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6. And They Don't Take American Express

Mark Howard
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Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism


  • June 10, 2017
    11:30 AM
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Father now this morning we pray that the Spirit of Truth you promised would lead us into truth as we open the Word of Truth so he's open to study and hear what it is the spirit has to speak to us today. Where we ask it in Jesus name ma'am now we are in our everlasting Gospel series and in fact I was going to wrap up with this message today I was going to wrap up with this message of going to wrap up with another message I was going to skip this entirely what I'm going to go over today and then I thought what I'm covering today is actually one of the. Transformational pieces of understanding that helped me in my Christian walk when it comes to understanding the gospel and righteousness by faith and not just you know those are so that verbiage is so cliche but the idea of faith and works the title of the message is and they don't take American Express and some of you who are old enough to remember the the ads the commercials right in American Express used to be elite card it was that it was that credit card that only the most important people the influential people had no American Express and service came out with it ad campaign and they would highlight different businesses and anybody remember these different business some ski resorts somewhere and finish up by saying oh and by the way they don't take American Express right your big important Elite Card is here right so the whole idea is there's some things that we can think are very valuable. But have no value in certain places and when we're talking about faith and works the question is what are our works were well I can say they're worth nothing and it's yeah I know that we've heard that before but this is where the challenge comes in in the life of a Christian especially for a Seventh Day Adventist Christian because some of the evidence Christians Well we believe we're saved by grace we still believe the law of God is important to keep and people will challenge and say well where are you guys coming from on how I mean you say bigger is not my words you know where it would lead place to work having this whole thing you know the Bible tells us and let's go to Romans if you have your by with me let's go to Romans Chapter three Romans Chapter three. And verse twenty Matthew Mark Luke John acts Romans Romans three in verse twenty. Now you don't get much plainer than this passage this text of Romans three Verse twenty the Bible says Therefore by the deeds of the law what no flesh will be justified in his sight for by the law is a knowledge of sin now I could go on a lot about this but I will interject here just briefly it's kind of been interesting to note that some people will read this verse right away and say yeah we're not by by by the works of law no flesh is justified so that kind of takes a lot of the picture but if you read the rest of the verse the apostle says for by the laws the knowledge of sins are right there in the verse he's telling us the law still exists and has a function the function and we've talked about this before is to point out sin. So that we recognize our need of a Savior who is Jesus Christ and I like the way Ellen White put this in the book faith and works she says this There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly repeated more frequently or established more firmly in the minds of all then the possibility of FOL in man mirror to or he would say deserving or earning anything by his own best good works salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone secret if that had more humans on that one. A moon is not there is it is absolutely possible get it be an issue from your mind the thought that our works would merit earn deserve anything. So the logical follow up question is then why good works you know it's not like the Bible is silent on good works let's look at a few things here let's go to James Chapter two now you're probably familiar with this one James Chapter two you go in the New Testament after the book of Hebrews you come to the Book of James and in James Chapter two let's look at verse. Seventeen I'm not going to read the whole passage but I just want to zero in on on well let's let's look at verse fourteen first let's go to James Chapter two in verse fourteen the Apostle here asks what does it profit my brethren if someone says he has faith but does not have works can faith save him if a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them depart in peace be warmed and filled. Better always I mean serious close and personal on the street corner and hear some Christian gone by and he says hey God bless you man you know like you did not think anyway this would seem saying you say be warm and filled should there be some follow up action to that at this point so he says you know if you have real faith you ought to be doing something so he says if one says to them depart in peace be one in fear but you do not give them the things that are needed for the body what does it profits those also faith by itself if it does not have works is dead now you may have heard that the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther had real issues with the book of James how many of you heard that he thought it should mean have been included in the scripture in his early ministry he did come around in his later ministry to understand what the Apostle was getting at but it was that same conference that seeming contradiction well wait a minute were saved by faith so why this emphasis on works. Now I'm going to give you some other references that we're not going to look we might look up a couple of them but I mention I've mentioned this before that if you go to the letters. To the churches in the Book of Revelation now you have letters in the Bible you have letters from Paul you have letters from Peter right letters from John and we also have letters from Jesus and a lot of people overlook that we have the