I Am Undefeated, Unmovable, Unstoppable Until…I Am Not

Today’s selected reading continues in the first epistle of the apostle Paul in the New Testament which was written unto the saints at Corinth. More specifically, today’s selected reading is found in the first eighteen verses of the sixteenth chapter. When you come to the sixteenth chapter of the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation you will find the epistle drawing to a close. After spending more than fifty verses writing and speaking about resurrection the apostle Paul transitions to his concluding remarks within the latter. How do you conclude a letter such as the first epistle unto the Corinthian congregation? How do you conclude a letter that was written unto a divisive congregation that allowed schisms and divisions to take place among them? How do you conclude a letter that was written to a congregation that could not be regarded as spiritual but as carnal, yea, even babes in Christ? How do you close out an epistle written unto a congregation that permitted and allowed such fornication that was not found even among the Gentiles—namely, a man having his fathers wife? What do you say at the end of an epistle where you addressed the proper use and function of spiritual gifts and the placement of the members of the body within the church of Jesus Christ? Moreover, how do you conclude after spending an entire chapter writing about the resurrection of the dead and it’s direct connection to the resurrection of Christ?

When you come to the sixteenth chapter of the first epistle of Paul unto the Corinthian congregation you will find the apostle transitioning away from speaking about resurrection to admonishing and instructing this congregation to enter into a place or giving. Having just written a considerable discourse on the resurrection of the dead, the apostle Paul transitions from that place to instruct and encourage the saints in Corinth to give themselves unto giving. It’s actually quite remarkable and astounding when you begin reading the sixteenth and final chapter of this first epistle, for when you read it you not only find the apostle writing about giving, but also concerning ministry itself. If you take the time to slowly and carefully read the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this sixteenth and final chapter you will find the apostle not only admonishing and encouraging them concerning giving for and unto the saints, but you also find him encouraging and speaking to them concerning ministry unto and ministry among the saints. We dare not quickly dismiss the words which are recorded within the first eighteen verses of this chapter, for they form a fitting conclusion to a letter that began with the apostle Paul speaking of this congregation and coming behind in Abe lacking no spiritual gift. The apostle Paul began this epistle by speaking unto this congregation concerning that which Christ had done for them—namely, how Christ had called them to be saints and had called to be holy in Christ. How absolutely incredible it is to find the apostle Paul now bribing these saints face to face with a response to everything he had previously written.

If the entire first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints were a sermon, the words contained within the sixteenth chapter would be the altar call inviting this congregation to enter into a place of response. It is absolutely fitting that in the apostle Paul comes to the conclusion of this epistle he invites the saints in Corinth to enter into a place of response to everything they had read within and throughout the epistle. What we must recognize concerning this first epistle unto the Corinthian congregation—as well as any sermon that is every preached from behind the pulpit in any of our churches and congregations—is that regardless of how good the sermon or teaching might be, if it doesn’t bring men and women to a place of response to what has been written or spoken, it might very well profit nothing. The sixteenth chapter of this first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints was designed to call the saints in Corinth to a powerful place of response—quite honestly, a place of response that many find to be incredibly difficult to engage themselves in. As you progress within the first eighteen verses which are contained within this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul calling this congregation to respond to everything he had just written by engaging themselves in giving unto the Lord by giving unto the saints. Pause for a moment and consider those words, and consider how each and every time we give unto the ministry of the saints, we are not giving unto men, but are giving unto the Lord. One thing you will notice is that the Lord never called us to give unto men, but to bring of what we have and to give unto Him. The tragic reality is that there are and there have been a number of ministers and leaders within charismatic and Pentecostal movements which completely disagree with such a statement and believe that we need to bring our tithes, our offerings and our gifts and give them unto men. There are countless ministers within Christendom today who treat giving as if it was something that should be given unto them, or unto their ministry, or unto whatever project they themselves are engaged in. There are men and women who would completely discredit giving of tithes, giving of offerings, giving of gifts and sacrifices unto the Lord, and would dare suggest that such should be given unto them, or unto whatever ministry they have engaged in.

Consider if you will the words and language that is contained within this passage of Scripture, and that which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth. Beginning to read with and from the first verse we find the following words written within this sixteenth and final chapter of the first epistle of Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberation unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now bye the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quite you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that is the firstfruits of Achaea, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatas and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such” (1 Corinthians 16:1-18).

Before we transition into the sixteenth and final chapter of the first epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth, it’s necessary to first read and consider the words which the apostle wrote in the fifty-eighth and final verse of the fifteenth chapter. Within the fifty-eighth verse of the previous chapter the apostle Paul writes the following words unto the saints which were at Corinth—“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unloveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). I have seen a particular saying plastered all over social media—regardless of whether it’s instagram, or facebook, or twitter, or even the professional social networking platform of LinkedIn—which emphatically and boldly states the following: “I am unstoppable until I am stopped.” Stop for a moment and consider those words, for there is tremendous strength contained within those words. I do not know where and from those words originated, but those words hold an absolutely tremendous amount of truth that is contained within them. Consider for one moment concerning your own life that you yourself are unstoppable until you are stopped. Adapting that particular phrase and extrapolating it onto the fifty-eighth verse of the fifteenth chapter, I would like to highlight the word “unloveable” that is found within this particular verse. I would like to adapt the concept of being unstoppable until lone is stopped to being unmovable until one is moved. How many men and women among us have the strength, have the fortitude, have the faith, have the confidence to declare in the face of any adversity, in the face of any calamity, in the face of any disease, in the farce of any infirmity, and the like to declare of themselves that they are unstoppable until they themselves are stopped. It’s actually the same concept as that which we find in sports of any kind concerning the reality of being undefeated, for that team remains undefeated until they are defeated. Several years ago the New England Patriots went undefeated throughout the regular season, and even throughout the playoffs—that was, until they got to the Super Bowl and faced the New York Giants. It was there in the Super Bowl in 2007 where the New England Patriots had played a perfect season going 16-0, and defeating each of their opponents in the playoffs to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl against the New York Giants. Must to the dismay, much to the shock, much to the horror of New England Patriot fans, and perhaps even the New England Patriots themselves, the New York Giants defeated the Patriots bringing their perfect, undefeated season crashing down upon itself.

I AM UNSTOPPABLE UNTIL I AM STOPPED! I AM UNDEFEATED UNTIL I AM DEFEATED! I AM UNMOVABLE UNTIL I AM MOVED! If I am being brutally honest and both forthright and candid, I would emphatically declare that there is great need for men and women of such caliber to be present among us within this generation. There is great need for men and women who can make such boasts of themselves with full confidence, faith, and trust in the Lord their God. There is great need for men and women who have such an inner strength and fortitude that there is absolutely nothing that can stop them. There is a great need for men and women who have such an inner strength and fortitude that they can weather any storm—regardless and despite how fierce the wind and the waves might be. I can’t help but be reminded of the warnings that are given along the Gulf Coast of the United States during hurricane season when hurricanes begin forming and start threatening the Gulf Coast of this nation. States such as Florida, and Louisiana, and Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and the like are often prime targets when hurricanes form in the Atlantic Ocean and make their way westward toward the United States. Depending on the path and trajectory of the hurricane, the massive storm itself can either completely miss the expected targets, or as we saw time and time again last year in Texas, in Florida, in the Dominican Republic, in Puerto Rico, and the like, hurricanes can introduce tremendous damage, devastation and destruction. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke which Matthew records for us in the text containing His famous Sermon on the Mount. Beginning with the twenty-fourth verse of the seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel we find the following words spoken by Jesus concerning two different types of people—those who hear His sayings and do them, and those who hear His sayings and don’t do them. Consider if you will the words which Jesus spoke at the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount:

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

I have long been fascinated with these words of Jesus, for not only do we find two groups of people who both heard the words and sayings of Jesus, but we find two different men, yet despite the two men themselves being different, they both shared one thing in common—they both endured and experienced the rain descending, the floods coming, and the winds blowing, and beating upon the house. In other words, despite the fact that there were two distinct and two different men within Jesus’ parable which concludes His Sermon on the Mount, both men shared the same experience, for both men faced and endured a storm that threatened the house they had built. You will notice that both men engaged themselves in building a house for themselves, and both men experienced the storm which threatened their house with torrential rains, fierce winds, and crashing waves. The fundamental difference between the two men was not the materials with which they used to build their respected houses, but the foundation upon which their houses were built. Both men engaged in the project of building a house for themselves, and perhaps they even used [wouldn’t it be wild if they even shared] the same materials. When the rain descended, when the winds blew, and when the floods came, however, only one house withstood the dangerous storm which threatened to collapse the house. The question I can’t help but wonder is what happened when the house of the foolish man who built his house upon the sand was. Was this foolish man in the house when the rains descended, when the winds blew, and when the floods came much like Job’s children when a strong wind came against the house they were all in, thus causing the house to collapsing upon and killing all of them. When we read Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount we must recognize and understand that regardless of whether you would consider yourself to be wise or foolish, there is absolutely no avoiding the storms of life which may very well come your way. The true and underlying factor and reality within Jesus’ words in this passage of Scripture is not necessarily that the storm didn’t come, but that the storm did in fact come, yet only one house was unmovable.

I can’t help but be reminded of two distinct passages which are found within the second epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth. I am convinced there are two distinct passages found within the second epistle which Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints which must be considered if we are to properly understand this concept of being unmovable, the concept of being unstoppable, and the concept of being undefeated. If you begin reading with and from the seventh verse of the fourth chapter of the second epistle unto the Corinthian saints you will find the following words—“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more seceding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18).

