We'll Work Till Jesus Comes

Bible Book: Hebrews  11 : 7
Subject: Works; Grace; Faithfulness; Salvation; Service for Christ

We'll Work Till Jesus Comes

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

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.”

Why do we labor, serve and work for our Lord Jesus Christ? Salvation is a free gift and not something we work to obtain or labor to keep. Let's look at another passage that speaks to this from the New Testament.

Ephesians 2:8-10 states …

“8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

There, we see it in plain language, we were saved by grace through faith and not by works. In fact the scripture states that this is true no matter who brags otherwise. So the question remains, why do I work for something I already possess, since I trusted Christ for my salvation and received it long ago by grace alone.

Also, I don’t work to keep my salvation, as I am clearly informed in 1 Peter 1:3-5, which reads …

“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

You see it right there in the text, we are kept by the power of God and not by our own efforts. So, I’m saved by His grace and kept by His power, and I don’t have to work for either my salvation or its continuation. So, why do I work for the Lord at all?

We often work in appreciation of something we already have. For example, I’m a citizen of America but I was willing to serve my country in the US Army in the 1960s. When my unit came up for deployment to Vietnam in 1965, I had a new baby daughter but didn’t apply for an exemption. I deployed and served. I did it because of what my country gave me as a citizen. In a far greater way, I serve Jesus for what He gave me, not for what I can earn, for it is impossible to gain or keep salvation by human works.

That brings me to an example from the Old Testament shared in the New Testament. Our text tells us about Noah building the Ark, not to gain God’s respect but because of his faith in God. We must always remember that faith in God through Christ Jesus is the necessary ingredient to obtain Salvation. Listen to Hebrews 11:6 …

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

So working for Jesus is an outcome of faith and can never be a means of entering into Salvation.

When we see Noah building the Ark we might think that he was working in order to be saved from the flood, but I have a question for you. How did Noah know there would be a flood? God told him, that’s how he knew it, and he had to believe God to begin a work that took over 200 years to complete. It required faith for him to spend his life and fortune building a big boat. His neighbors did not join him but rather mocked him. He was a laughingstock to the world. So, why did Noah build the Ark in front of the very people that ridiculed him? There are people who think that those of us who work for and give to God are foolish. They see the cross as a foolish thing. This has been true from the beginning of our faith. Look back 2000 years ago when Paul was preaching the gospel of salvation through Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:18 …

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Ah, you see it there in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church. Paul that preaching about faith in the work Jesus did at the cross is foolishness to those who are lost and perishing, but it is salvation to those of us who believe - those who have faith.

So let’s take a moment and answer the question regarding why we give time, talent and treasure to the Lord though they are not required for our salvation.

I. We Work as Proof of our Faith

Look at Ephesians 2:10 …

“10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Every person who is saved has been prepared for good works which God planned even before they were redeemed. When we work for the Lord, we are not obtaining salvation but are rather proving our salvation. Sure, someone may seek to follow biblical commands and do good works without being a Christian, but it impossible to be a Christian and not have a desire to carry out works for Christ. Our labors in His Church and Kingdom are evidence that we belong to the Lord.

Let me share with you a dilemma which we preachers sometimes face. A person dies and the preacher is called by the family to perform the funeral service. The family relates how the man was saved when he was 10 years old, and he has died at 75 years of age. They admit that he hasn’t been a church for anything other than a funeral in 50 years, that he was a rounder of sorts, and that he had a big problem with fidelity. In fact, they say he was living with a woman for the last 10 years that he wasn’t married to and he had left two other wives because of affairs. He did smoke marijuana every day, but that started when he was in college, and he just couldn’t get over it. But, they say, he was a wonderful Christian, and after all, he was saved when he was in the 4th grade.

Now let me ask you a question, what is the preacher to do? There is not one ounce of evidence that this man knew or loved Jesus. He never served in the church or did any work for Christ. He never gave to the work of the Lord, supported missionaries, or even helped the local church continue to exist. His moral life left deep holes regarding any kind of Christian testimony. You’d be surprised how many times we face a funeral service just like that in our local churches. For the sake of the godly family members, the preacher will often avoid saying anything negative in the funeral and will also try to avoid pronouncing the man to be a Christian. In other words, the pastor will walk a tightrope of kindness in the final service for the dead.

Listen to me, the Bible is plain about this issue. A person who does not give evidence of salvation through a life of service for Christ has failed to give proof of having redeeming grace in his or her life. Whether he or she is saved or not is determined by the Lord, but the Bible is clear on this issue. Look at James 2:17 …

“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Did you hear about the little girl named Grace. It is said that she would not work around the house. She wouldn't help her mother, wouldn't do her homework and wouldn't clean her room. Her father said, "Grace, I'm thinking about changing your name to Faith." The daughter asked why. The father said, "Because faith without works is dead, and that's what you're going to be if you don't start working around here!"

The Bible does not say you must be perfect to go to heaven, no one is perfect without the saving work of Christ; however, the Bible clearly states that someone who is saved will reveal salvation by the works done after that person is saved by the work Christ did at the cross and the resurrection.

To say one more thing about this, let me add that your works for the Lord are important as a testimony of the goodness of God. It is not just that my works gives testimony to my salvation, they give testimony to the grace, goodness and greatness of God. Look at Matthew 5:16

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. “

What a shame to accept the salvation God offers through His Son and then to never give glory to the Father who so gracious blessed you with redemption. No, my friend, you cannot be saved without doing works in His name. Noah worked because he believed, he did not work to gain God’s favor. He labored because God loved Him and showed him the path to avoid the judgment to come. His works proved his faith.

But let’s look now at a second reason we work for the Lord as believers …

II. We Work in Passion for our Faith

A truly saved individual has a passion for Christ. It is a deeply held love and gratitude that drives one to serve the Savior. You might say that we cannot help but do good works in His name because of what He has done for us. His love and grace overwhelm us and cause us to feel a passion for His kingdom work.

Read Luke 7:47 and note the words of Jesus on this subject …

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Jesus referred here to a woman who came to Him and poured out an alabaster box of very expensive perfume on Him. She did this because Jesus had forgiven her the many sins she had committed. She thought nothing of the expense required to exhibit her love for Jesus. Her passion was the result of her faith in the forgiveness Christ had given her. Likewise, those of us who know the price Jesus paid to save us think little of the cost we bear in serving Him.

Jesus taught, while He us on earth, that one deciding to follow Him must count the cost. You can see this clearly in Luke 14:25-35. Just consider this one statement in that text, found in verse 3 ...

“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Wow! That is some statement Jesus made. When a person is called to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, that person is willing at that point to do whatever Jesus asks. Amazingly, most of those truly saved are willing to do just that. They serve in time, talents, and tithes. Some leave everything behind to be pastors, ministers, or missionaries. The volunteer hours the faithful Christians give to the church and its ministries cannot possibly be estimated. And they do these things with joy. Why? Because our faith comes with a passion for Christ, and that passion by its nature involves works in His name.

The songwriter penned the words …

There is joy in serving Jesus,
As I journey on my way,
Joy that fills the heart with praises,
Ev'ry hour and ev'ry day.

There is joy, joy,
Joy in serving Jesus,
Joy that throbs within my heart;
Ev'ry moment, ev'ry hour,
As I draw upon His power,
There is joy, joy,
Joy that never shall depart.

You see, we who are saved have a joyful passion that does not grow old with time, for our redemption is eternal. We work for Jesus with passionate evidence of our faith.

This is exactly what Noah did. He worked over 200 years without complaint. It cost him a fortune to build the Ark, yet no mention is made of his disappointment. He did not work to earn God’s favor, he worked in passion for the Lord because He had been given God’s favor, and that is what Christians do to this day.

Now, note one more reason why a true Christian works for the Lord …

III. We work in Proclamation of our Faith

In 2 Peter 2:5 we read the following about Noah’s work on the Ark …

God “…did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness …”

Now this is an interesting passage of scripture from the hand of Simon Peter. He states here that God saved Noah and the other seven members of his family from the flood. Also, he states that Noah was a PREACHER of righteousness through his building of the Ark. That is quite interesting, indeed. Noah was not a preacher by profession, but he was a preacher of righteousness by his practice. In his daily work, building the Ark, he was proclaiming God's goodness, grace and the coming day of judgment. Every hammer blow, every pull and push of a saw, and every tree cut down in the forest was a testimony that Noah believed what God told him about a coming judgment. Surely many people stopped to ask Noah what on earth he was building. This gave Noah the chance to tell them about God’s message to him and how he was building the Ark for the saving of his family.

We don’t know what the world said of Noah’s work, though there are hints in the Bible that the people simply did not believe – that is, they did not have faith in the word God had given. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The people in Noah's day simply did not believe what God told Noah or what Noah told them God had said. The Bible speaks of the “longsuffering” of God in leading Noah to work decade after decade building the Ark. There was more than ample time for people other than Noah and his family to believe, but they did not do so.

Interestingly, the Bible refers to Noah as a “preacher” though he certainly was not one in the professional sense. He was not an evangelist or a pastor. He did not stand up and preach sermons at any point, at least as far as we know. But, he was a preacher. He did his preaching by obeying God, serving God, giving witness to God’s message.

Listen, my friend, we proclaim God’s mercy and love when we serve Him with passion and fervor. Every Christian can be a preacher of righteousness and salvation. Our testimony through our lips and our lives serves as a proclamation of God’s salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 …

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

We proclaim Him by letting His light shine in our behavior, business deals, family faithfulness, service in His Church and in our conversations.


The songwriter penned these last two stanzas and chorus regarding working for Jesus ...

To Jesus Christ I fled for rest;
He bade me cease to roam,
And lean for comfort on His breast
Till He conducts me home.

I sought at once my Savior’s side;
No more my steps shall roam;
With Him I’ll brave death’s chilling tide
And reach my heav’nly 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.

That is the theme of those who know Him and love Him. Have you trusted Jesus fully and are you serving Him faithfully? If not, today is the day to come to the One who died on the cross for your sins and rose for your justification.

For those of us who serve Him, let us ask if He has ever let us down. No, He has not, nor will He ever. Let us recommit our lives to working for Jesus till He comes, not because we have to, but because we want to.