1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…
The apostle has been speaking of the believer's triumph in the final contest with death. This is assured, for it is "through our Lord Jesus Christ" (ver. 57), who is "the same yesterday, today, and forever;" but, though assured, it needs to be prepared for. Salvation is of Christ, yet we have to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling;" and "they that endure to the end shall be saved." So we need to make constant preparation for the last battle, that when it comes we may be ready and may be found clad in "the whole armour of God."
I. THE APOSTLE URGES BELIEVERS TO ABIDE IN THE FAITH.
1. We must be "in the faith." Only thus can we anticipate triumph. Unless we know Christ we shall not know the death victory. If we are not in the faith, death will triumph over us, and the marks of death's triumph we shall bear in all our future.
2. We must be steadfast in the faith. Not halting between two opinions of one mind today and of another tomorrow. We must choose decisively and be faithful to our choice. "Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel." That soldier is not worth much who has much loyalty today and none tomorrow. Vacillation in Divine things is a poor preparation for death. We must be steadfast
(1) to Christ personally;
(2) to his doctrine - including doctrine of resurrection, which Paul has specially in mind;
(3) to holy living.
3. We must be unmovable in the faith. Not turning aside ourselves, nor allowing others to turn us. Enemies will try to turn us - our great enemy preeminently. But we must be like limpets on the rock, which cling the more tenaciously the more we seek to dislodge them. Yet with these little creatures a sudden blow will generally remove them. So we must "watch." In such an hour as we think not the fierce temptation may come. We must hold to Christ and pray Christ to hold to us. He is able to keep us from falling.
II. THE APOSTLE URGES BELIEVERS TO BE DILIGENT IN THE LORD'S SERVICE,
1. We should engage in the work of the Lord. Some may think they had better concentrate their thoughts altogether upon themselves; woo delightful frames of mind; listen much to some captivating preacher; "sit and sing themselves away to everlasting bliss." Spiritual selfishness is a poor preparation for the last fight. Many Christians pamper themselves and become hopeless spiritual invalids. We must cultivate personal piety, but we may do this largely by robust Christian work. We need exercise. The spiritual sedentary life is prolific of spiritual ills. A Church of do nothings is always a hospital full of sick and complaining folks. Besides, the need of service is great, and the Master calls.
2. We should abound in the work of the Lord. We should not do as little as we can for Christ, but as much. How he "abounded" in work for us! It is the man who abounds in his work who is most fit to leave it; the diligent servant is the one most ready to meet his Lord. If we wish to be victorious over death by and by, we had need to be victorious over sloth and self seeking and indulgence now.
3. We should always abound in the work of the Lord. Our work is not to be by fits and starts; our consecration must be life consecration. Always on the same side, always serving the same Master.
4. We have much encouragement ever to abound in the work of the Lord. "Our labour is not in vain in the Lord."
(1) We may know this:
(a) By promise. "My word shall not return unto me void.
(b) By reason. The gospel, according to our judgment, meets the needs of men, and is likely to be accepted by not a few.
(c) By experience. Our own, perhaps; past work speaks in its results. The experiences of others; what vast effects have followed upon devoted service!
(2) It is not in vain; for:
(a) It pleases God. The true servant is never unsuccesful. He is always successful in pleasing his Master!
(b) It has its effect upon those immediately concerned. We say in natural things every cause produces its appropriate effect: so in spiritual. The result that we desired may not follow, but there has been an effect, as we shall perceive hereafter.
(c) It blesses ourselves. Few things are likely to do us so much good.
(d) It will assuredly bring its reward. But our labour must always be "in the Lord" - in his Name, in dependence upon his power, in prayer for his help, in desire for his glory. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.