The Value Of The Work

The Value of The Work. 

Probably one of the most difficult sermons I have come to preach. It is difficult because I have set myself to try to embolden your faith by you understanding the value of the work the Lord has prepared for you to do.

When it comes to all other forms of employment, this is not too difficult. Especially labor or service works such as construction, hospitality, manufacturing, administration etc, on these there is a simple Cost/Profit analysis that is not difficult to work out.

But how do I try to place a value on a work whose Cost is Infinite and Value eternal?

How do I do justice to the value of saving even a single soul from hell for all eternity? 

How do I quantify it that it might inspire you to completely sell out everything you have your focus on, and to follow Christ? 

I truly just don’t know.

The world places no value in the work at all, to the world the preaching of the Cross is not an Essential Service, that is clear. To the world the Cross of Christ is just ice-cream; Christianity is only your personal flavor of religion preferred. 

And this has come about because pastors and Bible colleges around of the world have created doubt, and still create doubt in the Bible. 

MOST PASTORS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY HAVE DONE AND ARE DOING.

If I can’t quantify the infinite Value of the work to be done, THEY CERTAINLY DON’T evaluate the COST OF CREATING DOUBT in the truth they have denied. 

It’s a frightening prospect to stand before God as a Pastor who does not believe the Bible he preaches. 

It is HIS FAULT the world treats the cross of Christ as Ice-cream.

(I go into detail on that in the Falling Away Series on the Church blog)

So many souls in hell for all eternity because this evaluation is not truly and consistently considered. Christians around the world today, lukewarm on the Gospel with multitudes damned.

HOW DO I PLACE A VALUE ON THE WORK? 

The Cost of the work is infinite, and the value is eternal, HOW DO I HELP YOU SEE IT?

Please pray for me as I preach a pitiful attempt at explaining it.

 

The Cost Of The Work

2Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

Jesus here gives himself as the example of cost: let him deny himself, and take up his cross.In economic terms there is a basic understanding relating to the value of anything that is to be placed on to the market, and the first is that the cost of the work must be carefully weighed and understood.

Entrepreneurs go broke very quickly when the true cost of an item is not given due consideration. 

When we are speaking of the COST we are speaking of what is known as the fully loaded cost, not just the cost of the materials and labor, but adding in all the other elements such as rent, utilities, rates, borrowings etc. 

What is the TRUE cost beyond what seems self-evident?

The Cost of the death of Christ, I believe, was infinitely more than what is self-evident.

The Bible itself speaks to the foolishness of undertaking an endeavor and not understanding the cost, and the context of the passage itself is very telling;

Turn with me to Luke 14:27

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Cost, what is the cost of the work?

Clearly Jesus has a simple expectation of the disciple whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

It is to deny himself and to take up his cross and then follow him.

Jesus does not see ANY issue with this, to him it is as simple as math and he expects you to understand the value of the work!

Jesus does not command that a disciple deny himself and take up his cross, without first having committed to have paid the greatest cost of all in taking up his own cross.

Business owners are the first to lay everything on the line for their endeavors, So what Jesus did fits that which is understood even in worldly terms.

What is the cost Jesus gave the example of relating to the cross?

Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 26:36-44

 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

This event occurred just before he gave his life upon the cross for the sin of the world.

In the account given to us in Luke, the Bible tells us he sweated great drops of blood. It is a condition that has been discovered largely among death row inmates called Hematidrosis, where the capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture.

What is the Cost that was paid by Christ for the sin of the world?

Can you even begin to quantify it?

Is it more than what is evident? 

For the Scriptures tell us plainly that Jesus cried out to his father in heaven saying “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me”.

This is recorded for us first over 1000 years before Christ uttered those words in Psalm 22:1, and then recorded after his resurrection in Matt 27:46 and Mark 15:34.

What was it that Jesus experienced at that point? 

What was the true Cost of what he had done? 

At no time does Christ communicate to his father in heaven as MY God other than here while he is on the cross, why did he feel so distant?

What was the cost of feeling forsaken for the first time in eternity by his father?

Can you quantify it? I cant.

Jesus denied himself; not his will, but God’s will be done. 

But can we consider the cost?

