Our effectiveness in what we do is through faith and love, energized with the power of God's Holy Spirit.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? I’m glad to be back with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. And we are going to continue looking into 1 Thessalonians, the first chapter.
You know, I got some encouragement the other day from the man who has been supervising the radiation treatments I’ve had for about 8 weeks. He is a believer, loves the Lord. And he said, “You know what I like about you? You make it so simple that those who don’t have education can understand it, and that those who are educated will appreciate it.” That was nice of him, wasn’t it?
I tell you, God provides people just when you need them. This Dr. Brereton is a jewel and he’s a… I think the Lord just brought him into my life just at the time when I needed some special care. How good the Lord is, eh? Amen! Well, if I do have any gift at condensing things and making them clear, I’m grateful to God.
We’re looking at 1 Thessalonians, Paul said, “I remember without ceasing in my prayers, your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God our Father.” There’s quite a mouthful there, isn’t it?
Now, when he prays, he prays on the facts as well as on the basis of what he wants. You look up the prayers of the Apostle Paul, and if you find, for instance, in Colossians, “that you might be filled” – he’s praying for the people in Colossi – “that you might be filled with the knowledge of His Will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” He’s asking that they might know and do the Will of God, “being fruitful in every good work,” “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.”
Paul prayed for the things that he saw were needed in people, and so indeed ought you and I. But at the same time, he was not averse to praying and thanking God for the things that were facts. You want to change your mood ever, start praying on the basis of what you know to be the facts. The things you could thankful for, things that identify themselves as having been God’s intervention in your life, or things that are facts – maybe stubborn facts – in your life situation where God has an opportunity to work.
My good friend, Mr. Hill, who is now with the Lord, I guess, he — I think he slipped though along into the glory some time ago – but he used to say, “You look at troubles or accidents as opportunities for God to work,” and that’s precisely what Paul did. He said, “I remember without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope.”
Now that word “work,” in connection with faith, is the same word from which we get our English word “ergon” or the idea of energy, and it signifies, actually, a product of energy. The product produced by the use of energy. Now, it’s the work, a product produced by the use of energy of faith. Faith then turns out to be the divine energy that makes what you do significant in terms of eternity.
Can you get a hold of that today? Faith – which is the willingness to risk the situation on God – faith provides the energy that makes what you do – that word “work” – what you do significant in terms of eternity.
That’s why Paul said, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him, and whatsoever you do, do it all as unto the Lord and not just for people, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Whatever you do in word or deed, do it in His name and do it for His glory.
Do it to please Him. Why? Because faith, when it is linked to the routines of life, makes your work eternally worthwhile.
You’re a doctor. If you use faith as the energizer of your professional work, you’re going to meet somebody on the golden streets of Heaven one day who’ll walk up and say, “Doctor, I want to thank you for what you did. You not only helped me physically, you blessed me, and I’ll always be grateful.” That’s the way those things work.
You are a businessman, and you employ people. You call somebody into your office and so you’ve learned, haven’t you, to manage by objective. You don’t say, “What did you do that for?” You say, “Now the next time, what would you suggest that we do, and by when, and how much?” You manage by objectives, but with it all because you, I, have committed your life to Christ, you’re doing it for Him, and you’re praying your way through the situation and exercising faith, aren’t you? Well, one of these days over yonder in the glory, that same former employee is going to say, “You know, I’m so grateful for the time I spent in your office, and when I came out, I wanted to be a better person and do a better job somehow.” You follow what I’m telling you?
A work of faith is what you do that is energized by doing it in the power and enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Alright. He says, “I remember in my praying your work of faith.”
