Saturday, June 4, 2016

Called to Labor or "Help Wanted"

The following are the notes for a Bible class from several years ago. I hope some might use them for personal study or for teaching others.

Called to Labor and Work

"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard." (Matt. 20: 1)

"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."  (Eph. 4: 1)

The gospel message involves a call.  It is a multifaceted call.  It is certainly a call to salvation to those who are perishing in their sins.  But, it is also a call for workers, a call by the Lord for servants to come and labor for him in his service.  It is a call to those who are laboring in the employment of Satan to come and labor in the employment of the Lord.  It is a call to change employers, to change masters.  All men are laborers and servants.  All do not, however, labor for the Lord and in his service. 

"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."  (Mal. 3: 18)

The righteous are identified as they who serve, or work for, Lord God.  The wicked are identified as they who serve him not.  Further, all they who serve the Lord were once "servants of sin."  (Rom. 6: 16-18)  They were employed in the service of sin, working in the employment of Satan and his business.   Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica:

"For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God."  (I Thess. 1: 9)

The Labor of Lost Sinners

Prior to becoming Christians and entering into the work and service of the Lord, Christians were employed in the service of false lords and gods.  They were employed in the occupation of the Devil, whether they were conscious of it or not.  They served themselves, were their own lords.  Their "god," said Paul, was their "belly."  (Phil. 3: 19)  They labored to satisfy their own lusts, to fulfill their own desires, to produce what they coveted after.  Or, to put it in the language of the apostle, they "walked according to the course of this world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind."  (Eph. 2: 3)  They served the money god, whom Jesus called "Mammon." 

As it respects service to God and being in his employment, sinners are "idle."  In the parable of the laborers, already cited, the householder "saw others standing idle in the marketplace" (20: 3).  Such is the state of all men in their lost condition.  They are not idle in every respect, for they are very busy in their employment to sin.  But, as respects their labors for their God and Creator, they are indeed idle.  So it was said of those unsaved Jews in the time of the judges that "they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way."  (Judges 2: 19)

"The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." (John 7: 7)

"Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." (I John 3: 12)

"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." (Isa. 55; 2)

Not only are sinners idle as respects their labors for the Lord, but they are slothful or lazy.

"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." (Eze. 16: 49)

Laboring for Everlasting Life

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6: 27)

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Heb. 4: 11)

"Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." (II Cor. 5: 9)

Salvation by grace does not exclude the need for perseverance and good works.

Call To Repentance

"Commit thy works (efforts & activities) unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established."  (Prov. 16: 3)

"But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance." (Acts 26: 20)

"They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." (John 8: 39)

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  (Heb. 11: 6)

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2: 10)

"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.." (Titus 2: 14)

"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." (Col. 1: 10)

Dead Works and Dead Faith

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God." (Heb. 6: 1)

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9: 14)

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2: 14-17)

A Mind To Work

"So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work."  (Neh. 4: 6)

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15: 58)

"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work."  (Titus 3: 1)

"That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." (I Tim. 6: 18)

"Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom."  (Prov. 23: 4)

Equipping the Saints for Work

"That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Tim. 3: 17)

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." (II Cor. 9: 8)

"Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." (II Thess. 2: 17)

"Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." (Col. 1: 29)

"Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Heb. 13: 21)

Warnings Against Slothfulness & Exhortations to Labor

"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."  (Heb. 6: 12)

"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." (Rom. 12: 11)

"Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents." (Matt. 25: 24-28)

Characteristics & Consequences of Slothfulness

"He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster." (Prov. 18: 9)

"The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets." (Prov. 22: 13)

"I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down." (Prov. 24: 30, 31)

"By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through." (Eccl. 10: 18)

"As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed." (Prov. 26: 14)

"The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep."  (Eccl. 5: 12)

"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (I Tim. 5: 13)

Laborers for the Lord Honored

"Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord." (Rom. 16: 12)

"Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants." (Philip. 2: 25)

"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life." (Phil. 4: 3)

"That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth." (I Cor. 16: 16)

"Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father." (I Thess. 1: 3)

"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb. 6: 10)

"Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours." (II Cor. 10: 15)

"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft." (II Cor. 11: 23)

"For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God." (I Thess. 2: 9)

"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you." (I Thess. 5: 12)

"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." (Rev. 2: 2-4)

"If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." (II Tim. 2: 21)

"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (I Cor. 15: 10)

The Good Works of Christians

"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did...Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them." (Acts 9: 36, 39)

"Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." (I Tim. 5: 10)

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20: 35)

Laboring In Prayer

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." (Col. 4: 12)

Labor in Bible Study

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." (I Tim. 5: 17)

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim. 2: 14)

"Help Wanted"

"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matt. 9: 37, 38)

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." (Heb. 10: 24)

Sanctifying our Time to the Lord

"Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."  (Isa. 8: 13)

Set apart appointed times to do work for the Lord. Designate certain times to

1) Pray
2) Read God's word and books on bible subjects
3) Study (research) the scriptures
4) Meditate
5) Good works, such as helping the poor, charitable work.

Develop Good Spiritual Habits

1) Talking to the Lord
2) Thinking upon the Lord and his word
3) Talking to others about the Lord
4) Singing in your heart to the Lord
5) Keep a journal of your spiritual activities
6) Attend Sunday school, seminary classes, and preaching services
7) Memorizing scripture, especially the Psalms and Proverbs
8) Listen to recordings of the Bible, and Bible lessons and sermons

Things that Distract

"And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction."  (I Cor. 7: 35)

"And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."  (Mark 4: 19)

The Danger of Procrastination

"And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."  (Luke 9: 59-62)

Need For Diligence (opposite of sloth)

"Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently."  (Psa. 119: 4)

"I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments."  (Psa. 119: 60)

"He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich."  (Prov. 10: 4)

"...he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  (Heb. 11: 6)

"Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery."  (I Tim. 4: 14)

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation...?  (Heb. 2: 3)

1 comment:

CYLON said...

Thank you for such needful teaching. I must print this out.