James chapter 1, the part of the chapter that I'd like to focus on is beginning there in verse 23 where the Bible reads, "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." The title of my sermon tonight is, "A doer of the work." A doer of the work.
Now if you would flip over to Revelation chapter number 2, and while you're turning to Revelation 2 I'm going to read from Revelation 22 verse 12, "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Jesus Christ said that when he's coming again he will reward his servants, small and great, and I'm here to tell you that the reward will be given based upon your work, the work that you did. "To give every man according as his work shall be."
Now in Revelation 2 and 3 Jesus Christ is giving a specific message to each of the 7 churches which are in Asia. He talks about the things that he likes about these churches, and he talks about the things that he does not like about these churches. But the one common denominator in all 7 of these messages is the emphasis upon the work that they're doing. Look at Revelation chapter 2 verse 2, to the Church in Ephesus here's what he says, "I know thy works, and thy labour," and what is labor? It's just another way of saying the work that they're doing. "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."
If you would jump down to verse 9 and see the message to Smyrna. He starts out with, "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." Verse 13, "I know thy works," to the Church of Pergamos, "and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth."
Verse 19 to Thyatira he says, "I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience," oh,"and thy works." Again he mentions the works, and he says, "the last to be more than the first." Verse 23 as he continues speaking to Thyatira, "I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Verse 26, "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations." Flip over to chapter 3 verse 1, "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." Verse 2, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." Verse 8, to Philadelphia he says, "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." Verse 15 to the final church, the Church of Laodicea he says, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot."
How does he know that the church is lukewarm? By their works. How does he know that there's a great open door? How does he know that they've stayed faithful? He says to all 7 churches, "I know your works. I know your works. I'm looking at the work that you're doing. If you do the work you'll be rewarded." God judges a church based on the works of that church. God judges our lives based upon the work that we do. The Bible says even a child is known by his doings, whether his works be pure and whether it be right. You see, salvation is not [have 00:04:15] works. Salvation is by faith alone. When it comes to getting into heaven the Bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
The Bible says, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Even as David also described it, "The blessedness of the man unto whom God imputes righteousness without works," saying, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Salvation is not of works, it's not according to our works, it is according to our faith in Christ Jesus. But after we are saved the rewards are based on the work that we do. Our standing with God in the sense of whether or not he is please with us has everything to do with our works.
You see, salvation is only the beginning. Salvation is in a moment in a twinkling of an eye. It's a one time thing where you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you're born again, you're regenerated, but then there's a lifetime of living the Christian life after you're saved. After your are saved there's nothing you could ever do to lose your salvation but God rewards us based upon our works, and he blesses us based on our works. We don't want to downplay the importance of works, not for salvation because it has 0 play in salvation, but we don't want to downplay it as far as the Christian life is concerned, as far as God being pleased with us.
We today look at a lot of churches and form opinions based upon a lot of different things about those churches, where we would go to a town and maybe look at what churches are in that town, and maybe we'll go to some kind of a directory of independent baptist churches and look at this churches and see what they're like and maybe decide which church we'd like to attend or the church that we would like to recommend to someone as being the best church in that area, or "This is a really good church," or, "This church isn't so good, stay away from that church." There are a lot of criteria that we would use to make those kind of determinations but let me tell you something, a really big criteria in God's book when He looks down from heaven and when He decides what a church is doing, and he decides whether they're a good church or not, it's the work that He looks at.
What did He look at in Smyrna? The work. What did He look at in Ephesus? The work. What did He look at in Pergamos? The work. I wonder how many people are choosing churches today and completely overlooking the criteria that God says is the important big giant thing, the work. That's why there are a lot of churches out there that have great doctrine and that are filled with really nice people who live clean and holy and Godly lives but God is displeased with these churches and would not consider it a good church because it is not a working church. It is a church where people are just showing up and going through the motions and not rolling up their sleeves and actually doing the work that God has called us to do.
No matter how good you look, no matter how good your doctrinal statement is and that you've crossed every T and dotted every I theologically, if you're not doing the work then you are not profitable under the kingdom of God. That's what the Bible's showing us here over and over again throughout the New Testament but especially in this passage of Revelation chapter 2. Now, someone may say, "No Pastor Anderson you've got this all wrong, because the church at Ephesus their problem was a love problem. Remember? Didn't have anything to do with the work. It was just that they'd lost their first love. That's all."
Okay, let's see if that's really true. Look down at your Bible there in Revelation chapter 2, when God speaks to the church at Ephesus. The Bible says in verse 2, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first," love? Is that what it says? He says, "repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
How did God know that the church at Ephesus had lost their first love? Because they weren't doing the first works, that's why. He could look down and say, "I know thy works and that's why I know that you've lost the first love." You see, our works are what earn us rewards in heaven, the deeds that we perform, that's what the Bible teaches over and over again. That is what shows us what God is looking for in a church. Look at first Corinthians chapter number 3. While you're turning there I'll read for you Revelation 14 verse 13, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Their works do follow them.
I remember one time I was talking to a pastor in town, he had asked me what we'd been up to and what was going on. I told him about one of our recent small town soul-winning marathons, this wasn't the one from yesterday, this was a few years ago. I explained to him what we do on this small town soul-winning marathons. Who was on the small town soul-winning marathon yesterday? Lift up your hand. Yeah, we have 50 people come out soul-winning. That's a working church. When you can get 50 people to drive over 2 hours away and go soul-winning all day, you know God looks down and says, "I know Faithful Word Baptist Church, I know their works, I know their labour." It's what he likes to see, people who are working hard.
I explained to this guy, I said, "Here's what we do. We go into a small town and we knock every single door in one day and preach the gospel to anybody who will listen and we get as many people saved as we can in that one day, and just try to get the gospel to the whole town. Then we drive home." Right? I explained to him how we had just done one in such-and-such town, and we had this many people show up and we were able to get this many people saved. Here's what this guy said, he said, "Well, are you going to now send somebody every week to go and lead these people and disciple them and follow up with these people? Because now they're all just a bunch of sheep having no shepherd." I looked him right in the eye and I said, "You're right, I guess we should have just let them all die and go to hell then." It's exactly what I said to him.
"Oh I guess we should have just let them die and go to hell then." But that's spoken like a true loser who doesn't do any work but they want to criticize other people who are actually trying to do something good for God. You know what? If people actually knew their Bible anyway, they would know that Jesus' disciples did the exact same thing. I guess you've never read Matthew, Mark or Luke where Jesus is going throughout all the towns and villages preaching the gospel. You know what they did? They went into a town, they preached the gospel and one time they even said to Jesus, "Hey, can you stay a little longer?" He said, "No, go to the next town to preach the gospel, for therefor am I [inaudible 00:11:53] to preach in all the towns and villages."
What kind of nonsense, what kind of garbage doctrine to say, "Shame on you for winning people to Christ unless you then nurture that person for the rest of your life." What about when Philip won the Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord and just when he was about to follow up God whisked him away in a whirlwind? There goes your f- I mean literally, Philip gives the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch and the Holy Spirit just whisks him away and the Ethiopian is just, he's gone. Philip's like, "Wait I was trying to follow up." But you know what? This is the kind of junk that you hear from the critics who are doing nothing.
Listen to me, let me tell you something, I see other churches that do certain things to reach people with the gospel. They have different ministries where they do a soul-winning ministry, where they're going out and preaching the gospel. You know what? I'm not going to criticize people who are doing a legitimate soul-winning mission, even if it's not the exact ministry that I would do, even if it's not something that I agree with. I'm not going to sit here and criticize people that are at least trying to do good works for God, unless they're doing something that's unbiblical or preaching a false gospel, then I would be critical of that of course.
