LABOR NOT IN VAIN

I CORINTHIANS 15:50-58


I Corinthians 15:50-58 New King James Version (NKJV)



Our Final Victory


50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.



Dr. Gough


God has great appreciation for all those who labor.

--The good workers who made our nation what it is.

--It is good America has a day to honor them all.


The Bible says, all play and no work or worship, does not work well with God. He asks, if able, we serve.


I Corinthians 15 is one of the great Bible chapters.

--The death and resurrection of Jesus is its theme.

--Gives proofs of His deity, death, and resurrection.

--Paul names many who saw the "Risen Christ" (v 4).

--Also tells "He was seen by over 500.. at once."

--He ends this sublime subject with words on work.

--He links the spiritual life, with making a living!

--Listen, "My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord for as much as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (v 58). Whatever our work, work for the Lord


The Lord watches what we do. And how we do it.

--Every job deserves our best, done "as to the Lord".

--God says that we work "not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in sincerity of heart .." (Col. 3:22).

--"Whatever you do .. do heartily, as to the Lord."

--Daily tasks, done for God, have an eternal value.


God is the greatest worker! Think of all He does.

--Made this world "out of nothing, hangs on nothing."

--Sun, moon, stars; beauties of nature. Made us!

--"We are His workmanship, created.. for good works."

--Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us of God's purpose for us.

--"Workmanship" is from a Greek word, "work of art."

--That's what every person is - "His workmanship."


So let's take the Lord with us, on the job each day.

--The Apostle Paul did, as a tentmaker, missionary.

--What the late Fred Rogers did on the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, children's television popular program.

--He was a minister, and it showed in his work.

--His widow, Joanne, said, "his work was a ministry."

--How about our work? Is it a ministry, to cheer?


We are to "Labor .. steadfast" for several reasons.


I. WE HAVE A WELCOME - ".. beloved brethren."

-—Welcome to the family of workers .. and of faith.

--No longer strangers to the fellowship, "brethren."

--We are "beloved brethren," and "fellow laborers."


We are to love each other, and welcome each, as such.

--To daily serve and live in peace, harmony, unity.

--Ready to welcome others, to become God's laborers.

--Even as the Lord welcomes us to be "born again."

--Into His fellowship, and family of faith..


Sometimes people of God experience tough times.

--I know a dear lady, hard worker, faithful believer.

--She said to me, "I've tried to do my best. Prayed.

--Worshiped. Served the Lord, but I have burdens."

--She went on, "For some reason, God seems silent."


I welcomed opportunity to share prayer, to help her.

--I listened patiently. Counselled encouragingly.

--Told her, "God welcomes you to come to Him. And in the name of Jesus come often to His throne seeking, and thanking Him, for His help, comfort, and aid."

--That "God knows all you are going through; He will, in time, answer in a way and time for our good."

--He did. And He will. Only trust Him in His love.


The Lord Jesus welcomes us, any time .. any one.

--As God, He is able to change things. Change us.

--Look at verse 51, ".. we shall all be changed."

-- Here, he is speaking of when Jesus comes again.

--But it is true, for us, and in our labors or need.

--Don't hesitate, as His dear child to come to Him.


II. WE HAVE A WALK - "be steadfast .." in our walk.

--A glad welcome implies a walk, with God each day.

--We are often encouraged to "follow in His steps."

--I think it is 25 times Jesus said, "Follow Me."

-—He shows us the way in the Gospel and Epistles.

--Does our walk, and talk, need more of the Lord?


"Steadfast" means, "firmly fixed, unwavering, secure."

--To be "stable, persevering" the dictionary says.


At our job, or home with family, to do our very best.

--To have convictions of integrity and honesty.

--Convictions about the Bible. God. Jesus. Heaven.

--To put conviction to practice, in our conscience.

--Our conscience sharpened by God's Word and worship.

--Then, live in consideration and care for each other.

--In a word to be as Christ-like, at home and work.

--To daily seek to walk "in His steps" of the Lord.


We all make some mis-steps at times - all but Jesus.

--We may fail to do our best. Speak amiss. Go astray.

--So we have to get back "in His steps" with the Lord.

--To seek forgiveness, by genuine repentance.

--To pray for each other. Love "as brethren" in Him.

--To practice joy, peace, harmony and holy living.

--To be quick to say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me."

--Whether to our fellow-man. Or Almighty God.


Let's ask ourselves, "Who am I walking with?"

--The prophet Amos (3:3) said, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" Make our walk with God!

--When we walk with God, we know we are going right!


Ask the Lord each morning, to guide our walk.

--"Don't be afraid ..your prayer is heard," said the angel to Zacharias, in the temple Luke 1:13).

--To the virgin Mary, the angel said, "do not be afraid, you have found favor with God" (Luke 1:30).

--To the Apostle Paul, at sea in a tempest two weeks, wondering if they would make it, the angel told Paul "Don't be afraid .. God has granted you all those who sail with you" (Acts 27:24). All were saved.


Why all these blessings? They walked close to God.

--Their walk with God, worked. It will work for you.


III. WE HAVE A WORK - "always abound in the work."

--Whatever your work, do it well .. for the Lord God.

--Enjoy your job! Be in the center of God's will.

--Both for gainful employment, for food on the table.

--As well as your work for the Lord and His church.

--Whether at home, shop, office, or school, enjoy it!

--God said, "always abound in the work." Glad in it!

--Underline that important word, "always." I recall a fable, of a carpentry shop, in Nazareth.

--All the tools came to work, Brothers Hammer and Saw.

--Brothers and Sisters Plane, Level, Sandpaper.

--And other tools, even young Ruler, and Miss Pencil.

--They were all at the shop. But it was not happy.

--It was a rather dull, dark day. Some discouraged.

--Some a bit jealous of others' jobs, duty, or pay.

--Others not feeling the best. Had some complaints.

--Not the usual joy. Then the Master Carpenter came.


Jesus said, "Brothers and Sisters, we have work to do.

--Each of you is needed. Important. Very essential.

--In fact, I cannot do without a single one of you!

--We need be "abounding in the work of the Lord."

--Added, "your labor is not in vain, in the Lord."

--Let's appreciate one another. Work together.

--Come, help Me, build for the House of God, today!

--Let's make a beautiful pulpit. Communion table.

--And many chairs, needed for the worship of God."


With one accord, in joy, they gladly did, for Jesus.


IV. WE HAVE WORTH - "your labor is not in vain."

--That's right. You, and your work, have worth.

--It is "not in vain, in the Lord." Done for God.

--What is worthwhile, will be rewarded, God says.


I know parents who raised six of theirs and 12 others.

--A reporter asked, "How did you do it?"

--Mother replied, "We prayed, 'Lord, You do the worry and we'll do the work,' and it worked. God did it."


I kept inviting a young father to teach a Class.

--He kept turning it down, for various reasons.

--Later asked, "Give it a try; God and boys need you".

--His wife encouraged him, "Go ahead, I'll help you."

--So he took the Sunday School Class. He loved it!

--He studied hard. Kept in touch with the kids.

--The Class grew. Had them at his house for parties.

--He led six boys to Christ. They were baptized!

--He said, "It has been a joy, made a difference in us".


Friend, find your work and abound. It has worth.

--Begin by being "born again" in Jesus. Serve Him.

It brings joy!



Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 845

INDEX OF SERMONS