This sermon was delivered on November 26, 2023 at Antioch Presbyterian Church, a mission work of Calvary Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America located in Woodruff, South Carolina. Mr. Alexander Dwyer delivered this sermon entitled "By Faith, Abraham" on Genesis 12:1-9. For more information about Antioch Presbyterian Church, please visit antiochpca.com or contact us at [email protected].
Work is an exchange. We give labor in return for a well-earned reward. This reward isn't always a paycheck. Fathers and mothers give themselves in exchange, with God's help, for the reward of fair compensation. Diligent parenting can bring great joy (Prov. 15:20; 29:15). A similar principle holds true for volunteer work. All worthy work is undertaken in the hope of bearing some fruit for yourself or others.
Clearly it doesn't work this way with God. We approach him not as workers demanding compensation (Rom. 4:1–5) but as children held in his firm hand. But the fact that Paul has to make a distinction with how we approach God confirms the transactional nature of ordinary labor.
Here's the problem: especially in our day many people feel entitled to a good life regardless of what they are able to give in exchange. Many people take it as a given that they will have a better standard of living than their parents. But we think too little of what we have to offer the world, what we are bringing to the bargaining table. Put bluntly, "You need to be good at something before you can expect a good job."
And this is not an unspiritual matter. Being "good at something" is lauded in the Scriptures from cover to cover. Proverbs 31 is a prime example. It is no wonder that her household flourished; she is a picture of godly wisdom, character, and competence. What we should ask is, "How did she become the woman extolled as the premier example of everything taught in the previous 30 chapters of Proverbs?" How can young people come to have something to offer?
Every believer has a vocation, a calling to glorify God in the place he has apportioned to him or her. Each child of God should "lead the life that God has assigned to him, and to which God has called him" (1 Cor. 7:17). Our specific callings flow from our general callings (quote perkins). To put it differently there is an essential relationship between calling and conversion.
This is not to discredit the valuable work done by non-believers. God can truly work through even the most resolute atheist to bless his world. Calvin put it this way: "Hardly anyone is to be found who does not manifest talent in some art," either liberal or manual. God bestows his gifts "indiscriminately upon pious and impious." In fact, "the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God's excellent gifts." Unbelievers can do excellent and edifying work. Even the "natural person" (1 Cor. 2:14) can be "sharp an penetrating in their investigation of inferior things." God helps his children through the "work and ministry of the ungodly" in fields like physics, logical argumentation, mathematics, and many more. In the diversity of gifts God grants even to unbelievers we see "some remaining traces of the image of God, which distinguish the entire human race from the other creatures."
Despite all of this unbelievers are not self-consciously living out a calling. In all areas of life, including work, they do not honor the Lord as God (Rom. 1:21). An unconverted person simply cannot live vocationally, bringing the truth of God to bear on every area of their lives. If you want to live out a Christian calling you have to actually be a Christ
God calls his chosen people to rest in him and then to work for him. We can't work to earn God's favor; salvation is "not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph. 2:9). But we show our gratitude by doing the good works that God has prepared for us to walk in (10). Christians are workers. And the good works that we must do are not only special works of charity, like going on mission trips or tithing at church. All of life offers opportunities to perform work that flows from faith, conforms to God's law, and tends to God's glory is a good work. It should be quite obvious then that our work lives are an arena for good works. Work is not the only expression of vocation but it a large part of it. After all "Work gets the largest single block of our lives." To live vocationally we have to know how to think about and perform the work that God calls us to.
We could define work simply as labor or toil. John Stott offered a more expansive definition. Work is "the expenditure of manual or mental energy in service, which brings fulfillment to the worker, benefit to the community, and glory to God." This is helpful. Work is toil. But it is also toil to a purpose. And it is done in relation to the God who made us.
The final message from Emmanuel Reformed Church in our series through the Gospel of John, "Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior." This morning Pastor Carl looks at John 21:15-25 in a message titled "Gospel of John: Epilogue (Part 2)."
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The key to a well-balanced life is the Christian doctrine of vocation. Believers have been called by God out of the world and into his service—vocation is simply the Latin word for calling. To "those who are called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28) God provides a place and time and the required gifts to fulfill his purposes in the world. Or as Paul puts it: "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). The unique opportunities to do God's will form our vocations, our callings.
In this series we want to try to understand and apply vocation in three movements. First, we will ponder the doctrine of vocation. What is vocation, what does Scripture teach about work, and what is the relationship of the special calling of grace and our ordinary callings in the world? Second, we will study how to prepare for vocational living. We want to think through what people of God at most any stage of life can do to become better qualified to glorify and enjoy God in the station that he may lead them into. Third, we will explore what it looks like to practice vocation. What biblical practices can help us succeed at work and how does our work life relate to the rest of who we are.
How can lowly Christians glorify Christ? Titus 2:9–10 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord's Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that lowly Christians glorify Christ by being inexplicably godly by the grace of their Savior.
Travis Reeves delivers Part 1 of "Faithfulness Illustrated." We are to be soldiers for Christ. Enduring till the end, and faithful against opposition.
A Regular Baptist Press Study called "From Forgiven To Faithfulness." Study Guides available from RBP Store https://www.rbpstore.org/Products/0004/from-forgiven-to-faithfulness-2-timothy-titus-philemonbradult-bible-study-book
Let us not, when busy, feeling inadequate or overwhelmed, simply say "send them away" and think that it is a legitimate response but rather, remember this lesson of Christ: that he will take what we have and transform it to meet the needs.