Labor Of Love Ministry

Easter Sunday  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:57
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1.)Click on " Labor Of Love Ministry" above to go to the page with the Study Notes. 2.)Then scroll down past the "Files" to view the Study Notes. 3.) To repeat the song heard at the end of the sermon click on "Music - Easter Cantata 2019" under "Files".

It is April 12, 2020, it is Easter Sunday, a unique Easter Sunday At Prairie Grove Baptist we always look forward to our choirs Easter Cantata But because of the restrictions placed upon us by the coronavirus epidemic the choir section is empty Prior to those restrictions our choir was working hard in preparation for this year’s cantata On any given Easter Sunday we expect the auditorium to be full and even expect to bring in chairs The pews are empty, the choir chairs are empty, all of which sounds depressing and discouraging America is possibly facing the most stressful and trying days that we have ever faced Americans are offering comfort to one another through the phrase, “we are in it together” But there is a truth for the Christian that far exceeds the comfort of those words, Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Paul is not praying for Christians to be given the power of Christ Christians receive the power of God when they receive Christ into their life Paul prays that we might become aware of the power that we already possess in Christ “His power” is a spiritually dynamic living force, more than is necessary, far beyond all expectation It is described as the resurrection power within Christ, Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, The present position of Christ “in heavenly places” is the assurance of the Person and Work of Christ All of which we can put faith in, the Cross, His Resurrection, Ascension, Exaltation, and His return Christians are in position with Christ through all-of the above because we are now seated with Christ, Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: “Together” identifies our present position with Christ, we are already “raised up” Since Christ is alive, we have been made alive in Christ Just as God hath raised up Christ, He has raised us up “together” with Christ “Heavenly places in Christ Jesus” separates us from the present world system Not in the physical sense, we are a part of the world that is facing the deadly coronavirus epidemic But spiritually we are in “Heavenly places in Christ Jesus” and we have a responsibility The door is wide open for Christians to fulfill our responsibility and we have the power to do it If you are now alive in Christ, live like a Christian If you are now a child of God, act like a child of God If you are no longer of this world, quit living like the world If you are now dead to sin, quit living in sin If you have been made righteous, live righteous, if you have been made holy, live a holy life If you are now the light of the world, start shining for Christ If you are now blessed with all spiritual blessings, be a blessing unto others Because Jesus is alive, we can rejoice, Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. We can “rejoice” even under the current circumstances, no matter how far up the curve goes Because our rejoicing is “In the Lord” and we know that God is in control of today and tomorrow Listen to Paul, “And again I say, rejoice,” be sure you get the strong emphasis We can rejoice because the victory is still ours in Christ, we will not be defeated I rejoice today because the cautions of coronavirus have not stopped me from preaching And you can hear my message on our website or by a C-D You can rejoice today because you can hear on our website an Easter Cantata It is the Easter Cantata performed by our choir last year, it will also be available on C-D’s Easter Sunday is always a special day for me, I surrendered to preach on an Easter Sunday 53 years ago, Easter Sunday 1967, I walked the aisle and committed my life to preach God’s Word And in those 53 years I have never preached to empty pews on Easter Sunday I thank God that I can preach today, and people can hear the message through modern technology But the main reason we can pray, study, and worship together today is, because “He Lives” STUDY NOTES “LABOR OF LOVE MINISTRY” BIBLE TEACHER: CLIFTON JONES INTRODUCTION I know that it is Easter Sunday and you are expecting a traditional Easter Sunday sermon And you will probably think that today’s sermon is not an Easter Sunday sermon So, why am I preaching this sermon today? Because I want to introduce the “Labor of Love Ministry” on Easter Sunday Why Easter Sunday? Because of the truth of the “Labor of Love Ministry” The tomb is empty, Christ is alive, and He lives in us and that is what makes this ministry possible, Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Our “Living Lord” living in us is why the “Labor of Love Ministry” is so important Christ living “in us” is why the “Labor of Love Ministry” can be so effective, Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, It can be a powerful outreach ministry when we pray for Christ to work in us to fulfill its purpose It can be a ministry that will reach far beyond what we think it can do, even beyond what we talk about 1 Corinthians 15 is the classic chapter in the NT on the subject-of resurrection It begins with the fact of the resurrection of Christ, there is no doubt that Jesus is alive Then Paul presents the fact of the future resurrection of the believer’s body Because Christ is alive, we will receive a new body at the time of the return of Christ 1 Corinthians 15 closes with another fact related to the truth of