THE PROFIT OF LABOR
Prov. 14.23 In all labor there is profit..."
Exo 20:8-9 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:" 11-12 "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
(Exo 35:2) "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death." WOW! that was a harsh penalty, wasn't it? Have you ever read that? How many Sabbath breakers do you suppose there were?
If there were a law today that Sunday worship attendance at church was required of all citizens unless sick or providentially hindered on penalty of a monetary fine, incarceration or death; a law which denied all work on Sunday except works of necessity and that law were strictly enforced, what would we do? I know! We'd go to church.
There was a time in the colonial history of America, so said our tour guide at colonial Williamsburg Virginia, that the settlements had Sunday worship at the established church a requirement. If one did not show up at church and didn’t have an excused absence, such as he was sick or dead, his punishment was to be bound in the stocks of the town square to be embarrassed and mocked by the rest of the people as they strolled around. Can you imagine that ever existed judged by the temperament of this year of 2013?
Well, my subject is not Sabbath keeping, but rather the rule of labor, 6 days work/one day rest. That's God formula. He set the example by creating everything that is in six days, no more, no less.
Labor is good, work is a good ethic, but don't run it into the ground. Six days at a time is the example. Those who work many days without a period of rest will wear out their bodies. Now God didn't rest because he was tired or exhausted. It simply means he ceased his creative work.
If God worked, ought not we also to work? (John 5:17) "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Our maker still is at work, but it is on the hearts of people. Song, "he's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be."
I doubt there is such a thing to be found in the Bible as a retirement age. That's something humans have devised when they wear out or rust out.
Perhaps retirement is not meant to take place until death, (John 17:4) "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gayest me to do." Jesus didn't quit work until he finished the job of redemption on the cross. When he said, "it is finished," then he expired.
Intro: tomorrow is “Labor Day”. Labor Day is an oxymoron. To celebrate it most everyone gets a day off from work, most with pay!. This may cause one to wonder why we have such a national holiday. Other than a day off with pay, and a last hurrah before the next long weekend, what does it mean? What does Jesus teach concerning labor? The Greek word means to "work hard, to be wearied." It means to work until you get tired and have to rest awhile.
IN A CHURCH. Jn 4:36-38 "And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours."
1. Those who sow the seed, the word of God, have a labor which is separate and distinct from the labor of reaping. Jesus tells us that we are now reaping from what others in the past have sown. If men and churches in the past centuries had not sown God's truth and preserved the Bible for us to use, we would be like the Pharisees of Jesus day, "blind leaders of the blind." And what we sow now, others will reap later. If we sow false doctrine we will be accountable to our Lord. If we sow truth, we will be rewarded and have a part in influencing future lives for the glory of God.
(1 Cor 3:6-8) "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour."
This is not saying that planting is not important, because we can't reap a crop that hasn't been planted. Paul is only showing that the person who plants or the one who waters is not where the emphasis is to placed, but upon God who gives the increase. Only God can make the seed grow. We can plant a seed, but only God can make it a tree.
2. Our divine mission as a church of the Lord Jesus is to sow the seed, a kind of religious farming enterprise. "....Teaching them all things whatsoever I have commanded you...." If we are faithful in sowing the seed, there will be a harvest of souls. Understanding of our task is important.
5.Church, we need patience to wait for the harvest. Much like the patience we need to see our seeds germinate. We need to do our work out in the fields of the world and patiently wait on God to bring the harvest.
6.Diligence will be needed to care for the seed from start to finish. And patience will be a virtue. (John 4:35) "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."
7.Jesus said, "I sent you...", but answer this question, have we gone?
8.Church, have we been laboring, or just fooling around at it? An awful lot of people are only playing church, looking for fun and games, and have no heart of the salvation of souls, or the glory of God. It is all about "them." It is all about what they want, not what does God want from them.
9. Count it a privilege to enter into the labor already begun. John 4:34-38 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”
Someone in the past made a place for us to join in with God's great plan of personal salvation seen from Genesis to Revelation, unto our present day. Work for the night is coming, (John 9:4) "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
The churches today may not so much need more members, as they certainly need more workers. Jesus sees that they are few, (Mat 9:37) "Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few." Inactives clog church rolls, expanding the numbers, but not taking on any of the workload.
II. THE WORLD'S LABOR IS A PERISHING ENDEAVOR. (John 6:27) "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
1.Think how quickly all of the works of man come to nothing. Most Everything changes. Old civilizations are gone which once thrived. Old buildings are replaced by new; old methods by new ways; old ideas give way to innovations more modern and efficient; old ethics are constantly changing; definitions of sin are being revised to suit the sinner.
Strategies for success are not done the same as once upon a time. Trades and professions have become obsolete when people's needs change and new technologies are developed.
Just when we think that we have figured out most of the answers to life, they've changed all of the questions.
2. Why did Jesus advise us not to labor for the meat that perishes? Because he knew how quickly it is gone. (Luke 12:15) "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
So he advises, (John 6:27) labor "....for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,...."
Making all the money one can in one lifetime, is not what life's about! When life is over, the winner will not be the one with the most accumulated stuff! Wise Solomon speaks, (Prov 23:4-5) "Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven."
3.Jesus' teaching reveals a labor that is NOT vain, nor changing. (John 6:29) "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work (labor) of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
(Mat 11:28) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
To those who seem to labor but make no progress,
Jesus says, "come unto me.” To those who seem to labor bearing a heavy load, and find no comfort, he says, "come unto me."
To those who come, he will give rest. Applied to how one gets saved, it is to (Rom 4:5) "...him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." We are saved by grace, without personal works of our own. Nothing we can do will earn it, but we can repent of our sins and believe for it.
Labor in good works, or in organized religion cannot save or give a soul rest. When is labor not labor? It is when it becomes faith. (John 6:29) "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work (Gr. mns. Labor) of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
All Christians should put to heart 1 Cor 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 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;”
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 to the saints, and do minister.”
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Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
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