Jesus Worked and Taught His Followers to Work
Jesus Worked and Taught His Followers to Work
INTRO: Good morning church. Turn in your Bibles with me this morning to Acts 1:1-3. “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up, after He, through the Holy Spirit, had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
As Luke began the Book of Acts, he referred to what he had written earlier. He was referring of course to the Gospel of Luke. In his Gospel Luke wrote about all that Jesus began both to do and teach. I emphasize that particular statement because that's the proper order. Jesus began both to do and teach. As we have studied the Bible we observe that when our Lord gives us a commandment, He sets the proper example.
Luke in his gospel told of Jesus giving commandments to the apostles. He showed how Jesus spoke to the apostles of the things about the Kingdom of God. And how after Jesus was resurrected, He taught His apostles on some very important matters.
Sometimes people try to make a distinction between what Jesus said during His ministry and what the inspired writers recorded in the New Testament. We need to remember it is the inspired writers of the New Testament who recorded the Lord's teaching and we make a mistake when we try to make a distinction. We find that even unbelievers will quote Jesus’ words, such as “Judge not” or, “Love one another.” They treat these words as if they are some sort of trump card against what the rest of the Bible teaches about sin and the need to live righteously.
Every passage of Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments is inspired by God. This means that all Scripture is equally backed by the authority of God and comes from Him. It is true that the New Testament is the word of the Lord. Hebrews 9:15 says He is the mediator of the New Covenant. The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31 of his book indicated that at a later time, God would establish a new covenant with His people and that it would be far greater than the one that He gave through Moses. Under this new covenant, their sins and iniquities “I will remember no more”.
The Hebrew writer quotes the prophet Jeremiah in Hebrews 8 to show that God had foretold the abrogation of the old covenant and that God had, from the first, intended to abolish it. In Hebrews 10 the writer dwells upon the fact that true and total forgiveness was likewise a foreordained purpose of the new institution.
Luke, in His Gospel, wrote about all that Jesus began both to do and teach. We study the Scriptures to know the will of the Lord. We certainly want to know His will, and that knowledge comes through a careful study of the Bible. As we study, we need to pay careful attention to what Jesus did, that is, His example. We also need to pay careful attention to the instructions that He gave to the apostles that they revealed through their teaching and their writing.
I. Let's first look at the Scriptures telling us of how Jesus worked.
A. Jesus showed dedication to God’s affairs from a very early age. Look at Luke 2:41-52. We won't read the entire account. Here Luke wrote about the time when Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe the Passover feast, a very important feast for the Jewish people.
1. We learn from verse 42 that Jesus was twelve years old at the time. You all know what took place. After the feast had concluded, Joseph and Mary were on their way home and quite often, it's my understanding, that groups would travel together for companionship as well as protection. They were on their way home and they assumed that Jesus was in the group. He wasn't.
2. Let’s read Luke 2:44-47 – “but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and then sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”
There are four things we notice about the way Jesus related to these teachers.
1) He sought out teachers and sat in their midst;
2) He listened;
3) He asked questions; and
4) He gave answers.
3. I can picture that his parents must have been frantic to find Him. They find Him and we read in verse 48 “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.''” Keeping in mind Jesus is twelve years old, what was His response? Verse 49 “And He said to them, "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?''”[NKJV]. Some translations say “I had to be in My Father’s house?” Jesus indicated His strong interest in God’s work when He was just twelve years old.
B. When Jesus was about 30 years of age, He began His ministry and He indicated that He was sustained by doing the will of the Father and finishing the Father's work. Let's turn to John 4:34, “Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” Jesus says that He is fed by doing God’s will and finishing His work.
1. Luke said that he wrote in his Gospel about all that Jesus began both to do and teach. We're looking at the Lord's example He set concerning work. Jesus said that doing the work the Father gave Him to do actually sustained Him.
C. Jesus was dedicated to the work He had been given. In John chapter 9 we read how the Lord gave sight to a man born blind. In John 9:4 Jesus says, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” Jesus said this knowing what would come next. We are told in John 9:14, “ Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.”
1. Of course, the Pharisees objected to this healing on the Sabbath. Again it is revealed to us the incredible damage of mingling human traditions with God’s word. All of those rules and regulations that they had added to God’s commandments are not harmless little embellishments of sacred law, but flagrant violations of it.
2. Considering their own legislation as part of God’s law blinded their eyes to when the “Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.”[Malachi 4:2]
3. When Jesus made that statement in John 9:4, He indicated that He had a strong sense of urgency about His work. What we have seen so far should help us to appreciate the Lord's work.
He was dedicated to doing the Father's will.
He set a great example before us.
Jesus did indeed have a sense of urgency about His work.
4. We sing a hymn, number 116, that references John 9:4, “Work For The Night Is Coming”.
D. As we examine the Lord's ministry, we see that He worked diligently, and His purpose was to fulfill His mission. Let's look at a few verses in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew gives us some, what we might call, summary statements concerning the Lord's work. As we look at them, we see that the Lord's work consisted primarily of teaching, preaching, and healing various sickness and disease.
1. Matthew 4:23 says, “Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”
2. Matthew 9:35 is similar, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
3. Jesus worked diligently to do the work the Father gave Him to do. He traveled from place to place, and as He did so, He was teaching, preaching and healing people.
E. A preacher told of the first time he visited a friend in the VA hospital in Memphis. He said he could not believe the huge number of men and women who were there to be treated. Some of them had some serious problems, and when he saw that crowd of people, (this is a big hospital) he just wanted to sit down and cry. He said it led him to imagine what it was like when Jesus traveled from place to place and people would gather to our Lord to be healed. No wonder the people were amazed at what He was able to do, realizing that He truly is the Son of God.
1. Looking at Mark 7:37 we read; “And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.''” Jesus had just healed a man “who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech”[verse 32], and I notice that the people when they saw the cure, did not say merely that "he has healed this man," but that "he has done all things well," showing that they recognized in this one example the mightiness of the power that could do "all things."
2. When Jesus did something, He did it well. I've always been impressed with that statement. The Lord never put forth a half-hearted effort to do anything. That tells us about the quality of the Lord's work.
F. Jesus prayed just before He was arrested, and His prayer is recorded in John chapter 17. He prayed first for Himself, then He prayed for His apostles, and then He prayed on behalf of all of His followers.
1. As He was praying for Himself, we notice something He said concerning His work. John 17:4 – “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” According to this verse, Jesus completed His work.
2. Our Lord's ministry lasted for approximately three years. We might wonder what our Lord accomplished during that short period. John’s Gospel concludes with these words; “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” Jesus completed His work, and when He was on the cross, He said, it is finished.
G. These verses tell us some things about the Lord's work.
He had a strong work ethic from a very early age.
He was sustained by doing the work that the Father gave Him to do.
Jesus had a great sense of urgency about His work.
He worked diligently to fulfill His mission.
He did all things well, and we know that He completed His work.
II. Now we turn our attention to Scriptures which teach us that Jesus taught His followers to work. Let’s look at Acts 1:1-3 again, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up, after He, through the Holy Spirit, had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Luke said, that he had previously written about the things that Jesus began both to do and to teach. Jesus gave commandments to the apostles and He spoke to them about things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
A. It's important that we keep that in mind because when Jesus gave the great commission in Matthew's account, He told the apostles to teach disciples everything that He taught them.
1. In Matthew 28:19-20 He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
2. Just before He ascended to be at the Father's right hand in heaven, He told the apostles what He wanted them to do; to teach the Gospel, to baptize people, and then teach those new disciples everything that He had taught them.
3. The apostles had to go forth teaching everything that Jesus taught them. They did not have the Bible as we do… and the apostles would need some help. The Lord took care of that. John 14:25-26, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
4. This verse has been misapplied many, many times. We see that Jesus was speaking to the apostles, and He says; the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, shall teach you all things, and notice this, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.
5. Jesus spoke to the apostles, gave them commandments, and told them about things pertaining to God's kingdom. Then He said, I want you to teach all these things to people who become Christians.
6. Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would assist in various ways. One way was by bringing to their memory everything that Jesus had taught them. The Spirit would also guide the apostles as they went forth teaching and as they went forth writing down the Lord's commands.
B. We need to keep that in mind as we search the Scriptures to know the Lord's will concerning our responsibility to work. We look at the Lord's teaching He gave to the apostles and in doing so, we can know what He requires of all of His followers. I’d like to look at some passages that have to do with Christian work.
1. Let’s start with Matthew 5:14f, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Jesus tells His followers that they would have a positive influence on other people by doing good works. That's the way that we allow our lights to shine.
a. An example of this is found in Acts 9:36f, where we read about Dorcas. She was full of good works and almsdeeds, but this lady passed away and Peter was asked to come. All the widows present were weeping, and they showed Peter the various garments and coats that Dorcas had made for them.
b. What did Dorcas illustrate? She illustrated what Jesus said in Matthew 5 about doing good works and allowing your light to shine. She had a tremendous impact on a number of people. By doing good works, we're able to have an opportunity to influence others for good.
2. Let's look at Galatians 6:9-10, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” This reminds us that when we do good works, in due season we will reap the reward. That being the case, we must not become weary.
a. Doing good works may not always achieve the results that we would like to see. If we become too focused on those results, we can become discouraged and want to give up.
b. The Bible teaches us there will be a great reward to those who are steadfast. Therefore, as we have opportunities placed before us, we need to take advantage of them and be of assistance to all, especially our brethren.
3. Consider Ephesians 2:8-10. In verses 8 & 9, Paul showed how we're saved by grace through faith. Notice what's mentioned in verse 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” We've been created in the Lord for doing good works. We're God's workmanship.
4. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he tells of his prayer, his desire for them, and in Colossians 1:10 he says, “that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” The Lord teaches us about the importance of bearing fruit.
a. In John 15:8 Jesus says “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Does that mean that every child of God has to be capable of doing the very same things? No, it doesn't mean that at all.
b. God, in His infinite wisdom, composed the church in such a way that is made up of people with various talents and abilities. There are certain things that you can do that I cannot. There might be something that I can do that you can't do.
c. Remember the parable of the talents? There was a person given 5 talents, a person given 2 talents, and a person given 1 talent. There are no “zero” talent people in that parable. Why? I suggest that is because the Lord sees to it that we receive blessings. We need to be able to recognize them and use what we are blessed with for God's glory. He will bless us even more in return, and we're to strive to be fruitful in every good work.
5. Let's look at 2nd Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable (Now notice the four areas in which the Scriptures are profitable) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Scriptures will equip us with what we need to do the work of God.
a. James said it like this in James 1:25, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” Once again the perfect law of liberty provides that which we need to furnish us unto all good works.
b. That's why we need to be careful students of the Word of God. As we study the Scriptures, we learn information that will help us to do what God wants us to do.
6. Now let's turn to Titus 2:11-14. We should remember that Titus was an evangelist serving on the island of Crete. Paul wrote this letter to teach him about his conduct as well as what he was to teach the people. In the first chapter, Paul outlined the qualifications of the elders whom Titus was to appoint, referred to the character of the false teachers operating there, and warned Titus concerning the unsavory reputation of the Cretan population.
a. There were people on Crete who believed and became Christians, and becoming Christians meant their lives were to change. Titus was there to teach them how to live as Christians. “11. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13. looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14. who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
b. These Christians were changed people, and they were to be zealous for good works.
c. Look at Titus 3:8, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”
d. Then look on to Titus 3:14, “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.” Do you notice in this one short letter, that Christians doing good works is emphasized?
C. All through these scriptures we find instructions having to do with doing good works.
We've seen from the Scriptures both that Jesus worked and that He taught His followers to work.
Are we saved by good works? No, we're saved by God's grace through faith. Yet, the Bible tells us many times that what we do while we are here is important to our salvation.
Galatians 6:7-8 tells us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Jesus said in John 6:27 – “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” He said to labor. You can not labor without working.
We know that no matter what good we may do in life, our works neither promote nor compel God to offer us salvation. Then why is it so important that we work, so important—that
He taught His followers to work? Because work is a part of faith. If we truly have faith, love Jesus, love God, and love our neighbor, we will work to please God, follow Christ, care for our neighbor, and teach the lost.
The lesson is yours.
We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.
Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.
Reference Sermon by: Raymond Sieg
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