the resurrection of Christ The last verse in 1 Corinthians 15 has a message for us today, 1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. “Therefore” because Christ is alive and lives in us, we have work to do, it is the Lord’s work Because Christ is going to soon return, we must do our work for Him today The “Labor of Love Ministry” involves work that must be done today It represents Christ and the love of Christ that must be revealed to the world, Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. The “Labor of Love Ministry” is a ministry of loving one another and caring for one another The title and the description of this ministry comes from Hebrews 6:10 Heb 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. God is not “unrighteous” or unjust in His dealings with man, whether they are saved or lost Sometimes it may appear that our faithfulness to God may go unnoticed by God But God has never overlooked the faithfulness of His people Every just deed will be justly rewarded by our faithful and just God If God did not do that, He would be unrighteous, and God has never been “unrighteous” to forget your work The word “forget” has two thoughts, failing to recall something or carless neglect Neither will ever be true of God concerning your “work” for Him The term “work” is a very general term and identifies all types of activity Our “work” is the action of our life, the achievements of our life The “work” of the Thessalonians was what their “faith” guided them to do, 1Th 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Their faith gave them something to live for, something to “work” for, an accomplishment in life The word “work” could refer to the average normal duties of the Christian faith The things that are expected of us because we are saved and as simple as: Faithful church attendance; Daily prayer time; Daily Bible study; Financial giving And especially living a faithful Christian testimony, living as a Christian should every day James taught us that the Christian life is more than “words” of faith, it is also our “works” of faith Faith without works is dead, Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Faith cannot be seen apart from works, Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. So, James tells us again that faith without works is dead, Jas 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? And then James gave us an illustration that we can all understand, Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Workless faith is as lifeless as a dead physical body A church that talks about ministry and has no work of ministry is a dead church A “say so” faith must also be a “do so” faith or it is a worthless faith Don’t get discouraged in your work for the Lord, God sees all, God never forgets what He sees If your work is for the attention of man, man may not pay attention, and man will forget God sees all faithful work and rewards every faithful deed “and labor of love” and labor of love, “Labor” is a stronger word than work, it refers to fatigue and exhaustion, a state of weariness Labor is work beyond the normal, more than the average work, it is hard and difficult work Why would someone work for the Lord until they are exhausted? Because of their “love” for Jesus Christ, their “labor” is motivated by love Love will pay a great price for the one who is loved “Laborers” are willing to go far beyond the normal duties of work because of their love for Jesus Notice again the testimony of the Thessalonian church, 1Th 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; What a testimony, work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope, no wonder Paul said, 1Th 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything. Their “sounding out” was not limited to Easter Sunday and Christmas, it was a daily witness They daily sounded out the “Word of the Lord” through their work of faith and labor of love Paul did not need to talk about their ministry, it spoke for itself, and people spoke of it People were already talking about what was happening, lives were being changed People will talk about lives that have been changed and homes that have been changed Curiosity will cause people to check out what they are hearing about other people And when people check out the “Labor of Love Ministry” they will learn about Jesus The “Labor of Love Ministry” can be a powerful evangelistic campaign There is no stronger evidence of being saved than “love” that will “labor” for Jesus If you really love Jesus, your heart will hurt if you don’t labor for Him There is nothing more important in ministry than “love,” love must always be the motive “Love” is first in the cluster of characteristics known as the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, “Love” is the foundation of the other grace characteristics love is the beginning and has no end In too many American churches today love for God is growing cold and ministry is failing Jesus knew of the work, labor, and patience within the church of Ephesus, Rev 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labor, 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: But there was a problem, something was missing, Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. We find that a change had taken place and it was not for the best, a change often seen today The problem within the church of Ephesus was they had lost their motivation The motivation for their works, labor, and patience was gone, Jesus said, “You have left your first love” Their current efforts were without the love of God that should be first in their life Love for God was not first in their life, so it was not found in their now “say so” ministry That same problem can be found within many church efforts of today resulting in a lifeless ministry For Christians, labor without love is a lifeless effort, Paul describes it as a senseless noise, 1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, (love) I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. It is also a meaningless ministry, 1Co 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, (love) I am nothing. All of our efforts without love is of no spiritual value, 1Co 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, (love) it profiteth me nothing. Paul concludes this classic chapter on the-subject of love by stating there is nothing greater, 1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (love) The “Labor of Love” can be a powerful ministry, an outreach ministry, a witness to the world Presenting to the world the “name” of Jesus, by ministering “in His name” (Hebrews 6:10) which ye have shewed toward his name, The meaning of “you have shown” is to point out, declare, put on display, exhibit, give visible proof Through the “Labor of Love Ministry” we can show our neighbors and community something Something real, meaningful, a fact that cannot be denied, Christ is alive, and Christianity is real Ministry in “His name” tells who we are, we are “In-Christ,” we are His servants We minister to others in His name, for His sake, for His honor and glory He is the only One to be honored and glorified through our works and labor We are not to be seeking glory for self, our only goal should be to honor the name of Jesus, Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. We are to minister because we love God, 1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. We minister to others through the love of God that is in us, 1Jn 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? If we fail to meet the needs of others, we have failed in ministry and God’s love is not working in us Prairie Grove Baptist cannot announce that we love God and fail to have a “Labor of Love Ministry” Listen to John, 1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. To tell the truth of God’s love is to minister to the needs of others in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Their ministry is presented as having been carried out in the past, they had been active in ministry “And do minister” states that their ministry is an ongoing effort, they continue to minister It is easy for Christians and churches to talk about what they once did for the Lord Many talk about what they used to do in the way of ministry and then sing “Precious Memories” Some want to continue to live with their ministry of yesterday and take a vacation today But we cannot live with the satisfaction of yesterday there must be the service of today As long, as there is a need in our community, there is a need for ministry That tells us that there is no end to ministry because the needs of others will never cease The “Labor of Love Ministry” must continually be in our hearts, on our minds, and in our prayers The word “minister” means acts of service to the needs of others, caring for the needs of others Do not be surprised that the direction of ministry is unto the “saints,” that is where ministry begins Scripture is not putting a restriction on ministry, it presents a priority, which is also a lesson Ministry begins at home, family needs are to be met first, then those of the neighbors The lesson is we learn to minister unto others through our ministry at home If there is no desire to minister to the “saints,” we will never minister to the lost Paul also points out our order of ministry, Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. The priority is the “household of faith,” and then to “all men” The goal of the “Labor of Love Ministry” is to meet the needs of the saved and the lost It must be a ministry of love, a love for those that God loves, we must remember who they are The author of Hebrews tells us, “do not forget,” we have excuses for forgetting today We have been too busy, or we blame it on “old age,” but there is no excuse for forgetting about ministry, Heb 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Don’t forget to “do good,” to be kind to others, remember to share kind words along with good deeds We all know how great the need is today for kind words and good deeds, the world is watching But the crisis of today should not be necessary for Christians to realize how important our ministry is If we continue to study the Word of God, God will continue to remind us of our ministry “To communicate” means to share or to partner with others, “with such sacrifices” tells us something We must be willing to give time to pray, time to work, and willing give of ourselves to others God cares for us and God “is well pleased” when His people care for others Such a ministry will never be easy, it is work and labor, Paul warns us not to give up or quit, Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. We cannot allow Satan to convince us that the effort is useless, without value, and not worth the effort We must remember that we are the laborers and God will give the harvest, the reaping will come in time I want you to listen to an Easter Sunday song, a song that tells us we must minister, and we can minister Because “HE LIVES” Our testimony through the “Labor of Love Ministry is in this song: I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today In all the world around me, I see His loving care I see His hand of mercy None other is so loving, so good and kind Which the “Labor of Love Ministry” will reveal to a troubled world
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