We are in a sermon series, but we’re going to take a one week break from that sermon series. Is it possible to get slides up here on the screen? And so what we’re going to be talking about today is being God’s fellow worker. So I’m actually going to move on from this slide pretty quickly because my message today is actually outside of our sermon series. But I do think it’s going to really support the sermon series really well.
So that’s the series that we’re in. What we’re going to be talking about today is being God’s fellow workers. Just to get our mind going on the theme. I want to ask you this question, what’s the best job you ever had? What is the worst job you ever had? You know, by the Grace of God I’ve never had a job that I just hate hated, you know? But I will tell you a job that I had that had some unusual problems with it. So when I was in College, I would come home for the summers to earn money for College and basically all through high school. And then all through College, I worked in restaurants. One summer I found a restaurant job that paid better than normal because it was cleaning the restaurant all through the hours of the night. And so on a graveyard shift, I had a job cleaning the Fishery Seafood Restaurant in St. Pete beach on Pasa Grill, which is a place in St. Pete beach. Now it changed ownership. It has a different name nowadays, but I would show up about eleven or midnight and I would start working sometimes all alone, sometimes with another employee. And we would clean that restaurant.
The problem was I came home smelling like fish. And so when I got home at six in the morning, seven in the morning, I would take a shower. Shampoo, bar of soap. By the way, I’m so old that this was before the days of body wash, like, body wash is not even a thing, right? But I would still use soap and shampoo.
And I was living with my parents. My mom would tell me, Joey, she called me Joey. Okay. She said, Joe, you still smell like fish. So she went to the grocery store and she bought me a bottle of real lemon.
Do you guys know what that is? It’s this lemon concentrate, like the thing you put on fish. So the fish doesn’t smell like fish. And so I would have to do shampoo bar soap. And then I’d have to pour this real lemon concentrate just to cut the smell.
So that was kind of a unique job.
What we’re talking about today is actually not going to be about being a good Christian on your career or on your hourly wage job. We’re going to be talking about a theme that may be new to you. It may not, but it’s actually a really important biblical theme. And it’s the idea of doing God’s work. And we’re going to examine that.
We’re going to investigate this idea and it shows up a lot in the scriptures of doing God’s work. And so this phrase, God’s fellow workers is actually found in several scriptures. We’ll look at one of them. It’s in first Corinthians three. Let me get my forgive me.
Give me a second to get my computer set up here so that we are all rolling on the same page. Alright, so let’s read this for we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. So here the Apostle Paul uses this phrase we and what he’s talking about is the crew of men and women that are working with him to spread the gospel from city to city to city. And one of the cities these guys arrived in was the city of Corinth.
Paul was there according to the Book of Acts, at least the first time he was there for a year and a half. And what happened was they became many people in Corinth became Christians. So Paul says, you are God’s field. The you is plural and he’s talking about the Corinthians. And he’s saying there’s a harvest field in Corinth.
Many of you became Christians and you became God’s building. And what that means? That’s a metaphor for the idea of the Church, that the Church is like the temple of God. And so what he’s saying is we came as workers and we helped you guys become Christians and we’ll help you start a Church. What do you think of this phrase?
God’s fellow workers? Sometimes it’s translated God’s co workers. I think it sounds a bit presumptuous. Like, are we worthy to be God’s fellow workers? Let me give you an illustration. Let’s say that you wanted to be fellow workers on a team to cure cancer and you wanted to help out curing cancer.
Could you do that? Almost everyone in this room could not do that. And the reason is you need at least a master’s degree, probably one or two PhDs in a hard science to even join the cancer research team. And then you have to go through the vetting process of being hired for that position where people weigh your skills, weigh your training and decide whether you’re even worthy or not to be a part of that team. Are we worthy to be on God’s team?
I would say no. So what we see in this phrase is God’s mercy. That God has lifted us up to say that we can be coworkers and what God is trying to accomplish in this world and what Jesus Christ is trying to accomplish in this world. And to be sure we are God’s junior, junior, junior coworkers. Like we’re not like me and God. We rub shoulders like this is an awesome privilege that we can even participate in God’s work.
And I want to show you that God himself is working. Look what Jesus says in John Five, he says, My father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working. How does Jesus view himself and view his father? I don’t know if you ever caught this. He views himself and his father one of the ways he views him as workers.
Like we continue to see this in Jesus’s life. Talking about himself, he says, even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Did you know the Bible often addresses Christians as servants? How do you feel about that?
Like technically, the word duos in the Greek is properly translated slave. So how do you feel about being called a servant or a slave? Are you comfortable with that? I know my reaction is, wait a second. By the blood of Christ.
