Saturday, December 20, 2008

You Do Not Labor in Vain by Robert Ricciardelli

1 Corinthians 15:58
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

Have you been noticing lately how we as Christians can get caught up on the peripherals of our faith? We get so absorbed in non essentials that we miss essential foundations like love, forgiveness, and even how practically the Holy Spirit desires to be in everyday life with us and through us. We can all miss the basics sometimes. You have heard the term, “Being so heavenly minded, but doing no earthly good”. We have been taught mostly through religion, that we are saved for the afterlife, when in fact, Jesus made the way to save us now, and for NOW. We are saved completely and wholly now by Him to engage in His life, and labor for His Kingdom.

Throughout Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the message is very clear. “This present bodily life is not valueless because it will die. God will raise it to new life one day, it is of great value to Him and the world around us. What you do in your body today matters, because God has a great future in store for you. I would say that probably ninety percent of His church is coasting and trying to just get by this earthly realm in waiting for the life beyond. It probably is one of the biggest deceptions that have impacted the church. Being saved is for the now and not just for the later! When the Body of Christ is immersed in His life everyday and in His ministry in every sphere of society, nothing will hold back the multiplication of transformed lives and societies to the glory of God.

What you do in the present --- by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, advocating justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself, will last into God’s future. They are not just good things to pass through this life with, but they are all part of building God’s eternal Kingdom. We are now at a time when the church needs to rise up and know their identity and mission. It is time that each member knows that everything they are and do is ministry, and has eternal impact. Evangelism that has been focused for what will come after this life, must now be focused on what we have been born into RIGHT NOW!

We have slowly been enslaved into the idea of bliss, enlightenment, and streets of gold when we leave this earth, versus the truth of working presently for His Eternal Kingdom. Many have been paralyzed with thoughts of the end times and the afterlife, leaving little room for TODAY life. Father has always desired for us to begin living in His eternal promises now, and bringing His Kingdom of heaven to the earth. His Kingdom come and His will be done, now and into eternity. He saved us out of our past lives and into His glorious Kingdom now, as well as into the next life. We must realize that we can engage in His life, His power, His eternal presence, the moment we accept Christ, His Lordship, and His precious Holy Spirit into our lives.

It is time we rethink the very meaning of salvation itself। When you mention salvation, most people will immediately think that you mean, “going to heaven when you die”. Let’s presuppose that the bible teaches us that God’s creation is good, including the world, life as we know it, our bodies, brains, cells, etc. The bible does teach this by the way, while at the same time God reconfirms this with us in the promise of our bodily resurrection at His appointed time. If this true, then limiting God’s salvation for a later time actually is a far departure from foundational Christian Jewish beliefs.

Christian Aid has a slogan, “We believe in life before death”, now that is a great slogan. Life before death is what is threatened, and called into question, by the idea that salvation is merely life after death. If we live like we are waiting for a timeless, bodiless eternity, why would we put any effort in putting things right in this present world? But if what matters is God’s people as new creations with life before death, then we must see salvation as not “going to heaven” but “being raised to life now” and continuing in life after death in the new heaven and new earth… So remember, Jesus did not just save our soul, but our whole.


  1. Well, I agree that we need to be about the business of the Kingdom, and that many of us are too disconnected from relating and reaching the people around us, BUT, I also think that we as people struggle with being too focused on what we have and can GET in this life. I think that by taking a good dose of Heavenly mindedness we can get our priorities straight, not to weakly wait for the Master to come, but to energetically serve Him, looking forward to the reward He is bringing with Him. For this reason I think that some of the prosperity teaching out there is unproductive (why teach every sermon about how to get more money, and how God wants you to have more money, ugh!), we need to understand that God wants to bless us and have great faith that can move mountains, but have our first love in Him and in His things, not in the things of this passing world! Colossians 3:1-3

    Mike Vilumsons,

  2. I agree with you Mike. We must be doing good to others with no agenda other than to serve. We are not to seek after what we get in this life, but what He desires, which is love and service to Him, and those He directs us towards

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