We'll Work Till Jesus Comes

Bible Book: Hebrews  11 : 7
Subject: Working for the Lord; Naoh; Obedience to God; Faithfulness

We’ll Work Til Jesus Comes

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Note with me the Word of God as found in Hebrews 11:7…

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

In Genesis, chapter 7, God gave directions to Noah for the building of an ark – a giant boat for the saving of his family. In the New Testament on more than one occasion we discover the writers inspired to write about salvation using Noah and the Ark. No wonder they used this example, it took Noah and his family 120 years to build the Ark - that's quite a span of faithful service for a believer.

It is sad to see how many people in a local church are disengaged from service to the Lord. What is even more amazing is the level of excuses some people use to avoid being faithful in working for the Lord.

I expect everyone under the sound of my voice has heard of the literary person known as O. Henry. One on occasion O. Henry sought to be paid a royalty check owed to him from a New York publisher. He finally went to the office in an attempt to be paid. At the office he was told that the person who signed checks was not available because of a sprained ankle. O. Henry, who was known for his unique wit, asked,  “My dear sir, does he sign them with his feet?” When a person is attempting to avoid doing what is right, almost any excuse seems sufficient. We find that true in the church as well.

I have noticed that the "faithful few" do almost all the work in a local church. Many churches with a thousand members can't even find 500 of them using the CIA and the FBI. The remainder leave the work to about 10% of the people. Few Christians understand that working for Jesus is part of our Christian walk, and there are reasons why the Lord expects us to be engaged in acts of service for the kingdom.

A great question one might ask regarding the Ark is this: Why didn’t God just plop the ark down fully formed and then tell Noah how to find it? What was the purpose in having Noah, his sons, and their wives, build the ark? I want to share the answer to that question today.

First, we must ask if Noah was saved from the flood by works, after all he did work to build the ark? Actually we are told in Genesis 6:5 that Noah was saved by “grace,” which is the unmerited divine love of God. In fact, Noah did not know of the need for the ark without God’s warning, and he could not have built it without God’s detailed directions. Also, when Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives, along with the animals, entered the ark, the Bible tells us in Genesis 7:16 that God shut the door – the Lord closed and secured the safe passage through the flood. The implication is that Noah was not able to close himself in without God.

Likewise, without God’s warning of coming judgment we are ignorant of our need for a Savior. Without God’s grace we are hopeless in our sins. Without God’s Ark – Jesus – we are lost. Without God closing us in once we believe, we would surely fall out of our position in salvation. Someone has humorously said that Noah may have fallen down in the Ark but he never fell out of it, because God shut him in. As believers we are not only saved by the Lord, we are kept in our position of salvation by the Lord. No amount of work is capable of saving or keeping a person from judgment.

My point is that we do not work to be saved. Noah did not build the ark on his own, but rather he worked at God’s direction. So, here is the question …

Why are we working for Jesus? If salvation is a free gift, why are Christians asked to give God’s tithe and our offerings? Why are we to pray, worship, witness and labor for Jesus? I want to share three reasons why every saved believer ought to relish the chance to serve Christ.

I. Proof of our Faith

Working for Jesus doesn’t provide faith, but faith provided by the Lord leads to working for the Lord. Our labor for Christ proves our faith in Christ is genuine.

Look at James 2:18 …

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”  Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.

Works prove that you have true faith. I’ve witnessed to some people who claim that they believe in Jesus but do not believe in the church. They state that they don’t believe the church is necessary, and brag that they are as good or better than most of the people who attend church. Yet, the Bible teaches us that Jesus is the foundation of the church. We are told that He loves the Church and died on the cross for it. We are told in God’s Word never to forsake meeting together as the church (Hebrews 10:25). People who claim love for Jesus and not the Church He died to establish are being disingenuous.

Actually, most people just look for excuses not to work or serve the Lord. They are like the teenage boy I read about recently. His was in his makeshift weight room doing reps with a 200-pound barbell. His mother walked in and asked, "How much are you lifting, son?" He answered proudly, "Two-hundred pounds." She then asked, "Son, how is it you can lift two-hundred-pounds but you are too weak to lift your dirty clothes and put them in the laundry room?"

Basically, we do what we want to do - don't we? We find excuses to avoid that which we do not want to do - don't we? If you aren't working for Jesus, it is because you simply don't want to! By failing to serve, you are harming the cause of Christ. Laboring for the Lord proves that what you say you believe is what you actually believe.

My friends, those who neglect the church and service in it are neglecting Jesus. It is unlikely that such people actually have true, saving faith, for faith without works is dead. You can’t be saved by works, but hardly anyone is saved who does not prove their faith by works.

Noah did not build the Ark to gain God’s grace, but actually was told to build the ark because he already had grace (Genesis 6:5). So we prove that we have faith in Jesus by our works and not just with our words. Work without faith is condemnation, but faith followed by works is a presentation that we truly are the children of God.

Let’s look at another reason the Lord requires us to work for Him as believers ...

II. Passion for our Faith

Again, we are told that Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). The Church, with a capital “C”, stands for all the saved people in every age and every land on earth. Jesus loves us, and when we are saved He places us in the global Church, but every saved person needs to be in a local church – which is simply a group of believers near enough for the Christian to attend and labor together with others for Christ.

We always work for that which we love. If we love a person, we will do what is necessary to show that our love is true and passionate. If we love a sports team, we will support them. If we love a restaurant, we will eat there, even at a cost higher than somewhere cheaper. If a person loves his or her yard, tremendous effort and money will be expended to make it beautiful. Passion produces action, no matter what the subject may be.

A lack of service for Christ shows that one does not love Him. You may serve without loving, but you certainly cannot love without serving! You can be an expert in apathy without doing anything to prove it, but to be a dedicated Christian action is required to demonstrate it. Love always generates work.

Somewhere I read the following statement, "Everyone in church is a willing member. Some are willing to work and the others are willing to let them do it." Let me tell without question that those willing to work are the ones who truly love Christ. When we work for Jesus we reveal a passion for Him - the kind of passion Jesus had when He endured the cross for us.

So, Noah worked on the Ark for 120 years. What passion for the Lord it took for a man to work day after day based on a promise of protection for a coming event that no one else believed in. What passion for God it took to believe Him and labor for Him day after day.

Now, let me share a third reason why we are to work and labor for the Lord ...

III. Preaching to our Faith

Look with me at 2 Peter 2:5 …

"... and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, when God brought a flood on an ungodly world …"

The Bible tells me that Noah was a "herald" of righteousness. The word "herald" is translated "preacher" in other versions of the New Testament. Noah was preaching, proclaiming, making known the God he loved and trusted as he worked on the Ark.

Someone said many years ago, "I rather see a sermon that simply hear one." Well, be sure that hearing a sermon is critical, since faith comes by hearing by the Word of God. But we do need to see the gospel in shoe leather - loved out by followers of Christ. We proclaim and preach Christ as Lord when we faithfully serve Him.

Noah's labor on the Ark was a sermon to everyone that judgment was coming and that hope and salvation was only possible God's way and through God's provision. Every hammer blow was a testimony that each person needed to prepare for the coming judgment. What was the result of all Noah's work? Only his immediate family believed him and his message. The entire world around him turned a deaf ear and blind eye to his work and message. Now listen to me on this - it is important that we make the Lord known, even if people refuse to listen and believe.. God was watching, that's what matters. The Lord observed Noah's obedience. Noah was being faithful to God and proclaiming Him whether anyone in the world listened or not. That is what we are to do. We are to serve our Lord out of a heart of obedience and love.

I hear a lot of people claiming that our witness is useless today, for the world doesn't want to hear it. Dear Christian friend, God wants to hear it and that is what matters. I'm to serve Him and proclaim Him whether anyone in my generation listens - for God is listening.

As you serve faithfully in your local church, you are a “preacher” of faith and a herald warning of a coming judgment. Trust me, someone will listen. When Noah was told to build the Ark, his sons were not told - at least they were not told by God. Noah explained to his sons what he had been told and they believed. Noah's wife believed. The son's wives believed. And, what God told Noah was true, and his 120 years of labor was not in vain.

Look at Galatians 6:9 ...

"Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

We read in 1 Corinthians 15:58 ...

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Conclusion

Let us recommit our lives to service for Christ. Some of you have been faithful for many long years. You have worked and given while others sat on the sidelines. God bless you, dear souls. You have made such a great difference and your labor for Jesus is never in vain. So, let us today make a new commitment to serve the Lord with gladness, faithfulness, and love.

The songwriter Elizabeth K. Mills penned:

O land of rest, for thee I sigh!
When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by
And dwell in peace at home?
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
And we’ll be gathered home.

If you have never placed trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, you cannot work your way into heaven. Jesus did the work needed to save you when He died on the cross and rose from the grave. Come to Him today.