Give Yourselves to the Work of the Lord
Brothers & SistersPastor Jerry Gillis - March 19, 2023
Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message. Be specific in describing what it means to “give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord”.
- How did this message strengthen and/or correct your previous ideas about working for the Lord?
- How does the knowledge and belief in the gospel – including that we will also be raised again – increase your confidence in working for the Lord?
- Have you ever questioned if you’re work mattered? What scripture (in addition to 1 Corinthians 15:58) can you meditate on and memorize to remind you that your work matters?
- How will your work be carried over in the New Creation?
- How is God using you for His glory in your workplace, relationships, recreation, and/or church? Is there any work you’re doing that’s likely not for the Lord? If so – should you continue doing this work?
- Discuss the two stories that were shared – the story of the couple living the “American Dream” and the other story of the missionary killed at age 25. Which of these stories can you best relate to? What can you change in your life to ensure your work matters and is not wasted?
Find 2-3 verses or passages in the Bible that will encourage you to work fully for the Lord. Spend this week memorizing at least one of these verses.
We should be intentional in ensuring our faith and work are intersected. View the Barnett’s training video titled Your Calling is Everyday, Not Someday on thechapel.com/chapelplus.
o glad that you're here this morning. Aren't you glad to be here this morning? Whatever campus you're on, anywhere that you are. I don't know if you have ever felt like, that something you did was all for nothing. But that's a terrible feeling, isn't it? When you do something and you finish it up or whatever, or maybe you've done something for years and then you come away just going, that was all for nothing. That's just a really, really terrible feeling. I had seen this news report on Spectrum News about this single mother named Damia Kazi. And she had gone back to school, was trying to better her life for her kids, better her life for herself, and she'd gone back to school for an advanced nursing degree. And in doing so, she went with one of those kind of for-profit school options that they offer you from time to time. And she went a few thousand dollars into debt to be able to get that education only to find out afterwards that on every job application, when they saw the name of this not-for-profit kind of shadowy, squirrely kind of school, that nobody would give her any attention whatsoever. And she said on that newscast that it felt like that she had done all of this for nothing. You know, to some extent, I think that we all feel this way occasionally, don't we? That what we do, maybe we think to ourselves, does it matter? Have I done this in vain? What is the deal? Maybe you felt that way, maybe about your job. Those of you who are working, you've thought, does it matter? So what I'm doing actually matter, and is what I'm doing actually just in vain? And those are hard questions sometimes that we ask maybe about what we're doing. I wonder maybe if you've ever asked that question about things that you've done for the Lord. Now, some of you maybe haven't really engaged doing much for the Lord, and so maybe you've never even really thought about it. But others have maybe thought about it and thought, well, I don't know if what I've actually been doing for the Lord had any value or had any impact. Is there really anything to show for it? I mean, I've tried reaching my family on many occasions, and you said, you know, I've shared with them, and I've tried to pray for them, and all of that, but yet nothing so far. I don't have anything to show for that. Has that been in vain? Or maybe I've volunteered with children or I've worked with students, and sometimes I think to myself, are they even listening to me at all? Do they care what I'm bringing to them? Do they care what I'm saying or what I'm sharing with them? Cuz it doesn't seem like that. And maybe you're asking yourself, have I done this in vain? Or you've volunteered maybe at the shelter, or at the mission, or at some other partner and you've thought to yourself, am I making a difference, am I making an impact? Does what I do matter? Have I done any good here? Well, those are questions I think that we run up against at times in our lives. And the Apostle Paul, when he's writing this first letter to the church at Corinth, he's not only answered a bunch of questions that they have posed to him, but he's also dealt with some issues that they have been facing. But when he's coming toward the back end of the letter in Chapter number 15. At the very end of Chapter 15, Paul ends up giving this really kind of pithy strong statement to them after he's been teaching them a number of things. And basically he says this in verse Corinthians 15, verse 58. He says, "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." Now Paul is really just saying something really straightforward, and it's really what I'm talking about today. And I'd summarize it this way, simply this, brothers and sisters give yourself fully to the work of the Lord. Brothers and sisters give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. This is what Paul is saying in this particular statement at the end of Chapter number 15. Now, interesting, all the people who have done these things will wonder from time to time, have I really done anything that mattered? And it would be true also for those who