Fourth Sunday after Easter – Saturday
The Apostle Paul in Prison
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:58.
What hope and what blessedness are ours! Death may come at any moment. We laugh at it. We commend our soul into Jesus’ hands, and He preserves it by His grace and mercy. We commend our body into Jesus’ hands, and He keeps it safe according to His wise and good will. He will wake up my body on that great, last day, and clothe it with His heavenly glory. Then we shall forever be in eternal glory with Him, the Father, the Holy Ghost, and all the other saints.
What hope and what blessedness are ours! Therefore, my beloved Christians, let us continue to be steadfast in the faith in our Savior, who is so rich in His mercy toward us; let us not be moved from the sure hope of eternal life; let us always keep on abounding in the work of the Lord; let us continue to fight valiantly against sin with the mighty “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17); let us keep on abhorring “that which is evil” and keep on cleaving “to that which is good” (Romans 12:9); let us continue to hold fast to His Word (Revelation 3:11); let us keep on remembering Jesus’ words concerning prayer: we “ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); let us continue to be “patient in tribulation” (Romans 12:12); let us keep on treating others according to the counsel of our Savior: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets: (Matthew 7:12); let us continue to confess and share God’s “Word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28); let us, at every opportunity, keep on doing “good unto all men [whatever their age, whatever their color], especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10), and let us continue to hide in our hearts the instruction of the Apostle Paul: “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
It is most certainly true: Our “labor [as Christians, according to His Word] is not in vain in the Lord.” Why should we continue laboring for, working for, and serving our gracious God, our fellow believers, and all others? The answer to this question ought to always be: Because of His labor, His work, and His service to us through Christ Jesus, giving us, for Jesus’ sake, full pardon for all of our sins, righteousness before Him, freedom from the curse and condemnation of His Law, and the blessing of everlasting life already now, and the fullness of that everlasting life in heaven. “We love Him because He first loved us. … Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (I John 4:19 and 11).
PRAYER – Oh Lord Jesus, who has given me all things necessary for my salvation, and who has already promised to me the priceless “inheritance” of heaven (I Peter 1:4), I thank Thee for the everlasting victory which Thou hast wonderfully given to me “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In gratitude for that priceless victory over sin, death, the grave, the devil, and hell, help me to continue to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Amen.
May Thy rich grace impart, strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire;
as Thou hast died for me, oh, may my love to thee, pure, warm, and changeless be, a living fire!
(Hymn 394, st. 2; TLH)