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August 24, 2021 12:01 am
As long as we are still alive in this world, the Lord has more work for us to do here. Today, Steven Lawson explains how we bear witness to the truth of God as we faithfully serve in our callings and vocations.
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Every second God is working.
God's not passive. God is active and because of that we are made in the image of God and we are made for a task and that is to work for the workers to set apart by God for good and for his glory today on Renewing Your Mind. We bring you a message from this year's wood international conference. Our theme was like no accounts forever as we'll hear from Dr. Steven wasn't the way we work today. Right now, influences how the world sees Christ well the theme of our conference is right now counts forever and so your work right now counts forever. It really matters how you do your work as I want you to take your Bible and turn with me to the book of Ephesians chapter 6 and want to begin by reading verses five through eight, and in this message were to look at a lot of different verses, but this will be the launching pad. The beginning place the title of this is working.
As for the Lord as soon Ephesians chapter 61 begin reading in verse five slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ not by way of eye service, as men pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart with goodwill render service as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing. Each one does this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free, and masters do the same things to them and give up threatening, knowing that both their master and yours is in heaven. And there is no partiality with him in these verses we clearly see that your work matters to God. Whenever the people of God have come back to the word of God, they always come back to the fact that your vocational calling is a sacred calling unto God as Martin Luther once said there are no small occupations that everything that you do whatever that is. Whether Europe white collar or blue collar worker. Whether you work in a field or in an office where ever God calls you to put your shoulder to the plow and perspire in the field and to work. You are to do that, as unto the Lord, and it was this realization that the Reformation the Protestant movement of the Reformation came back to recover.
It was known as the Protestant work ethic. It was known as the Calvinistic work ethic in our country was founded even in new England with this Calvinistic work ethic that your work is a part of the will of God for your life that you have not been saved to set that you been saved to work and that your work is a means by which you will glorify God and the Reformation with the five solos that apex Sola Soli Dale Gloria for the glory of God alone and they understood that as the umbrella over not just salvation but the umbrella over everything that not only is your salvation unto the glory of God.
But how you carry out your work is to be done for the glory of God. And so if right now counts forever, and it does then your work counts forever and so the first heading that I want to set before you is work assigned work assigned and if you'll turn back to the book of Genesis Genesis chapter 1 and I want to begin reading in verse 26 and everything begins here as it relates to work and we read in verse 26 then God said, let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and so we as human beings, beginning with Adam and then Eve have been uniquely made in the image of God in the likeness of God to be like God in a way that is distinct from the rest of his creation, such that we are set apart in the created order in a higher place than animals and trees and in rivers we uniquely are made in the likeness of God. We are image bearers Amato day of God.
So what is number one on that list what is the first thing that God assigns here in verse 26 and it will be repeated in verse 28 number one on the list in this text is that Adam would work because God is a working God and if Adam is to be like God, then Adam must work because God is a working God. God is not a sitting God in the sense of being in active, though he is enthroned in the heavens.
He is working the affairs of Providence every moment of every day.
I got his answering prayer, God is opening blinded eyes to see the truth of the gospel, God is opening hardened hearts to receive the message of the saving grace that God is overturning the, the resistance of the world to the gospel. Every second God is working. God's not passive.
God is active and because of that we are made in the image of God and we are made for a task and that is to work God never intended life to be a vacation he intended it to be an occupation and we are to work and so we read in verse 26 you can see it for yourself in your own Bible. Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. Now here's number one and let them notice that this is in the plural. So this goes beyond just Adam and I think beyond Adam and Eve.
This extends to all whom Adam would represent is the federal head of the human race. This would apply to you and me as well. Let them rule over and now in this verse over his use five times so we see the emphasis that God is placing here that we are to preside over God's creation and we are to work let them rule which means to have dominion and to subjugate over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky over the cattle, and over the earth in over every creeping thing, and so here God assigns work to Adam you also note that this precedes the fall. This precedes Original Sin that the curse is not assigning work.
God assigned work before there was Original Sin and before there was the curse.
This is the perfect will of God for man to work and so we learn much here about work assigned in this creation mandate has never been rescinded. It has never been an old it is so foundational that in a sense is never been repeated in the Bible because it is so glaringly foundational that everything else will be built upon this creation mandate and it is still a part of God's will for our lives that we do the work that is assigned to us to do.
Therefore, idleness is a sin and industry is a virtue is therefore laziness is ungodly and labor is godly and receiving a handout if you can work is ungodly working to earn your livelihood brings honor and glory to God. So that's where we begin in our survey work assigned now if you will come to Genesis chapter 3 and I want you to see the second heading which is work hindered first work assigned in Genesis 1.
Now, second work hindered in Genesis chapter 3 and I want to look specifically with you in verses 17 and 18. Because sin has left a devastating effect upon man's assignment of work. So in verse 17 we read these startling words curse it severely judged is the ground because of you because of your original sin and toil you will not eat of it all the days of your life. This word toil in the original Hebrew speaks of pain, hardship, sorrow, backbreaking sweat producing labor and work and so the creation mandate, the work assigned will continue, but now you're going to be pushing the rope uphill. Now there will be difficulty in a fallen world because of God's curse upon the world. Nevertheless, you are to continue your work and he says in verse 17.
At the end he says all the days of your life. This curse will never be listed, and you will work all the days of your life as long as you are physically able to do so.
And by this you will continue to glorify God. So we come to verse 18 both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you. Now there is the introduction of of difficulties, literal thorns and thistles, and many other speed bumps and roadblocks in difficulties in and challenges are now thrown into the planet that makes the workplace a very challenging and difficult thing in this was done not by Satan. This was done by God himself. So he says and you will eat the plants of the field to be vegetarian courses are the curse. Sorry. I'm just biblical Romans 14 three says he who is weak in faith eats vegetables only. So sorry, just quoting the Bible so verse 19 by the sweat of your face and you talk about your work that there will be perspiration streaming down your face and will be dripping off the tip of your nose from your hard labor by the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the earth, so Adam and for all of your descendents. You will no longer be living in a garden, you will be living in a thorn infested field and you are to continue to glorify me by carrying out the work that I've assigned to you and it is to be a continual remembrance of Original Sin that this this this human race has risen up as RC would say in cosmic rebellion against me and you are to work till you return to the ground and God created Adam out of the dust of the ground and he was to continue to work until he is placed back into the ground so I would say to you from this as long as you are alive on planet Earth. There is work for you to do work in the sense of a vocational calling and work in a sense even after you would retire from, whatever your career has been nevertheless you are to work until you are placed back into the ground and so you may retire from your career but you will never retire from the work that God has assigned to you at the end of Moses his life he spent the last 40 years of his life. The greatest challenge of his life, leading Israel into the very precipice of the promised land in Caleb when he was advanced in years eating retire. He said I want the biggest mountain with the biggest giants you assign that to me and the apostle John. At the end of his life. He still writing books in the Bible and he is still serving the Lord.
So this is work hindered so you and I just need to understand this.
There is not intended to be an easy job anywhere and if you're looking for an easy job. You're not going to find it because of the curse that God has placed on creation, it will be met with difficulty, and challenges and roadblocks now third want you to come to Psalm 128 Psalm 128 and I want you to know third work blessed.
Psalm 128 and I want to look at the first two verses of this Psalm, and he begins by saying how blessed this despite the curse that is upon work the earth and our labor on the earth. There nevertheless is a blessing that God pronounces upon the worker and the one who works to provide for his family and to provide for others it's a beginning in verse one. He begins how blessed and the Hebrews in the plural, which is all the blessedness is that the multiplicity of of blessing the fullness of blessing. How blessed is everyone he now mentions three things.
Number one who fears the Lord synonymous with saving faith is synonymous with the one who stands in reverential awe in the presence of God. Realizing who he or she is and who God is and knows the Lord.
How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, every unbeliever fails to take God seriously and it is only the believer who genuinely takes God seriously from his word. That's number one. Fears the Lord, never to obey the Lord because all true fear of God always leads to obedience to God. If you're disobedient, then you have failed to fear God and so he says, who walks in his ways walks is a metaphor for daily living.
We would say today daily Christian living for the rubber meets the road. 1 foot in front of another on a narrow path headed to it destination in front of us. It speaks of how we conduct ourselves in life. He walks in. Note his wife, not your own ways know the one who fears the Lord walks in the ways of the Lord. As a result of reverencing and worshiping God. But there's 1/3 step. Here in verse two he says when you shall eat of the fruit of your hands and the fruit of your hands is really your work affect the word for fruit in the original Hebrew is translated labor or were preaching out of the new American Standard in its metaphorically translated is fruit, but it's literally you shall eat of the labor of your hands. So he says you'd have your shoulder the plow may he says urine to have your hands out in the field and in the harvest and you are blessed of God know the word blessing in the book of Psalms is used in a twofold way there is any eternal blessedness which is our state of standing and grace. Justification by faith. But there is also a temporal dimension to this word as it relates to one's personal joy, we might say happiness as we are graced and favored by God.
We are satisfied by God. And so what he is saying here is that when you fear God, you will walk in his ways, and when you walk in his ways. Included on this path is the work that God has assigned you to do your vocational calling and you will be immensely satisfied.
As you carry out what God has called you to do out of the Reformation there.
There was the realization not only is the minister called to preach the word and shepherd the flock, but even the blacksmith is called by God to do the work that he's called to do that even the farmer the housewife are called by God to do what God has put before them to do, but no one is not called who fears the Lord, and we glorify God, and we honor God by our working on the last day when we stand before the Lord. Every Christian will stand in the judgment. Second Corinthians 5 verse 10 for we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and that we refers to believers and we will be appraised by our master as a servant slave to our master. Have we been faithful in his household to do the work that he has assigned us to do and we will give an account to the Lord on that last day for the use of our time for the use of our talent and how we have employed it and invested it in serving others.
Martin Luther, when he preached on Psalm 128, had this to say, let let me quote Martin Luther as he is expounding on Psalm 128 versus 1 to 2, he says your work is a very sacred matter God delights in it. This praise of God. Luther writes meeting God's praise of work should be inscribed on every tool and on every four head and on every face.
In other words, it would be constantly before us. He says the world is not considered labor a blessing, but flees from it and hates it to.
Cannot wait to stop working, but Luther writes the pious, referring to the godly who fear the Lord labor with a ready cheerful heart. The world inverts the thought, meaning the world has it the complete opposite of what the word of God says, and I wonder, how much have we been influenced by what the world says about work is that we can hardly wait to get out of it. The world inverts the thought in says miserable shall you be for these things must forever be endured and borne" the Luther understood that there is a vocational calling on every believer and as long as we are on planet Earth and breathing.
There is work to be done that is placed before us by the Lord. I just have one last heading and I'm looking my friend the clock in the final heading.
His work reinforced work reinforced because as we progress in the progressive revelation as the Bible continues to unfold. We do not see a diminishing of work. If anything we say a heightening of work and in first Thessalonians 4 beginning in verse 11.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attending your own business.
Stop sticking your nose into everyone else's business.
You just do what has been given to you to do any says and work with your hands, just as we commanded you thought it's a command to work. Verse 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in need and Paul's point is, it would be a horrible testimony for you to loaf at work.
It would it would be counterproductive.
As a Christian for your witness to the world for you to try to pull back from your labor know you glorify God and you give evidence that you been made in the image of God, who is a working God as you do your work, so managing this, are you working you know what it is, God has you to do because there's no one on planet Earth who has nothing to do but hang out. Need to find the work whether you're paid for it or not, you can be a volunteer work glorify God with her work. That's Dr. Steven Lawson with a message titled working.
As for the Lord. He was speaking at this year's wood international conference held here in Orlando back in March and our theme was like no accounts forever.
Dr. Spruill wrote a monthly column in table talk magazine by that name in this year's conference was meant to help us see that every moment of our lives bears inestimable value because every moment matters for eternity and that really hits home when we talk about work doesn't the current issue of table talk magazine is also on the steam right Bill counts forever in the leading article. Dr. Burke Parsons wrote this ESA Dr. Sproles concern was to help believers be thoughtful and articulate Christians who know not only the gospel but also the whole counsel of God. The theology of God's word, the history about theology and how to defend the entirety of their faith that continues to be our focus here at the dinner ministries and the like for you to have a copy of this month's table talk just contact us here and requested when you give a donation of any amount will also receive a full one year subscription of this monthly magazine. You'll find articles and Bible studies that will help you in your journey to be an articulate, thoughtful follower of Jesus Christ, you can break your request and give your gift email@example.com or you can call us our number here is 800-435-4343 I mentioned Dr. Parsons he is the editor table talk magazine and validity are teaching fellow and he will be our teacher tomorrow your on Renewing Your Mind as we continue the steam right Bill counts forever.
The early church here in the first century was participating in all the things that Christ commanded guarding them, observing them, and of course practicing what the apostles themselves did as well and they were committed to these things to the teaching and to the fellowship.
Dr. Parsons will address why church is not optional for the Christian. We hope you'll join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind