THE MEANING OF EASTER – THE PRODIGAL SON – ARE YOU COMING HOME?

April 4, 2012

“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Luke 15:1-10 KJV

Joy in the presence of God is celebrating when one sheep is lost and then found. All the Angels in Heaven are celebrating when one comes to repentance. That’s what the gospel is about. But these two parables were just an appetizer to the next one Jesus was about to tell. The Story of the Prodigal Son. The Greatest Short Story of all times. Jesus gave us this powerful story in the Book of Luke. Think of a time when someone extended “grace” to you: they could have blamed you or shamed you but they didn’t. They gave you love and understanding when you deserved something else. How did it feel? This is the story of a father’s grace which witnesses to God’s grace in Jesus. The definition of Prodigal is: Spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. The story starts here in the Bible, and Jesus says, “And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Luke 15:11-13 KJV Jesus sets up this scene with these two sons with a wealthy father. The younger son has this independent streak in him and he tells his father I don’t care if you live or die, just give me my inheritance now! He just thought life on the farm with his father, as lovely as it was, it was just holding him back from the good life. He wanted something more, he wanted something else. He was restless, he was running, he had to get a hold of what was forbidden. In doing this, he dishonored his father. He is so disrespectful, he disowned his family. It is an outrageous dis meaning request. Father give me what’s coming to me, I want it NOW! Sometimes love is tough, you have to let your child go when they are bound and determined to go his or her way. Well he is on his way to a far country. We don’t know where. Most likely it was a Gentile country. His heart was already there. He heard about the lights, heard about the parties, heard about the pleasures. He wanted it bad! When he gets there he is spending money left and right. He has friends all around him. Unfortunately the party doesn’t go on and on and on and on…..His friends bail out on him of course. They leave when the money runs out. This boy found out that his friends weren’t friends after all. They were just using him. When he hit rock bottom he was reaping what he sowed. His life is gone as he had known it. Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a D.U.I. and been arrested? Lost your job? Or maybe your marriage is on shaky grounds and your wife has come to you and asked for a divorce. Maybe you just feel you have hit rock bottom. Maybe your heart is far away from Jesus like both of the father’s sons. The son that stayed home with his father, his heart was just as far away as the Prodigal son‘s heart. It was just as the self-righteous people listening to Jesus as it was to this long-lost boy in this long-lost country. You could be someone raised in a christian home and grow up with a heart far from Jesus. Well by now the boy is now broke and hungry so he has to get a job. Jesus tells part of the parable here, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” Luke 15:14-16 KJV This was about the lowest of the low to get a job feeding pigs. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he was eating not even good left over rubbish from the pigs. You see sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you far more than you want to pay. Sin never delivers on its promises, sin promises freedom, but delivers bondage. Sin promises success, but delivers defeat. Sin promises that there is pleasure, and there is pleasure for a season, for a little while, but ultimately it delivers pain. “The wages of sin is death.” This boy thought happiness was not on the farm with his father, but in the big city with lights “doing his own thing his way.” We are all prodigal’s. We are all born with are backs towards God. We are all born with this rebellious streak, this attitude to live independent without the father. We have the idea we can live life our own way. If it weren’t for the Grace of God, we would all live in the far country, broken, wasted, and ruined. Maybe you are living the Prodigal Son’s life. Are you wasting your life away? This boy is representing all of us that is far from God. Finally the boy comes to his senses and says, I must be crazy to live a life-like this. He takes responsibility for his own sin. He takes responsibility of his life. He says, I own this, I did this. He came to himself. This is the turning point of the parable. Jesus tells it here, “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” Luke 15:17 KJV It’s the turning point in our lives. When we come to the place in our lives where we recognize we need to repent. Repent means to change your mind. That is what the boy is doing here. He is coming to his senses. He wakes up, he remembers that he is loved at home. He remembers the joy and the provisions in the father’s house and he is home sick. Do you want to know why you are feeling alone, longing for a home that is secure, a place where it is safe. Maybe it is because you are far from home. This boy now knows that everything he’s looking for is at home with his father. And everything you are looking for is a relationship with God. It’s knowing the Father, experiencing His love, His Grace, His forgiveness in your life, that’s what it’s about. So the boy said, I will go home! He could have said one of these days I will go home. Just like you would say, one of these days I will come to Christ. I’ll get my life right with God. He could have said I’m to far gone. My life is so upside down it’s never going to be right side up. I’ll never get my life back and my father will never take me back, but then he remembers, yes my father will receive me again. It doesn’t matter how far gone you feel, God’s love and Grace is waiting for you. All you have to do is like this boy did and say, I have sinned, I have sinned against Heaven and Earth and my Father. Confess your sin and repent of it. Jesus tells some more of the parable here, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:18-24 KJV His father came rushing to him kissing again and again and again……..It didn’t matter that he was dirty and smelly from working in the pig pen, and his clothes were like old rags. He had waited so long for this moment, for his son to finally to come home. When he embraces his son with his arms it is as if he is covering his sin. He is holding on to the one that is lost. His heart went out to him. What a “Picture of God” on a run to rescue us. If you will just take that first step home, He will run to you. He is standing at the door of your life and knocking, and if you hear His voice, open the door and He will come in. It’s not to late to say yes to Jesus. Just open your heart to him and confess your sins and commit your life to Him. Jesus’ death on the cross was in our place to pay for our sins through His mighty resurrection which has bought our Justification and purchased our Redemption through His blood, for the forgiveness of our sins. He will take off the rags of stench of sins, by the blood of His cross and the power of His resurrection He will restore and renew you as His son. And you will say this is where I belong, with my Father, with a relationship with God.

COMING SOON: http://www.thecupofsalvation.com

My Name is Jeff Ellinger

and

I AM SECOND

Advertisements

THE CHRISTMAS STORY – A MESSY PLAN ABOUT THE MAN WHO MISSED CHRISTMAS

December 20, 2011

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, Micah 5:2 KJV

The Christmas Story about the man who missed Christmas starts here in the Bible. It doesn’t tell us the name of this man, but we can read his story in the Gospel According to Luke 2:7.  That verse tells us enough, and more than enough, about the innkeeper, the man who missed Christmas: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 KJV   Why was there no room for Mary and Joseph and their expected Baby, except in a stable? Bethlehem was a small town, and in those days most small towns perhaps had only one inn. The inn in Bethlehem was already filled. No other accommodation was available. He was too busy to notice a woman about to give birth to a Baby, to a Child who would grow up to become the most famous Man in all of history, and more than a Man, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

While they were there it was time for the baby to be born, she gave birth to the first-born, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn. God had this messy plan, a plan to save the world, and to do that He was going to send His Son. Where does the God of the universe send His Son? Where does the king of kings and the Lord of lords come? To a barn, a stable, a manger. Of all places, certainly not a place fit for a King. Then again this was no ordinary King. When I say it was messy, I mean messy! It was a barn, a stable, so you got animals, animal stuff, manure, mud, a pitiful place for people. Much less a place for the King of Kings to be born. Why would God do that? Isaiah explains that here, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 53:6, 55:8 KJV   You see, Jesus came to this messy Place, a barn, a manger, it’s just a mess! So why did he come into this messy world? The Shepard was coming to take care of his sheep to prepare away for them to go home. That’s what a Shepard does. The Bible says, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11 KJV  He lives where the sheep are, He sleeps where they sleep, He eats where they eat. That got Jesus in trouble. Why did Jesus eat with sinners? Because that is what the Shepard does. And then an Angel appeared to the shepherds in the field and said, this will be a sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in clothes laying in a manger. The Bible says, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 KJV  Do you ever wonder why this was a sign? Being a servant is messy. Jesus set this incredible example for us. He got down on His knees and washed feet. God of the universe, deserved the best of everything, got down on His knees, He laid in a feeding trough. Why of all such places? Why such a messy place? He was following a messy plan. He came to this world not as royalty, but as a baby born in a stable full of muck and animals, to humble Himself to become one of us. Paul says it best here, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7-8 KJV  

Christmas represents a hope, a unique joy, felt only at Christmastime, because Christ the Savior is born. Are you lost today? What better time for you to be found than at this Christmas season? Don’t be like the man who missed Christmas. Do you have room for Jesus Christ? Or are you so busy and so occupied with the trimmings of Christmas that you miss its triumph, as the innkeeper did long ago? Have you crowded Jesus out so that there is no room for Him in the inn of your heart? Let the Christ of Christmas come in to your heart today.

That first Christmas was dirty, grimy, filthy, but thank God it was because without it,  what a mess we would be in!

God Bless, Jeff Ellinger

 


This Thanksgiving, We as Christians Should Focus on the Reasons Why We Celebrate the Truth about Being Thankful

November 18, 2011

“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

Colossians 1:3,12,14 KJV

The Thanksgiving Holiday:

Christians look forward to the time of the year when we celebrate this important holiday, Thanksgiving. This holiday has its beginnings and roots in Christian celebrations. The word holiday actually means “holy day”; hence this event should be remembered and celebrated in a holy way. We have strayed from that purpose over the years as we have embraced many unholy practices and worldly customs and added them to our “holy days.” Thanksgiving is one of our main national holidays here in the U.S.A. A good question to ask is “Are we as Christians celebrating it the way the Lord would have us celebrate, or have we compromised with the world?” Have we lost the emphasis on thanksgiving and prayer and shifted it to a gluttonous feast of food, drink and games like those in the world have done? God wants us to enjoy family, friends and feasting, but leaving God out of the day breaks His heart. More and more the media is referring to this holiday as “turkey day” instead of Thanksgiving Day. They also eliminate the object of who we are to offer our thanks. We are just to be “thankful” we are told. Who should our thanks be directed to? The object of our thanks for our many blessings, should be directed to the Lord God. It should not just be a general “thanks.”

The Origin of Thanksgiving Day:

The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for corn, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive. These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Indians in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Indians in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 friendly Indians (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer. From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.

What Does The Bible Say:

President George Washington made the following proclamation in 1789:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection, aid, and favors …

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day

of November next, to be devoted by the people of the United States to the

service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of

all the good that was, and is, or that will be; and that we may all then

unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind

care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and

various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.”

This country has forgotten God. It is virtually illegal in this country to mention God unless one is using His name as a curse word. Yet the founding fathers of this nation recognized that it was because of God’s mercy and blessings that they existed. It is because of God’s great love for men today hat they have such abundance of clothes, shelter, and food. The Bible says, “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:” Psalms 50:14 KJV  All men and women need to be thankful this week for the families they have and for the privilege of living in a free country. People need to learn how to thank God even during times of hardships. Some turn to drugs – legal and illegal. Some commit suicide. Others gripe and complain and make everyone around them as miserable as they are. Yet people need to learn joy and thankfulness in spite of circumstances. If men could focus on the Lord and forget about themselves, they could learn to be joyful, not because of circumstances, but in spite of circumstances. The Bible says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11 KJV  Paul was in prison when he wrote this. He had learned to be content under any circumstance. He kept his attention focused on serving God first and others second and he placed himself third. By doing this, he was content. The Bible also says, “And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.” Leviticus 22:29 KJV  Here the OT scriptures speak of a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” which Israel would offer long ago. The Lord wanted this to be offered from a person’s “own free will.” He did not want anyone coerced or forced to do this. When a person is forced to say “thank-you,” then he might as well have said nothing. An expression of thanksgiving is accepted only when it is truly meant and not forced.

Reasons to Make Thanksgiving Thankful:

First, God has qualified us. Paul wrote, “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Colossians 1:12). The word qualified means “to make meet” or “to make able.” The idea is that God has enabled us to have something. Put simply, God has given us the privilege of a relationship with Him by forgiving us of our sins and providing a means to turn from the darkness and toward the light. Think about that. Through no merit of our own, God presented us with the gift of life eternal with Him. The center of the Gospel is the cross of Christ. We simply come to the cross as humble sinners, in repentance and humility, and He accepts us. Through His blood He washes away our sins. As the hymnist reminds us, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” Christ has made us fit to be partakers. He has qualified us. Second, God has delivered us. Paul said, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). Third, God has conveyed us. Paul stated, “He … conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13). Every person must make a choice sometime in his or her life to leave the kingdom of darkness and walk into the Kingdom of light through the ticket that has been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. When we do that, we can be thankful that God will take us from hate, fear and oppression and bring us into a relationship of trust, love and hope. Fourth, God has redeemed us. Paul wrote: “In whom we have redemption through His blood” (Colossians 1:14).Redemption means “to release a slave by paying a price, or to buy back.” It was a term borrowed from the ancient slave markets where someone could come in and pay a price for a slave. Once he’d paid the price, he could set the slave free. Fifth, God has forgiven us. Paul stated, “Through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). The word forgiveness means “to send away.” God took your sins and shipped them off.These three short verses in Colossians show us how thankful we should be for our salvation. We can be thankful that God has qualified us, delivered us, conveyed us, redeemed us and forgiven us. And because we are thankful to God for so great a salvation, we can pour out our lives in service to God and become a conduit of His goodness to a desperately hungry world.

Being Thankful:

Let everyone, this Thanksgiving Day, be thankful for the wonderful blessings he enjoys. Let everyone freely, without coercion, give thanks to the God who holds each one’s breath in His hand and freely gives all things to enjoy. The Bible says, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” 1 Timothy 6:17 KJV  We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him. It says in the Bible, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 KJV  For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good. May He find us to be His grateful children. Before you and your family enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, or begin watching a parade or football game, be sure to take time to truly thank God in prayer and thought for the national wealth, power and prestige He has given this nation. While there is still time, make certain that you and your family are not partaking in the nationwide, unthankful attitude. Be sure to give thanks to God in the same heartfelt, sincere manner that the pilgrims did on the first Thanksgiving in North America! The best kind of thanks giving is thanks living! – showing our thanks to God by the way we live. To grow rich in God’s sight, we say our thanks and we show our thanks. Not just in words of appreciation, but deeds. To properly thank God for His gifts we must use them according to His will – 365 days a year!

God Bless, Jeff Ellinger


I Fought For You – Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2011

About This Video:

A moving, patriotic tribute to our military, past and present. Thank you for your service! A wonderful reminder to honor our vets every day. God bless the troops! Video done by the amazing Sound Tank. More from the Sound Tank: http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/producers/153/The-Sound-Tank


WHO IS JESUS? – MARK DRISCOLL

November 8, 2011

CHRISTIAN VIDEO

These are collected snippets from Mark Driscoll‘s Easter sermon in Qwest Field 2011. The church service was the biggest church service in the history of the Northwest, when only 16 years prior Mars Hill did not even exist yet. The urgency in his voice and message was apparent. Jesus stands alone and is in a category unto himself. He claimed things no other religious leaders claimed, and He did things no other religious leaders did, namely rising from the dead. All other religions celebrate and have enshrined their leaders tombs. Christians do not, because we do not even know where Jesus was buried since He rose from the dead.


THANKSGIVING GOD’S GOODNESS – THE SKIT GUYS

November 3, 2011

http://skitguys.com/videos/embed/1285/


LABOR DAY – WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ? – KEEPING THE SABBATH

September 1, 2011

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” 

John 6:27, Exodus 20:10-11 KJV

Labor Day:

How do you define Labor Day?  For many, it marks the official end of summer.  Most children are back in school, each day show signs of getting shorter with earlier sunsets, and depending on your location, there might be cooler temperature in the air.  Yes, summer months are finally coming to a close and football fans are excited to cheer on their favorite team as the fall sports season begins. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It forms a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. So, Labor Day is a holiday about work and recognition for the hard work people have put forth to strengthen our economy and our country as a whole. As men who want to be an example we need to remember some things about our work. The Bible says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 KJV  Also we must Be grateful. It says it here in the Bible, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8 KJV  Most of all we need to remember that God values us not for what we do or how much we earn but for who we are… His beloved children redeemed through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. We should be dedicating ourselves to the Lord through our work. He is our real boss. So work hard as unto the Lord and know that his approval will guarantee success. We should also remember that it is by His labor on the cross that His rest is possible. So, the honor all goes to Him.

What Does The Bible say About Labor:

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11  KJV  I think Labor Day is a strange holiday. While we call it “Labor Day,” we try to do as little labor as possible and most working people have the day off. It’s a bad weekend for the Church…because everyone wants to do other things this weekend. Labor Day is different things to different people. To the factory or office worker, it may be a day off. But, for policemen, nurses and doctors, it’s just another work day. To farmers, it’s just another day to feed the livestock… and work in the field. Our passages today in 1 and 2 Thessalonians…encourage us to work rather than sit around on welfare. Many people think work is an undesirable thing…and they do as little as possible for the greatest return. This leads to the idea of someone else doing the work for you — an employee. In America, “labor” and “management” are adversaries. Labor wants the most money for the least work. Management wants the most work for the least money. The American way is based on this adversarial relationship. Our American work system is not necessarily Christian. The Bible says, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Ephesians 6:5-9 KJV  This passage is about masters and slaves. However, it can easily be applied to management and employees. God cares about how we conduct business! He cares about how we treat others. We will all face judgment, both management and employees. The Christian cannot separate his business and his spiritual life. He has no right to “out-heathen” the heathen. The Christian does not live for self alone. The Bible says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” Romans 12:10 KJV  An employee should be paid what he deserves. The Bible says, ” At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” Deuteronomy 24:15, Leviticus 19:13 KJV  These Old Testament passages applied to times…when a worker got paid every day.

The Importance of the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is more than a day of physical and mental relaxation. It is even more than the day on which we worship. The Sabbath has a definite redemptive significance—a distinct connection with the everlasting gospel. The New Testament often uses the word rest to describe the good news of salvation realized in the holy history of Jesus Christ. Ever since the Fall, this promised saving rest in Christ has been linked with the Sabbath. That is why the major feast days in the Old Testament were designated as Sabbath days of rest—they pointed ahead to the Messiah and His redemptive activity. The word sabbath means “rest,” and the first we discover about it in the Old Testament is that the Sabbath day belongs to God. He calls it “my holy day” here in the Bible, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:” Isaiah 59:13 KJV  You can also recognize the importance of the Sabbath on Labor Day weekend. It says it here in the Bible, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2 KJV  It talks about how God ended his work and rested on the seventh day. If we want our work to be truly blessed by God, we should rest on the 7th day.  Our society today has trained us to believe that working happens from 9 to 5 every day, and then we have the rest of the day off!   Labor Day weekend is a great time to remind the people that work happens six days a week and not 40 hours a week, and you should still take time off on Sundays.  Labor Day is a great time to discuss the importance of observing the Sabbath in our lives.

Jesus’ Barbecue:

Jesus is inviting all of us over for a Labor Day soul food barbecue. The problem is that we take such poor care of our souls that we don’t even hear his invitation. There are hardly any of us here that go more than a day without eating. In fact, most of us eat every few hours. We live in a culture where our bodies are well-fed. In fact, our bodies are often overfed. And yet, in the midst of our culture’s all-you-can-eat buffet for the body, our souls are starving to death. We take great care to feed our temporary bodies, but our souls, which are eternal, are often lucky to get table scraps. How long has it been since you did something to nourish your soul? When was the last time you fasted, depriving your body of food so you could devote your spirit to prayer? When was the last time you read a book that stretched your thinking on some issue of theology? How long has it been since you worshipped God outside of our Church? When was the last time that you sat down as a family to read and discuss the Word of God? In a culture of unbelievable abundance and surplus, our souls are withering away from malnourishment. The problem is that a starving soul is harder to notice than a starving body. When you’re hungry, it’s easy to recognize. You feel it. It’s unmistakable. A hungry soul is less noticeable at first. The effects of a hungry soul are seen, such as, in a life lived with no peace. If all this talk about peace and rest is just ringing hollow with you, it could be because you’ve been starving your soul. The peace and rest Jesus offers is for our souls. It’s a peace that will outlast our lives and will outlast this world. The length of our lives is microscopic in comparison to eternity, and yet our lives in this world often dominate our time, attention, and energy. The Bible reminds us all that, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 KJV  This is a call for us to have an eternal perspective in this temporary world. The challenge is to raise our sights above the physical and focus on the spiritual. If you have made a commitment to Jesus, you’re real life isn’t even here anymore. You’re real life is temporarily hidden with Jesus in heaven. So that is where our sights need to be. It’s a call to constantly guard against allowing ourselves to get bogged down with our temporary problems and struggles here. A time is coming when we will experience our real life in the presence of God. When that time comes, our struggles and hurts and pains will be a distant memory. And when we understand this, it gives us a peace in our lives that really does “transcend human understanding.”

Summary:

Tomorrow, a lot of us will take a short respite from work or school. I hope you enjoy the day. But much more than that, I hope we’ll all pursue a higher form of Labor Day. I pray that we’ll make every day a Labor Day God’s Way. The rest and peace that Jesus offers us is a life-changing, life-giving experience. He offers us peace to get us through heartaches and struggles. He offers us the peace of knowing that, no matter what hurt we experience, there is a hope that is sure. God is faithful to his promises, and if you have committed your life and your eternity to Jesus Christ, He will take you home to live with him forever. Those who come to God encounter no “Keep Out” signs. Through prayer, God the Father allows us immediate and unlimited access to Him because His Son Jesus Christ has opened the way to all who receive Him. The Bible says, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Ephesians 2:18 KJV  The parts of our lives that we have tried and failed to repair can be restored by the hand of God. Through faith in Christ, we can be made whole. It says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Matthew 11:28, John 6:37.7:37 KJV  Once you come to Christ for salvation, you can enjoy unrestricted fellowship. The door is always open.

By: Jeff Ellinger


%d bloggers like this: