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"Not In Vain"
Easter Quiz: 1998

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.

Number 173

Question:

Of all the reasons St. Paul wrote I Corinthians 15:1-57 (known as the "Resurrection Chapter of the Bible"), what is one of the most important reasons for us pastors?

Answer:
One of the main purposes for I Corinthians 15 was to encourage Christians in their respective ministries. Paul's inspired words of I Cor. 15:1-57 serve as the underlying basis for the well-known conclusion of this chapter,

"Therefore, my dear brothers, 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." (I Cor. 15:58 NIV)

Note the key word, "Therefore." "Therefore" ALWAYS introduces a conclusion based on what precedes it.

The relationship between what precedes and follows "therefore" is unmistakable. The reason Christians "stand firm" and are "unmoved" is specifically and exclusively related and based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of His resurrection--not our currently ministry circumstances no matter how good or gloomy--we can give ourselves "fully" to the work of the Lord.

The ONLY valid reason for ministry is to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. If any other reason (e.g. recognition, advancement, numbers, our own worth and giftedness, et al) infringes upon this basis to any extent at all, our ministry will suffer. When they do, we cannot give ourselves fully to the Lord. We can't stand firm. We can be moved. It is when we can be
moved that we may begin to feel our ministries are in vain.

I Corinthians 15;1-58 demonstrates in a profound way that Paul really understands the ministry. His ministry was to preach "Christ crucified" and risen again. It was that singular, microscopic focus on this one--and only--basis for ministry that strengthened and upheld him through his entire ministry...even to his unjust death.

This singular, microscopic focus is also ours. No matter what happens, no matter what we experience in our ministries, we must daily claim the proclamation of the resurrection of Christ as the critical, foundation for our ministries.

When we understand this, we can look beyond the current circumstances--good or bad--and see the ministerial calling as GOD sees it. Our calling is to preach the resurrected Christ--passionately, faithfully, repeatedly, in any way we can--so that "some" might be saved.

Insofar as we remember our primary calling is to preach the Resurrected Christ, we will know our labor is not in vain. (Be sure to look at the Greek of vs.. 58!)

Your labor is NOT in vain. Let NOTHING move you as you give yourself fully to the proclamation of the resurrected Christ! After all, that is where the joy is. He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!!!

Praising God for this ministry of proclaiming the Risen Christ this Easter,

Tom


He is Risen! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!!!

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