Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Following Jesus is supposed to be hard? – 1st Corinthians 15:51-57

8 Oct

hardtofollowAfter the sermon this past Sunday, our sermon discussion group had a lively conversation about how hard it is to experience Victory in Jesus.  Some even suggested that it is supposed to be hard!  What do you think about that?

Have you ever felt that it is difficult to be a follower of Jesus?  Why is that?

Jesus said “my yoke is easy, and my burden in light” but it can feel super hard to follow him, to do what he did, to have self-control, to fight temptation, to restrain our lusts, our anger, our indulgent hungers.  When we’re cursed, we want to lash back.  When we feel empty inside, we want to bully others.  We see friends succeed, and our eyes turn green with false injustice.

There are times when it doesn’t seem following Jesus is possible.  When Paul talks about victory in Jesus maybe he was just talking about life after death?

When we feel like this, we need to take into account what Paul has said in all of 1st Corinthians so far.   To do that, we must go back to the first verses of the chapter where he said that receiving the Good News of Jesus is to believe the content and make a lifelong commitment to the Gospel.  When we do that we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Our bodies will die, yes, but the Lord will raise them again to new life.  That is victory! Jesus won that victory, and now we have hope of eternal life victory with new bodies in heaven! Praise the Lord.

But remember what we talked about last week? That victory isn’t just for heaven. We can experience victory in Jesus now. He wants us to experience what he called his abundant life now! We can experience God’s resurrection power in our lives now.

The question is, are you experiencing the victory of Jesus in your life now? Are you experiencing the life-changing power of God now, such that you are seeing him transform you, seeing him give you victory over sin?

I did a Google image search on the world victory, and what do you think came up the most? People on a mountaintop with their hands raised, Victory motorcycles, victory in sports, victory in war, victory in politics, and of course victory in Jesus.

Not a single picture of Nike shoes, or the Nike swoosh.

Nike? Yes, Nike. The Greek word for “Victory” as well as the name of the Greek goddess of victory. Nee-kay.

But here is victory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ejh_hb15Fc

That boy experienced victory because some other caring guys on his team wanted him to experience victory. And you know what? By giving him the chance to experience victory, they experienced it too.

You might be feeling like life is less than victorious for you lately. Perhaps you need to help some others experience a bit of that victorious life.

Or maybe you are struggling so deeply with the stuff of life, you feel like you just can’t overcome it.

I would encourage you to bring it up. Don’t hold it in. Get together with a trusted friend and talk about it.

Definitely pray about it. Tell God everything. And read through the Psalms. When is the last time you read in the Psalms? They are loaded with people who are struggling with life. King David (the guy who once had victory over Goliath) had lots of victory in his life. But he also struggled quite a bit, and in many of his Psalms, he puts his anguish out there. At times he takes me aback with how blunt he is with God. But, yes, you can be blunt with God. God can handle our pain. Learn from David in the Psalms how to talk with God, how to let it all out, how to hope for victory in the midst of suffering.

Maybe there is a sin in your life that is so difficult you don’t know what to do. Then go to professional counseling. When Michelle and I came home after only a year of church-planting in Jamaica (we planned on a lifetime in missions), feeling less than victorious, actually feeling like failures, we needed help. Admittedly skeptical, we went to professional counseling, which I thought up to that time was never something that I would need. I was wrong. It changed my life.  Through counseling I found victory in Jesus.

If you live near Lancaster or Lebanon Counties in south-central Pennsylvania, and you need professional counseling, even if you are unsure about it, I urge you to check out The Marriage and Family Centers.  They are incredible people who have many others experience victory.

Even at your lowest point, there is hope! Because Jesus won the victory over sin and death and he wants you to experience that victory with him!

Are you feeling defeated? There is hope!

3 Oct

how are you

It’s a simple question, “How are you?” with many forms:

“How’s it going?”

“How ya doin’?”

“How are things?”

These questions have become a pleasant formality, a nicety, rather than a serious question.

And the polite response is “Fine.”

Or “Good”.

The pleasantries complete, we move along having just completed our relational duty.

But we’re not fine.  Things are not good.  Behind the “fine” is another world.  Sure, some parts of our life are fine and good, but there are other parts also.  Do any of the words up there behind the “Fine.” describe your life?

How have you been feeling lately?  Defeated?  Maybe depressed?

Our current global situation doesn’t help matters much, does it?

  • Ebola
  • ISIS
  • Ukraine
  • Global Warming
  • Debt
  • Race Riots

The world doesn’t seem like a very welcoming place sometimes.  Where is the love, y’all?

But maybe your concerns are closer to home.  A broken relationship, mountains of bills, a struggle with a vice.

Do you feel defeated? Maybe not 100% all the time. But do you have moments where you feel somewhat defeated? Do those moments happen more often than you’d like?

Do you sense that something is not right?

In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul has walked the Corinthians through a methodical teaching about resurrection. There were some people who were teaching that resurrection was not possible. As we have seen over the last three weeks, if resurrection is not possible, then Christian faith is meaningless.   But Paul affirms in many ways that resurrection is not only vital, but also that Jesus’ resurrection really did happen. Furthermore, he says that one day we too will be resurrected to new life.

Paul says the resurrection matters. But does it matter just after death?

Or might it also matter now? Maybe it should matter now?  How could it matter to us, people who sometimes struggle in this life, people who long for that new resurrection life now?

This week we look at 1st Corinthians 15:51-57 as we hear what Paul has to say about this.  We hope you’ll considering joining us at Faith Church on Sunday!  There is hope for those of who are not feeling fine!