Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don’t Be Fooled: Hold Fast the Word

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)
The company you habitually keep is either going to build you up in the faith, or tear you down. The issue at hand in 1 Corinthians 15 was the resurrection of the dead:
Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. (v. 12-14)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the keystone to the Christian faith. Paul goes on to explain the necessity and importance of the resurrection and demonstrate its truth.

But there were some among the believers at Corinth who taught that there is no resurrection, and perhaps suggesting that it was not really the message that Paul and the apostles were bringing. If that was so, Paul asked, then “why do we stand in jeopardy every hour” for the sake of the gospel (v. 30): “If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (v. 31).

This false teaching, if left unchecked, would have sucked the life out of the Corinthian church, leaving them in despair. But like see many other life-sucking situations they were allowing to continue in the church, the believers allowed themselves to be lulled to sleep.

That is what happens when you hang out with a faithless crowd — they nip away at your faith until you are filled with doubt and finally sink into unbelief. Don’t be fooled, Paul says. Then he offers the antidote:

WAKE UP!!!

The Greek word for “awake” means to rouse up, as out of a deep sleep or drunken stupor.

Wake up! Sober up! Pull your head out!

“Awake to righteousness.” Return to what is right. Don’t let your faith be corrupted; eaten away by rot; rusted away by neglect. You have people among you who don’t even know God, and you are letting them influence your faith and pull you away. Don’t let them lead you astray — get out of there!

Picture Paul waving the “smelling salts” under their noses, preaching to them about the gospel, for that is how he began this section, reminding them of the truth they were in deep danger of forgetting:
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3)
Who are the people you allow to have influence in your life. Do they build you up in faith, or do they fill you up with doubt. Don’t let yourself be lulled away, but get a firm hold of the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith come by hearing the Word of God), and let yourself be renewed and strengthened.