VIDEO Just Rewards – I Planted, Apollos Watered, But God Gave the Growth

Just Rewards

Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8

The techniques of some of history’s greatest teachers—like Solomon, Jesus, and Paul—are illustrated in Scripture. Specifically, we learn from their use of metaphors and illustrations to make their spiritual and practical points.

In the space of seventeen verses (1 Corinthians 3:1-17), Paul uses metaphors to promote unity in the Church and illustrate the basis for eternal rewards. He uses an agricultural metaphor (verses 6-8), and an architectural metaphor (verses 10-17) to talk about rewards. How we plant and how we build will be tested by God. How we have used what God has given will determine our rewards or the lack of them. So, what have we been given with which to serve Christ? Grace, love, spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit, talents and abilities, time, tangible resources—everything we have is given to us to use faithfully for Christ and His Kingdom.

If the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) took place today, how would your works fare in the fire of God’s presence? Purpose that today will be a day of faithfulness.

Today, let us rise and go to our work. Tomorrow, we shall rise and go to our reward.  Richard Fuller


John Piper sermon: I Planted, Apollos Watered, But God Gave the Growth

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Divine Diversions

They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. Acts 16:7

It can be difficult when we’re told “no” or “not now,” especially when we sense God has opened a door for us to serve others. Early in my ministry, two opportunities came my way where I thought my gifts and skills matched the churches’ needs, but both doors eventually closed. After these two disappointments, another position came along, and I was selected. With that ministry call came thirteen years of life-touching pastoral labors.

Twice in Acts 16 Paul and company were redirected by God. First, they were “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (v. 6). Then, “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (v. 7). Unknown to them, God had other plans that would be right for His work and workers. His no to the previous plans put them in a position to listen to and be confidently led by Him (vv. 9–10).

Who among us hasn’t grieved what we initially thought to be a painful loss? We’ve felt wounded when we didn’t get a certain job, when a service opportunity didn’t materialize, when a relocation got derailed. Though such things can momentarily be weighty, time often reveals that such detours are actually divine diversions that God graciously uses to get us where He wants us, and we are grateful.

By Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

What loss have you grieved only to be grateful that what you desired you didn’t get? How did the situation serve to bolster your trust in the Lord?

Father, I praise You that in Your wisdom You know how to best arrange my life. Thank You for protecting me through Your detours.

The Foundation of Faith

1 Corinthians 3:9-20

At salvation, everything we’ve built our life upon comes crashing down and is removed like rubble from a vacant lot. Then a new foundation is laid in Christ, and we begin building upon it day by day with our deeds and motives. As with any building project, we have a choice about which materials to use. They may all look good on the surface, but the real test of their quality will be revealed when we stand before Christ to be “recompensed for [our] deeds in the body, according to what [we have] done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Therefore, we should carefully consider what we are using as building materials. The world offers us many philosophies from which to choose. We are told that we can mix a little worldly wisdom with a bit of Scripture and create a suitable Christian life. But Paul warns that if anyone thinks he is wise in this age, he is a fool. God will destroy everything we use that is derived from the world rather than from the truth of His Word.

Building a solid house of faith on the foundation of Christ is a lifelong process. Through prayer and meditation on Scripture, we learn to know and love our heavenly Father and understand what pleases Him. As He transforms our life through His Spirit, our actions and attitudes become increasingly obedient and godly.

With so much at stake, our goal should be to establish our life on the foundation of Christ, with righteous actions and attitudes empowered by the Holy Spirit. Such a faith house will stand firm in this life and be worthy of reward in the next.

Paul even at the Finish Line

“Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:21-22)

These are the final words of the apostle Paul, written shortly before he was beheaded. Despite his faithfulness and fruitfulness in the Lord’s service, he was now penniless, lonely, and cold. Yet he was not complaining. “I am now ready to be offered. . . . I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (vv. 6-7).

He did yearn to see Timothy, his beloved son in the faith, before he died. “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me” (v. 9). “Without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy” (1:3-4).

Paul made one especially touching request of Timothy. “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments” (v. 13). Paul didn’t even have a coat in the cold prison, and winter was approaching. Yet, even under such miserable circumstances, he still desired to keep reading and studying, preparing himself better for any future service the Lord might still have for him.

What a contrast there would be between his present circumstances—abused by his enemies and forsaken even by most of his friends—and the glorious reception awaiting him in the near future! “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (v. 8).

Paul has left us a worthy example. He had kept the faith, had gladly suffered the loss of all things for Christ (Philippians 3:8), and was still studying, witnessing, teaching, encouraging, and exhorting, even to the day of his death. HMM

Just Omit the Third Verse

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

—Psalm 146:1-2

I suppose it is not of vast importance that the third stanza is so often omitted in the singing of a hymn, but just for the record let it be said that the worshipers are deprived of the blessing of the hymn by that omission if, as is often true, the hymn develops a great Christian truth in sermonic outline. To omit a stanza is to lose one link in a golden chain and greatly to reduce the value of the whole hymn.

The significant thing, however, is not what the omission actually does, but what it suggests, viz., a nervous impatience and a desire to get the service over with. We are, for instance, singing “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” We long to forget the big noisy world and let our hearts go out in reverent worship of that Prince of Glory who died for us, but our sad sweet longing is killed in the bud by the brisk, unemotional voice of the director ordering us to “omit the third verse.”… Since all standard hymns have been edited to delete inferior stanzas and since any stanza of the average hymn can be sung in less than one minute… and since many of our best hymns have already been shortened as much as good taste will allow, we are forced to conclude that the habit of omitting the third stanza reveals religious boredom, pure and simple, and it would do our souls good if we would admit it.   PON123-124

Lord, forgive us of our “desire to get the service over with,” and for our “religious boredom.” Amen.

 

Show me the path of life

Thou wilt show me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.—Psalm 16:11.

 

Lord, it is not life to live,

If Thy presence Thou deny;

Lord, if Thou Thy presence give,

‘T is no longer death to die.

Source and giver of repose,

Singly from Thy smile it flows,

Peace and happiness are Thine,

Mine they are, if Thou art mine.

A. M. Toplady.

 

We live from day to day, as it were, by chance; and forget that human life itself is as much an Art, governed by its own rules and precepts of perfection, as the most complicated profession by which that life is maintained or adorned.

William Archer Butler.

 

The art of life consists in taking each event which befalls us with a contented mind, confident of good. This makes us grow younger as we grow older, for youth and joy come from the soul to the body more than from the body to the soul. With this method and art and temper of life, we live, though we may be dying. We rejoice always, though in the midst of sorrows; and possess all things, though destitute of everything.

James Freeman Clarke.

 

One Look From the Lord God

“And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?.” Judges 6:14

What a look was that which the Lord gave to Gideon! He looked him out of his discouragements into a holy bravery. If our look to the Lord saves us, what will not His look at us do? Lord, look on me this day, and nerve me for its duties and conflicts.

What a word was this which Jehovah spoke to Gideon! “Go.” He must not hesitate. He might have answered, “What, go in all this weakness!” But the Lord put that word out of court by saying, “Go in this thy might.” The Lord had looked might into him, and he had now nothing to do but to use it, and save Israel by smiting the Midianites. It may be that the Lord has more to do by me than I ever dreamed of. If He has looked upon me He has made me strong. Let me by faith exercise the power with which He has entrusted me. He never bids me “idle away my time in this my might.” Far from it. I must “go,” because He strengthens me.

What a question is that which the Lord puts to me even as He put it to Gideon! “Have not I sent thee?” Yes, Lord, thou hast sent me, and I will go in thy strength. At thy command I go, and, going, I am assured that thou wilt conquer by me.