were here in Corinth. And by the way, for us, when we kind of hear a statement like that, brothers and sisters give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. As Paul is telling the Corinthians, and as Paul is also now by extension telling us by the Holy Spirit. We think to ourselves, you know what, we've been disappointed before, we've asked questions before, we've maybe wanted certain things that now we haven't been able to get. And this can feel challenging to us to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because we don't want to be in that spot where we think that what we've done hasn't mattered. We don't want to be in that spot to think that what we've done was in vain. Paul says, "I'm gonna talk to you about that. And so I want to make sure that you brothers and sisters give yourself fully to the work of the Lord." And Paul tells us how we can do this and tells us why we should do this. And let me start with the how we can do this. And it's really simple in terms of what Paul gives to us. And here's the first how, the resurrection of Jesus is our solid ground. This is how we're able to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because the resurrection of Jesus is our solid ground. Look with me again in the very first part of verse number 58. He says, "Therefore, my brothers and sisters stand firm, let nothing move you." Now, pause right here. I want you to see this. Isn't it interesting that he qualifies what he's about to say? Paul says, "Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm, let nothing move you." Remember, as we say around here from time to time, whenever we see a, therefore, we always ask, what is it?
- [Audience] Therefore.
- Therefore. Right? Whenever we see a, therefore, we ask, what is it? Therefore. And that means that it is talking about that which came before it, right? That's why you have a therefore, because something's come before that. And what has come before that is Paul talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And he's basically saying that the resurrection of Jesus is the solid ground upon which you can stand. You see, the Corinthians had some bad ideas about this idea of resurrection. They were all over the place. And some of the teachers that Paul had been, you know, teachers that had been there in Corinth, had done a bad job of communicating some things. Some of them had been so influenced by the Greek way of thinking, that they were teaching things about that would ultimately emerge into a kind of what we would call Gnosticism. This mystical idea that the soul is good but the body is bad. This would be something that was emerging in Greek thought at this time, and probably some of the problems that Paul was dealing with, and why he was having to talk so much about the bodily resurrection of Jesus, is because you've got people who were teaching, that the soul is good but the body is bad. And therefore, it's a wonderful thing when the soul gets out of the body, because it's no longer trapped. And so that works against the idea that Jesus Christ who has been resurrected, has been resurrected in a real way in a resurrected body, that is holistic and wonderful. And that's where Paul is trying to correct their ideas of what this actually looks like. You see, whenever they heard the idea of resurrection, the Greek mind would go, ugh. I don't know. I don't know. That sounds like you're trapping the soul in the body, and the body's not good. In fact, you learn this when you're reading in the New Testament in different places. If you remember, the apostle Paul at one time in his ministry was in the city of Athens, the capital city of Greece. And he was speaking to the Athenians there about who God is and what God wants to do. But then after this message, he's preaching to them, he starts getting down to the nitty gritty and he mentions the idea of Jesus being resurrected. Notice how they responded in Acts Chapter 17. Paul said, "For he has said a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead." When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." You see, what a lot of them did is when they heard resurrection from the dead, they went, eh. Why? Because a Greek idea was that, to be outside of the body was a good thing, but the body itself was a bad thing. And Paul is actually helping shape these ideas in the right way. So Paul wants us to understand that the resurrection of Jesus is our solid ground, and it's why and how, actually, that we can serve the Lord fully in being engaged in the work of the Lord. And Paul actually mentions a few things that are important for us to note in 1 Corinthians 15, because when he says, "Therefore brothers and sisters," he's referring back to everything he's just said in that chapter. And there's three aspects of this. When we look at the resurrection of Jesus being our solid ground, there's three kind of areas that Paul covers that help us to stand on solid ground. Here's the first, Christ is raised. Right? Jesus has risen from the dead. Listen to how Paul says this in verses 12 through 20. He says, "But if it's preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there's no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we've testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But if he did not raise him, in fact, then the dead aren't raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." Paul wants to make sure that they understand and that we understand that we are standing on the firm ground of Christ's resurrection from the dead. Paul has no time for some disembodied existence kind of