Within this particular passage of Scripture we find the apostle Paul not only speaking of being troubled on every side, but also of being perplexed, of being persecuted, and of being cast down. It’s absolutely incredible and amazing to read the words of the apostle in this passage of Scripture, for while the apostle spoke of being troubled on every side, he would go on to say that we are not distressed; though the apostle Paul spoke of being perplexed, he would go on to declare that we are not in despair; though the apostle Paul spoke of being persecuted, he would go on to declare that we are not forsaken; and though the apostle Paul spoke of being cast down, he would go on to declare that we are not destroyed. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul would emphatically declare that although he bore about within his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, the life of Jesus might be manifested within his body. What’s more, is the apostle Paul wrote and declared how we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Zechariah spoke unto Zerubbabel, which are found in the fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah—“Then answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it” (Zechariah 4:6-7).

There is a second passage found and contained within the second epistle of the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth, which helps powerfully and wonderfully demonstrate and illustrate this reality of being unmovable, the reality of being unstoppable, and the reality of being undefeated. If you begin reading with and from the sixteenth verse of the eleventh chapter of this second epistle, you will find the following words written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Corinth: “I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if.a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit, Wherein soever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am i> Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labour more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painful ness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” (2 Corinthians 11:16-30).IN light of all of this the apostle Paul was able to write these words unto Timothy when he was nearing the time of his departure from this world unto the next—“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Concerning this reality and concept of being steadfast and unmovable, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus concerning the armor of the Lord. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18). I am also reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle which he wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth, beginning with the first verse of the tenth chapter—“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: but I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).

Concerning this reality and concept of being unmovable I can’t help but be reminded of certain passages of Scripture which are found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms, for there are a number of references within this Old Testament book that speak of being unmvable. In the fifteenth chapter of this Old Testament book we find these words: “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” (Psalm 15:5). “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalms 16:8). “For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved” (Psalm 21:7). “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: god shall help her, and that right early” (Psalm 46:5). “Cast thy burden upon the LORd, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved” (Psalm 62:2). “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62:6). “Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved” (Psalm 66:9). “HE will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber” (Psalm 121:3).

In the final verse of the fifteenth chapter—in a chapter that centered upon the resurrection of the saints as a byproduct and reality of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ—the apostle Paul instructs the encourages the saints in Corinth to be steadfast, to be unmovable, and to always be abounding in the world of the Lord, inasmuch as they knew that their labour was not and had not been vain in the Lord. The words we find in this particular verse are actually quite astounding—especially when you consider them in light of the words the apostle Paul wrote in the thirteenth verse of the sixteenth and final chapter of the same epistle. In verse thirteen of this same passage of Scripture we find the following words written by the apostle Paul—“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Corinthians 16:13). BE STEADFAST! BE UNMOVABLE! WATCH!@ STAND FAST IN THE FAITH! QUIT YOU LIKE MEN! BE STRONG! I absolutely love the concept and reality of being unstoppable until I am stopped, for I am convinced that that reality must be central to the Christian experience of faith, trust and confidence in the Lord. I am convinced each and every saint of God must have the testimony that they are unmovable until and unless they are moved, and yet even when you consider the reality and concept of being moved, the references in the book of the Psalms speak of and suggest the powerful reality that it is possible for us to never be moved. What’s more, is that I am convinced that each and every saint of God must emphatically and boldly, and without reservation or hesitation declare that they are undefeated until and unless they are defeated. Lest you consider this to be a farce and some far-fetched reality, I would direct your attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome in the eighth chapter of the epistle:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestination to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestination, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be fore us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that ocndemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, of famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, not depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:28-39).

I am firmly convinced that in this generation in which we are living, there is a great and tremendous need for men and women who are ready, who are willing, and who are able to emphatically and boldly declare that they are unstoppable until they are stopped. I am convinced there is a great and tremendous need in this generation for men and women who are ready, who are willing, and who are able to emphatically and boldly declare that they are unmovable until and unless they are moved. There is a great and tremendous need for men and women who can emphatically declare and proclaim without hesitation or reservation that they are undefeated until they are defeated. With that being said, is that there seems to be every indication that the righteous in the Lord Jesus cannot and shall not be moved, and that the Lord can and will keep their feet firmly planted upon the Rock on which they stand. What we must recognize and understand is that we were never destined, nor were we intended on being moved, but rather those mountains which are before us are what needs to be moved. The question I can’t help but ask you is whether or not you are moving, or whether or not the mountains before you are moving. I must ask you whether or not you are being defeated, or whether or not your foes, your adversaries and your enemies are being defeated. I must ask whether or not you are being stopped, or whether or not those before you—your enemies, your adversaries, your foes, and the like are being stopped. I leave you with the words which Jesus declared unto Peter after Peter had just declared Him to be the Christ the Son of the living God—“Blessed art thou {insert your name}: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art {insert your name], and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19).

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