Our Labor for the Lord
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 1, 2013
*Back in 2004, “Reader’s Digest” told the story of a family going on vacation: the Klinger family. Before they left, they asked their 9-year-old neighbor about taking care of their dog. His name was Mike.
*They explained that the job required feeding, watering, grooming, and walking the dog. Mike would have to spend lots of time playing with the dog, and giving her lots of love.
*After going over this job description, the couple asked the little boy what the job would be worth to him. And Mike answered, “I’ll give you ten bucks!” (1)
*That little boy was eager to serve! How eager are you to serve the Lord today? That’s an important question, because God has some extremely important jobs for us to do.
1. The first job in today's Scripture is to bear someone else’s burden.
*God tells us to do this in vs. 1&2, where Paul said:
1. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
2. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
 Church: We must bear one another's burdens, because it is the only way to fulfill the law of Christ.
*Paul was talking about the Lord's law of love that Jesus gave His followers on the night before the cross. In John 13:34&35, Jesus said:
34. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; -- as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.''
*The only way that we can fully obey the Lord's law of love is to bear one another's burdens. And the original word for "burden" here means something so heavy that it's taking the person down. God is talking about people who really need help, so in vs. 2, He gives us a job: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
*This kind of burden bearing takes love and kindness. Sometimes it also takes mercy and forgiveness, because vs. 1 reminds us that Christians can be "overtaken" in sins and failures. Paul was not talking about a sinner being caught by other people. He was talking about a believer being caught by sin. That could be you, and it could be me.
*What are the rest of us supposed to do? In vs. 1 Paul says: "You who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." God wants us to restore them. That means "to mend, repair, strengthen or supply". The word picture is a medical term having to do with a dislocated joint. (2)
*So, what you have here is a dislocated member in the spiritual Body of Christ. And I have never had a dislocated joint. But it hurts to even think about having a shoulder or hip ripped out of place. Restoration can be a painful process. But God wants us to forgive. God wants us to gently help the person to repent, and find the forgiveness God wants to give to them.
*But why should we forgive? Why should we bear one another’s burdens? It’s because WE have been forgiven! It’s because someone else bore our burdens on the cross! Jesus Christ took our greatest burden, when he took our stripes, when He carried our cross to Calvary, and when He took all of the weight of all our sin.
*Now Jesus wants us to bear one another’s burdens. It’s the only way we can fully obey His law of love.
 Church: Bearing one another's burdens is also vital, because all of us will have burdens to bear.
*All of us are going to need help some day, because life is going to lay something on us that knocks us to our knees. We all will have sorrow and pain from time to time, and God doesn’t want us to go through it alone. As time goes by, you will bear burdens for others. And they will bear burdens for you
*Donald Barnhouse saw a great picture of this in the story of two students who graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in that class was a blind man named Overton. When Mr. Overton received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Mr. Kaspryzak, a man who had no arms.
*These two young men met one another in school when the man without arms guided the blind man down a flight of stairs. That acquaintance grew into a great friendship, and a great example of bearing one another’s burdens.
*The blind man carried the books, which the armless man read aloud in their room. They bore one another's burdens, and both of their lives were blessed. (3)
*Those two law students completed one another. And no Christian is complete by himself. We are all parts of the Body of Christ. We are all part of the Family of God. And we are all called to help each other.
-God's job for us is to bear someone else’s burden.
2. He also wants us to examine our own efforts.
*Examine your efforts. This is God's second job for us in the Scripture today, and we see it in vs. 3-5:
3. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5. For each one shall bear his own load.
*Christians, we are all responsible for how we live. Just because our sins are forgiven doesn’t mean it’s O.K. to live any old rotten way.
*In vs. 5 Paul said, “Each one shall bear his own load”. The KJV says "every man shall bear his own burden." We need to know that this “burden” is a totally different word than the “burden” we saw in vs. 2. The "burden" in vs. 2 was something so heavy that it is taking someone down. That's the burden God wants us to help carry.
