May 17, 2015
The verse I’d like to focus on there in chapter 22 is verse 12 where the Bible reads, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” I want to preach about this morning the importance of working for God. The Bible says here that we will all be rewarded according as our work shall be. Flip a few pages back to Revelation chapter 14. While you’re turning there, I’ll read for you from Matthew 16:27, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Over and over again the Bible is telling us that our reward when Jesus comes will be based upon the work that we’ve done.
The Bible says that God will render to every man according to his deeds in Romans chapter 2. Look at chapter 14, verse 13, it says, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, ‘Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth’: ‘Yea,’ saith the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.’” When the Bible talks about people dying in the Lord, he says, “They rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Over and over again work is being emphasized.
Go to Revelation chapter 2 and we’ll see the scriptures where God is talking to the seven churches which are in Asia and giving them particular admonitions in each verse. Revelation chapter 2, verse 2 where he’s talking to the first church, the church at Ephesus, he says in verse 2, “I know thy works and thy labor,” which is just another way of saying work, “…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.”
Jumping down to verse 5, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Verse 9, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Verse 13, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
Verse 19, “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works,” he mentions it again, “… and the last to be more than the first.” Look at verse 23, or actually, look at verse 26 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” Look at chapter 3, verse 1. Are you seeing a pattern here?
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; ‘These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars. I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.’” What’s he judging the churches on? What’s he judging us on when we get to heaven?
Now look, I don’t to tell you, I don’t need to spend the whole sermon telling you that salvation’s not of works because 97% of the people who are here this morning are already saved and you already know that salvation’s by faith and it’s not of works so lest any man should boast. That’s not what this sermon’s about. This isn’t about salvation. Salvation has nothing to do with works. Salvation’s by faith alone.
No works involved whatsoever with salvation, but after we’re saved, God wants us to commit our works unto the Lord. The Bible says in the famous verse, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” In the next verse it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” We’re not saved by works, but we are saved unto works. God saves us and then says, “All right. Now get to work.”
It’s just like my children don’t have to work to become a part of my family, they don’t have to work in order to stay a part of the family, but they still have to work in order to be well pleasing in the sight of their parents. God commands us to do works. This isn’t about salvation, this is about sanctification. This is about a lifetime of serving God. The Bible says that we’ve been bought with a price. Our salvation is free, it’s paid for by Jesus, but that we should glorify God in our body and in our spirit which are God’s.
Look down at your bible here and it continues. It says in verse 8, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Verse 15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” How does God know whether you’re cold or hot? He looks at your works. He says, “I know your works that you’re neither cold or hot.” How does he judge a Christian on how well they’re doing? How does he reward them? How does he look at a church and determine whether that church is a good church or a bad church, a profitable church or a worthless church?
He says over and over again, “It’s because I’ve looked at your works. I know your works. I’m going to reward you according to your works. When you die, your works are what are going to follow you.” We need to understand that works is something that God emphasizes in our Christian life, that we need to work for the Lord. He expects us to work and do something for him.
Look at Matthew chapter 21, if you would, Matthew chapter 21 and then after Matthew 21 we’re going to go to 1 Corinthians chapter number 3. Matthew chapter 21, and this is something that is being deemphasized in today’s Christianity, I’ve noticed. Now, I’m all for the emphasis on the gospel being by faith alone, but after we’re saved, it’s time to get to work for the Lord. I mean, how many verses do we need to look at? I’ve noticed so many people deemphasizing this because they want to get so focused on the relationship. You know, when they say, “Hey. It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” Of course, the word relationship’s never found in the Bible, don’t let that bother you.
It’s just the relationship, the relationship, the relationship. You know what? In order to have a right relationship with God, you’d have to keep his commandments. He commands us to go to work, over and over again. I’m not just talking about going to your secular job, that’s another sermon. I’m talking about working for God. I’m talking about working for Jesus. I’m talking about doing the works that he is before ordained, that we should walk in them. Look what the Bible says in Matthew chapter 21, verse 28, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons,” and let me ask you this, aren’t we all sons of God if we believe on Jesus?
Bible says, “Many as received him, and to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” It says, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’” That’s what God’s saying to all of us. He says, “Go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, ‘I will not:’ But afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir:’ and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, ‘The first.’ Jesus saith unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.’”
Here we see in this story that God is commissioning us all to go do a certain work and that there are a lot of people who pay lip service to loving the Lord or wanting to work in the vineyard, but they’re not actually doing it. They say, “I go, sir,” and then they don’t actually end up going. Then other people who’d do less talking and less lip service actually go out and do the work and he’d say, “Well, who did God’s will?” It’s the people who actually did the work. Obviously there are other interpretations to this parable.
Flip over to 1 Corinthians 3, this is deemphasized today. Today is just about a relationship. People just want to just go to church and they want to feel close to God and they want to sing some songs and have a worship experience and then they want to wake up every morning and have a worship experience in their devotional time. Hey, let me tell you something, it’s great to worship the Lord, but you need to get to work for God and you need to do something out in the vineyard to do the labor and the work that he’s ordained. That’s what you’re going to be judged on by the work that you accomplished in the life that you have.