gospels but in the Book of Revelation the letters to the churches are letters from Jesus. If you have a red letter bible there in red and the very first thing he says to every single one of the churches is I know your face. I'm checking to see if you guys are good students this morning is not what the Bible says when he says his I know you are works this is Jesus himself very first thing that he says to every one of those churches I know you are works the Bible tells us that's in Revelation two and three by the way the Bible tells us in. Revelation twenty in verse thirteen that we're going to be judged by our works. The Bible tells us in Revelation twenty to twelve that will be rewarded according to our works. The Bible tells us in efficiency to in verse ten that we are created for good works well you can you can see where this is coming when a minute we just got done saying your works are are worth nothing and yet there's all this stuff about. Works me to Titus chapter two. OK you're in Hebrews No I'm sorry in James go back past Hebrews go to the left and then you go past find me when you be in all the T.'s there and the book of Titus is just a very small book but we're going to look at Titus chapter two verse eleven Titus chapter two and verse eleven. The Bible says here. In Titus two eleven for the grace of God that bring salvation has appeared to to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness in worldly lusts we should do what we should live soberly righteously and godly What is it that teaches us that. What does the Bible say teaches us that we should live that way while I agree some guy thought the grace of God was like hey don't worry about that just trust in Jesus here that sometimes the Bible says the grace of God teaches us that we should be living a certain way it almost sounds a little league listing. That we should be living this certain way. Verse thirteen looking for the bless it hoping Glorious Appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us no notice Don't miss this who gave Himself for us so that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for himself his own special people what. Zealous for what what does Ellis mean. Now be honest with me if if if if we're talking in a conversation I say Look back guys really zealous What are you thinking right away he's over the top right so that guy's he's out he's out in left field somewhere he's a little bit extreme right I mean zealous is a word that we used to you're talking about really about something. And the Bible says that Christ came he wanted to purify us and make us zealous for good works well how can we be when we're not our works amount to nothing OK So the reason I'm bringing this up is just this is the come on drum and don't look at me with the deer in the headlights because I know if you're a Seventh Day Adventist of any rate you've been in the one hundred one discussions on this thing and they're in almost every Sabbath school class there in the articles and all of the people always wrestling over what you know what the faith and works thing now is something I want to interject here. And will unfold this a little bit as we go I just got back from three being can't meeting and they have the growing of different avenues beliefs and they had me speak on the existence of the heavenly sanctuary and as I was going through it I read some things that caught my attention you know reminded me there's something fascinating it is not limited to the sanctuary but when God instituted the animal sacrifices it was for the purpose of trying to prove feel what he was willing to do for us so in other words the sacrificial lamb wasn't something I was giving it was something he was giving to me his only Son Jesus Christ to pay for my sins when I confessed my sin you know the sinner would bring the lamb to the sanctuary but when they understood God's purpose they knew that it wasn't me giving something to God But God was giving something to me but here's what happened among the heathen may sions see the Israelites began to mingle with those who are not believers in the true God their rulership services were the other way around their worship services where they would give sacrifices to appease their gods now who do you think concocted that that's exactly what the devil's plan was he knew that if he could get the Israelites interacting with the other nations. That it would turn their understanding of God and His will and purpose for them and instead of their service to God being a joyful service that was a reciprocal or a response to God's love it became an appeasement to when God's love. Are you following that folks that's a big difference that's like this right completely turned around and nothing has changed this is why the devil see we talk about in the churches the devil wants to get the church into the world and mingle with world why so he can get us watching things we shouldn't watch and and and eat and drink and things we should meet on. So he can turn your concept of who he is it's the ultimate That's what happens is we begin to see God as a God who is demanding our obedience to appease him and to earn his love Have you ever given I could say have you given your love to somebody Have you ever given your obedience to somebody. Have you ever chosen to obey somebody because you so loved and respected them how many of you have ever done have you ever obeyed somebody because you had to. Is there a difference you bet. And this is this is at the heart of what we're looking at here we're talking about faith and works so good works you know we're not our works don't value don't merit anything don't earn anything with God. But the Bible says a whole lot about good works are good works really good are they really good now I like good works I'm Pramod perfectionist you know I you know I like things done well. My first real job you know how I got it I had a well it wasn't the first it was in the first job I ever held but when my wife and I got married I went to work for an electrical contractor but there was a they had a slow day I was just brand new starting out at a slow day and a friend of the owner of that company was