Exhortation: Spiritual Work

EXHORTATION

One of the most spiritual things a Christian can do in life is work a job. The first command God gave Adam included the divine commission to work. This means that getting up early on Monday to put in an honest day’s work is itself an act of worship.

Christians are called to consider their work holy. To do their work as unto the Lord. To see their work as a way to bring blessing, joy, and justice to their fellow man. And they are, to some degree, called to derive joy from their work as well.

But too often, we think of our work, if we are not working for the church, as being secular, or second class, or having no spiritual significance.

Too often the church has given the impression that the only way to honor God though our work is to become mini-missionaries sharing our faith with our co-workers. And, while we should ask God for those opportunities, our work has value and significance simply because God has told us to do it. 

So, don’t your flesh convince you that work is secular when God has called it holy. Reclaim your work for the glory of the Father.

A Christian salesman does his duty to God, not by printing a cross on his business card, but by selling his product at an honest price, because God loves honesty.

A Mom glorifies God in her work, not just by singing a hymn to her child, but by changing diapers because Jesus loves it when little children are cared for.

As Christian workers, we understand that everything we do, is done in the sight of God, and therefore, everything we do is spiritual.

So, whether your work takes you out of the country, or your work is in the home with little kids, God has declared your work sacred. He has established work. And when you work, you are obeying him. And he’s pleased. So, let’s confess our sins to him now.

CONFESSION

Lord God,

You are the great worker, and everywhere we look we see you working. You laid the foundations of the earth, and you set the boundaries of the oceans. You send springs down mountain cliffs to water herds, and you direct rain clouds to newly planted fields.

You cause grass to grow for cattle, and you cause fruit to blossom for men. You give wine that makes glad the heart of man, and bread which strengthens his heart. You schedule the phases of the moon, and you keep the Sun on a time clock. 

And into this rhythm of Spring Time and Harvest, Day and Night, Morning and Evening, you call us to come along side of you and to work. Truly, O Lord, you have made us, in your image.

So, Lord, when we see how great you are in all of your work, we look at our own working lives and realize that something is amiss. We do not work as we ought. We haven’t put work in its proper place.

• We confess that when it comes to our work, we are sinners.

• We sometimes put in only what is required and nothing more.

• We haven’t passionately and lovingly served our clients.

• We confess the sin of thinking that the purpose of our work is to pay for our leisure.

• Lord God, some of us have seen our work as a way to elevate ourselves above others.

• We work our heads off for all the wrong reasons—for our own glory and reward.

• We ignore your command to rest for fear that someone might get ahead of us.

• We think that more money will compensate for having an imbalanced life.

• We haven’t given our spouse or our children the attention they need because our mind is always on work.

Lord, our sins are many. We love you, and therefore we are ashamed of anything that siphons off your glory and beauty. We long to be both Christians of the heart, and Christians in deed. 

So, Father, we ask that you forgive us for the sake of Jesus. Let his precious blood cover our sin and make us new. Let his obedient and perfect life be our life. And we are bold to ask for all of this and we believe you will do it simply because you have promised to do it. Father we also know that if we in the church regard sin in our lives lightly this prayer will have no effect, and we confess our sins to you now individually.  Receive our prayers… 

We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ, who lived and died and who ever lives now to mediate for his people, Amen.

Please rise for the assurance of pardon.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:25-26

Church, it is your Father’s good pleasure to hear your honest confession and to declare you completely clean. Therefore, if you are connected to Jesus Christ by faith alone—then in Christ, your sins are forgiven, and you are made clean.

 

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Communion Mediation: Eat the Meal

After he was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to his disciples who were startled because they thought he was a spirit. 

And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? … And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

How did Jesus prove that he had been raised bodily? He ate a piece of fish. He had a meal. Living things eat food. Physical bodies eat food and souls of men and women who were once spiritually dead eat food too.

We aren’t eating a tiny cracker and taking a sip of juice because we need to be made alive—we eat it to show that we have already been made alive. How? We were buried with Christ when we repented of our sin, and we were raised with Christ when we took hold of him by faith.

Today, if you have placed your faith in Jesus—God has prepared a meal for you, and he invites you to eat it. He invites you to be full on Christ, to feast on Christ, to cherish Christ in your hearts as you take these symbols of Christ’s body and blood into yourself.

If you have not placed your faith in Jesus, this meal is not for you. Don’t take it. because this bread and this cup are only symbolic of what you truly need. 

Christ had to be raised bodily before he ate the piece of fish. You must be raised with Christ spiritually, through faith, before you can sit at this banquet table. This meal is yet another invitation.

So, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ.

Exhortation: Be Patient

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  James 1:4

One of the great challenges of following Jesus as an American is practicing patience. We know what we want. We know how we want it done. We know what they are capable of if they’d just apply themselves! And why don’t they try harder?

• We’re impatient with our children when they struggle to learn simple life skills. 

• Children, do you lose your temper with your parents when they don’t listen to you?

• We even get angry at God when painful seasons of life linger longer than we feel they should.

Most of the time, our impatience is a result of distrust. We don’t trust that God is working out the knots of our life on his own loving timetable. 

And God commands us to let patience have her perfect work. Don’t rush to get through that difficult season of life. God is not in heaven laughing at your pain. Don’t wish that your children would hurry up and grow so that your life will be easier. Trust that God is rearing you even as you rear your children.

God has given you everything he has given you because he’s sanctifying you. God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.