The scriptures, speaking of Christ says “ thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” 

That was first recorded of Christ over one thousand years earlier in Ps 16:10, then recorded for us again after his resurrection in Acts 2:27

Can you quantify the cost? Saying the cost was infinite just does not seem to cut it, because we can’t even conceive of the infinite.

The bible says that God made him to be sin for us (2 Cor 5:21), the Bible says Jesus would spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mat 12:40).

What was the cost? How do we quantify the cost borne by Christ?

What we do know is that whatever the cost was, it was enough to purchase your salvation and the salvation of every single person in the world. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Cor 6:20)

The Price Of The Work

2For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Now we come to that which is upon you, the scriptures before told of your willingness to bare your own cross for the sake of Christ, but now we see something more, a price that you should be willing to pay for Life itself.

Tell me, what are you willing to pay to have life? Do you not see value in life? 

If there was a ransom to be paid, and the robber came and said to you, “Your money or your life”, what would you be willing to pay? 

10%, would you be willing to tithe for your life?

What about the Biblical triple tithe as given to us in the Old Testament, would you be willing to pay 30% for your life?

50% life or death, would you flip for 50% of your wealth for your life?

I mean, think about the benefit of having at least 50% left in your treasury when you are dead!

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Jesus speaks to the Value of the Work based on the infinite life gained when we are willing to dedicate it to Christ. When we are willing to lose the life we thought had TEMPORAL value, and to take up the LIFE that has ETERNAL VALUE

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

To get some perspective turn with me to Matthew 13:44-46

4Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it

CAN YOU SEE THE VALUE Jesus is claiming is available to you? Is there a price you are willing to pay to have that which is worth SELLING ALL YOU HAVE?

If you are willing to give all that you have in order not to have your life taken from you BY A ROBBER, what price would you pay to gain it?

Jesus expects your willingness to exchange the temporal for the eternal! 

Mark 1:14-20

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. 16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

What had these men seen in Christ that they were willing to forsake their entire livelihood to follow him? 

What price were they willing to pay to have life?

Do you yet know the value of the work?

Do you know who it is that is calling you to the work? Can you imagine what it might be like to work directly under the authority of a Great King? 

Paul tells us that we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20)

Can you imagine what it is like to work directly under the authority of GOD?

There was a rich young ruler that came to Jesus asking him of what good thing he might be able to do in order to inherit eternal life.

We see this person identified as a young man in Matt 19:20

As a ruler in Luke 18:18

And as rich in Matt, Luke and Mark 10:22

And so he is referred to us all as the ‘Rich Young Ruler’.

He comes to the Lord desiring eternal life, and Jesus loves him, and tells him to sell all his possessions, to give to the poor, and to come, follow me and ye shall have treasure in heaven.

Do you not see the pearl of great price before you?

What temporal thing are you willing to exchange for the eternal?

Beloved, there are a multitude of people today who are willing to sell all they can in the hope of gaining a great multiple of the price they have paid, later.

How much more for the eternal?

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

The Value Of The Work

 

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew 16:26

It is not until people begin to comprehend the value of their soul that they can begin to quantify the value of the work we are employed in to save souls.

But how do I put a number on it? How can one even begin to quantify it?

Eternity in heaven with infinite bliss and joy;

Eternity in hell with infinite torment and woe;

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Here at least, Jesus is giving to us something that is quantifiable. 

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Gain the world, lose your soul. = ? Profit?

The math is simple;

The world

–         Soul

Profit????

We recently glorified the fire fighters who braved their lives in Northern Victoria and Southern NSW. Putting themselves in harms way, some of whom lost their lives in order to save the lives of many. 

The firefighters were JUSTLY glorified by the townsfolk, they were respected by the population and thanked by many for the work they did and the risk in which they willingly placed themselves for the benefit of others.

AND TODAY, so many of the health care workers around the world who are literally putting their very lives at risk as they try to care for the multitude of people plagued with a life-threatening virus. 

They should be thanked; they should be appreciated, and they should in every way be wonderfully rewarded for their efforts and their work.

But when I try to compare the value of a work for a temporal well-being, to the work of the eternal, words fail me respecting the distinction.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 

WILIAM WILBERFORCE

William Wilberforce was a member of the British Parliament at the end of the 18thcentury who became an Evangelical Christian, through whom, over the span of 20 years, endeavored to stop the British slave trade, where men and women sold, purchased and enslaved by force many people for the benefit of some.

The trade was stopped under the Slave Trade act of 1807, The setting of these slaves free did not occur until Emancipation in 1833. 

Wilberforce is celebrated to this very day for his noble efforts against slavery, it was certainly a worthy temporal endeavor, but what of the eternal? 

Freed from a life of slavery is great, but what of their freedom from sin and its penalty? Why is this NOT THOUGHT OF as having even equal value in the minds of many?

If Wilberforce is celebrated to this day for saving temporal lives from slavery, HOW MUCH MORE VALUABLE is your work to save even a single soul from Hell?

Can you quantify it? Can you put a measure on it? 

How do we value the infinite beloved?

How do we quantify infinite loss?

For every person that has NOT heard the Gospel….how do I bare to think of the loss?

Is it worth thinking of? YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES! For what else will motivate us to save a soul from hell more than the consideration of the infinite loss in hell?

Wilberforce saved the lives of many men and women. But there is NO evidence he worked as diligently to save their souls.

In freeing the lives of many, Wilberforce made this world a more tolerable place for the emancipated slaves. 

“He made the world a better place” they say.

And we hear that same desire in people more and more these days.

People desire to make the world a better place. Firemen want to make the world a better place, Politicians claim it, health care workers do it, 

But to what benefit is a temporal life without the eternal?

A number of years ago when my children were little, my family would go for walks in the City. Along the way we came across many beggars in the streets and we would give Natalie some money to give to the beggars, but along with that Natalie would give them a Gospel tract.

She gave them a little hope in this life, but with that she gave them an infinite hope for the next.

PLEASE HEAR ME BELOVED; If all we do is benefit a temporal life with NO regard to the eternal, all we do is make this world a better place to go to hell from. 

Benefitting the temporal while ignoring the eternal, ads NO VALUE in the end.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The preaching of the gospel is the highest calling in the world. It is exalted by God, it is praised by angles and, though it is despised in this temporal world, it will be praised for all eternity in heaven.

AND IT IS A WORK WE ARE ALL TO UNDERTAKE if we truly love as Christ loved.

There will not be a single person in heaven that will not be eternally grateful for your willingness to tell them the Gospel.

There will not be a single person in hell that will not be eternally miserable for not hearing it.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE that matters so much to you at the eternal cost of others?

WHAT IS THE COST OF YOUR DISTRACTION?

YOU WHO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, to what end is your temporal service to yourself?

You who are dedicated to the work of the Lord, what more can you do?

I speak to myself these very things beloved and I am becoming more and more burdened for the work the more I consider its value.

What of you? Have you given this any thought? Will you spend some time today thinking, truly thinking about the value of the work?

Or will you go away grieved because you have great possessions? (Mrk 10:22)

The Benefit Of The Work

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 16:27

Turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 6:1-10

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

There is a great contrast as to how God sees a work and to how the godless see it.

In Hollywood there are a multitude of people who play dress ups and pretend for the amusement of many. 

 They get paid very handsomely for it and every year they have an opportunity to be rewarded for how well they played make-believe. 

I’m sorry, but that is all actors do and that is all actors are. The fact that they as so idolised by the world only goes to show the distortion of reality in the world

The Oscars are one of the grandest, televised reward ceremonies in the world. Those who play dressups get the opportunity to get all dressed up and have their photos taken and to be nominated at how convincingly they played the Hypocrite in front of a camera. 

If they are lucky, they get to receive a coloured idol and to tell the world how little they know about anything else. 

If you are a Christian and, in any way, envious of these people or strive to duplicate their vanity, you are as far removed from a truly virtuous pursuit as I can imagine.

NB: This is coming from a man who’s original desire was to be an actor!

The Benefit of their work is to successfully amuse minds in order to ensure their audience can understand little to nothing of reality. 

But their reward is great.

Fame, fortune, honour.

But how does this truly compare to the value of our work?

On the temporal side we see we are disdained, on the eternal side there is praise;

By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Beloved we seem to have forgotten the truth respecting the value of the work before us. We have well forgotten that which many have known and we are all the poorer for it.

Timothy was charged by Paul saying Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

This is our work and we endure hardness because the souls of many are worth it. Their value? Infinate!

Consider only a handful of those who believed the word of God and believed that the Gospel was valuable enough to give everything for. 

The translation of the bible into English by John Wycliffe in the 14th Century brought about one of the greatest persecutions against Christians by the Roman Catholic church, where scores of men, women and children were burned alive for simply reading, memorizing or sharing the Bible in English.

Just some names of such burning victims, “John Badby, a tailor in 1410, two London merchants, Richard Turming and John Clayton at Smithfield in 1415, William Tayor in 1423, William White in 1428, Richard Hovedon in 1430, Thomas Bagley, 1431; Richard Wyche in 1440. 

Joan Broughton became the first woman to burn at the stake in England at Smithsfeiled together with her daughter beside her!

Quote “One Christopher Shoemaker, who was burned alive at Newbury, was accused of having gone to the house of John Say, and “read to him, out of a book, the words which Christ spake to his disciples…”.  

In 1519 seven martyrs were burned in one fire at Coventry, “for having taught their children and servants the Lords Prayer and the Ten Commandments in English…”.

 Jenkin Butler accused his own brother of reading to him a certain book of scripture, and persuading him to hearken unto the same. 

John Barret, goldsmith of London, was arrested for having recited to his wife and maidservant the Epsitle of St James, without a book…

Thomas Phillip and Lawrence Taylor were arrested for reading the Epistle to the Romans and the first chapter of St Luke in English. 

Perhaps we could consider the reign of Mary Tudor, aka Bloody Mary where the faithful English translator John Rogers perished before his wife and eleven Children whom he walked by on the way to the stake in 1555. He was aksed to change his religion to which he replied, “That which I have preached I will seal with my blood”.

Perhaps we might also consider the sweet Joan Clarke who was obliged to light the wood that was to burn her own father William Tilfrey in 1506. Thomas Watts kissed his own stake. James Baynham testified while in the flame “for in this fire I feel no more pain than if I were in bed; for it is as sweet to me as a bed of roses” (Cited: “Final Authority” by Dr William P Grady)

Beloved, I have relayed to you the smallest portion of a handful of books that testify of the ‘hardness’ to which those who approved themselves as ministers of God had to endure because they were able to see the value of the work they were given to undertake.

Each and every week I have to scour through a multitude of persecutions that are happening in this very day, to pick one or two for our Newsletters. 

What is it that these people UNDERSTAND about the Value of the work that some of us are missing?

On the 9th of February 1709, a boy only five years old, was plucked out of an upper story of a burning home just before it collapsed.

The boy grew up to describe himself as being a “brand plucked out of the fire”. 

The blessing of the firefighters and workers and people that restore and save lives cannot go without thanks and gratitude, because John Wesley went on to become one of the greatest evangelists of his time, saving the souls of a multitude of people from an eternal fire. 

Beloved, there are benefits to the temporal work we are to do, but its ultimate value is for the eternal.

It will be with THE VALUE OF THE WORK always in our minds that we undertake the work of Christ as the first priority. 

WHO WILL THANK YOU FOR THE TRACT YOU GAVE THEM?

WHO WILL THANK YOU FOR THE GOSPEL YOU TOLD THEM?

WHO WILL THANK YOU FOR PLANTING AND WHO WILL THANK YOU FOR WATERING? God will make the increase.

The Value of the Work is worth nothing less than the dedication of my life!

2 Comments

  1. Km

    i have been looking for a church and watched the start of a few sermons online from local churches and I felt grieved because they are preaching a watered down, sugar coated message with no real conviction from the Holy Spirit.
    They are people pleasers, the blind leading the blind, too afraid to preach anything other than how much God loves us and how to live your best life, whilst ignoring the topics of sin and Hell.
    I’m so glad I found this sermon and look forward to being able to attend your church in the future, God willing.

    • Pr Edi

      God bless you and thanks for the comment, I do share your sentiment and pray you continue to be blessed by the sermons during this time. Look forward to meeting you when this challenging time has passed.

      Pr Edi

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