I mean, think about this, what if I went to a job and I went there and I followed all the rules of the job. I tucked in my shirt, my shoes were polished and I got there on time, I clocked in and out, I had my name tag in perfect order, but I just didn’t do any work. I was very respectful, every time the boss told me, “Yes, sir, boss,” my cubicle looked perfect, but I just never got any work done. Do you think I’m going to be acceptable in the sight of my boss?
Look, God is looking at our works. How many verses did we just look at? Like, 20 to start the sermon? You know, I bet you that there are even people out there who maybe even are a little slovenly in their uniform, I’m not condoning that, but they might be a little slovenly in their uniform, they may not be as clean and tidy and whatever, but they’re getting all the work done, they’re probably going to get the raise than the guy who gets nothing done. He’s going to get fired the first day.
God demands us to work and this is something that seems to be forgotten by so many Christians. They’re so focused on themselves and we live in this society in America that’s very self centered and self absorbed, so it’s just all about, “Well, what can church do for my life that makes me feel good?” I want to wake up in the morning and I want to read a little devotion book that’s going to make me feel good, but there’s no thought of going and working in the vineyard.
There’s no thought of going out and rolling up your sleeves and sweating and working in accomplishing something and building something and doing something, but yet God says when you get to heaven, he’s going to reward you, not for your knowledge, where does the Bible say, “My reward is with me, to give every man according as his knowledge shall be”? Where does he say you’d get a reward for knowing a lot of stuff?
Now look, I’m all for knowledge. The Bible tells us to grow in grace in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, but why should we grow in knowledge? For the work of the ministry, Why do we want to have knowledge? So we can use it, not just to be a hearer of the word, but to be a doer of the work the Bible says. It says, “If any man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
He didn’t just say, “Hey, reading a lot of Bible, you’ll be blessed in deed,” no, you read a lot of Bible and then you go do the work, you use the sword. You don’t just sit there polishing the sword, sharpening the sword, practicing pulling it out of its sheath, putting it back in over and over again. No, you actually need to go out and start swinging the thing. You put it into use. We need to get back to works today.
These big new evangelical fund centers, these big giant party rock and roll mega churches, they’re not interested in putting their people to work for the Lord. It’s a show that they come and are entertained a few times a week. God forbid that faithful word that the church would ever degenerate to a place where you just show up, you listen, you go home and you do no work for God. Get to work.
That’s what I’ve been saying this morning. Look at 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 11, in case you’re not convinced. It says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
It’s another scripture that clearly shows you that you can be saved without any works. Because he says if you have only build upon the foundation of Jesus, because he said the foundation’s Jesus, but he says if you build on that foundation with wood, hay and stubble, he says your works are going to be burned and he says you will suffer for loss, you’re going to have a loss of reward. That’s the context. He’s talking about getting a reward versus the loss of reward, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. It is possible to be saved and to have zero works, and there are plenty of other scriptures to teach that. But hold on a second, God wants us to do the works.
Now, are works that we perform in our life are classified as wood, hay and stubble, gold, silver and precious stones. Now, the wood, hay and stubble is not talking about sin because of the fact that there’s nothing sinful or wicked about wood is there? I mean, is wood inherently a sinful object? Hay, you know, I’m preaching you this hay this morning. Because wood, hay and stubble are just objects that have no permanent value, they have temporal value don’t they?
I mean, hay has value, you can feed it to animals. Wood has value, you can build things, build a pulpit. You can do all kinds of things with wood, but they have no eternal value. They’re not going to last. The Bible says that in a trial by fire, they would all be burned up. What wood, hay and stubble represent is all the works that we do in our life that have no eternal value. Not bad things, but they just don’t have any eternal value.
Now, we all have works. All of us do something. I mean, I hope so, that you do something, do some work. Here’s the thing, when you go to your job and work and make money and then just spend it on yourself, that’s not wrong, that’s part of life, God wants you to do that. That’s part of what God has ordained for us as men, go to work, do a physical job, pay the bills, but here’s the thing though, it doesn’t really have eternal lasting value in the sense that it’s not going to get you rewards in heaven. The thing that gets you rewards in heaven are the works that you do that are of eternal value, that’s the gold and silver and precious stones.
Now if you would, flip over to Titus, actually, 2 Timothy, we’ll go to Titus in a minute. Go to 2 Timothy chapter 2 and while you’re turning there, I’ll read for you from 1 Peter 1:17, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” God is judging you today. God is up in heaven and he’s judging you right now. You know what he’s judging you based on? Your work. That’s what it says. I mean, this is the Bible. He says, “He without respect of persons,” meaning he doesn’t care if you’re the pastor or if you’re in the pew, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whether you’re free or bond, red, yellow, black, white, none of that matters. God’s not a respector of persons. He is looking down from heaven and judging you according to your work, that is what the Bible says.
It says in 2 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 20, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 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.” Look at 2 Timothy, chapter 4, just across the page, “Prepared unto every good work,” that’s the purpose of reading your Bible, that’s the purpose of church, that’s the purpose of listening to preaching. That’s the purpose of prayer and serving the Lord. It’s to prepare you for the work that you’re supposed to be doing.
It says in 2 Timothy, chapter number 4, verse 5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” What’s an evangelist? One who brings the gospel. Go to Matthew, chapter 9. Matthew, chapter number 9, first book in the New Testament. Matthew, chapter number 9. While you’re turning there, I’ll read for you from Titus 3:1, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.” Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
I mean, how many scriptures does he say this in the New Testament? It’s the theme of the New Testament. It’s almost every chapter, he’s going on and on about the work that we’re expected to be doing. You say, “Well, I’m a lady.” Yeah, but it says in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But which becometh women professing godliness with good works.” It says that women should be adorned, not with a bunch of fancy clothing and jewelry, but with good works. It says in 1 Timothy 5 that the widows that are godly widows, in verse 10 he said that they will be “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.” That’s what the Bible says right there, even to judge the widows.
Look at Matthew, chapter number 9, it says in verse 36, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 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.’” It’s not that there isn’t any work to do. This is like that parable in the Bible where the men are sitting around at the eleventh hour and Jesus was saying, “What are you doing? Why are you sitting? Why aren’t you doing any work?” and they’re saying, “No man hath hired us.” “The work is there, the fields are already white unto harvest,” the Bible says, but he says the laborers are few.
Let me tell you something, out of those who are saved, the vast majority are not doing any work for God virtually whatsoever. Virtually none. God is not pleased. It is not acceptable in sight of God for him to look down and find you not working. The Bible says that the kingdom of heaven is like a man who goes off into a far country and he says unto his servants, “Occupy until I come.” Now occupy means like an occupation, it needs work. It doesn’t mean like occupy a chair in the church, occupy space. No, occupy there means work, like having an occupation is the work that you do that with which you are occupied.
Where did I have you turn? Matthew 9 there? Look, it’s white unto harvest, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” You say, “Well, what’s the work that we need to do?” Well, there are lots of works that need to be done, but a big work is the work of an evangelist.
You know, the fields are white unto harvest, lift up your eyes, pray that God would send laborers into his harvest. Look, every single person go to Colossians, chapter 1. Every single person has a work to do for the Lord and multiple works to do for the Lord, to earn reward in heaven, to be pleasing in the sight of God and so that when God looks down and judges you, he’ll be pleased with you. Like the way he looked down at Jesus and said, “This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased.” Why was he pleased? Because Jesus went about doing good, because Jesus said, “I’ll finish the work which thou gavest me to do.” It’s one thing to be saved, it’s another thing to please God.
In order to be found pleasing in the sight of God, you must do the work. You know what? Some people will listen and serve and say, “That’s not true. It’s just all by faith.” Look, we’re not talking about salvation. This is being deemphasized today and as a result, the harvest is just rotting on the vine because no one’s going out to work in the vineyard, no one’s going out to harvest it, it decays and rots and sours, and the work isn’t done.
Christians today are slothful in the work of the Lord. They’re not interested in serving God. They don’t want to do any work for God. The only work they want to do is for themselves. Go to work and earn money for themselves. They’ll cook meals for themselves. They’ll clean the house for themselves. They don’t want to do any work for the Lord. They don’t want to get their sleeves rolled up and get out there and actually accomplish something for God. Imagine that.
I mean, the fields are white unto harvest. He says, “Do the work of an evangelist.” Winning souls to Christ is one of the biggest jobs that we have, that’s why we’re here on this earth, that’s why this church exists. That is the first works. You say, “Well, you know, I just don’t have enough knowledge.” Look, you’re just making excuses because you’re lazy.
Audience: Yeah. Right. Amen.
Everybody’s got excuses for why they don’t want to go to work and why they’re slothful. Of course, the slothful man is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. They have all kinds of excuses. “I just want to learn the Bible a little more before I go out sowing.” Hey, listen. It doesn’t take a lot of work to go out and be silent partner. You know how you learn anything by doing it. That’s how you learn things.
You could sit there and go to a classroom and learn how to be a plumber in a classroom with a pencil and paper, or learn how to be an electrician in a classroom with a pencil and paper. That’s not the right way to learn to be an electrician or plumber. You know how you learn to be an electrician or a plumber? You go out on a job with somebody who knows what they’re doing.
You start out by being the gopher and all you do, you just go to the truck. “Hey, bring me this fitting. Bring me that fitting. Go get me some wire. Go get me the cable.” You’re the gopher, you’re the helper, you’re the apprentice. You come along, you watch and learn. “Here, now you try.” You do an easy task and you get better at it and you learn and then eventually you get your own truck. You go out and you’re doing the service calls on your own. That’s how you learn. You learn by doing. You learn by showing up to the soul winning time and going with somebody who knows what they’re doing and you just go as a silent partner.
Brother Dave Berzins is a great example, pastoring up in Prescott, Arizona. Dave Berzins, when he first started coming to the church, was a babe in Christ as it were, he hadn’t even baptized. He got baptized, he started reading his Bible, grow into the Lord and right away he got into going soul winning, right away. He and I would go soul winning together. He and I went soul winning together for about three months before he did any talking. For the first three months he just came along as a silent partner. I did the talking, he was just praying in his heart and learning and just being there as a helper.
In the course of those three months, we had a bunch of people saved and then the New Year rolled around and he said, “For the New Year, I’m going to do the talking.” I still remember it like yesterday when he talked at the first door and he was talking to a teenage boy and he was nervous and he literally dropped his Bible, just because he was nervous, but the boy got saved. He did a great job. He started out, humble beginnings, started out with just months of being a silent partner. Then he became an amazing soul winner, got a whole bunch of people saved and now he’s pasturing a church.
You got to start somewhere though don’t you?
You start out just as a silent partner. You just come along. How hard is that? It’s not hard at all, but people just make excuses for why they don’t want to. “Oh, I just need … ” Yeah, you really need to be a theology expert to go be a silent partner on soul winning. That doesn’t even make any sense at all. Here’s the thing, even if you’re doing the talking, you don’t need to be an expert on theology. “Well, I have to master every false religion first in case somebody hits me with something that I can … ”
Sometimes, people who know the most about false religions are the worst soul winners because they just go out and get in debates and arguments and waste a bunch of time with people who have no interest in listening to gospel. Sometimes, the people who know less do a better job because they just go out and they keep it simple, and they keep it on the gospel and they keep it on Jesus Christ and they’re not tempted to get into all these weird debates and all this stuff.
If somebody asks you a question that you don’t know, just say, “Well, listen, you know, let’s come back to that, but let me finish my thought here. Let me finish what I’m showing you.” If they’re like, “No. Answer me about Aliens.” Then just tell them, “Hey, have a good day. See you later. Go to the next door.” Don’t worry about that person because there’s plenty of fish in the sea my friend. There are 4 million people in this city and if you go out, you’re going to find somebody who wants to hear the gospel, who wants to get saved, who wants to listen to the Bible, preach, the fields are white and there are others who make all kinds of excuses about, “Soul winning doesn’t work. I’m too busy. It’s too far away. I just don’t know enough Bible.” No, you know ... Are you saved? Then you know enough to go soul winning.
Just tell somebody how to get saved. If you don’t know how to get saved, you’re not even saved. Because how could you be saved without knowing how you got saved. Anybody who’s saved, knows how to get somebody else saved. “Well, I don’t know all the verses.” Do you know John 3:16?
Here’s the thing, be a silent partner and learn how to do a better job. Obviously, some people are better at this than others, but you know how you get better? By doing it more. You know why I know how to preach? Because I’ve preached like two thousand sermons. You should’ve heard me when I started preaching. You think my preaching’s bad now, my preaching was awful when I started. I’m many times … My wife’s nodding her head vigorously. Because here’s the thing, I honestly doubted many times whether I could ever pastor a church. Many times, I wondered, you know what, “Do I just not have the aptitude? Am I just not cut out for this?” I thought about that many times. Other people brought that to my attention also. “You may not have the aptitude for this.”
You get better at it just by doing it. It’s the same thing with soul wi- It’s the same thing with anything else, you learn by doing, or you can just sit around and keep talking about today or tomorrow we shall do this or that, no , knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. No one’s saying today or tomorrow or a year from now, “No, son. Go work today in my vineyard. Not next year, not next month, go work today in my vineyard.” God wants us to work for him.
There are all kinds of works that need to be done for the Lord. The primary work is soul winning. That’s the work that anybody can get involved in, anybody can jump right into, but there are other works that need to be done. Obviously, there are works to be done such as pasturing the church, such as preaching sermons, such as leading the singing, such as playing the piano or an organ, such as cleaning the buildings, such as all manner of clerical and all manner of just day to day work that is needed for the Lord. There’s all kinds of work to be done and God wants us to work. The main work is soul winning, but there’s a lot of work to be done as well.
Look at Colossians, chapter 1, verse 9, it says, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,” it said, “We also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge,” of course God wants us to have a lot of knowledge. He says I want you to be filled with the knowledge of his will and all wisdom and spiritual understanding. That’s great. Wisdom, knowledge, spiritual understanding, these are all things that are great but why? Why does God want us to have knowledge, wisdom and spiritual understanding?
Verse 10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” See, he doesn’t want us just to increase in the knowledge and gain the understanding. What are you a Buddhist or something? Are you going to sit Indian style and just, “I’m just meditating and just understanding so much. I’m just solving the mysteries of the universe as I sit here and stare at the wall and say ‘Ohm’.” Go to work. God wants you to work today. Christianity is the work religion.
Buddhism is the religion where to seize from all activity is the goal of human life. That’s a stupid goal Buddha. You’re burning in hell. We need to go to work. Christianity is the work religion. Did you hear me? I said religion. Religion. “Yeah. It’s a relationship.” It’s a religion. The Bible says, “If you’re a religion and I’m defiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fathers, the fatherless and the widows and their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Hey, that’s a religion that I’m a part of this morning. I want to keep myself unspotted from the world and I want to go out and visit the fatherless and the widows. I want to go out and preach the gospel to the poor. I want to set the captives free spiritually and go preach the gospel to every creature. It’s a religion that’s about work today. This whole talk of it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship, it’s a bunch of people who don’t want to work. They want to sit around and feeling spiritual, and they want to listen to their Christian contemporary music that makes them feel spiritual instead of going out and doing work.
Audience: Amen. That’s right.