Now, how do I apply that today? Well, it’s a very simple matter. The next thing you have to do, whether it’s sweeping the floor, or building a house, or budging the budget, or selling a product, or operating on a patient, or trying a law case… I don’t know what you may be doing ‘cause I don’t know all of you, do I? Love to. That would be great. We’ll have a reunion in glory. I’m planning a big radio rally on the corner of Glory Street and Hallelujah Avenue. But right now, you know, we don’t know all that much about each other, but whatever you have to do, the next thing you have to do, whisper a prayer and say, “Lord Jesus, help me do this for Your glory. Enable me by Your Holy Spirit.”
And as you approach that task in the spirit of prayer, in faith — faith is risking the situation on God – what will this client say, how will you feel, what will his mood be, will he be interested with my product, will I even get past the receptionist – all of the questions that confront the salesman many times a day – you walk into that situation trusting Almighty God, risking the situation on God.
You’re going to find out that He knows how to handle things, and your contacts with people are going to be eternally significant and worthwhile – work of faith. The next job you have to do, tackle it in trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let Him be the supervisor; you’ll go along alright.
Now he says, “I remember your work of faith, and your labor of love.” Now that word “labor” is an entirely different Greek word than the word, “work.” If the work of faith is “ergos” and the labor of love is “kopos,” and that has to do with hard work involving trouble and toil. “Intense labor” is what Thayer’s Lexicon says; “intense labor involving trouble and toil.” Your intense labor of love.
Now, let’s face it, without real love for God and for people, eventually you’re going to get tired and quit.
As a man said to me… Well, not too long ago, I was inquiring about his background ‘cause I’m interested in people, as maybe you know. And so I said, “Hey, where’d you go to school?” “Oh,” he said, “I went to school. I took up Electrical Engineering.” And I said, “Hey, you’re in a different profession today.” “Yeah,” he said, “I know. I thought maybe I’d change over, but,” he says, “but the way things are going, I’m going to give up.” “Well,” I said, “why?” “Oh,” he said, “it’s too big a hassle.” Now, I’m quoting the man almost word for word, and he was, what he was doing was portraying how everybody feels at least once in their lifetime, when you are faced with the unceasing hassles of life, and you think, “There must be an easier way to die. Let me go find it.” Many a minister feels that way every Monday morning.
Well, what are you going to do about it? He says, “Your intense labor, coupled with toil and trouble, based on love,” and that word “love” is our word for Calvary love: “Agape.” Agape, Calvary love. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Same love. “The love of Christ constraineth us.” Same word. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” Romans 5:5. Same word, agape. He says, “Your intense labor, combined with toil and trouble, based on Calvary love that’s been placed in your heart by the Holy Spirit of God.”
Now, it’s a fact that no amount of preaching is going to develop that loving approach to the hard work and the hassles of life.
As a matter of fact, when somebody tells you that you ought to have more love, it makes you a little offended, doesn’t it? Because you think he doesn’t or she doesn’t or they don’t understand, and I suppose that’s just human. What I’m saying to you is not by way of trying to convince you or browbeat you about this matter of Calvary love in your approach to the hard work and the hassles of life. I’m simply saying, there is a relationship with God where the Holy Spirit of God fills your heart with love that makes you keep on, in spite of the hassles.
You want to try that on for size, beloved? There is an available relationship with God through the Holy Spirit that makes you want to keep on in spite of the hard work and the hassles that you face. The only safeguard against giving up is a heart full of love, God’s love, in relationship to things and people.
How do you get that? Well, I quoted of Romans 5:5 for you, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.” God has already given you, as a believer, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit of God.
And as He takes control, see if you have control. If your hand is on the tiller, you’re going to have trouble. Nobody knows exactly where the captain of that oil tanker that spilled millions of gallons into the Alaskan Sea, nobody knows where he was. We only know that the third mate – who didn’t even have a license to navigate those treacherous waters – had his hand on the wheel.
If you have your hand on the wheel, you’re going to run onto the reefs of life, but if Jesus, through the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit, is running your life, then you’re going to operate on the basis of divine Calvary love.
God never gives up, and if He’s running your life, you won’t either.
Dear Father today, fill our hearts with your love so that we won’t give up. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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