Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 15:57-58. I will be reading from the New King James version.
Our Final Victory
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
I’m just a city girl, on my way to heaven and God told me to stop by here and tell you, ““Your Labor is NOT in Vain!!!”
When the Holy Spirit gave me the title to this message and my mind was flying through the scriptures that pertained to our labor, I kept hearing the lyrics to the Clark Sisters song, “Is My Living In Vain”. For those of you who don’t know the song, one of the Clark Sisters sang, “Is my praying in vain? Is my labor in vain? Is my singing in vain? Is my speaking, is it in vain? And the response that was sung, I’m hoping this will bless someone hearing this. The response sung was, “No, of course not. No, No, no, no, no, no, of course not. Its not all in vain, cuz up the road is eternal gain. I’m ready to run around this place, right now. I’m also ready to say, after hearing from my own mouth, that up the road is eternal gain. But, I can’t, because the Holy Spirit has so much more that He wants said, to make sure that each of us has a full understanding in knowing that our Labor is NOT in vain.
The Greek or Transliterated-as the deep and wonderful theologians would say-word for labor is, Ergon (er’-gon), which means, to work
1. any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind
2. an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasized in opp. to that which is less than work
The dictionary tells us that la·bor, a noun means:
1. productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain.
2. the body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those working for wages.
5. a job or task done or to be done.
Oftentimes, we ask ourselves if our labor is in vain. The question may come late in the midnight hour. It may come after we have completed assignment after assignment that the Holy Spirit has directed us step-by-step to complete, but still our situation hasn’t changed. The question may arise after we have erroneously shared with others what the Lord has spoken in our spirits about what He is getting ready to do in our lives after we have done what He asked and still there is no change in our spiritual or natural life. Lastly, the question may arise after we have labored and labored and labored and labored some more and still labor with no rest, without seeing the Promises come to pass.
But let me tell you about my Friend Jesus. Let me tell you about the God we serve and how Abraham was given a Promise.
God sees you laboring. He sees all you have given up-the people, the habits and desires-He sees you pressing on, not resting, not murmuring or complaining.
There are those who are thinking that they have done, this, that and the other for the Lord. And, while they were doing these things, they were persecuted, they were talked about and they may have been questioned by someone they respected, if they were actually doing the will of God. The Holy Spirit wanted me to tell you that is NOT in vain!!! That just because you have NOT seen the rewards in the natural, don’t think for one minute that God does not see or is not going to honor you for your faithfulness.
You don’t have to praise Him with me! You can sit there and act like you don’t know what praising God means. You can sit there and act like you are too pretty to praise His Holy Name. But, I’m gonna praise Him anyhow! I’m gonna worship Him anyhow! I’m gonna let the world know that Jesus Christ is the answer and no substitute will do! You can keep your sophisticated gods. You can keep your educated gods. You can sit in church and act like you’re ashamed of your little god. But my God Almighty is the awesome God! My God Almighty is the everlasting God! My God Almighty will see you through when there’s no way out! He won’t leave you, He won’t forsake you, and He will never let you down! That’s the kind of God I serve! He brought me out Saints. He brought me out. I should have been dead. I should have been sleeping in my grave. But the Lord. Good God Almighty! He had mercy and He brought me out!
Just when I thought I couldn’t labor anymore in His Name. Just when I thought I didn’t have the strength and courage to go on in His Name. And, just when I thought that I had given all that I had to give and there wasn’t a drop left in me, God showed up!!! He showed up and wrapped His loving arms around me and whispered in my ear. Y’all don’t hear me!!! He showed up and blessed not just me, but the “assignment” He had given me to complete.
God is telling each and every one of us, that our labor is NOT in vain. Each time we go through a fiery test, when we go through the fire, which is a burning process. A process where the things that are not pleasing to God are burned and become ashes, that fall to the ground and is blown away in the wind, never, I repeat never, to be repeated, ever again in this life. Just like with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they were in the fire, that was turned higher-seven times-than normal.
Read the story in Daniel 3:23-25 and then skip to verse 27b and read to 29. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!
The Holy Spirit is saying that even though we may be going through the fire and putting what we are going through on the back burner, trusting and believing God to work it out on our behalves and going on to do His Will, while everything is crumbling around us. And, even though we say yes, to what God has for us to receive, to do, to say and to go wherever He tells us to go, while others seek to assassinate us, destroy our name, murmur and maliciously gossip about us, God wants us to know that our labor is NOT in vain!!!
That laying it all down at His Feet, seeking Him to bless us with the strength and courage to go on in His Name, removing those from our path who are sent to destroy the Vision and keep us from our destiny and to order our steps with blinders on. He sees us and is guiding us to withstand each and every dart thrown at us by satan and his flunkies-yes, I call them flunkies-I’m talking about the folk who allow themselves to be used by satan, I’m talking about the imps, demons and demonic activity and I’m talking about satan’s top men-all his flunkies. The Holy Spirit wants us to know that God has heard our prayers, our cries, our petitions and has seen every tear that has fallen from our eyes. I hear God saying that when it is all over, that He will restore us, He will elevate us, He will remove everything that is not of Him away and pour out His Spirit as never before!!!
There was Someone in there with them. It was the Son of God. And if the Son of God can go in the furnace with them, how much more will He labor on our behalves??? God is telling us in His infinite wisdom, if you will only catch it, grab hold of it and remember that when we are in the fire, He is in there with us!!! Help me Holy Spirit!!! So, our labor, our persecution, our refining, is NOT in vain!!! And not only that when they came out of that fire with the Son of God-Jesus-there was not a burn, a singe, nor smell they had ever been in a fire. Just as Jesus was in that fire with them, He will go through the fire with us and we will come out the same way. The fire. Oh, the fire. Help me Holy Spirit. The fire that we can go through up til seven times and each time, knowing we will come out refined and that Jesus will be there with us!!! Somebody better shout on that!!! Knowing that everything will be burned off of us, but we won’t get burned!!! Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, for never leaving, nor forsaking me when I need you the most!!
Let’s go a lil deeper and go to Matthew when Jesus just finished His 40 day fast in the wilderness and His, as an Apostle recently told me, in His Hand was “a sword’ and it became “as word”, I hope y’all caught that, when satan opened his mouth to tempt Him.
The Holy Spirit sent me to tell you that when you have hope, that hope that is mentioned in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.”
This is proof that you labor is not in vain.
That’s why we praise Him. That’s why we worship Him. You don’t have to hold that pain deep inside and think that no one cares. God cares. And He will bring you out. Don’t you ever let anybody tell you, or even suggest to you that our God isn’t real. He’s real to the bone. You ever tasted a piece of meat-any kind of meat-that was good to the bone? Well, that’s how our God is. He’s good to the bone. And, don’t you ever forget that.
The doors of the church are open. If you want to know the Lord in the pardon of our sins, if you want that joy that the world can’t give to you and the world can’t take away from you; why don’t you come to the altar today. He will bring you out. No matter how low you’ve gone, the Lord will bring you back from the brink. If you know you need a Savior, if you know you need to give your life to Christ, why don’t you come? The doors to the church are open. Come.
Jesus knows what you are going through. Jesus knows that it’s not fair, that it’s not right, and that you’re doing all you know how to do and still coming up short time and time again. But, that’s what faith is all about. It’s believing that Jesus Christ can carry you through despite the odds, despite what man says are your chances, despite the overwhelming evidence that tells you to throw in the towel, you can’t make it through, girl, and you must be crazy to believe that any good can come out of this! I want to tell you saints, that if God be for you, who can be against you?
I want to tell you, saints, that if God Almighty is working on your behalf, the very gates of hell will not prevail against you! I want to tell you, saints, that if you just believe, if you just give your heart to God and believe that He will handle it with care, that He will take you to heights beyond your wildest dreams, that He will answer your prayer when all you have is a prayer, then you will make it through. Then you will be able to say as Joshua, that prophet of old, said, “I don’t know about you and I don’t know about you, but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Praise the Lord, everybody. Praise His Holy Name!