Like when I see people out there screaming and holding signs on the street corner and yelling at people how bad their sins are and everything. That's not what the Bible ... The Bible told us that when we go to the lost we should not know anything said Jesus Christ in him crucified and we're supposed to bring the good news of the gospel and that Jesus voice was not heard in the streets. Yeah, if you're going to be an obnoxious loud mouth, that doesn't work, that doesn't get people saved. Okay?
But for example, here's another ministry that I don't agree with, that I don't do, but I'm just happy that people are doing anything for God. At least, I personally am not into the bus ministry, okay? Our church doesn't have a bus ministry, we're not going to have a bus ministry. I don't think that it's the right way to go about it, but you know what? I have way more respect for a church that has a bus ministry that's going out and soul-winning that bus route and winning people to Christ and bringing them to church, than the do-nothing church down the street.
At least they're doing a legitimate soul-winning ministry that's reaching people. Even if it's not a ministry that I would do myself or would have our church participate in. Hey, more power to you if you're doing a soul-winning ministry that's a bus ministry or whatever. Even if it's not exactly my style of ministry, whatever. You know what? I'm just thankful for people that want to work and do something for God. The only evangelizing ministry that I would criticize is the street preaching because it's stupid, obnoxious and doesn't work, period. You know what? If someone comes to me and shows me a successful street preaching ministry that's actually winning people to the Lord, some 30, some 60, some 100, with the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and actually shows me the [frito 00:15:06], then I will change my position on street preaching.
I will, because it's not that I'm just against other people doing ... No, I just think that we need to do some work for God because this world today is dying and going to hell and the Bible teaches that it's our job to win the lost to Christ and it's our job to do the first works and to preach the gospel to every creature and to go into all the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whichever Christ has commanded us, after they get saved and baptized by the way.
That's our job. I think that when people go to a church that's not doing anything to reach the lost, I can't see how God could be please with that church, when there's no work going on, when it becomes just a social club where we get together and have a Bible study and a coffee [klatch 00:16:02]. I can't see how God's please with that when all these churches, he's looking down and saying, "I know your works, I know your labour." That's what I'm basing it on. That's what the judgement is based upon, is the work that we do for God. Look if you would at first Corinthians chapter number 3. First Corinthians chapter number 3.
Here's the only reason that I don't do the bus ministry, and I used to work on the bus ministry, but the reason that I'm not comfortable with the bus ministry is simply because of the fact that I would never put my kids on a bus with strangers, and so I feel weird about asking other people to put their kids on a bus with strangers. That's my issue with the bus ministry. But you know what? Again, I'm not going to do it but if I see a church in town that's running buses and winning people to Christ and baptizing converts, I say praise the Lord. Praise the Lord for their works that they're doing. You know what I mean? I have way more respect for that that the church that's a do-nothing kind of a church, and this attitude that says, "Oh, well you're winning people to Christ but your follow up is weak."
You know what? Your whole life is weak, your whole church is weak. I'm just at a loss what to even say to that. How could you criticize going into a town and giving everybody the gospel? Are you nuts? "Well, you know, that doesn't work." Yeah, it doesn't work to open your Bible and show someone how to be saved? Has the gospel lost its power? It sure worked yesterday when we had 74 people saved. Look, yesterday when we went to Sells Arizona, which is on an Indian reservation, and there are about 2,400 people in the town. We went out there and tried to preach to everybody we could in that single day, and we had 74 people saved in a town of 2,400 through 50 soul-winners working all day long. You know what? That is the kind of work that God wants us to do, that God's called us to do.
No method is going to be perfect. No plan is going to be perfect. But at least get out there and try and give it a shot and put forth the effort to do the work. Look at first Corinthians chapter 3 verse 11, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. But if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
Now in this scripture about the judgement seat of Christ the emphasis is all on the work that's been done. What is the work that's been completed? I don't know about you but every job I ever had the biggest thing they cared about was whether or not the work got done, and the quality of the work that was done. They didn't say, "Hey you look great, here's a raise. You're so friendly, I love being around you in the office, here's a raise." No, it's all based on performance, it's all based on your works. Now does that mean there are no rules for the employees? Of course there are rules. Now, the jobs that I've had they had rules. Show up at this time, be on time, leave on time, have your shirt tucked in and be respectful and be professional and do a good job. But at the end of the day you got paid for work, not for following rules. You got paid for doing the work.
Now if you didn't follow the rules you might get fired, but you got paid for the work that you performed. It's the same thing with these 7 churches. He points out things that they're doing wrong. He says, "No I don't want you to have fornication in the church. If you don't fix that, I'm going to take away your candlestick. No I don't want you to have woman teaching and this woman Jezebel and all these problems. I don't want you to have this sin and that sin. I don't want you to have the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. I don't want you to be like Bailum." But at the end of the day though it was always based on that main thing, "I know your works."
It's just like any other job when we work for the Lord, He has standards where He wants us to live a clean and Godly life. He wants us to be holy. He wants us to follow his commandments, but also He wants to see some work get done. Imagine if you showed up at your job everyday, you clocked in on time, you're dressed perfectly, you show up, you're friendly, you follow all the rules, and you just don't produce any work, you don't get anything done. You're really just nice and good looking but you don't accomplish anything, and then what happened if the boss said to you, "Well I'm not going to pay you today because you didn't do any work." "Wow buddy, I've been here since 9:00am. What do you mean you're not going to pay me? I was here on time. I clocked in, didn't I?"
Wouldn't that be ridiculous to think you're going to get paid? Okay, so wouldn't it be ridi- Okay, but what if you said this, "Boss you don't understand, I read the manual all day and I've been sitting in training seminars for weeks." He'd say, "Wait a minute, I hired you to do work." "Yeah but I'm learning." You would think that that would be ridiculous to expect to get paid to just sit and do no work. It's no less ridiculous to think that you're going to get rewards from God for just showing up. You showed up at church, you sat on your rear end and listened to a sermon and then you got in the car and went home, and then you came back next Sunday and you sat there and you listened to the sermon, and then you drove home.
You say, "God, where are my rewards? I went to church every week. I mean I was at the compa-" It'd be like if you showed up at your job ... I remember I used to do alarms and every morning we had a meeting where we'd have a 15, 20 minute meeting. Everybody gets their assignments and everything, and then we go out and do the work. What if I just showed up for the meeting and then just drove home, and I'm like, "Wow, where's my paycheck? I was at the meeting. You've got to at least pay me for that half hour where I sat in that meeting." No, you didn't do the work. The whole point of the meeting is to get instructions about the work that you're going to go do.
Guess what this is? This is the job meeting. Sunday morning, Saturday night and Wednesday night we have a job meeting here. Where we come to the meeting and we get our assignments. God tells us through His word what the assignments are and then the preachers is sort of a project manager that explains the assignments, "Okay, here's the work that's come in. Here's what we need to do." Then you're supposed to get that assignment and then you're supposed to go out and do the work. You say, "I just don't know what to do. I don't know what the work is." Turn to second Timothy chapter 4.
Let's stop and think about what the work is that God wants us to do. What is our goal as a church? Because if our church is a workplace, it's a place where people are given work to do. If it's a place that's judged based upon the work that is performed, according to Revelation 2 and 3, then we have to ask ourselves, what is the work that God has us on this Earth to perform? It's simple. It's to win people to Christ and then to teach the Bible to the believers to make them a more efficient worker for Christ, to make them a more Godly Christian and to make them be someone that's pleasing to God, so that they can be used to reach more people and to be fruitful and multiply. That's the goal, the goal is to evangelize the world.
