This verse almost seems out of place in consideration of the 57 preceding verses.
● The chapter begins with what we find to be the most definitive summarization of the gospel:
○ vs.3-4 Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose again the third day according to the scriptures
● vs.12-19 Paul refutes those who denied that Christ had risen from the dead his rebuttal of reason
● vs.20-34 Paul shows how that Christ’s resurrection is not ONLY for himself, but that all who are in him will be raised in newness of life
● vs.35-49 Paul borrows from nature to describe the SUPERNAL nature of the resurrected body.
● vs.50-57 Paul’s discourse on the resurrection and it’s many members and its glorious nature crescendos with a passionate and prophetic breakdown of how the rapture of the church will be brought to fruition…
● It almost seems that vs.57 should have been the closing statement for this epic chapter… But instead we have vs.58. In true Pauline fashion, the apostle closes this doctrinal discourse with a simple and practical exhortation:
● THEREFORE…. (in light of all these wonderful truths)
● BE STEDFAST. be UNMOVEABLE. Be ALWAYS ABOUNDING in the Lords work.
● Forasmuch as ye know … you are FULLY AWARE that your efforts are not in vain. As we close out this meeting tonight I’d like to attempt to show you HOW to fulfill this text.
● Paul’s exhortation will be helpful to you whether you are a veteran missionary or just getting started… a faithful church worker or perhaps just beginning to realize that you could and should be doing more than just fill a seat … this text is very much applicable to the pastor who’s been laboring for 3 decades, or the one who’s praying about starting.
Let’s pray and begin.
What I see in this text are 3 particular areas of focus that we MUST give attendance to:
● Attention to the Internal
● Attention to the External
● Attention to the Eternal
Think of these things as the 3 legs of a stool — all three required for stability. Any one of these areas that is left UNattended will result in the eventual shipwreck of the believer.
Adversely, the Christian that pays attention to these 3 areas can:
● Endure hardships and Overcome adversity with Peace
● Survive and thrive ANYwhere that God puts them with HOPE & JOY
What does it mean to be STEDFAST?
If we go by the law of FIRST MENTION, we find the word used to describe RUTH. The scripture says in 1:18 of that book that Naomi saw that Ruth was STEDFASTLY-MINDED to go with her.
What we find is that the word stedfast is used most often in conjunction with the INTERNAL part of man’s nature:
● Ps.78:8 A stubborn and rebellious generation that set not their HEART aright, and whose SPIRITUAL was not stedfast with God.
● Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, JESUS STEDFASTLY set his face to go to Jerusalem.
● 1 Cor.7:37 (turn) Notice that this man is STEDFAST in his heart and has power over his own will.
The world recongnizes that the mind has much to do with SUCCESS:
● Cicero: The cultivation of the mind is a kind of food supplied for the soul of man.
● The mind may be compared to a garden, which is necessary to cultivate as any plot of earth, if order and beauty are to be manifested through it. Ideas, like flowers, in order to attain their full beauty, must be kept free from encumbering influences, particularly that which tends to weaken or degrade or detract from planned perfection…
The STEDFAST believer is one who has an INTERNAL CONTROL over his thoughts, in the sense that he is NOT soon shaken in mind or troubled by spirit or word.
Jesus asks his disciples, WHY are ye troubled? And why DO THOUGHTS ARISE in your hearts? They were not STEDFAST.
DID YOU KNOW THAT MOST OF THE THINGS THAT YOU WORRY ABOUT WILL NEVER HAPPEN? Did you know that your MIND is a battlefield in which few of God’s people master?
Did you know that you are supposed to be CASTING DOWN imaginations and bringing every thought into the captive obedience of Jesus Christ? The DEVIL is into MIND CONTROL.
BE YE STEDFAST speaks primarily to the believers MINDSET:
● —the focus is what’s going INTERNALLY!
● This means that it is YOUR responsibility to control your thoughts. How to…??
○ Read Bible DAILY. Memorize scripture. Pray. Get rooted in sound doctrine. Give attendance to reading. Be in church and listen to preaching!! Get good friends.
Let’s look first of all in the the area of INTERNAL things: BE YE STEDFAST
You can’t control all things that are bombarding your mind, but when the devil throws his FIREY DARTS of doubt and fear and worry and anxiety you can RESIST HIM STEDFAST in the faith!
● Put up the shield of faith and say, YOU ARE A LIAR. I’M not LISTENING!
Like one of the Wesley brothers said, We cannot keep the bird from flying over our head but we can keep them from making a nest in our hair.
