In this lesson we are going to learn about Godís amazing grace that saved us and also continuing to work in us. Godís grace is the one which helps us to be what we are today.
1 Corinthians 15:2-23
2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
1. Godís grace saved us
In v.4 & 5 Paul emphasizes that we do not need to live any longer under sinís fear. The penalty of sin & its power over us were miraculously destroyed by Christ on the cross. In v.6 Because of Godís resurrection, we know that our bodies will also be raised from the dead and that we have been given the power to live as Christians now. Grace by itself is a gift of God. When some one gives you a gift do you say ĎThatís very nice ? Now how much do I owe you? No the appropriate response to a gift is ďThank youĒ. Yet often we even after been given the gift of salvation, we try to work our way to God. Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts, we should respond with gratitude, praise and joy.
We became Christians through Godís unmerited grace not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help & serve others with kindness, love and gentleness and not merely to please ourselves. Godís intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service.
We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church.
to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
So, letís decide not only to be happy with the grace that has been gifted to us by God but give the same to others.
2. Godís grace works in us
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
We as Christians work hard, evangelize, do follow ups, attend meetings, do d-times etc. When we do all these activities whom do we credit the results with; is it God or ourself?
Here, though Paul undoubtedly the most influential of the apostles, was deeply humble. He knew that he worked hard &accomplished much , but only because God had power, kindness and grace upon him.
True humility is not convincing yourself that you are worthless, but recognizing Godís work in you. Itís having Godís perspective on who you are and acknowledging his grace in developing your abilities.
2 Corinthians 6:1
As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.
What makes you to receive Godís message in vain? Is it your laziness, deceit, unopenness, pride etc? Most of the time though we hear the message of God, we do not let it affect what we do & say just because of our sins.
That means we are receiving Godís message in vain. Most of the time as disciples we believe in working hard and we do work hard which is very important. But the most important thing that we forget is that God is enabling us to work hard.
So, when the result is there we forget to give praise to God. We feel like I work hard because I love God; so He blessed me. We forget to realize that whatever we are today is because of Godís grace, which we do not deserve to have.
Brothers and Sisters, letís understand that we are chosen by Godís grace though we donít deserve it and Godís grace is still working in us powerfully to reach out to many people. So lets decide to respond to Godís grace.