(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
I don't know about you, but often my life seems incredibly messy; it seems like there's unexpected difficulty all the time; there are difficult choices, and oppositions and quandaries that are just part of life. Well, welcome to life in a fallen world. We live in a world that's groaning, waiting for redemption, and that brokenness of our world will enter your door. There's no sense in the Bible that being a child of God gives you a ticket out of the fallenness of this world. God has chosen for us between ‘the already of our conversion’ and ‘the not yet of our home going’ for us to live in this groaning world; that's for our good and for His glory.
Well, this is why you need 1 Corinthians, because I would title 1 Corinthians, “A Gospel That's Up To The Challenges.” This is a sturdy gospel; this is a gospel that's able to deal with all of the challenges of life in a fallen world. And 1 Corinthians begins with arguing that the wisdom of God is infinitely wiser than anything you would ever encounter in the world. In fact, it's so wise that Paul sort of pushes his description of the wisdom of God and says, “If God was capable of being foolish, God's foolishness would be wiser than the wisdom of the world.”
And so what he does is 1 Corinthians pictures for us the kind of challenges we will face: divisions in the church, divisions caused by sort of a personality idolatry, the questions of divorce and remarriage, tough questions, gender roles in the church, the question of spiritual gifts, questions of sexual immorality and sexual immorality in the church, and how do we handle our sexuality, church discipline, lawsuits between believers, food offered to idols, and what's the nature of my liberty as a Christian, and how much should I restrict my liberty out of love for somebody else? Those are just some of the knotty issues that are looked at in 1 Corinthians, and Paul has demonstrated the gospel is able to bring answers to every one of those difficulties. It is, like Luke wrote, a great big wide gospel that reaches to every area of our lives. There’s no difficulty that isn't addressed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It reaches the deepest, darkest issues of our lives.
And in that is that core theme again, Jesus Christ crucified, Jesus Christ resurrected, Jesus Christ reigning, Jesus Christ our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. You see in the difficulties of life, our hope is deeper than a theology. Our hope is deeper than a world view. Our hope is a person who will not fail us, who is for us and with us and in us in all of those moments of difficulty. And He does for us what we could not do for ourselves.
So, following Him is a life of humility and wisdom and holiness and perseverance. It’s characterized by these words way at the end of this letter in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “(So) be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is (never) in vain.” Don't let the obstacles stop you, don't let opposition make you quit, don't let difficulty dishearten you because the One you serve has risen and is reigning and will not fail you!