Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Apostle Paul opened up his letter to the Church in Corinth by reminding the Believers of the simplicity of the Gospel truths on which they had taken their stand. He instructed them to hold firmly to what they had originally believed, otherwise it was all for nothing. In this regard Paul's words are timeless in their principle and effect.
The Gospel In A Nutshell
Paul preached the Gospel "in a nutshell" in verses 3 through 5 of 1 Corinthians 15. Sometimes we have to be reminded of the simple truths of the Gospel. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons by John Singleton Copley)
Paul's Own Personal Testimony
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9
With great humility and gratitude for his salvation, Paul described his encounter with the risen Christ and his ensuing salvation experience. It's important we understand that he was not wallowing in self-pity and neither was he raising himself up in pride. He was just being honest about where he had come from. He had a balanced picture of his past, but his focus was on the future and he comprehended that all of this was made possible only by God's love and grace.
We Can Stand Because We Are Transformed By The Power Of Grace
But by the grace of God I am what I am... Verse 10a
Paul acknowledged the amazing work of God's grace in his life. He was reflecting on the fact he had been saved by grace, redeemed by grace, and kept by grace. He knew he had a past and considered himself the worst of the worst, yet because of grace he knew he was being transformed to be more like Christ Jesus.
...And His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Verse 10b (Photo via Flickr by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue)
Grace affected every aspect of Paul's life: his sonship (identity); his destiny (present and future potential); his inheritance; his life on earth and his life after death in Christ; his self-image and his service to, with, and for God. God's grace is such a magnificent gift to the Church! May we never reach the end of understanding the magnitude and mercy of God's grace.
Addressing Half-Truths, Mis-Truths, And Heresy
Paul went on to teach about the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of Believers in Christ. He was addressing mistruths, half-truths, and potential heresy in the Church, which was dangerous and could have led the Believers astray. By verses 56-58 Paul reminded the Believers of the victory they had in Christ over sin, law, and death:
"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain."
Paul had opened up his teaching letter by exhorting the Believers to hold firmly to the word of God in which they had first placed their faith, and he ended his exhortation by encouraging the Church to stand firm on its faith foundation. Paul's message is as relevant to us today as it was to the Church in Corinth! We must choose to stand firm in our faith no matter what circumstances we experience, whether in the valley or the mountain top.
Paul encouraged the Believers to give all to Jesus and to serve Him in whatever capacity they were graced to do so. He reminded them that they had an inheritance and a reward in Christ.
How You Can Stand Firm
The Bible speaks of "standing firm" in many contexts. How do we stand firm? Here are a few practical, Bible-based hints to do just that:
• Don't return to old idols; old lifestyle; empty, religious ritual; or other gods: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).
• Be self-controlled and alert/resist the devil:"Resist him, standing firm in the faith..." (1 Peter 5:9).
• Be patient, don't grumble, don't judge: "You too, be patient and stand firm..." (James 5:8).
• Stand firm and hold to Biblical teachings/truth: "So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you..." (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
• Be consistent in prayer and with the armour of God: "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth..." (Ephesians 6:14).
• In surrender and service to God: "...give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord..." (1 Corinthians 15:58).
• By not giving in to temptation: "But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
What Are Some Of The Effects Of "Standing Firm In Our Faith"?
• Deliverance the Lord will give to you today: "...Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today..." (Exodus 14:13, see also 2 Chronicles 20:17).
• You will go from the pit to the mountain top/firm foundation: "He lifted me out of the slimy pit...He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand" (Psalm 40:2).
• You will be positioned to intercede for nations: "...stand before me in the gap on behalf of..." (Ezekiel 22:30).
• You will have righteous confidence on the day of judgment: "...For we will all stand before God's judgment" (Romans 14:10).
• However, the wicked cannot stand before God – they will perish: "Therefore, the wicked will not stand on the day of judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous" (Psalm 1:5).
Let's thank God for His wonderful mercy and abundant grace today! God's deliverance births His destiny dreams in our lives. If we will stand firm in our faith and engage with God, He will bring His dreams to fulfilment in us. He can use our surrendered hearts to reach out to others in His love, for His desire is that none should perish and all should come to repentance.
Come on, Church, it's time to love the nations into the arms of our Beloved Saviour.Our Heavenly Father gave us everything in Christ. Can we, by grace, now give him more of our lives so that others may come to know our beloved Jesus?
God bless you today and always,
Catherine Brown is the founder/director of Gatekeepers Global Ministries (GGM) and is a sought-after national and international preacher and teacher. She is presently leading a global evangelism and discipleship mission entitled "GGM 7 Million Souls" and is working with her team and valued partners from many nations to achieve the vision objectives. Presently, there are 34 GGM global partner nations with 126,400 new disciples and 109 church plants. Catherine operates in an impacting apostolic/prophetic mantle with a strong revival thrust on her preaching, serving the Church and the lost through Christ's Gospel of love. She has ministered in Europe, Africa, Israel, and the USA and has had the privilege of seeing people saved, baptized, healed, and delivered in the glorious outpouring of the Holy Spirit, with signs and wonders following. Catherine's passion for Christ and His Kingdom is contagious, and wherever she ministers people are envisioned, equipped, empowered, and mobilized. She is married to Stephen and they have four lovely children and live in the West Coast of Scotland.
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