I’m not just a servant, I’m a Son of God, or if you’re a woman, I’m a daughter of God. That is true. But you’re still addressed as a servant. And what I would like to put forth from what we see in the Scriptures is that it is a Noble and honorable Christian ethic to be a servant, to be a worker. If Jesus Christ himself views himself as our servant, who am I to think that the title of servant is humiliating or beneath me?
And so what we learn is a Christian ethic that we should be proud to be servants, not in a sinful way, but in a Godly way. And in that way we become fellow workers with God and with His Son Jesus Christ. Now I want to show you a story from the life of Jesus that brings this out even more. This is going to take two slides. It says Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
What is he doing? Well he’s working. What we see here is Jesus is working hard at spreading the gospel. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field. So Jesus is giving us a prayer. He’s giving us a prayer. And what is the prayer? This is the prayer, that the believer would become a worker.
So what that means is you can be saved, but not yet part of the workforce. And so what Jesus is saying is pray for your brothers and sisters, that they would connect that there’s people that have needs and we, as believers, need to have compassion on them and join the workforce. And so in particular, the job that Jesus was describing is evangelism is the job of helping other people to become Christians. And he wants us to pray for each other, that we would join in the workforce.
Now, helping other people become Christians is only one of many ways that we can do the work of God.
I’m just showing you that’s an example where Jesus is praying, pray for your fellow believers, that they would become workers. Now I got a good friend of mine, many of you know, Dan and Mary Allson, Dan Allison has even done some teaching in our Church, although he lives up in Port St. Lucy, the Port St. Lucy area, and he’s helping out the Church there in a great way, providing some leadership there. He said this to me a couple of times in my presence.
And we we kind of understand the idea together. He said, we all go through many conversions in our life after becoming a Christian. And what he means is that after you become a Christian, there’s going to be times now that your already a Christian, that you’re going to turn a page, that you’re going to have a new insight, that you’re going to have a new understanding and it’s going to change your life. It probably goes along with a theological idea of justification and sanctification. Justification is when you first become a Christian and you get your sins forgiven.
But the idea of sanctification, there’s many nuanced views on the idea of sanctification. But the idea is now that you’re already a Christian, you take steps to become more Holy. You take steps to grow more. Now, that doesn’t always happen in the life of a Christian, but it’s supposed to. So in the arc of your Christian life, you should be striving to grow striving, to become more pleasing to God and have these conversion experiences. I want to tell you one that I had that changed my life forever.
I was a little bit over a year old as a Christian, I was still a single man and I was having a conversation with my closest friend, Walter Evans. I ended up being the best man in his wedding. He ended up being my best man. And we were in what you would call a discipling relationship where we were trying to help each other grow and stay strong as Christians. And we had this conversation where we’re like, Well, we’re being consistent in prayer, we’re being consistent in Bible study, we’re trying to grow.
We’re trying to be open about sins. We’re deeply involved in the Church. We weren’t trying to be prideful. We were just doing an assessment. We’re like, alright, so we’re solid as Christians.
What’s next? And so what we thought was, I wonder if we’re two young as Christians to begin to try to help other people with their needs. And so we’re like, you know, let’s go for it rather than just working on our own Christian life, which people ought to keep doing. But we want to look beyond ourselves and see, even though we’re not leaders of any kind is there any way we could serve. Are there any needs that other people will let us meet even though we’re young Christians? It was utterly lifechanging.
Just for starters, I had no idea of the avalanche of huge needs in the Church and outside the Church until I decided to look beyond myself. And so I on that day, became a worker. Now that by itself has been a work in progress and that’s had its own conversion experiences you know as I went through my Christian life. And so obviously what I’m hoping is that one of two things will happen for you guys today. Either you will have a similar conversion experience if you’re not really part of the workforce and join us.
Or I know many of you already have this on your heart, and I’m very proud to be part of the Broward Church because so many of you are part of the workforce, you already believe in God’s work and you’re participating in it.
What I would hope today is that today would spur you to grow, maybe either to do more or to find better or smarter ways to be involved in the Lord’s Word. I want to read you a scripture that has some good theology in it about this idea of doing God’s work. In Ephesians, chapter two and verses eight through ten, it says, for it is by Grace that you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast for we are God’s handiwork, and I underline this created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.
If you were to get involved in God’s work, what would be your motivation?
Well, it should not be to earn your Salvation because that’s not even possible. There are no amount of good works that you can do so that God owes you your Salvation. God is not going to ever owe you anything. God, by His great love, by His great mercy, has done the work through His Son on the cross and in the resurrection so that we can be saved. But then in verse ten, it says something really interesting.
It says, you’re God’s handiwork created to do good works. Did you know that you and I were hardwired by God to do God’s work? It is in our nature. It is the fabric of who we are. And so when you decide to become compassionate and get involved in doing the needs of other people, it should not have a feeling of drudgery to you.
It should be like I was made for this because you and I were made for this. And it says God’s prepared stuff in advance for us to do. He’s even given each of us a unique gift set, a unique set of skills and interests that we can channel our compassion to do God’s work. And what’s happened is in some Christian circles, people have made a theological a doctrinal mistake. And they’ve said, Well, since verses eight, nine say you can’t get your Salvation by works.
That means I’m free. I’m forgiven, and I don’t need to work. And so what they did is they forgot verse ten. And so the proper way to understand this is that the motivation to do God’s work is not guilt. It’s not to earn something with God.
It is love. It’s sharing in the love of God, sharing in the love of Jesus Christ and having compassion on others. We were made to work. Now I want to give you some examples of what we’re talking about to more investigate this idea. And there’s a wonderful passage of scripture.
It takes two slides here. It’s Romans, chapter twelve. We have different gifts according to the Grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith. It is serving, then serve.
If it is teaching, then teach. Now before I finish the scripture, I just want to point out, for example, it says in verse seven, if it is serving, then serve. So what percentage of Christians should be serving? I would say 100%, but what it’s saying here is that there’s some people that really have a special gift for it. So here’s an idea.
There’s some things that are commanded for all of us as Christians. But there’s some areas where some of us are better at it than others. And some people when it comes to service, it’s kind of hard for them. They got to do a heart check and they got to kind of push themselves. But for other people, it comes supernatural, like, very easy.
They feel like man, this is what I was meant to do. I have a heart of service. It’s the same with teaching. It’s the same with these other gifts that it talks about. If it is to encourage, then give encouragement.
Now I think every Christian should strive to be encouraging, but some have a special gift for that. If it is giving, then give generously. If it is to lead, do it diligently if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Now I have some practical examples of this here in the 21st century. First, we already looked at this in Matthew Nine with Jesus.
One of the examples of doing God’s work is helping other people to become Christians. Now I believe every single Christian is called in the Great Commission to be part of helping other people become Christians. But once again, we’re back to the skillset idea. Some people have stronger gifts to help people become Christians than other people. Or some people have a variety of gifts.
Some people in helping other people to become Christians are great at teaching the gospel and persuading and helping a person’s eyes to open to the gospel. Other people might take more of like a supportive role. Maybe they’re great at hospitality. Maybe they’re great at building friendships. Some people are great at boldness inviting people to Church or inviting people to study the Bible.
But maybe their strength is not even teaching from that. They just have the boldness gift. And so it is in the Church. We all have different gifts and they all work together. Another gift, but I think is a call for every Christian is being involved in feeding the hungry are being involved with widows, orphans and immigrants, serving hungry, serving the widows, orphan and immigrants.
This is also God’s work and this idea of widows, orphans and immigrants. I heard a Bible commentator even abbreviate this as WOA widows, orphans and aliens because it’s such a repetitive, common theme in particular in the Old Testament. This list is not a complete list. It’s a sample of people that are vulnerable, people that are often alone. People that really could use some compassion could use somebody noticing them, somebody seeing the hardships they’re going through and stepping up and doing something about it. That’s the call of Christian work.
Now, another example of Christian work is raising your children in the Lord. I know some of you who are parents are probably maybe feeling a little bit guilty now you’re like I would love to help the poor. I would love to help other people become Christians, but I’m kind of pinned down changing diapers. You know, like this is kind of all consuming for me, and I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement. Raising children in the Lord is the Lord’s work, but it goes beyond the basics of just making sure your child does have their diaper changed, is fed, is off to school when that time comes.
What we’re talking about here is raising them in the Lord. So it talks about teaching them the Bible, teaching them Godly morality and also being an example for them and directly teaching them to take on God’s work in their own lives. How do they treat other people even when they’re a small child? You can teach a person, a child to be respectful, to be concerned about the needs of other people, to be sensitive and as they grow up to also want to have compassion and serve other people.
Obviously supporting charities is part of God’s work and being involved as part of the event crew in Church activities.
Now, look, this is not a complete list. These are just examples to get us thinking about this. But look, we are surrounded right now at this moment by people who are part of the event crew for this 1115 Church activity. We got people out in the parking lot who are working on the parking crew. We’ve got people involved in the hospitality ushering team.
Greeting people. We got people in the back where the Kingdom kids classes are serving in Kingdom kids. We got the worship team. We have the people on the soundboard. We are blessed by this heart of service for these people.
This is part of doing God’s work. Now. We need Kingdom Kids volunteers right now. So I did not plan this lesson based on the fact that we need Kingdom Kids workers. But as I was preparing these lessons, I was like, ding, we also need to look if you are willing to serve in Kingdom Kids, it’s not just a humble job.
It is a glorious job that you do this work. Every child that I know who’s grown up in the Kingdom Kids process and has become a baptized believer, has expressed gratitude for the years that they’ve been blessed by Kingdom kids teachers and Kingdom Kids classroom assistance. So it is a glorious work. So the work of God is meeting the needs of humans.
I already mentioned this, but I just want to encourage those of you who already have this heart. When Paul is talking to the Church in Thessalonica he says this, in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you brothers and sisters to do so more and more. Now, I’m not trying by bringing up this more and more idea to make you feel guilty if you’re already overwhelmed, like if you’re already up to your neck and things that you’re doing, I’m not encouraging you to try to pile on even more.
Each of us I even put this on a slide. You can only do what you can do, and we all respect that.
We understand that. But what I am saying is, should you be doing more or are there ways you can grow? As I mentioned earlier, are the ways you can serve the Lord that’s more effective, that’s more smart or that matches your skill set and your interest in a more accurate and effective way? So I hope that we will be thinking about that.
I want to give you some examples of service. I want to give you two people in this congregation that I just want to highlight as reflecting what hundreds of us are already doing in this congregation. But I just wanted to give you some real life examples. And then I’d like to share with you a pretty extraordinary passage of scripture and an example in the Bible of doing God’s work. This is Peter Medina.
I love Peter Medina, not just because he’s a Gator fan. That’s not the only reason, but he’s wearing a shirt that says Hope Worldwide Honduras. Now, the reason he’s wearing that shirt is that Peter has been involved for years and years in traveling to Honduras on a regular basis to Central America with a team of Christians. And he’s gone there with resources, with supplies and with skilled labor in trips to Central America to serve these people. But I want to let you know a side of Peter that many, many of you have this side, and that’s the side of hidden service.
So I’ve driven up to the Church building on several occasions where Peter has been outside doing landscape work for the Church building. He’s been pulling weeds. He’s been fixing the sprinkler system he’s been laying sod. He’s been doing work without being paid for it, without being asked to do it just on his own volition because he cares about the Church. He simply wants a Church to look well not only for us, but for our guests and visitors.
So here’s a College educated, heart attack survivor, successful business owner with his hands down in the dirt, and he’s doing it because he loves God and he wants to serve. And I just wanted to hold that up, not because, you know, I was afraid to give examples because there’s so many of you that you just as much, maybe more. I don’t know how you can do more than Peter, but I’m just saying maybe more than Peter. So I just am using him as an example for all of us.
I hope it’s a little bit inspiring.
I also want to talk about Channel.
So this is I hope I pronounced her Brazilian last name correctly. This is Chanel Woodson, Vicente, and Channel has a strong set of Ministry gifts. So does Peter, by the way. But Chanel is just, you know, how they talk about people having a high IQ and also a high EQ, which means an emotionality quotient, meaning you have strong people skills. That’s Chanel and Chanel is very good at studying the Bible with people.
She’s very good at counseling people. And the Church has been in a struggle with Chanel to keep her full time. And we have failed. And she’s out working a secular job now doing a great job and representing Christ there. But we’ve had her on the Ministry staff two times hired her in the Church office an additional third time.
And she spent a year as a missionary in Brazil. She didn’t go to get a husband, but God gave her one.
She has helped so many people become Christians that we used to nickname her Channel the Baptist, just like John the Baptist. And I just want to hold up people like Chanel. Chanel also has a great gift. The reason she was hired in the administrative office is she’s not only great with people, she’s great with projects, organizing and following through and helping projects to become a reality. And I just wanted to hold up, for example, Peter’s example as reflections of so many of you.
Now I wanted to read a final example that comes out of the scriptures. I don’t even know what to say about this example because it’s the heart of the Apostle Paul. He sets a bar so high that I’m going to have very limited commentary on this because it speaks for itself. It’s going to take three slides.
Are they servants of Christ a lot of my mind to talk like this. I am more. Now what Paul is about to do is he’s about to brag. And the reason he’s going to brag is that he’s not going to do sinful, bragging and usually bragging a sinful. But what he feels like is that his life is a necessary example to the members of the Church in Corinth and for us down through the ages. And he’s like like, alright, and that’s why he says this. I’m out of my mind to talk like this because he realizes that he’s going to do some necessary bragging, and it makes him uncomfortable as it should.
But here’s what he says, are they servants of Christ? I’m out of my mind to talk like this. I am more. I’ve worked much harder been in prison more frequently. He’s actually comparing himself to some bad leaders, some false leaders in the Church in Corinth, and he’s also not only holding up his example, but he’s saying, don’t get pulled away from the gospel by these bad leaders who popped up in your Church.
I want you to consider my example. So he says I’ve worked much harder than those guys been imprisoned more frequently, been flogged more severely, have been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes, minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was pelted with stones. By the way, we think this was on his first missionary journey. We think from the Book of Acts of when he was stoned, he probably actually died. We don’t know that for a fact, but probably from what he says in second Corinthians twelve, he actually probably passed away, had a special vision was resurrected by God.
Anyway. Three times he says, I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I’ve been constantly on the move. I’ve been in danger from Rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea and in danger from false believers.
I have labored and toiled and often gone without sleep. I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food. I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else. I listen to his heart.
I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who has led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? So I’m still impacted. This is not a new scripture to me, but I’m still impacted by his passion, by his wholeheartedness, by his sacrifice, by his work, with all the right motives. I hope this is an inspiration and an upward calling to all of us. So what’s the benefits package?
So if you’re going to do this work, what do you get out of this? It’s a fair question to ask. First of all, when you join in God’s work, you’re pleasing God. I think that by itself ought to be its own reward. I think another reason is that you’re impacting the lives of other people.
If you have any love in your heart at all, then the fact that you’re making a difference should be a fulfilling thing for you. As you get involved in the Lord’s work, you see the Kingdom grow. You see lives impacted. You know, when you do the right thing. Even if people who are not Christians, even if they don’t become Christians, you’re still being the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.
And who knows what powerful impacts you can have throughout people’s lives by being involved in God’s work. There’s also the benefit of Camaraderie. I’m going to give you the dictionary definition. Comraderie is mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. Look, there is nothing quite like doing the Lord’s work with other Christians.
There’s just nothing like it. Like, how do you feel when you sit down with other Christians and study the Gospel with the person who’s not yet a Christian? How do you feel when you’re serving the needs of the poor, shoulder to shoulder with other with other Christians? Sorry, there’s just nothing quite like it. It’s just such a fulfilling thing.
It’s just another reason I’m so proud to be a Christian, so proud of my faith and so proud to be a member of this Church because on so many occasions you guys have served with me. I’ve served with you side by side doing the Lord’s work. Last, but not least of the things that I could think of on this list is that it’s more blessed to give them receive. This is kind of Interestingly a quote of Jesus that’s actually found in the Book of Acts. Paul quotes Jesus in a scripture that’s not even in the Gospels.
Acts 20, verse 35. He says it’s more blessed to give them receive. Look, you’re just plain happier when you’re giving than when you’re dodging it. Like if you’re like, I’m thankful to be a Christian.
I’ll let other people do the work. I say you’re not as happy, but if you make a decision to get involved in the work, this word blessed means that somebody else is blessing you. You don’t bless yourself. This is saying that God and the very nature of God’s work is going to be a blessing to you. I believe you’re happier doing God’s work than not doing God’s work.
So as we conclude, I just have two more slides. I just want to encourage you. Do you have the heart to join in God’s work? I know many of you do, but I just think that this biblical theme should be pointed out. It’s an upward call for all of us to become by the Grace of God, his fellow workers.
How do you begin? Well, first of all, you find the needs and other people, or it’s a perfectly great way to find organizations that serve people. You can either serve individuals or get involved with organizations either within the Church or outside the Church that are doing effective work and serving other people and then try to match your gifts to your service to other people. We’re going to go to the Lord’s Supper now. And as we go to the Lord’s Supper, let us reflect on and be grateful for the work that God accomplished on our behalf by sending His Son Jesus Christ and the incredible work that was accomplished on the cross and in His Resurrection.
Let’s pray together.
Holy Father, we praise you again, God, that you have worked on our behalf. Thank you so much for the work that you accomplished. We know we cannot earn our Salvation, Father. That your work, not our work, has accomplished our forgiveness, father, give us a heart of gratitude. Give us a heart that remembers what Jesus did.
Father help us to have the kind of attitude and the kind of hearts during the Lord’s Supper that you appreciate. We love you and we pray in your son’s name. Amen.