Text: 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
We will Begin at the End, the end of each of Paul’s addresses to the Church.
Anglicans, along with CS Lewis, have always held to a Mere Christianity—what, in looking at the whole, is most essential. We can push this even to Mere Paul—not so much looking at Paul’s teaching, but is instruction, his last instructions to ordinary people in each letter. At the end of each letter is a sort of summary of the exquisite gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 15:58 Paul has just outlined his glorious theology to resurrection—the resurrection of Jesus and our participation in it. Then he says, Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
This is for us, in our time.
1. Be steadfast: steady, rock solid in your believing.
2. Immovable in behavior, always confirmed to love in Christ. Example-Jenkins asked a recent gathering whether or when it was that there was an ABC worth killing. Not since 1645. But there are many Bishops in Africa worth killing. Are we?
3. Abounding-always doing the work knowing that it is not in vain. Abiding. Trusting. Knowing that nothing for him is in vain. (Trust Abide Know). Jenkins again-what is the language of Islam? Arabic. What is the language of Christianity? Translation. From the moment of Pentecost translation has been going on. So that the people can understand and then to abound in the works of the Lord.
So not just Mere Christianity. Mere Paul-forgiven, called to ministry in a very different day. After the Sublime Teaching there is a simple exhortation for ordinary Christians.
Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. Praise be now and forever. Amen.