1 Corinthians 15:12-14, 30-33
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Have you felt like your life was in danger? Now I do not mean the jumpy feeling you might get after watching a scary movie and after watching it everything seems to go bump in the night. No. I mean your LIFE. I am not even talking about the hopelessness you might feel after being insulted or criticized for having big dreams. No. I mean your LIFE. I am not talking about the feeling you might have after everything has gone wrong one day but then at the end of that same day you still look forward to tomorrow. No. I mean your LIFE. Have you ever felt like your life was in danger?
I have watched a lot of Lifetime movies and I have seen characters being threatened and stalked and even killed. At the end of the movie, I am clear that they are actors and actresses and they played the role that they were paid to play as the victim. I am clear that when that role was finished, they walked off the set. And while I may not know where they are right now, I have seen many of them playing other roles so I know the movie I saw them die in, did not really kill them. They went on to act in other television dramas and/or movies and so do we. And though we may not be on the big screen, we do go on.
This is our greatest hope. This is why we continue to look forward to another day. This is why we can deal with the horrific happenings of yesterday and even today. This is why we continue to make plans and dream and imagine something better. Because deep, sometimes way deep down inside, we know that there is always tomorrow. And tomorrow, everything will work out. Tomorrow, the sun will shine again and we will hear the birds chirping in the trees and we will feel gentle breezes. Tomorrow, we will make things right and the fights of yesterday will be a memory of what once was but tomorrow brings the hope that we can be different. Tomorrow we can be better. Tomorrow we can go on.
In this passage, Paul is clear that his life is being threatened because he is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is preaching about His life, His death, His burial, and His resurrection. And Paul is so clear that the Gospel is nothing without the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all of the difference. For you see, Jesus was not the first and Jesus was not the only person to die on a cross at Calvary. BUT Jesus is the ONLY one who rose from the dead! And Paul’s very life is being threatened by those who insist that his testimony is a fairytale, make believe, a falsehood, a lie. His life is in danger and he is not acting out some role he got paid to play!
I like the way the Message Bible phrases his words:
1 Corinthians 15:30-33
And why do you think I keep risking my neck in this dangerous work? I look death in the face practically every day I live. Do you think I'd do this if I wasn't convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus? Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn't be the end of me? Not on your life! It's resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live. If there's no resurrection, "We eat, we drink, the next day we die," and that's all there is to it. But don't fool yourselves. Don't let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk.
"Bad company ruins good manners."
BlogFam, most of us have never experienced a true death threat. We know that the enemy is busy seeking to steal, to kill, and to destroy us but how many of you have ever had your life threatened because you believed in Jesus Christ and because you boldly confessed that you believed He lived, He died, He was buried, and He did rise again! There are Christians all over the world whose lives are threatened every day because they are witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Please be clear that the freedom some of us experience to worship the Lord is not the way it is all over this world. There are Christians who are living this text in the 21st century and we must continue to pray for our brothers and sisters all over the world. At the same time, I wonder.
I wonder if your witness is strong enough to warrant a death threat. I wonder if all that you do and all that you say would be seen more as a role in a television drama or a short film and when you walked off the set of your local church sanctuary, no one would think twice about your influence on the Kingdom because you play your role so well. I wonder. I wonder would you even be willing to sing, preach, pray, worship the Lord Jesus Christ if your life was in danger of imminent death or would you deny Christ for the sake of convenience and then turnaround and expect forgiveness later? BlogFam, I wonder. Can you honestly say like Paul that you would be willing to risk your neck for this dangerous work?
Death threats are nothing to play with and the funeral homes and cemeteries that we see around our cities are evidence that death is real. However, ONLY because of Christ can we look forward to the resurrection of tomorrow and the resurrection in life after death when we will rest in Him forever. My sistas and brothas, if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Friends, BE ENCOURAGED! Our FAITH is not in vain. Our faith is NOT in vain. Our FAITH is NOT in Vain! And whatever threats you may receive that try to come against your dreams, your promises, your hope, or your life and kill your thoughts about tomorrow, I pray that you would remember Paul’s witness and truly embrace Christ’s resurrection power. I pray that you would KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW that His resurrection power is able to make every death threat against you null and void because even at the end of this life, we shall rise again! And I pray that you would rest, assured by the Word of God - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [Romans 8:18] HALLELUJAH! And to God be ALL the Glory!
Black History Month - Quote of the Day:
The African race is a rubber ball. The harder you dash it to the ground, the higher it will rise. ~African Proverb
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