teaching. Paul says, "No, Jesus Christ has gotten up from, he has gotten up from the grave, he died and has resurrected from the dead bodily, really, this has occurred." And by the way, brothers and sisters, listen, this is what makes us Christians. This is what does that. Because if Christ is not raised, our preaching is useless. We are still in our sins. Our faith is futile because we've lied about it all, because none of it's true, because everything Jesus said he was, he wasn't. But, in fact, he has risen from the dead. It is the foundation upon which we build our entire Christian identity, that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried and that he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures. We've built our entire life on this sure foundation, Christ is raised. Let me tell you a second piece though, because Christ is raised, so too will we. See this is what Paul is talking about. This is the sure ground that we're standing on. Because Christ is raised, so we will be. Listen to verse 20. Paul says, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as an Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ the firstfruits, then, when he comes, those who belong to him." You see, what Paul is teaching us here is that as Jesus came and died and rose from the dead, that he is the first fruits of new life, of new creation. You know what first fruits are, right? I mean, when I lived in Florida, we had an orange tree in, we had a few of them, grapefruit tree and an orange tree in our yard. And whenever the time for that would come, the orange would come out. And I remember seeing the first orange on the tree. And if I took the first orange, the first fruit of the tree, I could see what all of the rest of the tree was going to be. When all of those other oranges came, I knew what they were going to be because I got the first fruits right here. Jesus Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection, which means this, that just as he was remade the imperishable now putting away the perishable, and the immortal taking on and putting away mortality, that Jesus in this new resurrected life is showing us what we are going to inhabit when Jesus returns and all the dead in Christ will be reunited with their souls and they will be in a resurrected physical bodily existence just like Jesus was, the kind that could eat fish and walk through walls. That's what we are headed toward. And what that means, brothers and sisters is that there's a continuity between this existence and the one that's coming. Because Jesus, when he got up from the dead in this new imperishable, immortal, resurrected body that could eat fish and walk through walls, they still knew who he was. They knew it was him. People ask me all the time, are we gonna know one another on the other side? Of course. We knew Jesus, and he's the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead. We're going to know one another because there's a continuity between this life and the one that's coming. That's important for us to remember because of the argument that Paul's making. But thirdly, the reason this is solid ground is because Christ is raised, we don't have to fear death. Because Christ is raised, we don't have to fear death. Listen to what Paul says in verse 51. He says, "Listen, I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep but we will all be changed in a flash in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, and when the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true. Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" "The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." See, this is the firm ground that we are standing on, that Christ is raised, that because he's raised, so will we be. And because Christ is raised, we don't have to fear death. See, Paul is telling the Corinthians this to stabilize them, to give them something to stand firm on, to let nothing move them. Because what the world tries to do in that time and what the world tries to do in our time is it tries to destable us, it tries to move us. And it often does that by questions that may be challenging, may be difficult, may be hard to be able to know the answers to, or it wants to intimidate us because we don't know everything about everything. Well, what about evil? Well, what about suffering? Well, what about science? And everybody wants to, what about you? Paul says, and he reminds us even through his teaching by the way, and the teaching of the entirety of the Bible, we can address those questions. Those are questions we don't have to run from. We don't have to run from the truth of the gospel. But here's the thing, Paul says, "Whatever else is going on, let this stabilize you. That Jesus Christ died for our sins." According to the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he rose on the third day, according to the scriptures. Let that be the solid ground upon which you stand, and no matter what the enemy brings at you, you can know this, that just as Jesus was raised, so too will you be ultimately, and you don't have to fear even the worst, which may be death itself. So you can let nothing move you. You can stand on firm ground, and you can give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. That's how you do it. That's how you do it. But he doesn't just talk about how, he also talks about why we can give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. Why can we do that? Well, because our labor in the Lord won't be in vain. This is what Paul says, "Our labor in the Lord will not be in vain." Look with me in the second part of verse 58. "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." Paul makes it as clear as he can possibly make it. And what Paul is doing here is he's saying that our work won't be in vain, and he's actually, I think talking about two different ideas related to our work, both of which are true. The first one is this is that, "Work generally matters for the believer." Work matters generally speaking for the believer. And if I've heard it once, I have heard it a trillion times. People saying to me when I'm talking to them about God or talking to them about their lives, that they're qualifying themselves. I'm just a cashier. I'm just a stay-at-home mom. I just lay carpet. I just drive an Uber. I hear it all the time when I talk with people. Listen carefully, if you are a cashier and you do that to the glory of God, then what you do matters. If you are a stay-at-home mom, your diaper changing to the glory of God, it matters. You drive an Uber and you do it for the glory of God and the flourishing of people, then it matters. Whatever it is you find yourselves doing, do it to the glory of God, because, for the believer, generally speaking, work matters. What you have to remember and what I have to remember is, if you go back to the very beginning in God's divine design, work precedes the fall. the garden have dominion. All of that precedes the fall. Work is given by God to his own glory. Now, what the fall brought was toilsome labor, right? But work itself created by God, created to be done to the glory of God. Work generally speaking matters for believers because, I don't know how all of this works together, but because Paul is making this argument in 1 Corinthians 15, what we do in our work now for the glory of God, there is some continuity with it in the new creation. I don't know how to fully explain it. You're saying, wait just a second, Jerry, are you saying I'll be a cashier in the new creation? No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying you'll be a cashier when all things are made new, right? What I am saying is that the heartbeat of you doing what you do for the glory of God and for the flourishing of people, that will transcend into the new world. I don't know that looks exactly, I don't know how that will play out exactly, but whatever it is that you do, if you do it to the glory of God, and you do it for the flourishing of people, and it is work that is noble and good, there is a continuity between what we do now and what's coming in the new creation, though, I don't know fully how to explain it. I really do love how N.T. Wright captured this in his book, "Surprised by Hope" when he was talking about this idea of work and the continuity of that. He said this. He says, "God's recreation of his wonderful world, which began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues mysteriously as God's people live in the risen Christ and in the power of his spirit, means that what we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is not wasted. It will last all the way into God's new world. In fact, it will be enhanced there." What a wonderful way to frame up what Paul is actually saying here, because what he's reminding us of is this, why should we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord? Here's why. Because our labor in the Lord won't be in vain. Here's why. Because work generally for believers, generally speaking, it matters. And there is a continuity between what we do now to the glory of God, whatever it is, changing diapers, or selling insurance, or driving an Uber, or laying carpet, or whatever it might be, whatever it might be. If we do it to the glory of God and for the flourishing of people, then it has a continuity into the new world. This is important for us to remember. But secondly, gospel work specifically matters. Now, listen, work generally matters. So what we do, maybe what we do for a living, that kind of stuff, that generally matters for a believer if we do it to the glory of God, but, I believe, Paul is also talking very specifically here in this text, that gospel centered work specifically matters. Now, that doesn't, listen, what I'm not saying, is I'm not saying that only people who work vocationally for a church, like I do, that their work matters. No, no, no. This is for all of us, okay? This is for all of us. Because the people that Paul was talking to, every single one of them, that had jobs, not all of them did have jobs, but all of them that did have jobs, they weren't jobs in a local church being supported by a local church. They were working in the leather field. They were tending sheep, they were farming, they were selling their wares. They were doing whatever, right? Whatever that was, Paul says, "Work generally matters for believers, but gospel work specifically matters." Look, again, in the second part of this verse, I want you to see something. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. I wanna point something out to you. Watch this. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. See, Paul says something very qualifying here, give yourselves fully to not work, but give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. Because why? You know that, he doesn't say, your labor is not in vain, he says, your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Did you catch it? This is important for us, and the reason it's important is because when Paul qualifies this, he's also used these terms in 1 Corinthians before. And whenever we ask the question, okay, if we're talking about the work of the Lord and labor in the Lord, what exactly does that mean?
Because if we're supposed to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord and our labor in the Lord, we need to know what the work of the Lord is, and what labor in the Lord is, right? Well, Paul's actually used those phrases in other points of his message, and we can get an idea based upon looking at that. Listen to what he says in 1 Corinthians Chapter 9. He's talking about his apostleship and he says, "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my, watch this, of my work in the Lord?" What's Paul referring to when he refers to his work in the Lord? He's referring to two different aspects of what he did in Corinth, the evangelization of people sharing the gospel with them, and the building up or edification of the church. Paul says, are you not the result of that work in the Lord that I've done? And then Paul uses this phrase in 1 Corinthians 16. He says, "When Timothy comes see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am." What will that be? It will be evangelizing those who don't know Jesus, sharing with them the good news of the gospel, and it will be the edification or the building up of the body. So Paul is talking to everyone here. He's not just talking to specific people, he's saying, "Hey, everybody that works, do your work to the glory of God, do your work for the flourishing of people, whatever that looks like." And then by the way, everybody, whether you're working or whether you're not vocationally employed, every single person ought to be engaged in the work of the Lord and work in the Lord, because you are to be somebody who is sharing the good news of the gospel with people around you, and you are to be somebody who is building up the church, and know this, that gospel work specifically matters. It will not be in vain regardless of what it is you're doing. It will not be in vain. Now, let me ask you, are you engaging this truth? Are you viewing your work this way? Are you viewing your service to the Lord this way in what you do? Or are you not serving the Lord in any way? This should be something that you embrace and that you hold closely to you. Here's why. Because Paul qualifies this, right? He says, "Work of the Lord, labor in the Lord." Here's what that means. It means there's such a thing as work that's not of the Lord. There's such a thing as labor that's not in the Lord. And do you know where that leaves you? Listen, wasting. You're wasting at that point. You're wasting your work. Now, may there be some temporary benefit to the work that you do that's not in the Lord, sure. You get some money, you eat. Those are important things, right? These are important things. But do they have eternal value? I mean, we have to answer these questions because Paul is saying, what we do matters, how we work matters, but it needs to be work that is of the Lord and in the Lord. This is important for us in the world that we live in, because in the United States, we have understood a different story. We've created a different narrative in the world that we live in, and the world that we live in, the narrative we've created is how to amass for ourselves, and be viewed by the world as successful. And because that's the world that we live in, we need to understand that, Paul is helping us to see a different narrative. He's helping us to see something different that even maybe if we continue to work in labor in the gospel, and we're not seeing everything that we wish we were seeing. Paul says, "I can promise you this, it's not in vain." But you could amass all you want, and do nothing for God, do nothing in the name of the Lord. And I can tell you that what you've done is you've wasted it. You've wasted it. I mean, think about two very different stories. You got Tony and Marissa, born and raised in Western New York. They love the bills, they love beer. They love sauce and pasta. They worked really hard and really successfully both of them did for a number of years until their late fifties, they had done enough to where they could retire early. They had three kids, all of which who are now married, have kids of their own, have gain full employment. They're now in their seventies. They live in Florida and have for the last 15 years. And in Florida, they've got a boat. They live on the water. And they spend virtually every day on the boat, on the beach, or playing shuffleboard. That's something they do in Florida. It's a thing, you know? And that's what they do. Over here you've got Bill Borden. Bill at a young age, as a relatively young guy, was confronted by the claims of the gospel at a church in the Chicago area. This was a bunch of years ago. And his life was dramatically impacted because of his mom's faith, and then because of what he heard in terms of the preaching of the gospel. He came from wealth. His dad had been in the silver mining business, and as a result was very wealthy. Bill went to Yale and excelled, went to Princeton and excelled, not only academically where he flourished, but also because he was set on fire by the Lord Jesus. He was impacting students and professors all around him. And upon the conclusion of his graduation, he could have written his ticket anywhere in the entire world for a job that was high