The Workers Great Privilage
Text: – “These were the potters and those who dwell at Netaim and Gederah; there they dwelt with the king for his work” – “2 Chronicles 4:23” NKJV
There is a fairly well known expression that is still around albeit it is losing its favour amongst the majority of today’s Church and it is – “We are saved to serve” and in the past a considerably used expression, denoting the initial posture that all Born Again Christians were expected to adorn and take to themselves. It was an expression of gratitude to the Lord for dying on the Cross, and bringing them His Salvation, it was also an attitude of heart that said “From Your Mouth to my Hands” as the slaves in the Roman Empire would say to their Masters. It is also an absolutely right and proper way of starting out on the Christian Pathway.
In the past decade or more it has unfortunately been replaced in the greater part of Christendom as a whole, by the Church recognising that “The Saved to Serve” syndrome smacked of Serving Christ in accordance with the “Letter of the Law”, instead of “In the Spirit”.
The result has been that the Church has leaned totally the other way, and now the service aspect has taken, very much a back-seat role, in the thinking and mentality of many individual Christians. It’s not the fault of those in the “Sheep Fold” however. The fault lies squarely at the feet of the Shepherds God has appointed. There are many reasons for that (not the subject of this sermon) however.
The outworking of this is manifested in the few, now taking on the work of the many, and much of the outreach and ministry of the Church, has fallen by the wayside because of a lack of human resources being mobilised.
The resources mentioned are not missing because there a much fewer Christian people to carry out the work, however. No! in fact there are even more Christians now than there has ever been. The reason for it is an imbalance in the thinking of us all, that has developed over the years, and a lack of Vision and Motivation, the result is literally, people perishing all around about us daily.
William Booth once said: – “Let the business of the world take care of itself … My business is to get the world saved; if this involves the standing still of the looms and the shutting up of the factories, and the staying of the sailing of the ships, let them all stand still. When we have got everybody converted they can go on again, and we shall be able to keep things going then by working half time and have the rest to spend in loving one another and worshipping God.”
I for one am challenged by his words. They were spoken a long time ago but still they resonate in my heart today – The question however is “Do they resonate in our hearts as we read these words?”
We for the most part have forgotten “What we have been saved from and the place wherein we now find ourselves” – Children of God living under His grace. Why? Because so much so many of the sermons we hear are about self-help and so much of the worship we indulge in are from songs promoting – Victory, Warfare, Self-Glorification and Position” quite the opposite of that which was fundamental to sermons and songs of the past.
William Booth again said: – “Most Christians would like to send their recruits to Bible college for five years. I would like to send them to hell for five minutes. That would do more than anything else to prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.” Don’t please misread me. I am not saying that the Songs we sing today are not uplifting – They are, I’m not saying that the Sermons we listen to are not needed – They are. However, I as a leader and other leaders are responsible for promoting, instigating and being involved themselves in the field work of evangelism and the foundational work of instilling through the help of the Holy Spirit a renewal of Gods hunger for the lost.
As the people of God, we have an immense privilege of being called by the Lord to work alongside Him, and as our text says “Dwell with the King for His Work“, and to be engaged in His business. How great is that! Do I say that because amongst other callings I’m an Evangelist? Yes! But I hope that is not the only reason.
What a phenomenal privilege we have. We were once lost and hopeless sinners, without God, without hope, and Heaven before us – Only Hell to be on our horizons.
Now Halleluiah: –
- We are Saved
- We are Sanctified
- We are Redeemed
- We are Set Free from the tyranny of our sin
All through and because of our glorious and magnificent Saviour Jesus Christ.
He is King in every sense of the word, in “1 Timothy 6:15”, He is declared to be greater than any earthly King, because it there states He is King of Kings. In “Matthew 2:2”, we discover that Jesus was Born to be a King, and even at His death on the Cross, the inscription that we are told of in “John 19:19” speaks of His Kingship, and it is this King who calls all who are redeemed to serve Him.
In the natural sense, if we were to be serving an earthly Monarch, we would be servants. There under normally circumstances would be no degree of intimacy or closeness, between ourselves and the Monarch. Not so with our King, He may be the ruler of the universe, He may be the one who upholds all things by His power, but He is also the one who never leaves us or forsakes us. He is the one who sticks closer than a Brother, He dwells in us by the Holy Spirit, and we dwell in Him, you can’t get much closer than that.
In the light of all that let’s now take a closer look at our text and see what the Lord by His Holy Spirit may convey to our hearts
1) All who dwell with the King must work for him!
I mentioned right at the beginning that there was the saying “Saved to Serve”, and I will now reiterate it. Although there has grown up an imbalance in relationship to it, the truth yet remains, that we are “Saved to Serve”, and there is no way for us to be in any real place of blessing and growth, or in any real sense of victory, unless we are prepared to Serve Him.
Now, we might say today, that’s absolutely right, we are “Saved to Serve”, Amen! to that. However, are we really serving the Lord?
- What are we actually engaged in within the Church of Jesus Christ for and with Him?
- What do our hands and feet, and our energies and talents actually get exercised in within the household of faith?
In the Parable that Jesus told in “Matthew 20:6” about the owner of an estate needing workers for his Farm, in verse 6 it say’s “Why do you stand here idle all day“, and we must as the people of God in light of the great things that Jesus has done for us avoid, this being said of us. Jesus is looking for and rightly requires “Workers and not Shirkers”, and we are each one, Young or Old, Mature or Immature in the Faith, required to Work for our Master Jesus, and to be engaged actively, and conscientiously, in the King’s business.
The clarion call is going out to the Church – “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” – “Isaiah 6:8a” but its interesting to note before Isaiah could respond with the words say, “Here am I; send me” – “Isaiah 8b” – KJV he had a problem that he and all of us have to respond to.
Isaiah declares “Woe to me! . . . I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” I said earlier – “We for the most part have forgotten What we have been saved from and the place wherein we now find ourselves” – Children of God living under His grace. Isaiah standing in the Lord’s presence knew just this even though he was not standing in the same covenantal position as we do today. He was painfully aware of his sin, and he was broken about it in the same way as were Job in “Job 42:6” and Peter in “Luke 5:8” when they were confronted with the presence of the Lord. God was preparing Isaiah for his cleansing and also his commission.
We could say, “Well I’m not very talented” – “I don’t have a lot of “Gifting”, what can I do?” The text tells us clearly. The text reveals that there are a lot of ways in which we can serve the Lord. The passage speaks of those who were Potters, and those who dwelt among the Plants and Hedges, and in the Kings employ there would have been hundreds of tasks that were carried out. There were musicians, watchman, courtiers, and those who cleaned the palace and many, many more. Likewise, within the household of faith there are countless tasks for the community of Gods peoples for their hands and energies to be engaged in.
One thing that would have been obvious in the Kings Palace, amongst the loyal household, would have been that if they saw that a job needed doing they would not have left it undone, simply because the King had not come to them
personally, and asked. No! they would have seen the need and responded accordingly. So, it should be with us, our King may not, and invariably will not come to us especially, and request of us to fulfil a task for Him. No, He will expect us to recognise the need and respond accordingly – Remember what Spurgeon said “…..The new life within him tells him..”
If our bodies have as “Romans 12:1” states been presented to the Lord as Living Sacrifices, then they are no longer our own, they are bought with a price, and are therefore at His disposal.
In “1 Corinthians 12:4-5” we read “There distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments, and vary, and there are distinctive varieties of service ministration, but it is the same Lord that is served” and they are there in order that we all aid the Lord in His work. When can we do it and where? We can do it right now and right where we are.
We love to think that if we were on some foreign field or in some other avenue of employment, then we could serve the Lord far better, but that is not necessarily the case, we are called to serve where we and where are we now.
2) All who work for the King must dwell with Him!
When the Lord began His work here on earth what was the 1st thing He did? That’s right He chose 12 ordinary
men and He sent them out to work for Him – “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named apostles” – “Luke 6:12-13”. What we know to be true about Jesus is that He chose ordinary and unrefined men. They were the commonest of the common. They were from rural areas, farmers, and fisherman. Christ purposely passed over the elite, aristocratic, and influential men of society and chose mostly the men from the dregs of society. That’s how it has always been in God’s economy. He exalts the humble and lays low those who are proud.
However, notice here Jesus didn’t just choose the 12 and then the next day send them out. No, He spent time with them, and they spent time with Him, and the reason for this was that Jesus wanted them to be prepared for the task ahead.
His desire was to train them, to be disciples. That’s exactly what He did. They didn’t go to a Seminar or Bible College, (let me say there is a place for that) no they had on the job training. They learned how, by doing the work, they were thrown in at the deep end, but all the time He worked with them.
We may feel, that we are unequipped for the task, and in many respects that’s a good place to be – remember Isaiah earlier. We may feel that we are not up to any specific job for Him and naturally that could be true. But let me say right now – We are not dealing with the natural but the supernatural and for a supernatural task we are equipped by the Holy Spirit who enables us – In “Acts 1:8” we read “Listen! You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you!” He gives His Holy Spirit, to us to enable and empower and strengthen us, and as He was with His disciples so He will be with us.
Smith Wigglesworth said: – “The Lord wants all saved people to receive power from on High power to witness, power to act, power to live, and power to show forth the divine manifestation of God within. The power of God will take you out of your own plans and put you into the plan of God. You will be un-mantled and divested of that which is purely of yourself and put into a divine order. The Lord will change you and put His mind where yours was, and thus enable you to have the mind of Christ. Instead of you labouring according to your own plan, it will be God working in you and through you to do His own good pleasure through the power of the Spirit within. Someone has said that you are no good until you have your “I” knocked out. Christ must reign within, and the life in the Holy Ghost means at all times the subjection of your own will to make way for the working out of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God within.”
Although I prepare meditations and a sermon every week I felt very strongly that this was one that needed preparing and placing in the public domain. I trust it will be a challenge and that in doing so “Wherever you may be throughout the World that the Kingdom of God might be extended and that our respective Church Communities will be significantly encouraged by a newfound enthusiasm to serve our Saviour, Master and Lord.”