“Oh, I just feel so close to the Lord right now.” Did you do any work? Then you’re not close to the Lord, period. How are you even close to God if you’re not doing any work? He says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” A yoke is something that connects two animals or two people and makes them work together, that’s what it is. Jesus is saying get in the yoke with me and let’s go to work. Let’s work together. He wants us to be his fellow laborer. He wants us to be his fellow servant.
Have you noticed that you develop the best relationships with the people that you work with? Have you noticed that? You know, if you want to build good relationships with people at church, go soul winning together because you’re working together, you’re getting something done together. Some of our best relationships in life are work relationships where we work together with someone and share that experience of working. Jesus wants us to work with him. You can’t say, “Oh, I have this really close relationship with Jesus,” just walking out in the forest quoting Bible verses. That’s great but you know what you’d be a lot better off quoting Bible verses to some poor person and winning them to Christ than just going out in the woods and quoting Bible verses for yourself.
Look, if there’s a time to go and be alone with the Lord so that you could become spiritually refreshed, then go do more work. I mean, look at Jesus. He went up in the mountain and prayed alone. He sometimes had to get away from the multitudes and pray alone so that he can be refreshed and recharged, and go back and do more work. You know what? Jesus did so much work while he was on this earth that people said that he was literally insane. That’s what they said. They said, “He is beside himself,” which is an old way of saying, “He’s nuts.” They said he’s skipping meals, he’s working day and night, he’s not resting enough, they said, “He is beside himself.” They didn’t see him just sitting Indian style saying, “Ohm,” you know, just relaxed. No, he was working all the time to the point when they’re saying, “Nuts. He’s working so much.”
They’re telling him, “Look, you need to relax.” He said, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day, then night cometh when no man can work.” He was a worker. He went about doing good. He said, “I’d finish the work which thou gavest me to do.” The disciples come to him in John, chapter 4, and they try to offer him food, says in verse 31, “In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, ‘Master, eat.’ But he said unto them, ‘I have meat to eat that ye know not of.’ Therefore said the disciples one to another, ‘Hath any man brought him ought to eat?’ Jesus saith unto them, ‘My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.’” He said, “I just want to get the work done.” “Here, eat this.” “My meat is the work.” That’s who you’re following, if you’re following Christ.
What would Jesus do? The bracelet, right? Work. That what should be on the other side of that bracelet. It should say, WWJD, you flip it over, it says, “work.” That’s what he did. He said, “The son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He said, “I must work the works of my father.” He said, “As long as I’m in the world, I am the light of the world.” Are you in Colossians 1? He said, “Be fruitful unto every good work,” in verse 10. “nd increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Go to 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 9:8 is what I’ll read while you’re turning there. “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.” 1 Corinthians 15:58, “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.” Some people, this verse does not apply to you because you don’t have any labor. How could God tell you that your labor is not in vain in the Lord when you don’t have any labor in the Lord?
You have people who quote this verse as if it somehow applies to them when they don’t do any work. Your labor’s not in vain, what labor? What are you doing? Just living your life. Yeah, that’s just really hard work for the Lord, just living my life and going to church. Going to church is not work. I’m working right now because I’m preaching the sermon. You are not working right now, all right? You are sitting in a chair.
Look, I’ve sat in a chair many times. Sitting in a chair three times a week is important to learn, and to grow in knowledge and spiritual understanding, so that you can work, since you can work, not just to come and just sit and listen. “Man, I’m really working hard for the Lord, going to church three times a week, reading my bible every day.” How is that work? It’s like if you went to work and you’re just reading manuals in the shop. You’re at the plumbing shop, the electrical shop, fire alarms, whatever you do and you’re just reading manuals.
“What are you doing? Get to work.” “I’m working, reading these manuals.” “Okay. Are you going to use what you … ” “Look, reading the manual would be work if you went out on a job, lay it into a snag, pull out the manual, read it, fix it,” but, “No, no, no. I’m just reading the manuals” What do you mean work? “I come here every day, don’t I? I’m here. I’m dressed. I’m in uniform. I clocked in. I’m reading the manual. What do you want from me?” “To produce something, to get something done, to work.”
Look at Mark, chapter 13, while you’re turning there, I’ll read for you James 3:13. I mean, look, there’s so many scriptures I can’t read them all. Yet, some people miss this important truth don’t they? “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” Somebody who is wise and has knowledge, okay, show me it by your works. Show me your faith without your works, I’ll show you my faith by my works.
How do you show your faith? Works. How do you show your knowledge? Works. How do you show your wisdom? Works. How d you show your spiritual understanding? Works. How do you show your love for the Lord? Your works. Your works. How does God judge you? By your work. How does he judge this church? By the work that we do. How are you going to get a reward? The work is going to be what your reward is based on. This is all straight from the Bible and it’s just hammered over and over again, that we’re to be workers.
Mark 13, verse 34, it says, “For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” What does he say there in verse 34? He said he’s given authority to his servants and God has given us authority today. He’s given us power and authority through the word of God and as emissaries of Christ, as ambassadors for Jesus Christ we’ve been given power.
He says, “Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatsoever you lose on earth, shall be lose in heaven.” He gives us the power to tread on scorpions and asps and to go out and to preach the gospel to every creature with all authority and with all boldness. He says, look, he gave them authority and they gave every man his work. Don’t let him catch you sleeping when you’re supposed to be working. You’re just asleep at the wheel and not getting anything done.
He said in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people,” You know, I’ve heard a lot of sermons on being purified and being a peculiar people, but then there’s that last phrase, “ … purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” That’s the peculiar people God’s looking for. He’s not just want to just look down from heaven and just see a bunch of peculiar people and just, “Man, these people are so different from the world. It’s great.”
Living in their commune, living out in the middle of nowhere in their secluded commune together, isn’t that wonderful how spiritual they are? That’s not what he wants. He wants people that are zealous of good works. You know what? This thing of, “Hey, let’s go move out in the middle of nowhere, somewhere, strategic relocation or whatever” You know what? I’m not interested. I want to be right here in the middle of a city, full of people who are dying and going to hell. I want to be where the harvest is. I’m not interested in going out and moving into the boonies.
So many people will say, “I just want to go out and live in the country and farm and have animals and have a ranch.” You know what? That’s great too. In our flesh, we all think that’d be pretty cool to go out and live in the middle of nowhere, but I’d rather be a spiritual farmer. I’d rather work in God’s vineyard. I’d rather sow seeds in the hearts of people that are dying and going to hell with the word of God, than just sit there and sow seeds of organic plants. Is that really what life’s about, growing organic produces?
Look, somebody’s got to grow organic produce but you know what? I’m not going to do it. I’m going to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ because I’m filled with the spirit and that’s what God’s told me to do. Not everybody can do what I can do. An unsaved person can grow organic produce. I mean, do you have to be saved to grow non-GMO crops? But you have to be saved to preach the gospel and get somebody saved. What are you doing that an unsaved person couldn’t do? An unsaved person could do most of the things that you do, but you know what an unsaved person can’t do? Preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to someone and win them the Lord.
You know what? Living the Christian life’s all about making sacrifices and working for the lord. You know what? “I just really want to go live out in Timbuktu.” You know what though? If that’s not where the lost are, you need to stay where the lost are. Why do you think that I live in the middle of this city? Why do you think I bought my house which is way too expensive for what house I live in? You know why I bought it in this area? Because this is where all the people are. Because right across 48th street, you have just all this throngs of people that are just white unto harvest, ready to be saved, right there.
You know what? I don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere where there’s no people to win to the Lord. Not interested because I want to win thousands of people to the Lord. That’s why I’m here, that’s why our church is here, otherwise our church could go and get way out of the city somewhere and build some ivory palace somewhere on really cheap land. I want to be on expensive land in the middle of the city where the lost are. It’s about work my friend and it’s not about just work that we do that’s just wood, hay and stubble, it’s about working for the Lord. It’s about gold, silver and precious stones.
You say, “What is the work? What is the work that we’re supposed to be doing?” Well, here are the works that we’re supposed to be doing. Number 1, soul winning, evangelism, getting the gospel to the lost, that is the most important thing. Heaven and hell are real and people’s souls are in the balances. How could anything be more important than pulling them out of the fire? As the bible says. I mean, if people are in a burning building, what’s the priority? Get them out of the burning building. That’s got to be the number one priority. Those are the first works.
You know what? There are other works that need to be done because also, God’s people need to be taught the word of God. The word of God needs to be taught unto Christians. It needs to be preached unto Christians. Those are good works too. If we can take somebody and teach them the bible, somebody who’s already saved, if we can take somebody who’s already saved and teach them the Bible, if we can get them baptized, and then teach them to observe all things that Christ commanded, you know what? That is a great work for the Lord. Because, here’s the thing, if we win somebody to the Lord, we’ve won one person to the Lord, right? But if we can take somebody who’s already saved, teach them, train them, edify them and teach them to be a soul winner, we could be potentially winning a hundred people to the Lord.
Think about that. If you can get somebody who’s already saved and teach them the word of God, and train them to go soul winning, you might have just won a hundred people to the Lord by teaching that person who’s going to do likewise for the rest of their life. The work of the Lord is not just soul winning, that’s a big part of it of course, but then it’s also teaching God’s people. It’s also edifying God’s people. It’s also doing the work of the church because the church is here to edify God’s people.
You know part of the reason why a bunch of people are staying around on spiritual street corners at the spiritual eleventh hour saying, “No man hath hired us”? It’s because their church is not giving them any work to do because you got to have a church to send you out. I know that from the time that I was 6 to the time that I was 16, I wanted to win people to Christ. I wanted to work for God. I remember just one day like, “What’s the work?” I want to work for God. I want to do works. I’m reading into the Bible, work, work, work, work, work. God, I want to work and there was no work to do.
You try to find opportunities in these churches to work and you couldn’t even find any work to do. There was no work. Why? Because the church isn’t doing any work. It reminds me of my sister who worked at a state job, for the state of California, and she had no work to do. Everybody’s just watching the printer print or whatever and there’s just no work. She was going around, “Hey, can I help you with anything?” She literally went to people’s offices and said, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Here’s what they said, “No. We’re just as bored as you are.” Just government workers getting paid t surf Facebook all day. They literally said to her, “No. We’re just as bored as you are.” You know what? That’s the picture of a lot of churches today. No works are being performed. Nothing’s being accomplished. You go to them and say, “Hey, can I work?” “Nope. We’re just bored as you are.”
When people come to me and ask me for work, I have work for them to do. I’ve had out of town visitors come and be like, “Hey, is there any work I can do?” I’m like, “Yeah. Can you ship out these 400 packages?” “Let’s work.” It’s like, “Yeah. Clean the building.” You know what? Don’t be one of these people that only wants the most glamorous work. “Well, I want to work but I don’t want to do that. I want to do something glamorous and I want to preach the sermon.” But you know what? Before you preach the sermon, you clean the toilet, and you vacuum the carpet, and you fold the invites, and you ship out packages, and you do things that are meat but little as much when God’s in it.
You know what? Before you stand up and preach to the masses, you go out as a silent partner of soul winning. You shut up and listen to somebody else and learn how to do it. You know what? You say, “Well, what’s the point of me going out soul winning as a silent partner, I’m not even doing anything.” Yes, you are. Because guess what, if we have four people show up for soul winning and they all know how to do it, they all know how to talk, then you know what we’re going to do, we’re going to divide them into two groups of two. Then we’re going to have two groups of two going soul winning.
Let’s say we have four silent partners show up. Now you know what we’re going to do? Now we’re going to send out four groups of two and we’re going to knock double the doors and twice as many people saved. That’s what a silent partner does right there. It allows us to double the manpower. Because here’s the thing, we don’t have a shortage of talkers in this church. Now there are some churches that are new churches, that are just getting started, where when you first started you have people coming. Sometimes, you only have a couple of talkers and everybody’s a silent partner. We don’t have that problem here.
Who here goes out soul winning and does the talking? Put up your hand right now. Look around. Does it look like we have a shortage of people to teach you how to go soul winning? You’re not going to show up at the soul winning time and, “Not enough talkers.” No. There are going to be people there to talk and we can double the soul winning just by getting more silent partners. You know what? If you go out soul winning as a silent partner for a while, nobody’s going to have to force you to start doing the talking because eventually you’re going to get sick of just sitting back and letting somebody else do all the talking. You’re going to realize and you’re going to say, “Hey, let me get the next door.” You’re going to get to the point where it’s kind of a fighting to get to the door and do the talking. Because you know what? It’s a lot more fun to be the talker.
Anybody who’s the talker knows that it’s more fun to be the one doing the talking, but guess where you start, as a silent partner. Guess where you start, mopping the floor, sweeping the rug, that’s where you start. You start humble and you’re willing to do whatever God wants you to do. There’s all kinds of work that can be done. The fields are white unto harvest. There are 4 million people that need to be reached. There are all kinds of young new believers that need to be disciple and talked the word of God and taken out soul winning and shown the ropes. There’s musical instruments to be played so that we could have a church service that honors and glorifies God, and praise him with the instruments of ten strings, all the different things he says that he wants us to do.
Look, these are all important tasks to perform. There’s somebody running the sound system right now so that this can be live streamed throughout the world, so that thousands and thousands of people can hear my preaching right now. Somebody is working. Somebody is running the dials. Somebody’s running up the switch board back there and making it happen. Because things just don’t happen by accident. You know what? Everything that you see in life always took way more work than what you think.
You go to a restaurant, you don’t really realize what goes into it until you work at a restaurant. You see all the behind the scenes. You don’t realize that after the restaurant closes, they’re there for hours cleaning. You don’t realize that Round Table Pizza, where I worked for example, opened at 11, guess when people started getting there in the morning? 6 or 7. They open at 11:00. You get there at 6 or 7 and you start rolling out the dough and getting everything ready, people are counting the drawers. Look, there’s always way more work that goes into things than you think. You go into a department store and see clothes everywhere, but then you look in the back room and there’s a whole another operation going on in the back of work that you’ve never even seen or thought about. Everything is like that.
You need to understand that God’s work is not going to do itself. We just don’t sit back and let God’s work do itself, like we’re Calvinists or something, “Well, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, right?” “If God really wants these people to hear the gospel though, they’ll hear it.” “No. He already told us he wants us to hear it.” He says he’s committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation. It’ll be like if I took my wallet and I said, “Brother Dominic, I’m committing my wallet to you for safekeeping.” Doesn’t that mean I’m trusting him? “Hey, hang on to my wallet.” I get it back, all the credit cards are gone, cash is gone. There’s trust there if I say I’m committing unto you my wallet. Our wallet’s are pretty important because if we’re to lose our wallet, we got to call every single bank and credit card, get them all cancelled, get a new card in the mail, you got to go get a new driver’s license.
You know what? What God has committed unto us is way more valuable than that wallet and there’s way more at stake. If I lose my wallet, that’s negative, but you know what? If people’s souls are lost, isn’t that worse? God has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation, the ministry of soul winning is what he’s talking about there and what he’s saying there is that he’s trusting us. He’s saying that I’m relying on you to get this done. Here you go, I’m trusting you with this job and he leaves into a far country and he says, “I want to come back and I want to find the job done. I don’t want to come back and find you sleeping. I don’t want to come back and find you eating and drinking with the drunken and beating your fellow servants.”