a local builder and he needed a laborer in a job that he was doing actually just had a custom house he was building and the in my boss lent me to him to go sweep it. Let me tell you something I swept that house. I sleep in the corners. I don't hide the dirt this guy was so impressed by the way I swept the house he's like I want him as my personal. When I became an electrician later on I go into jobs and I hope I'm I hope I'm not stepping on your toes here maybe but one thing that bugged me and it bugs me to this day I go buy a house you know some people like to remodel their houses themselves before they sell them I'm like Save me the trouble don't remodel it yourself you can have a professional remodeler or save me the trouble cause I'm going to rip it all out and do it right because I have been as an electrician going to house and somebody did their own wiring open air splices right Steve you know what I'm talking about eight that's the wire running through the air if like how you could just put a couple wire nuts on that thing and tape it up nice should be in a box somewhere in the wire should be stapled in it should be looking nice and neat and I go into these houses to work as an electrician the the electrical panel look like a rat's nest in the why I know this doesn't make sense to you guys but. I like to see things done well and I've I've carried that into my Christian faith if that's important to me when I'm serving a man on this earth how much more when I'm serving the God of heaven who gave me the true life you understand what I'm saying there's a motivational factor there and I'm not alone in this. Take your bible go to Deuteronomy with me go to Deuteronomy Chapter four I'm just going to look at it I'm going to tell you something I looked up you can look up this phrase care would just look up the word careful or careful to observe and Deuteronomy is full of it. But I want I want you to see this in in just a few passages Deuteronomy four in verse six Deuteronomy four Verse six the Lord says here. Therefore be what care fold to observe them and he's talking about statues and judgments I probably should have Let's read verse five It gives us context surely I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me so Moses being here that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess therefore be careful to observe them what does that mean to be careful that sweep in the corners folks right yes or no I mean that's being particular Now I'm going to get into this in a minute but I know we thought oh no Be particular let's the Pharisees they were particular Well we'll get to that in a minute but notice that the Lord Himself and you're going to see this if you go through Deuteronomy see it all over I'm just going to show you three text and around me where he says the same thing be careful to observe. Be careful in what you do I want you to me I want you to give attention to this I want you to be. Particular about it because to observe these things look at dinner on me twenty six sixteen you to run me twenty six and verse sixteen. Deuteronomy twenty six or sixteen the Bible says this day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments therefore you shall be what careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul today you have proclaimed the laird to be your God and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes His commandments and judgments and you will obey his voice he says be careful to do these things and twenty eight Chapter twenty eight and verse one the Bible says now it shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord if you how obey diligently obey the voice of Lord your God to observe carefully all his commandments which I command you today that the Lord your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth now somebody may be thinking yeah but that's Old Testament right Old Testament that's what they were supposed to do are you aware that there are even Christians today who think the Jews are saved by what they did by law keeping Are you aware of that. Nobody's ever going to say by law keeping the Bible says is one mean given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved and that's the name of Jesus Christ nobody does good enough long keeping to ever be saved by it and yet God says be careful I want to be careful to do these things. Be careful to observe them on what is not what the what the fair seas were about well let's go to the New Testament Let's go Matthew twenty three. Let's go to mass which one and three let's look at the fair seas form in Matthew twenty three twenty three zero chapter Matthew twenty three is the woes on the scribes and the Pharisees as Jesus basically denounces the religious leaders of his day. And he says in Matthew twenty three verse twenty three well to use scribes and Pharisees hypocrites where you pay tide of mint and in eyes and cumin and have neglected was the way to years of the matters of the law justice and mercy in faith it sounds like there were some things they weren't particular and right like justice and mercy and faith but they were particular in the Minton and eyes of the human the probably should have been doing their right was Jesus say these you ought to have. Done without leaving the others undone let me ask you a simple question Did Jesus say they should be doing more or less really more I thought the ferrous is always it now let's get something clear about the Farriss folks. The ferrous these were particular. But they were particular in their own ideas not in God's commands they had all kinds of regulations that God never even commanded. The fact that somebody particular is not the problem the problem was in fact and we do this today the problem is when they didn't want to do what God wanted them to do like being judge like being fair in judgment and mercy and faith. They would multiply a bunch of other things over in this area real particular in their counting of these particular herbs like Mint are tiny tiny tiny. They'd be very particular in that as if to balance out what they were doing. So some of us we can be really careful in diet. What we eat in everything you know because we are not as careful in our entertainment selections and will balance it out that was fair in other words if it's almost like a. Scorekeeping system instead of a loyalty to go look at me look at John we're going to Matthew Mark Luke John go to John I like to ask people who care and I'm going to ask you this who kept the law more strictly Jesus or the fairest if I asked you who kept the law all who kept the law better Jesus or the fairest sees what would you say when I threw that word strictly in there are strict that's the Farriss. I just where we go. Is there something wrong with being strict. Let me ask you this. Ladies would you rather your husband play loose with the parameters of your marriage and who he associates with with other women or would you rather him be strict in that area lot of times it has to do with motivation a look at John seven one thousand notice what Jesus says here to the various Caesar the religious leaders John seven nineteen did not Moses give you the law and yet what none of you keeps the law don't ever be going around saying Paris has kept the Law Jesus himself so they didn't keep the law they kept their idea of it they kept their own regulations. But what did Jesus say of himself going to jump to fifteen ten what did Jesus say himself in John fifteen ten Jesus says. If you keep My commandments you will abide in my love just as I have what kept my Father's Commandments Jesus is the one that kept the commandments not to Ferris's you throw the word strict in there doesn't change anything you bet Jesus was strict he was careful to observe what his father said look at Matthew five with me verse twenty and you five in verse twenty. Bible says here these are the words of Jesus once again he says for I say to you that unless your righteousness what exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Because the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees wasn't very righteous it was hollow it was outward It was formal. Here's the point folks some people say well I thought obedience was legalism at least a certain level like you like if you get real particular I this this discussion sometimes that that at least some of us have so confuses new folks I had a lady who just came into the church and she was so confused on this and so careful of course she's got Seventh Day Adventist in the church arguing about faith and works and she's got her her non-evidence friends say why are you trying to keep a law that's legal istic And we're told if she thought you know him it wasn't just the Sabbath then you have to return time. Give ten percent back to God and she was so wrought up over this. She came to the conclusion that if she would return eight percent instead of ten percent that would keep her from being legal istic because legalism is doing exactly in particularly what God says that that's what was communicated to her mind is no B.S. legalism or at least a certain level Listen true obedience true B.D.S. can never be legalism legalism is the response of the carnal heart to the law of God True obedience can only come from a converted heart because the Bible says the law is spiritual and we have to be made spiritual for going to keep a spiritual law notice the statement from the book price object lessons the man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely because he is required to do so will never enter into the joy of obedience he does not obey you we go in through all your trying to keep it you don't obey why when the requirements of God are counted a burden because they cut across human inclination we may know that the life is not a Christian life. Why because a new heart in the Christian gives you new desire for spiritual things that doesn't mean you don't have another look folks we have two natures in us when we become Christians. I need to clarify this again before you become a Christian one nature fallen we're all born with it. Praise God we can come to Christ confess our sins accept Him as our Savior he puts in us a new nature but we still have the old nature and that's where the battle comes in when you want to do the right thing but you're tempted to do the wrong thing. And so I'm this is not saying there's not going to accomplish it but when Jesus puts his nature in you there's a new interest in spiritual things that interest isn't there we know life is not a Christian life truth be DNS is the outworking of the principle within. If springs from the log of righteousness the love of the law of God The essence of all righteousness is what Little T. to our redeemer don't miss that true obedience is not about earning favor with God It's about loyalty to God because of what he's done for us the big difference in that this loyalty this will lead us to do right because it is right because right doing is pleasing to God. That's the motivational factor obedience is about loyalty folks there's only two sides in this game I want you to see this in Acts chapter Chapter twenty six people don't like to think about what I'm about to share with you but the Bible's clear about it that there are only two masters there's no Switzerland folks in the Christian right there's no hey lawman decided I'm here in the middle you're serving one master or another. In an accepted twenty six. Sorry I was talking about turning. In Acts Chapter twenty six Look at verse seventeen in fact here the Apostle Paul is telling him what the Lord told him when he called him to be an apostle Acts twenty six seventeen says I will deliver you from the Jewish people as well as from the gentiles to whom I now send you. To open their eyes in order to do what turned them from darkness to light in from the power of Satan to God. You see them that they may receive forgiveness of sins and heritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me Jesus said Paul I want you to preach to me are going to turn from one side to the other there is no middle there's no middle ground. You are obeying God Your being the enemy you know I am undecided I'm not going to know your or you are deciding by not deciding obedience is about loyalty to go on. You may have heard the story a love story. Elderly man was