09/05/10 Holding Forth the WORD of Life!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, September 6, 2010 Under: Sermon

Labor Day Weekend

Text: Philippians 2:12-18 (HCSB)

12) So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13) For it is God who is working in you, [enabling you] both to will and to act for His good purpose. 14) Do everything without grumbling and arguing, 15) so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. 16) Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. 17) But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18) In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10 (KJV)

Intro: Labor Day is a United States
federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 6 in 2010). The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess. Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, although school starting times now vary. In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. NCAA teams usually play their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day. The Southern 500 NASCAR auto race was held that day from 1950 to 2004.

I see Labor Day weekend differently, as a pastor I like to incorporate in my Sunday message an element of encouragement. The Christian needs too focus on laboring unto the lord for the benefits are out of this world. "We labor for life (eternal life) not for worldly gain or recognition, not for a three day weekend and a holiday that creates a more worldly desire."

Wherever there is the submissive mind, there will be sacrifice and service, holding forth the word of life will demand it!

Holding forth the word of life requires:

1. Sacrifice: Do everything without grumbling and arguing

It will take a sacrifice to - Hold firmly the message of life!

Look again at these verses: 12) So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13) For it is God who is working in you, [enabling you] both to will and to act for His good purpose. 14) Do everything without grumbling and arguing, 15) so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. 16) Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. 17) But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18) In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

This will take sacrifice!

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Believers are to work out their salvation by following the example of sacrificial labor. Very simply stated, Paul had offered himself as a sacrifice to serve men. The picture is that of the sacrifice and offerings made by people to the heathen gods. Paul had taken his body and offered it as a sacrifice and service for people. He lived for nothing else except to hold forth the Word of life to people. His body was totally sacrificed for that purpose and that purpose alone.

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" Luke 9:23
 
Holding forth the word of life requires: SACRIFICE!
Holding forth the word of life requires:

2. Service: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling

Believers are to work out their salvation by working at witnessing. The wording is descriptive: "Holding forth the word of life." Imagine! There is a Word of life. Men can live, truly live - both now and forever. Men never have to die.

- It is like saying the fountain of youth has been discovered with one difference: the Word of life not only brings eternal youth, it brings perfection - a perfect world and a perfect life.
- It is like saying the cure for cancer has been discovered with one difference: the Word of life not only cures the cancer, it injects the energy of everlasting life into the other cells of the body.

That is the good news, the bad news is: So many of us do not hold forth the Word of life. We hold back. We do not share the message of the glorious gospel of life. The Word of life is just what it says: it is the message of life that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

That is our reasonable service! Holding forth the word of life.

The one thing we must work at is holding forth the Word of life. The Word of life is the only hope for a world that reels under the weight of so many desperate needs, especially the desperate need to handle sin and evil and the terrible destiny of death.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" John 16:33 (KJV)

Conclusion: Give the Lord Control

In his observations on 1 Corinthians 2:1, J. Stuart Holden gives a beautiful illustration. He says, "I have around my home a garden. In that garden and its possibilities I have the mind of nature. For instance, I know what soil and what seed should produce this, that, and all the other kinds of flowers and fruit; I see set forth in the seedsmen's catalogues the wonderful things that the garden should bring forth ... But mark you, the flowers and the fruit are only produced by labor, by obedience to the laws of nature. When the garden has been made beautiful and fruitful, it has been made so only by intelligent cooperation with nature. Similarly, we Christians have the mind of Christ. We know full well what a Christian life should be." The fruits of the Spirit are only made evident in our lives as we wholeheartedly cooperate with the Lord in full submission and obedience to Him by letting His Spirit have full control of us—body, soul and spirit.

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there. Bits and Pieces, April 1990

"Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him." John 6:27 (HCSB)

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15(KJV)

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8 (KJV)

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