What It Takes to Be Interested in the Lord’s Work: Sermon Outline (Sunday 11/20/11)

Part 1 of his sermon was preached by Jason Shodd on Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 11:00AM. To download part 1 of the sermon, CLICK HERE, or just listen from the webpage. Part 2 of his sermon was preached by Jason Shodd on Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 6:00PM. To download part 2 of the sermon, CLICK HERE, or just listen from the webpage. If you would like a CD made of these sermons, let us know and we would be happy to oblige.

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Text: Colossians 1:9-10 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
INTRODUCTION
A.    All admire one with strong faith, active in their work, happy and
   Content:
a.      As Paul was in Judaism – cf. (Galatians 1:13-14 13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.; Philippians 3:6 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.)
b.    Then later as he served Christ – cf. (Philippians 3:12-14 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.; Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.)
A.    Yet the range of interest among Christians often varies widely…
a.     Some are filled with zeal – cf. (1Thessalonians 1:2-32 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,; 2Thessalonians 1:3-43 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,)
1.    Attending services regularly.
2.    Willing to make sacrifices
3.    Studying the Bible diligently
4.     Teaching and inviting others to the Lord
b.    Others become lukewarm – cf. (Revelation 3:15-16 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.)
1.    Attending services sporadically.
2.    Giving “leftover” to the Lord.
3.    Neglecting opportunities to study.
4.    With little personal work.
c.     Some even become cold, forsaking the Lord – cf. (2Timothy 4:1010 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.)
1.     Quitting the services of the church altogether.
2.     Covetous in their time and money.
3.     With Bibles collecting dust due to lack of use.
4.     Ashamed of the church and the gospel of Christ.
B.    [What does it take to maintain a high level of interest in the Lord's work?  In (Colossians 1:9-10 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;)
a.     We find Paul praying for the Colossians, in which he mentions three things that contribute to interest, desire, fervor, and zeal.  (Note that he prayed that they may be filled with...]
I.                KNOWLEDGE
A.    KNOWLEDGE INCREASES INTEREST…
a.     Knowledge of a subject always increases in that subject
b.     In sports, the more one knows, the more interested they become
c.     The same is true with various hobbies – e.g., birding (bird watching)
B.    KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WILL INCREASES INTEREST…
a.     The Colossians bore fruit in response to their understanding of God’s grace – cf. (Colossians 1:6 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth ;)
b.    The more we learn of God’s will, the more excited we will become – (Psalm 119:111,162,164 111 Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart. 162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure. 164 Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments.)
c.     Obtaining this knowledge requires diligence.
1.    If we are negligent, we will have to be taught all over again – (Hebrews 5:12 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.)
2.    To grow, we must always desire the Word like a babe desires milk (1Peter 2:1-21 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,)
3.    The Psalmist provides a good example – (Psalm 119:15-16,97-104 15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. 97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.100 I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.102 I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me.103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.)
C.    [As we return to Paul's prayer for the Colossians (Colossians 1:9-10 Slide) we note his desire that they "walk worthy of the Lord".  To knowledge, therefore, we must add...]
II.                     PARTICIPATION
A.    PARTICIPATION INCREASES INTEREST…
a.     This is true in many things.
1.   Sports – the difference between participants and spectators
2.   Hobbies – fishing, birding, woodworking, sewing, etc.
b.    The more you participate, the more you want to participate.
1.   Sitting on the bench is no fun.
2.   Having an opportunity to participate just makes you want to do more.
B.    There is blessedness in the very doing of God’s will – (John 17:13 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.; James 1:25 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.).
a.    Happiness comes to those who walk in the ways of the Lord – (Psalm 119:1-2 1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!)
b.   Certainly there is a happier conscience, and a satisfaction of knowing that you are a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only!- cf. (Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” James 1:22-24 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.)
C.    [Any labor that we do for the Lord will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:5858 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.). And that leads to the third thing Paul prays for (bearing fruit,) that will lead to a heightened interest in the Lord's work...] Colossians 1:10 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
III.     SUCCESS
A.    SUCCESS INCREASES INTEREST…
a.     If we engage in activities without success, discouragement can be the result.
b.     Failure to succeed has led many to lose interest in various ventures.
B.    SUCCESS IN GOD’S WORK INCREASES INTEREST…
a.    Bible study – learning the meaning of a passage makes you want to learn more.
b.   Personal work – seeing someone obey the gospel makes you want to convert more.
c.    Personal edification – to see those you have taught growing in the Lord produces great joy – cf. (3John 3-43 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.).
d.   Many lose interest in the Lord’s work because they have never tasted the joys of success!
Conclusion:
A.    If you are not interested in the Lord’s work, or have lost interest, it is likely due to a lack of these three things:
a. Knowledge.
b. Participation.
c.  Success.
B.    For those willing to maintain interest in the Lord’s work, Paul shares two more thoughts with us…
a.     We will not be alone in our efforts; God will work with us! – (Colossians 1:11 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;); cf. (Philippians 2:12-13 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.)
b.    We should be thankful that God has qualified us to receive the rewards to come! – (Colossians 1:12 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.)
C.    Are you showing your gratitude by maintaining a high level of interest in the work of the Lord…?
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