He said, “I want to come back and find you working and I want to see results. I want results. I want to see that you say, ‘Lord, I was given one talent.’ Here are 10 talents. Here are two talents.” He wants to come back and he wants to see the fruit that’s been harvested and brought in. We could say, “Lord, this is the fruit. This is the produce. These are the results. This is the work that’s been … ” Give me my wallet back. These are the works that have been finished. This is what we did.
You need to do some soul searching this morning no matter who you are and ask yourself, what am I doing for the Lord. What am I accomplishing for the Kingdom of God? You say, “Well, it’s your job because you’re the pastor.” You know what? That’s true. It is my job because I’m the pastor, but you know what? I was working for the Lord long before I was ever the pastor, ‘til I became the pastor, because I was in the pew for many, many years, working, doing the non-glamorous jobs, doing the soul winning and I still continue to work now, but it’s everybody’s job to work for … He didn’t say to give every pastor according to his work shall be. He said to give every man according as his work shall be. The Bible says even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure and whether it be right.
In the harvest field now ripened, there’s a work for all to do. Hark the voice of God is calling to harvest calling you. Little is much when God is in it, labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown, and you can win it, if you go in Jesus’ name. [Inaudible 00:55:21] in this church, not to work. There could be a lot of churches where you could sit there and say, “Look, there’s just no work to do.” They’re not working. They don’t have any extra work to go around. This church will put you to work.
You know what? If showing up on Sunday to the 1:30pm soul winning time for three hours is too much, no problem because there’s a Monday night soul winning for one hour and there’s a Wednesday night soul winning for one hour. There’s soul winning out in Gilbert that’s shorter that starts at 2:30. There’s soul winning all the times that you want, Saturday morning soul winning at 10am. All different times, all different parts of the town, but some people just are going to make excuses no matter what.
Look, there’s all kinds of work to do. You know we were looking for the other day volunteers to clean the building. We had a bunch of volunteers come out and clean the building. I saw the ladies here yesterday and cleaned the building. Praise the Lord for people that want to do some work. They want to get something done. Some people have talents and abilities with computers. You know what? The computer is a great tool to get the word of God out to a lot of people.
The amount of people that are tuned in to the sermons and the preaches of this church, and then people are soul winning, and people are learning, and people are growing and things are going to be that. People who have talent with computers, people who have talent with music, people who have talent with whatever the case may be. Use your talents for the Lord and be a servant, and show up, and play the piano, and show up and be a song. Look, we need more song leaders at our church because sometimes the song leader’s not here, we need a backup song leader. We need other people to step up the plate to play the piano and play the organ when people are gone.
There are all kinds of jobs to do, soul winning, teaching and preaching the word or God. We need people to go out and start churches because we need churches to be started all over the world and all over America. You know what? I wish I had more people to train and more people that are qualified, more people that want to do the work, that desire the office of a bishop because they desire a good work. There’s a lot to do and we need people to step up to the plate and get it done, and we can make a huge, huge, huge difference in Phoenix, Arizona and around the world.
One person can do a lot and a hundred people can do a lot more than one person can do, but they have to be willing to work. You know what? A lot of people are going to be real disappointed someday when they get to heaven and they’re all excited ready to cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet and they’re going to be like, “Oh man, I’ve been waiting my whole life to cast my crown at Jesus’ feet.” There’s like a cheap beanie on their head and they’re like, “Oh man, I don’t know if I want it.” They’re going to have one of those Jew hats on their head. “Oh man, I got a doily on my head. I got a coaster on my head.”
What? Because people are going to get to heaven and they’re going to think like, “Man, I went to church my whole life. I read the Bible every day. I’ve read it for the big rewards. I’ve kept a clean life.” Jesus is going to be like, “Okay. Let’s see your work.” “What did you say? Work? You mean we’re supposed to work? You mean I was supposed to be actually working for the church and working for the kingdom of God and working for Jesus? What are you talking about? I thought I was just supposed to follow the rules in the Bible and just sitting in a chair three times a week.”
It’s going to be disappointing. You’re disappointing Jesus right now if you’re not a worker. All kinds of work that needs to be done, all kinds of stuff to do. Come to me with your talents and abilities and I will put you to work. Come to Jesus, he’ll put you to work. Come to the soul winning times, we’ll put you to work.
Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word Lord and we thank you for salvation. Thank you that salvation’s free, Lord, that we don’t have to work for it. I think everybody in this room already understands that, but Lord, help us that are saved to actually now go out and work for you, not to earn salvation which can never be earned, but because we love you. We want to show our love for you and we want to earn rewards and earn wages unto life eternal. Lord, just please help Faithful Word to always be a working church and I pray that every person who hears this sermon would be inspired to say, “You know I want to do some work for God.”
Whatever that work is, whether it’s a translator, somebody who can translate things into a foreign language, that’s work that needs to be done. Whether it’s somebody who can go out and speak Spanish and win people the Lord in Spanish, we need more soul winners that can speak Spanish, Lord. People who can work with computers, people who can do the cleaning, people who can cook meals for people that need help, people that are having a baby or people that are sick, Lord, just help us all to do the work and roll up our sleeves and to never lose sight of the primary work which is winning souls with the gospel, and to Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.