a conversation with someone just to stay standing, it's not in vain that you take the opportunity to encourage another person who is new to this kind of a trial. What do we see as themes among all of these things? If we were to ask the apostle Paul, Apostle Paul, what do you mean when you say, in the Lord, my labor is not in vain? Because Because if it's in the Lord, that my Labor's are in vain, I want to know what that means. I want my labor to be not in vain. I want it to be meaningful. So what does it mean? I think if we were to, actually I know if we were to survey, especially the Old Testament and see where it talks about doing things in the Lord PRAYING IN THE LORD serving in the Lord, obeying in the Lord's sacrificing the Lord speaking in the Lord, all these things, here's the kinds of things that I think would come up, surrounding those kinds of texts that describe what it means to live in Jesus's name, to labor in Jesus's name. Here's one, it would be any resolve that you have to lean on the Lord strength instead of your own. Any resolve, you have to lean on the Lord strength instead of your own. Any choice you make, to seek the Lord's wisdom and obey the Lord's wisdom instead of seeking and obeying your own wisdom. And he said sacrifice you would make to serve his purposes, rather than your own purposes. This is laboring in the Lord. Anytime, and every time you resist the flesh that's laboring in the Lord. Anytime you love sacrificially and give sacrificially. Anyway, that you faithfully, intentionally steward your life, and your goods and your body and your time, to be more effective for the Lord, and to love God and to love neighbor better. Any prayer is a labor in the Lord. And in the Lord. None of these labors are in vain. None of them return empty. None of them are meaningless. That's good news. That's really good news. Henry Martin, he was a missionary to India and Persia he died in 1812 have a fever, and he's gonna be resurrected one day. And here's something that he wrote. He said, I am immortal, until God's work for me to do is done. I am immortal until God's work for me to do is done and that's true for you too. So labor for the Lord. It is not in vain. CT stud he is a British missionary to China. He died of untreated gallstones. 1931 But he's going to be resurrected one day. And one of his famous poems that you've probably heard something from here's a few things that he wrote. Oh, let my love with fervor burn. And from the world now let me turn living for the and V alone, bringing the pleasure on the throne. Only one life will soon be passed. only what's done for Christ will last only one life. Yes, only one. Now let me say Thy will be done. This is awesome. And when at last I'll hear the call. I know I'll say it was worth at all. Only one life will soon be passed. only what's done for Christ will last. Christ's resurrection was not in vain brothers and sisters. It fits you for His Kingdom and it fits you for a life of meaningful labor. In his name, believe it and live

    it. Let's pray. We do glory in our Redeemer waits for us at gates of gold. Glory in the hope that this world can't give the glory and forgiveness we glory in mercy.

    We glory in the strength of the Lord. It is ours with glory that our labors are not in vain. We thank you for these things God. But as we finished a chapter like this cause these eternal truths to rest on each of our temporary days on our small and fickle minds and small and fickle hearts that these eternal truths impact us beyond today for the rest of our lives or bring us back to these truths regularly caused us to grow in our faith in them and to grow and faithfulness and our response to them as well. Your pray these things in Christ's name, Amen.

Jared Millican

Former college pastor at Faith, Jared and his family are currently preparing to move to the Czech Republic and work as global outreach partners in 2024. He and his wife, Claire, have three children.

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