Be ye STEDFAST speaks to the INTERNAL things. A spirit that is settle, a heart that is fixed, and a mind that is steady and sound. IT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED by being faithful.
WE are reminded that the apostle paul was very much aware of the fact that there were all kinds of EXTERNAL FORCES AT WORK AGAINST HIM:
● The lying in wait of the Jews
● Bonds and afflictions in EVERY CITY
● Reproach from false brethren
● Perils of robbers, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea
● Weariness and painfulness, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness
● Shipwrecked THREE TIMES
● And finally DEATH BY BEHEADING
WHAT WAS PAUL’s Answer to these EXTERNAL forces at work against him?
None of these things MOVE ME, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify of the gospel of the grace of God. PAUL WAS UNMOVEABLE in the face of EXTERNAL threats & forces.
When faced with the threat of the bubonic plague that was sweeping through EUROPE, MARTIN LUTHER SAID THIS: “Those who are engaged in a spiritual ministry and pastors must remain steadfast before the peril of death. We have a plain command from Christ, ‘A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.’”
The Christian solider is ordered to ENDURE HARDNESS, that means that there’s a certain amount of HOLD THE LINE that all of us WILL HAVE TO PREPARE TO FACE!
My BROTHERS AND SISTERS, Don’t you budge 1⁄2 of an INCH
● WHEN THE PRESSURE comes to conform to what the world will tolerate
● When “scholarship” tells us that the King James Bible has “unfortunate readings”
Next, you should see that we are to be aware of the EXTERNAL things: BE UNMOVEABLE
● When our DOCTRINE is being examined by false brethren with ulterior motives. Mighty men around us falling doesn’t mean that WE HAVE TO CONFORM.
“Ain’t time to quit… it’s time to FIX BAYONET, AND CHAAAAARGE!!”
Bro. Roloff took a stand on NOT TAKING A LICENSE. FAMOUS PICTURE OF HIM IN JAIL.
When I was born Bro. Roloff wrote me a letter, and he said “Johnny, you STAND in the face for Jesus. Stand in the face of opposition, stand in discouragement, make sure you even stand when you go to the bathroom!” HAVING DONE ALL TO STAND, STAND.
WHEN IT COMES TO EXTERNAL FOES AND OPPOSITIONS, We are to be UNMOVEABLE.
LET us never forget that the work in which we are involved and invested in, with our very LIVES, is an ETERNAL WORK.
Because of the Eternal nature of our Heavenly Father, we known our father’s business is ETERNAL too.
Not one thing that we do, even the offering of a cup of cold water in Jesus name, goes unnoticed or unrecorded, NOR WILL IT GO UN-REWARDED.
We sometimes get the idea that the Lords work is BIG and grandeur and exciting — and sometimes it is! — missions work, street preaching, personal work … Followers of Christ
But let us never forget that the eye of the Lord sees EVERY WORK, and the day shall declare it.
There is no such thing an insignificant deed when it is done in the name of Jesus Christ and for the glory of God almighty. WHO HATH DESPISED THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS??
● A nursery worker taking extra care to MINISTER to a mother/father so they can sit in church service…
Finally, we are to be aware of the ETERNAL things: THE WORK OF THE LORD.
A missionary wrote, “My Pastor speaks with Bro Welder often, and that church has been a huge blessing to us and the ministry. Someday I’ll tell you the story but my marriage was nearly broke up on deputation over some debt, and that church unknownly helped set things right again. I probably would have quit if it hadn’t been for that meeting. For real. Give my regards and let them know that we still pray for them as well.”
● A church cleaner mopping up the floor around the men’s urinal with a song in their heart…
● A secretary putting together some financial statements for end of the year giving…
● A hoary-headed grandparent lifting up wrinkled hands in prayer for the children’s church
● A young family driving 40 minutes one way just to be in the church they beleive God wants them in …
THIS IS THE WORK OF THE LORD, and IT IS AN ETERNAL MATTER!
WHEN WE CONSIDER EARTHLY INVESTMENTS, very rarely does our imagination go past the next 2 generations… good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…
But our work for the Lord Jesus Christ is something that we cannot EVEN IMAGINE the benefits of! Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
What’s the incentive if I can’t even imagine it??
The incentive is that if WE will be stedfast with the Internal things…
If we will be unmovable when External things are against us..
If we can remember that ANY work of the Lord is AN ETERNAL WORK and therefore we ought to ABOUND in it…
THEN WE CAN TAKE ASSURANCE THAT WE KNOW… that our work is Not in vain!!
Be ye stedfast… unmoveable … always abounding in the work of the Lord