10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Christianity is not for the lazy. Once we accept the sacrifice that Jesus Gave to us, we have work to do. It is not a time to just sit back and enjoy His salvation until He returns. An easy chair is no way to heaven. Rather, it is more like a treadmill that we are on, always working to bring others to Christ. Our work done unto the Lord, but it affects the lives of the saints and the unsaved as we are showing the hope that is within us every day. I mean every minute of every day. What are people seeing in you?
How do we do this work and labor of love that Paul talks about here? In many ways, it is very simple, but in other ways it is very difficult. Here are so many scriptures that point us in the direction God wants us to travel that I cannot possibly cover them all here in this short space, and I won’t even try. But I am led to highlight some of them, by no means in any order of importance, except maybe in my own mind as they are brought back by the Holy Spirit. I ask you to examine your own lives as I examine mine to see if you are doing this work that Christ has asked us to do for Him.
To me, the very best place to start is the Sermon on the Mount. His masterpiece of a speech lays out the attitude and actions it takes much better than I could ever hope to write. First of all there are what I like the “Be A Christian Attitudes”, which we commonly call the beatitudes. He attributes listed here seem to have gotten lost on the church in general, and taken too far by others. There is no middle ground it seems. Yet to follow Christ is to follow all of them and have all of these attitudes daily: poor in spirit, mourners, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, poor in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for Christ’ sake. I wish I had time to discuss all of these attitudes we should have with you today, but I do not. Hey are in order of preference to the Lord in my opinion – one need to be put on top of the other and cannot stand without the others in place. In other words, if we are trying to be peacemakers, but have not first become poor in spirit, we will fail. Humility comes first in everything we do as Christians, We should never, absolutely never be high-minded, proud, boastful or full of ourselves. The quest is to be full of Christ! As John the Baptists so rightfully out it “I must decrease, He must increase.” There is no way to live a truly Christian life without humility.
We next read we should be the salt of the earth and the light of the words, We should have a righteousness that exceeds the pharisees (religious leaders of the day), we should make things right with our brother before we offer our offerings to the Lord, agree with our adversary (don’t hold a grudge), don’t lust after women (or men), we should not divorce except for adultery, we should not promise anything we cannot keep, turn the other cheek, love your enemy. All this in just the first 1/3 of the speech (Matthew Chapter 5). Can any of us say that we accomplish all these things on a regular basis? Because Jesus says if we do these things, we will be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect! And notice particularly that all of these things have to do with our relationship [ with others, only a few deal with our relationship with God! He puts our relationship with our fellow human beings in the forefront here, and He has only started.
Chapter 6 tells us to pray quietly and not boastful, and he teaches us a pattern of prayer, and a prayer, that we should utilize when praying. He tells us we must forgive others or we will not be forgiven. He tells us we should fast, that we should not lay up treasures on this earth, but treasures in heaven. He tells us that God will take care of us if we will just put His kingdom first in our daily search through life, and He says we should not worry about tomorrow. Chapter 7 goes on to say we should not judge one another, that we should Ask, Seek and Knock and that our heavenly Father will give us what we need. He tells us to stay on the straight path and enter the narrow gate and that we should bring forth good fruit (Fruit of the Spirit). He tells us that not all who say Lord, lord will enter heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father. And finally, He tells us to build our house on the rock!
The Sermon on the mount is probably the most profound speech ever given and bears our study over and over again. I did a study of this section of this speech between June 22, 2018 and January 19, 2019 right here in this blog. I wish I could link you to it, but that would be way too many links. If you feel so inclined, you might want to go back and read through some of it. I know it opened my eyes to what God is asking here, and it can change your whole perspective if you will take the time to really study His words, not the words of someone else. Not even mine! It is moist important for our Christian walk that we understand the concepts in the Sermon on the mount above all else.
Here are some other verses that come to mind when talking about the way we should be witnesses to others. Ephesians 4:29 – speak grace at all times. Philippians 2:14 – don’t grumble or dispute. 1 Thess 5:18-22 – Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything, don’t quench the spirit, don’t despise prophesy, prove all things, hold fast to good thing, abstain from all appearance of evil. Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing. Philippians 4:11 – Be content in every situation. James 1:2 – Rejoice in your trials. Philippians 2:3 – esteem others better than yourself. The list goes on and on! Are there any of us that can say we fulfill all these decrees? I certainly don’t. I have a lot to learn. I strive to do these things at every opportunity, and that is my ministry, my work, my labor of love to the Lord. All of these character traits and attitudes speak much more volume than our words do, and are essential in our witness, especially if we are to carry out the Golden Rule. After all, who would not want these things not displayed to them?