Friday, April 21, 2017
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. 1 Corinthians 15:1-9(NLT)
Paul had started off this letter in a very confrontational tone, charging that he’d been brought news of division destroying their fellowship. Some were claiming that they followed Peter, or Apollos, and some wanted to be disciples of Paul. But by the close of his message to a church that was getting off-center in its ways, Paul uses the phrase, just as the Scriptures said. He was reminding these fellow believers that they were followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, that Holy One promised by God’s written and living Word. Following Paul was too low a goal for their lives; he even declared he was the least of all the apostles. Only Jesus is worthy of worship…just as the Scriptures said.
As a firm and vivid reminder Paul pointed to the message of the Gospel (Christ’s death, burial and resurrection) as being the central focus of everything he’d first shared with the Corinthian believers. That was what the Scriptures had said; that was what God had promised. Paul wanted them to remember the source of power in their salvation; it wasn’t in Paul, but in Jesus!
In the twenty-first century that Gospel message has not changed. If Paul could speak to us today he would be the first to say that servants of Christ will be born and die, come and go in popularity or influence, but it is still God’s power in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that overcomes the death of sin and darkness.
Movements are born in a heartbeat these days; it happens with a cellphone video of some injustice on the street or frustration over the growing division of wealth or health, or crowded condition of prisons. Compared to the impact of the Gospel, these movements ebb, flow, live, and die like the life cycle of a gnat.
This points up the importance of that to which we would attach our lives. If what you’re going to put your life’s blood into cannot be traced back to God’s purposes in loving His creation, it becomes necessary to rethink your plan.
For instance, what the Scriptures did not say was:
· Hey, young person, go to college; your plan is to graduate with a business major, attend grad school, get an MBA, find a job and make a truckload of money to have a life filled with expensive toys.
· Hey you…forget college, do trade school; get a union job that will pay enough to get a great bass boat and four-wheeler. Miller-time will be great!
· Listen, spend your life on whatever fulfills your need of self-gratification, because you owe it to yourself to be happy and have what you want.
No, Scripture never said that was God’s plan for anyone. However, the Good News of Scripture did say someone would die for your freedom, and you will need to make choices as to how to spend that gift.
Choose wisely how you will use the gift of freedom you’ve been given in Christ. Otherwise you could spend your life drowning in a mud puddle!