OceanSide church of Christ
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WHY OUR LABOR IN NOT IN VAIN
Victor M. Eskew
A. Jesus often taught in parables. In one of the parables, he teaches us that the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man who hired laborers into his vineyard (Matt. 20:1).
For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
1. The vineyard is the church.
2. The laborers are Christians.
3. We are not wrong in saying that as Christians we have work, labor, that we are to accomplish for our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. In the Hebrew epistle the writer exhorts us to labor diligently (Heb. 4:11).
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
C. Most churches that I have been part of have numerous works in which members can take part. If you were to take part in every one of them, you would find yourself constantly laboring in the Lord’s vineyard.
D. As we labor, it is easy for us to become skeptical. We begin to think that our labors are in vain.
E. In this lesson, we want us to see: “Why Our Labor Is Not In Vain.”
1. Our toils are not useless.
2. Our efforts are not meaningless.
3. Our sweat and tears are not empty.
I. WHEN WE LABOR, WE OBEY THE LORD
A. The Lord commands us to always be doing good works.
1. I Timothy 6:18
That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.
2. Hebrews 10:24
Let us consider one another to provoke unto love the good works.
B. Question: Is being obedient to God every a worthless activity? When it is combined with a deep reverence for God, Solomon tells us that this is “the whole of man” (Eccl. 12:13).
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
II. WHEN WE LABOR, GOD IS WORKING IN US
A. The church is the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:27).
1. God works through us to accomplish His will.
2. We are instruments in the hands of the Almighty God.
B. Two verses:
1. Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.
2. Hebrews 13:21
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
C. Question: When God labors, does He do anything that is empty? (Isa. 46:10)
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
III. WHEN WE LABOR, WE SERVE OTHERS
A. Most works in which Christians engage are for the benefit of another person, or, for the church as a whole.
1. Teachers serve students.
2. Teachers’ aids serve the teachers.
3. Those who make calls, send cards, and make visits are serving their brethren.
4. Those who decorate classes and bulletin boards are serving the church.
5. Those who evangelize are serving the lost.
6. Those who help children’s homes are serving children.
7. Those who help in the nursery are serving parents.
B. Question: Is being of service to others a useless activity? (II Cor. 9:12).
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings to God.
IV. WHEN WE LABOR, FRUIT WILL COME
A. There are many eternal laws that God has put in place. One of these is the law of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7-8).
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
B. When we sow the seed of the gospel through evangelism, good works, and a holy example, we will eventually reap what we have sown.
1. This is God’s promise to us.
2. This is also God doing (I Cor. 3:7).
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
C. Question: Is bearing fruit a vain activity? (See John 15:8)
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
V. WHEN WE LABOR, LIGHT IS SHINING IN A DARK WORLD
A. We hear a lot about the darkness of the world on the news every day.
1. Theft of property
2. Disrespect for our fellow man
3. Harm of fellow human beings
4. The taking of innocent life
B. When we do good, our lights shine into the darkness.
1. Proverbs 4:18
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
2. Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
C. Question: When the light shines into the darkness is that a profitless activity? (See Eph. 5:8-10).
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
VI. WHEN WE LABOR, GOD IS BEING GLORIFIED
A. One of the missions of every Christian is to bring as much glory to God as he/she can possibly bring.
B. Two passages:
1. I Corinthians 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
2. I Peter 4:11
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ: to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.
C. Question: Is God’s being glorified by our labors something that is futile? (Eph. 3:21)
Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
VII. WHEN WE LABOR, SATAN IS PUT ON THE DEFENSIVE
A. Most of the time, it is not good to be the team that is operating in defensive mode. It is the team that is on the offense that is usually the one that is marching forward.
B. When we are on the offense, Satan is put on the defense (Jms. 4:7b).
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
C. Question: Are our efforts wasted when we put the devil in a defensive position? (NOTE: in the first two chapters of Job, Satan is prominent. He attacks and Job attacks back. He never yields. For the last 40 chapters, there is not one mention of Satan’s attack again).
A. The idea of this lesson comes from I 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.
1. Paul says plainly what our lesson sets out to prove, “your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
2. Paul knew the truthfulness of this revelation from God. His labors, though difficult, and, often opposed, were not in vain.
a. Paul obeyed God.
b. God worked through Paul.
c. Paul served others.
d. Paul bore fruit unto God.
e. Paul’s light shined brilliantly in this dark world.
f. God was glorified by Paul’s work.
g. Paul put Satan on the defensive in every city where he labored for the Lord.
B. Dear brethren, our labor is never, never in vain.
1. II Chronicles 15:7
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
2. Hebrews 6:10
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered unto the saints, and do minister.