coming your churches vision was going his hearing was going on year after year and there he was to the point where he couldn't he couldn't even get the assistive listening devices and he couldn't hear and couldn't make out stuff on the screen couldn't read the words in his bible one of the saints I would guard against it but one of the same thing I guess a little being a little more bold and forward said he was not going to ask you brother why you keep going to church. You come here you can't I mean I'm not trying to be you don't get anything out of it do you you can't see anything hear anything he says the reason I'm here is I want the devil to know the sign of. A man it's about loyalty to God. But our works are worth anything why do we go to X. and X. Let's go to our scripture reading first Chronicles twenty nine first Chronicles twenty nine Old Testament. And after the books of Samuel and kings we come to the Chronicles. First Chronicles twenty nine now the background here is that King David you may know that King David wanted to build a temple you know that you have that in the wilderness you have a low temp sanctuary King David said no God should have you should have an elaborate temple you know all these pagan nations have these elaborate temples for their gods our God should have an elaborate temple. Or God didn't permit David to build that Temple he said you're a man of war and I don't want you building the temple and you can go read about that so he said You gather all the materials together and your son Solomon will build it so David gathers the material they collect this offering of the things that they be gold silver precious stones and cloth and all of this and David is coming before God and offering this great offering Now if you were to don't need a lot of money to the church. What would be the temptation at least you can get your name on a plaque somewhere right at least there's some to some right oh recognition we we tend even if you like i know i shouldn't there's a tendency to want recognition because of what I gave those what David does after offering up this is offering. First Chronicles twenty nine and verse thirteen. Davis is now therefore God we think you can praise your glorious name but who am I and you are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly Is this fair all things come from you and of your own we have given you. What's his point when this hit home to me the faith and works thing cleared up the point what's a point Dave is making here is they're giving all this offering to God is a yearning God's favor why not. He wouldn't even think to his look. Here we are good we're all we're given you is your stuff God write Doesn't the Bible say didn't David say God owns a cattle on a Thousand Hills. It be like me giving you one hundred rather be like you giving me a hundred dollar bill and then me trying to bribe you with the twenty are you following me what is it think about your works what kind of words to works talents money whatever you're good works that you can give to God think of anything it could be what is something that you can give to God that isn't already his. Where did you get your health from where did you get the strength of mind your intellect from where did you get any know how to do anything from where you get your money from in your own from in your talents from your influence from your musical abilities from your good looks wrong. What do you have that you did not receive. Back that's what the Apostle Paul tells us. Look at the first Corinthians four with me kind of building on that idea that we see there coming from King David First Corinthians Chapter four Notice the words of the Apostle Paul First Corinthians four and verse seven first printings for over seven says who makes you different from another and what do you have what. That you did not receive Now if you did indeed receive it why do you both still see if you have not received it. Just put this big offering in the plate or out to recognize that you are the Lord recognizes it was all his knew just gave back a portion of it and if you gave everything you had it still is so the whole idea I mean when you understand this does two things Number one the whole idea of earning anything by good works is out the window like it's just totally impossible how can you how can you earning thing from from giving what is already got it's the other thing it does for you is it takes the pressure off it tries it the good ideas to put things back in perspective like I was talking about worship and offering sacrifices and are the sacrifices a gift from God to me that I'm recognizing or are they for me to God appeasing him. And we'll flip flop on this if I want to take time we go into a whole nother we look at the altars of Cain and Abel I've done this before you see those two mindsets in honoring God. We have a tendency to come to church we say OK I'm here today God to see that marked down in the book. You know as if it and when you begin to think of your religious duties as let me tell you let me tell you. Something that we say that betrays. Our motivation even if we don't realize it is a phrase I've heard now for it I don't know when it came into vogue it's been several years ago now but we get in these discussions of whether or not something's a salvation issue everywhere that come up or talk about something in class and races oh wait a minute is that a salvation issue like what is that about is that a salvation what bearing does that have on the discussion but the idea is this so we talk about for example do we. All I'm trying to think of something. We're talk talk let's just talk about watching Disney movies that salvation is an issue OK having this discussion to be watching Disney or not I don't know is that a salvation issue when somebody asks that in the discussion what are we really asking Will I be lost if I do that why am I asking that because I'm saying basically if if I'm in my going to be lost what's the bare minimum that I'm asking what's the bare minimum I can do and get by it's own mindset. I liken it to this you know my wife and I try to be in the practice of kissing each other goodbye when I go out or when she goes out you know we've been married for thirty one years and I love it I recommend it and more to come but let's just say that on my way out in my wife says Honey where's my kids and I say well. Are you going to divorce me if I don't kiss you and she says well no I'm not going to divorce and say OK goodbye I would be a little rude wouldn't be. Like Mike unless I have to if you're giving me an ultimatum OK I'll come and kiss you goodbye what I'm saying is I don't really enjoy it I'm just doing it because I have to do. And we start getting members Kushner's Christians as I have salvation is what I'm saying is I really don't delight in serving God I'll do what I have to do give me the bare minimum. That betrays a problem of the heart. You follow what I'm saying there so to understand that our good works don't earn anything puts a different motivation on our good works no longer my doing I don't have to earn God's favor God showed His favorite giving us his only begotten Son God showed his favor in accepting you into the beloved. And so your response to that your appearance is a response to that not to earn something from the Lord all things come of the end of the line only we have given the. Notice what it says in the book faith and work space twenty four the Lord Jesus imparts what. All the powers all the grades all the Penitence all the inclination. Any inclination you have to serve Him to do is we'll to want to know Him the Lord gives all of it in presenting his righteousness for man to grasp by living faith so we're receiving his righteousness by faith in that we have all the power all the grace all the penitent everything that we need Peter would say all things that pertain to life and godly presenting his righteousness for man to grasp by living faith which is also the gift of God. If you would gather together everything that is good in a holy and Noble and lovely in Maine and then present the subject to the angel of God as acting in the parks in the salvation of the human soul or in marriage the proposition would be rejected as treason but how are you going to take the things God gave you when you can offer those up as your reason that you are to be saved all things come from God Our works are not worth anything so why work right me nots the follow up and that's where we are for a lot of people as hey I've learned that my works don't amount to anything so I'm just going to him this is another one of these phrases day I'm just going to let go and let God. I'm going to let go and let God for many people I mean I'm going to sit on my backside and do nothing in my Christian life but I'm going to put all my energy into living for the work I do put in my job I put it into my family but I'm not going to put it into my spiritual life because that would be works as something wrong with that thinking hey look I'm not getting paid for my works why I work. Now look there has to be right motivation the motive of the love of God has to be the motivation as we've been talking about but how many times do I have to tell my son I love him before I can tell me take Out the Trash Can God not ask us anything here's the question we need to ask God given us everything for what purpose. Why has he given us the talents he has why has he given us our intellect why has he given us the understanding why has he given us the strength the body. The strength of our hands the skill to do something some of you are skilled workmen Why did God give you that I told you I used to work as an electrician. My boss gave me a truck with accounts of gas stations and tire places and anything I'd need for that truck anything I needed done my right I had it. He gave me material to do my electrical draw with like wire and boxes and Staples and conduit and all the supplies that I would mean. He gave me accounts of supply houses and lighting stores and anywhere else I'd need to go to pick something up he gave me a variety of latter's and drills another tools why why do you think you gave me that just have it when you think he would have thought about it driven the truck with all those tools everything out of the job site and sat in a truck to listen to the radio all day do you think. No he expected me to put those things to use the better meaning well in that case it earned me a paycheck but what if I hadn't done it that would have been an affront to my boss who supplied me everything I needed look at to seventeen with me look seventeen look seventeen verse seven there's a fascinating little parable Jesus tells here that I don't hear a whole lot of. In different preaching that I've heard it's one of those tucked away things Luke seven teen verse seven Jesus asks this question Which of you having a servant plowing are tending sheep will come to him when he has come in from the field. Will say to him rather when he is coming from the field come and sit down come at once to sit down and eat. But will he not rather say to him prepare something for my supper and good yourself and serve me to I have eaten and drunk and afterward you will eat and drink. Does he think that servant because he did the things that were commanded him. I think not. So likewise was likewise me in the same way so likewise you when you have done all those things which you are commanded say we are unprofitable servants we have done what was our duty to do. Wow. What's Jesus saying here. He is saying I have given you. A lease on life I have promised to return to I've given you everything you need in the here and now and for you not to use it would be like me sitting in that truck I'm playing the radio instead of going in and doing the job it be like taking the talent if you want to take that Purple Jesus and burying the talent in the saying and how many Remember the parable talents. King gives the servants talents one gets five one gets to one gets one what happens to the man who didn't use his talent OK I was thinking that this morning I was like How did that end up I know it was taken away but that's not where it ended OK it was taken away it was given to somebody else and ended. That on face full serve it was cast out into outer darkness. They didn't just end like OK you're not using those townsmen given to somebody else he was lost so while our good works don't save us. God expects us to put in to use the talents he's given us and to not do so is an affront to God. One last pastor want to look at First Corinthians fifteen I'm sorry to first Corinthians fifteen a verse and I want you to notice what you Apostle Paul did how he responded to the grace of God In fact well let's just go there first can his fifteen and verse. Ten The apostle says here by the grace of God I am what I am. And his great steward me was not in being. But what. Was in vain means. To no purpose right. God even give me his grace in vain he might have given to somebody else in vain but to me it wasn't in vain why because I he says I labored I did what how do you labor I Labor mayor abundantly then they all. Yet not on. But the grace of Christ what. The Apostle Paul said when I understood what God did for me I took every town I had to live for him and I gave the entered all the energy I had he wasn't doing it to earn God's favor he was doing it because he loved God and he committed his life to God and out of loyalty to God and love for God He labored more bluntly when they all I want to tell you something those who really appreciate the love of Christ in the cross of Christ will be the ones who labor most abundantly. Steps to Christ I'm sorry let me go past this step to Christ page forty four says those who feel the constraining love of God Do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements right like honey do I have to kiss you and I ask you now because you love because I love or I want to kiss or. A man. They do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God They do not ask for the lowest standard but aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Redeemer sweeping the corners. With earnest desire they yield all in manifest an interest proportionate to the bell you are the object which they seek. And if I would agree that the value the way a lot of Christians value Christ by the energy they put into their spiritual life I would see Christ rates way down here so where you could make even the top ten. A profession of Christ without this deep love is mere talk Dr formality and heavy drudgery that's what happens when you think you're trying to earn his favor instead of returning his favor. I want to finish up with this this passage a fascinating statement about John wasn't it John Wesley many of you know who John was he was one of the founders of the Methodist Church OK And Wesley in fact Wesley started something that was called the holiness club and the reason they called the Methodist they didn't and Methodist didn't adopt that name other people called them that it was like a name calling thing because it a method for everything see John was he was convinced that we need to live holy laws there's something wrong with that. Not all is everything right with it the problem is that in his early experience he thought that he had to do that in his own strength and he wore himself out trying to be good and I hear that test we've been there done that I wore myself out trying to be good and then I learned that Jesus I'm saved by grace not by works and then I let go and let God OK that's what I had that's that's the mindset that's where a lot of people feel like that's that's I really came into understanding the gospel now because no I don't do anything put forth any effort in my spiritual life it's not our notice what it says here in Great conifers now through bone years of weary some income for Le striving. Years of rigorous self-denial of approaching humiliation and you may have shared that experience whereas we had steadfastly adhered to his one purpose of seeking God. Now he had found him and he found that the grace which he had toiled to win by prayers and fast by all means deeds in Abu self-abnegation or denying himself was a gift powerful human he realized that all that I was trying to work to earn God's favor and I didn't need to work to earn God's favor I just needed to receive God's favor so what it Wesley do once this once you came into this understanding notice he continued his strict and self-denying life. What not now is the ground but as the result of faith not as the root but the fruit of holiness the grace of God in Christ is the foundation of the Christian hope and that grace will be manifested in obedience to God. The Lord has done everything for us the Lord has given us everything you're sitting here today possessing talents that God has entrusted you with to build up his kingdom I used all those tools to build up my my boss's company but God has given you tools and talents to build up his kingdom he expects those to be put to use there's a world that knows him not who needs to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and Jesus is waiting on you to share it he's waiting for you to put those talents to use in the upbuilding of his kingdom. How many of you want to say Lord take me take all my talents all things come of the in Lord I want to give back to you your own that your desire today how many of you want to give back to God his own. Let's pray together father heaven I want to thank you today for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ through which we receive the abundance of blessings in our intellect in our help in our different and very talents and skills in our money in everything that we own everything that we present US you have blessed us. And father too often we have excused ourselves from putting those talents to use and in doing so have simply enlisted by default on the enemies. And today as your Spirit is speaking to us as you are calling us out of darkness and into light our way from the power of Satan to the power of God I pray Father that you would help us all to choose today whom we will serve to put our talents to use for the up building of your kingdom for the glorifying of your name and that when. Jesus comes again we may hear those words well done good and faithful servant enter into the true. Thank you Father for we ask and pray all of these. In. 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