*But the "burden or "load" here in vs. 5 was the word used for the cargo on a ship. In this word picture, each of us is the ship, and this burden is the stuff we are supposed to be carrying. God's Word is talking here about our obligations as followers of Jesus Christ. That's why in vs. 4, God tells us we have to examine our own work.
*Examine our efforts. This is one of the most important things we do when we take the Lord’s Supper. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:26-32:
26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
27. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.
29. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
31. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
32. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
*We examine ourselves when we take the Lord’s Supper. But it’s something we need to do every day. Alan Perkins was thinking about the sowing and reaping we see in today's Scripture. Listen to part of the soul-searching examination Alan put together:
*"What are you sowing in your life right now? How did you spend your day yesterday? Are you giving any thought to what you’re going to harvest from the seeds you’re planting right now? Are you seeking to please God, sowing seeds of obedience and service? Or are you sowing seeds of sin that will produce shame when Christ returns? Our words, and actions and decisions are more significant than we can possibly know. They echo through our lives and the lives of everyone we meet. They reverberate into eternity.
*What are you sowing in your children’s lives? What are you teaching them? Are you teaching them? What kind of example are you setting? How are you preparing them to walk with Christ?
*What are you sowing in your own spiritual life? Are you reading the Bible? Are you praying? Are you cultivating a relationship with God? Or are you neglecting your spiritual life?
*What are you sowing in your relationship with your spouse? -- Criticism? Neglect? Disapproval? Don’t be surprised if those seeds produce a harvest of thorns and thistles. Or are you sowing encouragement and praise and attention? The harvest of those seeds is love.
*What about your relationships with others? Are you sowing peace, or discord?
*What are you filling your mind with? How are you spending your time and money? What kind of seeds are you planting in these areas? (4)
*We really ought to take a close look at our lives. But we can’t do it alone. We must pray as David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24:
23. Search me, O God, and know my heart: -- try me, and know my thoughts:
24. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
*I also think of David's prayer at the end of Psalm 19:
12. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.
13. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
*God has some jobs for us. -- So examine your efforts.
3. And sow the right kind of seed.
*This is the third job for us today in God's Word: Sow or plant the right kind of seed.
*In the KJV, Paul starts in vs. 6 by saying: "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." This word "communicate" is one of the English words that has changed meanings over the years. The original word basically meant "to share". That's why NKJV says, "Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches." And this is a good time for me to say how thankful Mary and I are for all the friendship, love and kindness you share with us.
*Next in vs. 7&8, Paul went on to say:
7. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
*You reap what you sow. And Paul says here that we have a choice. Basically, there are only two types of seed that we can plant in life: Good seed or bad seed.
*Of course, there are many kinds of bad seed: Seeds of selfishness, sinfulness, self-righteousness and pride. Paul gives us a partial list in Galatians 5:19-21. Listen to it from the New Living Translation:
19. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure,
20. idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group,
21. envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. . .
*There are a lot of things on that list that mortify us. And there are some things we tend to excuse. But none of these things are good for us or the people around us. So there is no sense in us making excuses. Are you trying to make excuses for your bad behavior?
*Years ago, the "Saturday Evening Post" told about a teenage girl who loved to make excuses. Her name was Sarah, and she was a nightmare driver. But Sarah always found a way to blame someone else: "He cut in front of me and made me hit the curb." "They were right on my bumper so I had to speed up and got a ticket." "My friends were making so much noise I couldn't concentrate and ended up backing into the telephone pole."
*Then one day, Sarah came home from school and actually said this to her dad: "My car is acting up again. It hit the mailbox this morning. (5)
*Don’t you know that our excuses sound even more silly to God? But thank the Lord, we don’t have to plant bad seed! We can plant good seed. We can plant the good fruit of the Spirit like Paul described in Galatians 5:22-23: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance."
*Christians, we know we can have this fruit in our lives, because the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is living in our hearts. We also know that we can have good fruit in our lives, because in the next verses of Galatians 5, Paul said:
24. . . those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
*And we should walk in the Spirit. -- Because we will reap what we sow.
