- Psalm 55:22: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
- Isaiah 64:4: “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.”
We all know that God works in us, and some of us know that God works through us. However, I’m relatively certain that many of us forget that God also works for us. I am excited to get into today’s message. So…without any further delay…let’s get into the “WAYS GOD WORKS FOR US”
Only a few things have gripped me with greater joy than the truth that God loves to show his God-ness by working for me, and that his working for me is always before and under and in any working I do for him.
I think one of the greatest things that comes from writing these messages is that not only is God working and speaking through me to help you to know Him more, but He’s also working through these messages for me…to help me to know Him better too. This is such a two-sided opportunity. Not only do these messages help to equip and encourage you, but they do the same for me. I think that most real pastors and people in ministry will tell you that often they get just as much out of ministering to people as the people they’re ministering get…and some times even more. I find that to be true in this case because not only is my knowledge of the Word of God increasing with every message I write, but my understanding of who God is…and what He desires to do in me, with me, and through me also increases. So…I can actually understand what ministers mean when they say that they get more out of ministry opportunities than the people they minister to at times.
At first it may sound arrogant of us, and belittling to God, to say that he works for us. But that’s only because of the connotation that I am an employer and God needs a job. That’s not the connotation when the Bible talks about God’s working for us. As in: “God works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).
Can I tell you that I’m one of those who forgets that not only does God work in us…and through us…but that God works for us? I mean we can be honest with one another right? So…I’m not immune to forgetting that God is also working for us…on our behalf…but the truth is…if the Word of God says that “God works for those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4)…then that’s exactly what God does. See…we either believe all of what the Bible says or we don’t…and we believe that all of the Bible is the Word of God or we don’t. Therefore, since I do believe that all of the Bible is the Word of God…and I believe all of what the Bible says (whether I’ve read it or not…whether I understand it or not)…then I believe that God does just as much work for me as He does in me and through me.
The proper connotation of saying God works for me is that I am bankrupt and need a bailout. I am weak and need someone strong. I am endangered and need a protector. I am foolish and need someone wise. I am lost and need a Rescuer.
“God works for me” means I can’t do the work.
And this glorifies him not me. The Giver gets the glory. The Powerful One gets the praise.
And here it is. The reason God works for those who wait for Him is because we’re humble enough to understand that there are things in our lives that only HE can do. Most of us only realize it after we have tried to do it on our own, or we give God some of it…and keep some of it. However, when we do like Proverbs 3:5-6 say…and we trust in the Lord with all of our hearts…and acknowledge Him in ALL of our ways…He will direct our paths. In other words…If we acknowledge Him in ALL of our ways…and get ourselves and our limited understanding out of His way…He will direct our paths. Getting out of His way…allows Him to be able to work on our behalf.
How many of you know that as we do our jobs in the private sector that we are working on the behalf of the company we’re working for? I am a route manager for the local Krispy Kreme franchise here in Bentonville, Arkansas. How many of you know that the main Krispy Kreme Headquarters is in North Carolina? How many of you know that when you work for a franchise like McDonald’s or Krispy Kreme that not only are you a representative of the particular franchise you work for…but you’re also a representative of the corporation as a whole?
How many of you know that the corporate office also works for us? They come up with solutions and ideas that will make our jobs easier or make our displays look better. They come up with ideas for different doughnuts, and packaging…and then they will send those ideas out to the franchises to be implemented and used by our store.
You see. We are ambassadors for Christ. We are God’s workmanship. He is the CEO of Christianity (and let me just say I mean True Christianity), and we are His representatives. Can I tell you that He has helped me to develop my writing ability? I am a much better writer now then I was eight months ago, and that’s because I’ve taken the ideas He’s given me about the layout of my messages…and now they are much easier and better reads. That’s just a small example of what I mean about God working for us…and why we always need to get out of His way…so that He can direct our paths.
“God works for me” means I can’t do the work.
And this glorifies him not me. The Giver gets the glory. The Powerful One gets the praise.
Can I tell you that it’s hard for me to accept compliments on the messages I write? Not because I’m so proud and prideful about what I do, but rather it’s because I understand that it’s God who has given me the ability to write…and it’s God who speaks through me as I write. I’ve said many a time that I don’t want the praise or glory for this ministry because it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to God. Sure, it is encouraging to hear someone tell me that I wrote a good message or to see people like the postings, but in all honesty I just return that praise to the One who deserves it…and thank Him for giving me the ability and words to write…and that whenever someone like what I write…that just means that I’m making a difference for Him…and I thank Him for the ability to make a difference for Him and His Kingdom.
That’s the honest truth friends! I don’t take any glory or honor from doing this. I do get some satisfaction out of knowing that people are being fed, encouraged, challenged, and helped by these messages…but even in the satisfaction of knowing that…I return the glory back to the One who deserves it…and I believe that’s one of the things that helps keep me humble and grounded…I know that the glory doesn’t belong to me…it belongs to God.
I just completed a series on Twitter (@JohnPiper) celebrating some of the texts that express this truth. Here’s the summary list. Read and be freed from the burden of bearing your own load. “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Let him do that work.
So…now here is the list of 11 Ways God Works For Us…and we’re going to take these one at a time…and see what more God would have to say to us about these 11 ways…Amen!?!
1. “No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)
Have you ever heard a Muslim talk about the great work that Muhammad does for them? How about how great a miracle Buddha has done in the life of a Buddhist? Anyone ever heard a Hindu talk about whatever god they worship delivering them from alcoholism? Drug Addiction? Restore their broken family or marriage? I have known people who were Muslim…and while they pray all those times and maybe they have some kind of peace in their lives…I’ve yet to hear one of them say that Muhammad blessed them with that job they’ve been praying for. I used to work for a man who was a Buddhist, and I could tell that he too maybe had a peace about him, but I’d never once heard him say…glory to Buddha because he did this for me or through me.
You know why that is? Because there is NO other God like ours. No other God can work in us, through us, and for us like ours…because He’s also the only God who is alive and powerful. There’s NO God beside our God because He’s the ONLY One who works for those who wait for Him.
2. “God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:25)
Everyday that we wake up is an opportunity to see God work in our lives. He gives us our very life and breathe. He’s the One who woke us up this morning to breathe life into a new day. He works for us on a daily basis…and some of us (myself included) completely forget about that and take it for granted.
3. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Going back to the first one…anyone ever heard someone from another religion talk about how their God gave their life for them? Most of their gods require them to sacrifice their lives, but did any of their gods provide the example like ours? Friends…maybe this is just basic common sense, but I certainly wouldn’t want to serve a God who would ask me to do something for Him that He wouldn’t do for me. It’s easy to desire to sow my life for the work of the Cross…because Jesus sowed His life on the very Cross I strive to sow my life for. It’s easier to desire to die to myself because Jesus showed me the example as He denied His own will. Our God is the ONLY One who gave His life for us…and while He requires of us to die to ourselves and serve Him…He’s the only one who provided the example.
4. “The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him.” (2 Chronicles. 16:9)
Anyone ever heard a Muslim talk about the eyes of Muhammad being upon them or watching over them? They may think that’s the case, but the only god watching over their lives is…well..the one who is seeking whom he may devour and destroy. Our God seeks for those who love and trust and will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Their god searches for those whom he may steal, kill, and destroy them…who wants that kind of god working for them? I sure don’t.
5. “If I were hungry, I wouldn’t tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)
Anyone ever heard of Buddha feeding anyone? Literally or spiritually? I’m thinking since I’ve seen pictures of “The Buddha” that he wouldn’t be feeding anyone anything. Anyone ever seen the belly on that statue? There’s no way Buddha would want to feed anyone…but himself.
6. “To old age I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:4)
Oh…glory to God. This makes me think of the “Footprints in the Sand” poem. About how the person in the poem had gone through such heartache, and asks God why there was only one set of footprints through those times…and our loving God tells us that during those times where we see only one set of footprints in our lives…it’s because He is carrying us through them. What a Mighty God. Hallelujah! I don’t know about you…but I think I’m writing myself happy…Amen!?!
7. “I worked harder than any, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians. 15:10)
Paul writes that he’s worked harder than any (other than Jesus) to sow his life for the sake of the Gospel, but still acknowledges that it’s by God’s grace working in and through him.
8. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
How many try to have church without God in their house? They build these huge mega churches…and they do it all in vain because God’s not only not involved in the building process, but He’s not even invited to attend the services. There are so MANY churches that are built in vain because God’s not involved in them at all…because He’s not even invited to be in the services. I’ve been to a few of those places, and it’s just said how empty and dead those churches are because there’s no power in them. The lights may be on…but there’s no one home…because there’s NO Holy Ghost…because there’s no Word of God…and any Word of God there is in them is taken out of context and falsely preached.
9. “Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11)
Here we are back to me acknowledging that God supplies me the words and ability to write. He gave me the gift of writing. He gave me this ability. I couldn’t even do this without Him. And therefore…He gets the glory and honor for all of these messages I write…because the Holy Ghost supplies me with the unction and utterance for them. He speaks…and I write…that’s all there is to it.
10. “Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, to will and to work.” (Philippians 2:12–13)
There are so many people who quote the first part of this verse to verify that salvation is by works, and not by grace. They use this to pad their argument that we not only are saved by works, but we maintain our salvation by works. Unfortunately…they leave out the rest of this verse because if they’d read the rest of the verse…they would see that God works in us…and therefore…even when we work out our salvation…He’s doing the work in us…and furthermore the work we do for Him…He’s doing the work through us. We are simply to be vessels for God to work in so that eventually He can work through us…Amen!?!
11. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7)
Pastor Cass Hill of New Life Christian Centertaught on this very verse last night. Paul planted the seed, Apollos watered the seed that Paul planted, but it’s God who gives the increase. When I began Christlike Ministries NWA I have to admit that for a while there weren’t too many people who were following this ministry at all. That’s because I hadn’t really been sowing much seed, but over the last few months the Lord has begun to draw people to this ministry.
However, just recently I’ve seen the number of followers have grown…to include approximately 60 people and pages that are fans of us on the Christlike Ministries NWA Facebook Fan Page…about 15 followers of the Christlike Ministries NWA WordPress Page…80 people who follow us @ChristMinistNWA on Twitter, almost 20 connections on the Christlike Ministries NWA LinkedIn Profile, and over 1,200 viewers of the Official Website of Christlike Ministries NWA.
God has brought increase to Christlike Ministries NWA over the last few months, and I know that the credit and glory belongs to Him. All I have done is to be faithful in continuing to sow my life by writing these messages, and it’s God who is honoring me by bringing the increase…which in return honors Him.
So…you see friends. The truth is that we serve the only God who not only works in us and through us, but He also works for us. Like I said in the beginning of this message…I’m relatively certain that no one else’s god works for them…but that’s why we’re able to boldly declare that there is NO other God like our God…Amen!?!
Conclusion & Prayer:
Friends…I don’t know about you, but I am really enjoying this series. It’s only been three days, but I’ve really been having fun with this series. John Piper is a great man of God, and what a blessing it is to be able to work through this 15 day devotional, and allow not only what Mr. Piper writes to influence and impact our lives…but get more from the Lord…and have Him teach us more that will influence and impact our lives.
What an awesome God we serve…because not only do we get the honor of being able to serve Him, but we get to be reminded that He serves us as well…Amen!?!
And Lord…we thank You for all of the work that You do. What a joy and honor it is to be reminded that not only do You work in us and through us…but You’re also working for us. How wonderful it is to know that we serve a God who is as eager to work for us as we ought to be to work for You. Thank You for giving me the ability and gift to be able to write these messages, and I thank You…God for bringing the increase. I thank You for drawing people to this ministry…and I pray Lord that You continue to bless not only me and this ministry…but those who read these messages…and I thank You for all of them. I thank You for the sheep which You have entrusted to me…and ask You to continue to give me wisdom and understanding to share with them. In Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen