Sermon: Excel Still More in Ministry Labors

Excel Still More:  Ministry Labors
1 Corinthians 15:48
October 30, 2022

Tomorrow is an important day.  You know it well.  October 31.  No, it’s not important because of the opportunity to accumulate large quantities of chocolate in a short time.  It’s important because it is Reformation Day.  It is the day that we remember Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses against the Roman Catholic church on the door of the church in Wittenberg.  Tomorrow is the 505th anniversary of that day.

The Reformation was about a return to biblical truth that has been articulated in five short statements:  Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria.  These were the Reformer’s efforts to return the church to the primacy of Scripture, Christ, the gospel, and God’s glory without them being tainted by anything else — especially not the efforts of man.  Christ and His cross work are sufficient for the salvation of those who believe in Him; nothing else is needed. 

While not always included in their arguments, the resurrection was an essential part of their defense and an important part of their motive in serving the Lord.  Luther refuted the Roman Catholic teaching that “by the indulgences of the Pope, a man is loosed and saved from all punishment.” (Thesis 21)  He also argued that “Vain is the hope of salvation through letters of pardon, even if a commissary — nay, the Pope himself — were to pledge his own soul for them.” (#52)  And “We affirm…that Papal pardons cannot take away even the least of venial sins, as regards its guilt.” (#76)  Salvation was only in Christ — alone.

Luther (and the other Reformers) believed in the singular necessity of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation (which is fitting to think about as we prepare for communion this morning). 

As we think about the Reformation, communion, and our ministry goal of “Excelling Still More” this year, we are going to look at a passage this morning that ties those ideas together in one verse:  1 Cor. 15:58.  Here is what we will discover that Paul teaches us:  

Be constant in gospel work because of the gospel’s work in you.

Because of what the resurrection has done for us, we are compelled to work tirelessly for the sake of the resurrection gospel.  In this verse, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to three ministry tasks because of the reality of the resurrection.

Context:  Because of the Resurrection…

  1. Be Firm in Confidence and Defense of the Resurrection
  2. Excel in the Lord’s Resurrection Work
  3. Be Confident in the Rewards of Resurrection Work

Download the rest of this sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:58.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.

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