*As Guy Caley once said: "Those who have planted seeds of love and concern for their fellow man, have reaped a harvest of friends. Those who have planted seeds of hatred and bitterness and envy, have harvested enemies.
*Those who have planted seeds of faithfulness to the Lord have brought in bushels of blessings. Those who have rejected the Lord have found emptiness and have lives filled with shallow searching. The law of sowing and reaping definitely has consequences, both now, and forever." (6)
*God has some jobs for us. -- We must sow the right kind of seed.
4. And we must be willing to wait on the Lord.
*This is the lesson for us in vs. 9, where Paul said: "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
*Waiting on the Lord may not sound like a job. But it can certainly be work. Sometimes waiting on the Lord is a hard thing to do. But it is always the right thing to do. And it is always a rewarding thing to do. So again in vs. 9, Paul says: "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
*One of Satan’s most effective strategies for Christians is to discourage us. As the KJV says, he tries to make us "weary in well doing." Satan tries to make us give up. He may not be able to make you give up on the Lord. But he is highly successful in getting people to give upon the Lord’s church.
*There is no telling how many Christians around us have given up. They used to serve God. They used to be an active part of His church. But now they have given up. Don’t you ever give up on serving the Lord! Keep waiting for the harvest. Keep waiting on the Lord.
*Dr. Norman Geisler is a well-known pastor, Christian educator, author and seminary president. He has helped write almost 90 books and taught for over 50 years for the cause of Christ.
*As a child, Norm went to a Vacation Bible School, because he was invited by some neighbor children. Norm went back to the same church for Sunday School classes for 400 Sundays. Each week he was faithfully picked up by a bus driver. Week after week Norm attended church, but he never made a commitment to Christ.
*Finally, during his senior year in High School, after being picked up for church over 400 times, Norm did commit his life to Jesus Christ. (7)
*What if that bus driver had given up on Norm at 395? What if the bus driver had said, "This kid is going nowhere spiritually. Why waste any more time on him?
*We must never give up on serving the Lord! "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
-God has some jobs for us. -- We must be willing to wait on the Lord.
5. And get fully involved in God’s labor of love.
*As vs. 10 says: "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to ALL, especially to those who are of the household of faith."
*About 250 years ago, John Wesley was a tremendous servant of God in England. Revival came to the nation. They were spared from the vicious darkness and bloodbath that swept over France during the French Revolution.
*John Wesley’s motto for Christian living was this: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” (8)
*As long as he possibly could, John Wesley faithfully served the Lord. But now it is our time to serve God.
*God really does have some wonderful jobs for us!
-Bear someone else's burden.
-Examine your own efforts.
-Spread the right kind of seed.
-Be willing to wait on the Lord.
-And get fully involved in God’s labor of love.
(1) "Reader’s Digest" - April 2004, p.51 - Source: "IN OTHER WORDS" - July 2006 #2 - produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - 6130 Barrington - Beaumont, Texas 77706 (409) 866-2111 www.iows.net
(2)"Liberty Commentary on the New Testament" - Jerry Falwell, Executive Editor - Liberty Press, Lynchburg, VA - Copyright 1978 - p. 498
(3) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Lou Nicholes - original source unknown
(4) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Sowing and Reaping" by Alan Perkins - Galatians 6:7-9
(5) Adapted from "Saturday Evening Post," - September/October 2000 - p. 23 - Source: "IN OTHER WORDS" - August 2006 #2 - produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - 6130 Barrington - Beaumont, Texas 77706 (409) 866-2111 www.iows.net
(6) SermonCentral Sermon "What You Sow You Shall Also Reap" by Guy Caley - Galatians 6:7-10
(7) Max Lucado, "God Came Near" - Multnomah Press, 1987 - p. 133 - Source: SermonCentral sermon "What You Sow You Shall Also Reap" by Guy Caley - Galatians 6:7-10 - Also see bio material from NORMGEISLER.COM
(8) KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 20497 - SOURCE: Baptist Press, http://www.baptistpress.org/ - TITLE: How Real Servants Act - AUTHOR: Rev. Rick Warren - DATE: 31705