Works God Will Establish
Sunday Morning May 6th, 2007
All of us have contemplated death from time to time. I can still remember sitting at the top of the stairs the week before I first entered college. My dad climbed the stairs in the dark, sat down next to me, and asked if I was alright. Ordinarily, he was asleep by 8 PM and would only get up if the house were on fire. I told him that it seemed that things were moving too fast for me to keep up. Somehow he kept a straight face when I told him it seemed that I would get old and die soon. He told me that everything would be ok and that I should be excited about the rest of my life.
Even then, I don’t think I was too concerned about death and dying. I was more afraid that my time would be up and I would have accomplished little of lasting value. What kind of footprints would I leave upon the land? Would my life and its accomplishments be remembered beyond my funeral service or would it all have been in vain?
I won’t pretend to have come to any conclusions that night. All I know, is that over the next few months I came to understand that the only works that will last are those performed under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and in accordance with God’s plan for my life. In other words, I was not important nor was it important that anyone remember my name. The important thing is not what I have done for God but what He has done for and through me!
If we look at the many examples of service to God found in both the Old and New Testaments, we soon discover that God and human beings use different standards for success and failure. God rewards faith and effort whether or not any tangible success is seen. Noah preached for 120 years and made no converts – still God counted him faithful. Jesus related a number of parables indicating that God rewards faithfulness over results.
* Moses offers the very best advice a believer can have regarding Christian service (Psalm 90:17). Would we be successful? Then ask the Lord to establish the work of our hands.
I. What Works Can We Ask God To Establish?
A. God will not establish a selfish work
1. One designed to bring us personal success, honor, or fame.
2. TV evangelism is a great moneymaker and has the potential to reach millions of people – but in too many cases it corrupts the motives of the evangelists. Self-serving and self-centered behavior God will not bless
B. Neither will God establish works to rival His Son’s
1. Great humanitarian efforts may be laudable and still not serve any lasting purpose
- The Jerry Lewis’ Telethon, United Way, March of Dimes, etc. These are worthy organizations and do much good but they miss the mark in terms of touching lives where needed most
2. God will not save people without tearing down all that has come before
- Many of man’s works are great but only those done for God are eternal!
C. God will establish works that Give Him first place
1. Evangelism – winning the lost
2. Church planting and building
3. Ministry – meeting the spiritual and physical needs of others
Note: Works done for any other reason may appear to thrive but will ultimately be of no use (weeds).
II. Be Willing To Accept God’s Will In Your Efforts
A. God may require us to step aside
1. Moses was not allowed to finish the work
2. David had to be content that Solomon would build the Temple he so wanted to build
B. Unwillingness to accept God’s way will hinder us
1. Outworn ideas, stubborn resolve, etc.
2. The work and not the workers are most important
3. Be patient – God has been at work for 8,000 years
Five hundred years ago people were burned at the stake for believing as we do. They refused to compromise or renounce their faith and God used them mightily. The fact that we (Christians) are established in every country and in almost every locality is an indication of the faithfulness of those that came before us. What great work may the world see wrought by our faithfulness?