paying. But he said yes to God to go to the country of China, and to be a missionary. And to this point, he had now inherited, you know, his amassed fortune. And on his way to China, he stopped off in Egypt where he was going to spend some time. This was back in the early 1900, so he wasn't flying in, he was boating over there. And he made it to Egypt where he was gonna study for a while before he made his way into China. And while there contracted cerebral meningitis, and in three weeks was dead at the age of 25. He bequeathed his fortune to China Inland Mission, so that they could continue the work of a gospel. Now, when we look at these two stories, the narrative of the world that we live in is that, this one is tragic, and this one is what we shoot for. But I'd ask you a question, which one of those is really tragic. Wasting your life. That's what's tragic. It's certainly heartbreaking that Bill died at 25, but he'd given himself to the work of the Lord, to labor in the Lord, and it was not in vain. So I ask you, which one's really tragic? Which one's actually tragic? What's tragic is a life wasted. That's what's tragic. Work wasted, life wasted, that's what's tragic. You see, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we can build the sure footing of our lives on the fact that Jesus came, that Jesus lived, that Jesus died for our sins and was buried and resurrected from the dead. And we can build our lives on the sure footing of the truth of that. But that means that we also give ourselves, after we come to faith in Jesus, we give ourselves to serving the Lord in whatever that looks like. We just serve him. We work to the glory of God and for the good of the flourishing of people, and we get centered in on how we can participate in gospel centric work, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and building up the church, that that's the responsibility of all of us. And instead of just saying, I'm just a this, I'm just a that, I'm just a painter, I'm just a carpet layer, I'm just a stay-at-home mom, I'm just an Uber driver, maybe you can realize that what Paul is saying is for every one of us.
- [Person in the Audience] Amen.
- Every one of us. You could ask a lot of people in our church. In fact, you could ask Shawn. Shawn, who's a part of our church. Shawn came to faith and surrendered his life, and God used him. In fact, let me let you see that for just a moment. Take a look at this story.
- So in high school, I ended up getting into different drugs, opiates and whatnot, and that just kind of spiraled out of control. I wasn't raised like that in any sense for my parents. By the time I was 16, 17, different legal troubles I ended up. Getting placed in a Renaissance campus, which is an inpatient rehab facility. I knew I just couldn't keep living the way I was living. And I went up to the, you know, the judge or whoever it was at that point and just said, like, I can't do this. And I was just tired. There's a couple guys that started like, bought me a bible, told me to read my Bible. I talked to him late at night of just about scripture, and I had no understanding of it. My brother started to come to the chapel, he came, I think somebody invited him one day. He ended up giving his life to the Lord on a Sunday. He started to ask me, like, different questions. I'd be like, "Okay, well, you just gotta be a good person, you don't really need Jesus. Just be a good person and live right." And he's like, "Well, what's good? What's right?" I think that really got me to think a lot about my life. And so my brother kept inviting me to vintage. They gave the invitation to like, if you want to follow Jesus, stand up. I just felt like almost like the Lord came up from behind me and lifted me up, and I stood up. They prayed for me, and that was the day I received the Lord. Through a weird sort of series of events, I got a job at a painting company. Little did I know the painting company was also the warehouse where Potter's Hands was placed. And the guy who hired me, he said, "Hey, Potter's Hands is here. If you want to take a couple hours outta your week, you know, you can serve in Potter's Hands, help organize it, you know, there's really nobody doing it at that time." And it all just kind of worked out together. And then I was serving in Potter's Hands for the last probably eight years.
- Some of the things I would say that have come out of him a lot since he's come to faith is this deep desire to serve other people. Maybe that was always there, but God really brought that out of him. And I think the people that know Shawn the best know that he always wants to help people. He's so willing to jump in and to serve. And now he's doing the same thing and encouraging other people to follow him on that.
- I would say serving shows that you're invested when you take a Saturday morning outta your day to go help someone you don't even know. And I think when people see that, it takes it to the next level as opposed to me just asking, you know, giving a simple invite to church, which is great, but I think that's more of the end of it. I think it starts with serving people and investing in their lives, and then bringing them along in your journey of faith.
- Yeah. This is a young man who gets it. He gets what Paul's talking about here, that he's allowed his life to be used in his work for the glory of God, but he's also specifically giving attention to gospel centric work, to be able to serve other people, and to be able to share the hope of the gospel with them as he does that. See, this teaching that Paul gives us, it's for us all. Doesn't matter where we come from, what we do, what our background is, this is for us all. And we ought to be able to embrace that because of what Paul is telling us, that we've got a sure foundation to be able to stand on and we've got a reason, and that is that our work's not gonna be in vain. You know, there was a guy who actually surrendered his life to the Lord who went to China as well before Bill Borden did that I told you about, and his name was Charles Studd, S T U D D. What dude wouldn't like that name, right? He went by C.T. Studd. He was British, he's a famous cricket player, but he also came from wealth. And he was a part of what they called the Cambridge Seven who responded to the call that Hudson Taylor, the missionary had made. And the Cambridge Seven ended up saying yes, and they were willing to leave their privileges, and leave their fortunes, and go and serve the Lord. Mr. Studd served in a number of different places in China and Africa and in all of that. And he also ended up writing a poem as he went by and I think had observed something that was on a headstone in one of the places that he was. Here's what the poem says. He says, "Two little lines I heard one day traveling a long life's busy way. Bringing conviction to my heart, and from my mind would not depart. Only one life, 'twill soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes, only one, soon will its fleeting hours be done. Then in that day, my Lord, to meet, and stand before his judgment seat. Only one life will soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last. Only one life, the still small voice, gently pleads for a better choice. Bidding me selfish aims to leave, and two God's holy will to cleave. Only one life will soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last. Only one life, a few brief years, each with its burdens, hopes and fears. Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in his will. Only one life will soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes, only one, now let me say thy will be done. And when it lasts, I'll hear the call, I know I'll say it was worth it all. Only one life will soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last. Brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.
- [Person in the Audience] Amen.
- Because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Let's bow our heads together. It may be that you have never before received Jesus and had your life transformed by the truth that he lived. He died for your sins to satisfy the justice of God, so that you would not have to face the condemnation of your own sins. And that he rose from the grave, conquering death, hell, and judgment on our behalf, giving testimony that his sacrifice was sufficient to satisfy the wrath and the justice of God. Our lives begin when we put our faith and our trust in Jesus. And if you're here and you've never done that, then when we dismiss in just a moment, there'll be some men and women that'll be down front in this room. And if you're in the east worship center, you can just make your way over here. They'll be right down front. They'd love to take a moment and pray with you about how you can know Jesus, send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith, because it is the most important decision that you'll ever make. Maybe you're here and you know Jesus. You know, not, I'm just not saying you know about him, but you've been transformed by him. But maybe you've allowed the outlook that you have about your work, you've let yourself get separated into segments. This is my work life over here. This is my spiritual life over here. And you've forgotten that, everything we are and all that we are, the fullness of who we are is to be for the glory of God. And maybe you've thought to yourself, does what I do matter? Well, maybe you haven't been doing what you're doing to the glory of God. Maybe you need somebody to pray for you. You just want to take a moment and have somebody that will spend a moment praying for you. Again, there'll be some men and women that'll be down here that would love to take a moment and do that. But I wanna encourage you to respond to whatever Jesus has asked you to respond to. It may be that you're not really serving in a gospel centered way in some way, shape, or form, that can be in whatever. But you're not. And you need to be because Paul was talking specifically about that. But you also need to view your vocation. Whatever it is you do, not as a just, I'm just this, I'm just this, but instead I'm doing what I'm doing right now for the glory of God and for the good of people. Because whatever it is that we do for the glory of God and the good of others, generally speaking, it will not be in vain. But we also need to laser in on how we are specifically helping share the good news of Jesus with the world, and how we're building up the body of Christ around us. Maybe it's through serving or encouraging, whatever that may be, be about the work of God because it is preparation for the world to come, and there's a continuity to it. Father, I pray you would deeply write this truth on our hearts as your people, and that we would be responsive to that truth. For those that need to respond in faith to receiving you, Lord Jesus, I pray that they would do that very thing. For those maybe who need to spend time with you and reordering, and maybe repenting from some wrong views in reordering the way that they view their work, view their service. I pray God, that you would speak by your spirit and that we would be receiving of that. And however it is you wanna shape us and contour our own lives. So would you take your word, Holy Spirit, and do your good work in your people for your glory, and so that we may be shaped more into the image of Jesus. We pray now in Christ's name, amen.