Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth was occasioned by disturbing information that he had received about the Church while he was in Ephesus. There were problems in the Church. There was abuse of spiritual gifts—particularly the gift of tongues—and there were ongoing abuses regarding the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. So, as Paul writes, he tries to reunite the people under a banner of sanctification and holiness: “Stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master.” Consider just what this call entails.
This is a call to consistency. “Stand your ground”, means that we must be consistent in our faith-walk. Jesus was consistent; He was always the same—regardless of who He was with, what people had to say about Him, His condition or His popularity. He consistently sought to please His Father; He consistently sought to make people better by drawing them closer to God. And if we are to model His commitment, then we must be consistent. We must heed the advice of the Psalmist: “I will thank the Lord at all times. My lips will always praise Him. (Psalm 34:1).”
This is a call to commitment. Paul says, “Don’t hold back.” In this life, it is hard to be unmovable. The hymn writer has told us that, “Time is filled with swift transition; naught on earth unmoved can stand.” But he doesn’t stop there; he goes on to tell us how we can be unmovable: “Build your hopes on things eternal; hold to God’s unchanging hand. Trust in Him who will not leave you whatsoever years may bring. If by earthly friends forsaken, still more closely to Him cling.”
Finally, this a call to press on. Paul says that if we committed to Jesus, then we must “Throw yourselves into the work of the Lord.” We must be about the Father’s business. Jesus is depending on us to complete His work. He told His disciples, “I’ve given you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven. I’m putting this work in your hands; I’m charging you to finish what I’ve started; I’m making you responsible to build on the foundation that I’ve laid.”
As disciples of Christ, we have work to do. We need to press on through prayer and Bible Study; we need to press on through worship and fellowship; we need to press on through a relentless call to social justice. Lost people need to be found; hurting people need to be healed; hungry people need to be fed; weary people need to be refreshed; naked people need to be clothed; lonely people need to be comforted. We have work to do.
And there is a promise for the committed: “Nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort.”