Sermon Recap: With Everything! Sunday Night, 9/2/12

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him… And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; foryou serve the Lord Christ.

-Colossians 3:17, 23-24

This was my Labor Day sermon in which my intent was to challenge people in four different areas to Christian Service.

Let me preface by stating that my belief that we do at church matters—in fact, it is the most important thing we can do in this world. At church we proclaim Christ, grow spiritually, and do work which will have an eternal impact. Every soul saved, every life restored, every testimony realized is forever… and nothing is more important that “forever.”

Introduction

The funny thing with sports fans is when they think they know more than the coaches and athletes who play the game. It’s the Monday morning quarterback syndrome, with the guy “You should have thrown it to [insert player name here]!!!” or “I knew they should have drafted that guy instead of what we got!!!”

The truth is that these guys are not perfect, but they have spent (in most cases) entire lifetimes preparing for those three hours you see them on the field. They study film, train, diet, and practice the game as a lifestyle in order to be prepared on game days.

The truth is Christianity is not so different. We need to prepare our lives for those moments of service that God wants to use us. Monday through Saturday is preparation for Sundays. We read the word, pray, and work on pleasing God because all of this leads to preparation for that moment in which we need to shine for God.

We prepare to preach that sermon. We prepare to sing that song with anointing. We prepare to speak those 100 words that might change someone’s life. Everything is preparation for the big moment that God is going to use us.

In other words, you just can’t “wing it” as a Christian and expect to serve God in the very best capacity. Consider the following:

#1- Christianity is a full time commitment.

Just like athletes, you can’t get into shape just on game days. As Christians, we need to prepare ourselves to be like Christ ALL THE TIME. Paul tells the Colossians that everything we do, we need to do as if it were for him. That means that my marriage is not just for my spouse and I, it’s for God! I just don’t work for my family and myself, I work as if it were for God! That means that every word I speak (every single word), I speak as it was for Christ.

The difference between games and Christianity is that there is no offseason or time outs. It’s game time every day. We need to continually allow God to do his perfecting work within us.

#2- Christ is our mission and purpose.

Everything we do is as for the Lord. As an extension to the first point, Paul states: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phillipians 1:21).

The truth is that there are several great causes on this earth. Feeding the hungry or ending war are all noble purposes. But as Christians our goal is to accomplish the purposes of God on this earth. If we are not accomplishing God’s will, then we are doing our own. And in the end, doing our own will never leads to anything God pleasing.

#3- We cannot be Christians and not have our hearts into what we are doing.

Paul says that we must “do it heartily” or to do it with our hearts. This means that we need to ask God to give us the same passion and love for his work that he has.

Imagine coming home and your wife cooking for you because she has to, not because she wants to. The meal is served, but it is sloppily prepared and served. Is this really how you want to receive a blessing?

Or would you rather hire someone who has a passion for what they do or someone who just wants to collect a paycheck. Imagine hiring someone to work on your car or build a house, who would you prefer?

In like manner, God wants us to serve with our heart. We can offer God some sloppy, unenthusiastic offering, but will God really accept that? He didn’t with Cain (see Genesis 4:3-5). Psalm 100:2 says “Serve the LORD with gladness…”

#4- There will be a reward!

Paul states “…knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; foryou serve the Lord Christ.”  Because we are doing things for the Lord and not for man, our reward will be from God and not from man. If I’m blessed here on earth, that is an ancillary reward. The true value comes from having God’s favor from above.

This is hard for a lot of church people to grasp, as we are so used to seeing tangible rewards for our work. We have jobs to get the paychecks. Birthday parties and Christmas means presents. Holidays means food, family, friends and fun. However, God doesn’t quite work that way.

Ultimately, our greatest reward will be an eternity in Heaven. One day, we will enjoy immortality and the joy of everything God has. However, on this earth we will enjoy the intangible benefits of being in God’s service. Things such as inner peace (Philippians 4:7), Divine help (Romans 8:11, Matthew 11:28-30), freedom of guilt through forgiveness (Acts 2:38), abundant life (John 10:10), the ability to be the best person you can be (see Romans 8).

And that’s just the short list… There is NOTHING better than serving God!

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