The goal is to evangelize our area and the world with salvation and then to teach all the rest of the commands so that we can have people that are saved but that are also being sanctified and pleasing to God. Now look what it says in second Timothy chapter 4 verse 1, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
When Paul is instructing this pastor Timothy, he tells him first of all that he's to preach the word. He's to "rebuke, reprove, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine." He's teaching the people, he's correcting the people, he's motivating the people as a pastor. But then the pastor is also told in verse 5, "do the work of an evangelist." Do you see that? An evangelist means someone who brings the gospel, evangelizing.
Go if you would to Ephesians chapter 4, the purpose is to evangelize the lost and then baptize those people and then teach them to observe all the commandments that Christ taught us. That is the threefold mission known as the great commission, which has become known many places as the great omission. You just take the C off of it. The great commission is often the great omission, the thing that's being omitted, the thing that nobody's doing. But God said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Look what is says in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 11, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." What is the work? It has to do with evangelizing and it has to do with teaching those who are already saved. It says, "Till we all come in the unity," verse 13, "and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." When is the job done? The job is done when everybody comes to the knowledge of the Son of God. When everybody's got unity of the faith, because they all know the Bible and they all believe true and sound doctrine.
Now, is that ever going to happen? No. The job continues. We keep winning people to Christ. We keep teaching the Bible. We keep perfecting the saints. Why do we want to edify and perfect the saints? For the work of the ministry, so they can be a better worker. We are servants of God. Paul said in Roman chapter 1 verse 1, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures)." What's he saying there? He said, "I'm a servant of God. I'm called to be an apostle," and he says, "I'm separated." Now there are a lot of churches today that say, "We're separated from [inaudible 00:27:24]" He says, "separated unto." It's one thing to be separated from this world, that's great. But what are you separated unto? He said, "I'm a servant of God and I'm separated unto the gospel." Preaching the gospel. The gospel is where the [inaudible 00:27:41].
Then there's a few verse later, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," he said in Romans 1, "It's the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Right before that he said, "as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." He said, "I want to take my journey into Spain." Why did Paul want to take a journey into Spain to preach the gospel? Because in his world that was the furthest point that he knew to go preach the gospel. Here he is in the regions of Israel and modern day Turkey and he's into Greece and Macedonia, and he's saying, "I want to take the gospel all the way to Spain. I want to take it to the western most point in Europe. I want to go there and preach the gospel. On my way there I'm going to stop in Rome and I'm going to preach the gospel there."
We have been called to preach the gospel to the lost. We are ambassadors for Christ. We beseech the lost in Christ stead that they would be reconciled to God. What is the mission? The mission is to preach the gospel to every person in the city of Phoenix Arizona. "Daily in the temple and in every house they cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," Act 5:42. We want that to be said of Faithful Word Baptist Church. We have approximately 4 million people in this area. The county, Maricopa county, has I believe about 3.8, 3.9 million people in it. Then of course Pinal county is part of this greater metropolitan area as well. If you just go with this greater Phoenix area, 45 minute radius from where I'm standing, you have about 4 million people.
Now there are other churches in this area and many of them have soul-winning ministries but I do not believe that there is a church in the state of Arizona that has anything close to the soul-winning ministry of Faithful Word Baptist Church. We knock more doors than any other church in this state. I believe that. We get more people the gospel. Look, if I'm wrong about that, and if there's another church that's doing more, then praise the Lord. I'm not criticizing them. I just don't know of any that have as aggressive of a soul-winning ministry.
If they do, great, hallelujah, praise the Lord. But let me tell you something, I'm not going to rely on other people to get the job done. Do you want to rely on other churches and just hope so? No, I say that we as a church decide that our vision is to personally, our church knock every door of 4 million people. [You 00:30:15] say, "It can't be done." Yes it can be done. Look at the map in the back, we're already doing it. We've already put a huge dent in it. Much of that map has been knocked ... The close to our area step has been knocked 5, 6, 7 times. But everything on that map that's shaded in has been knocked at least once. This job is getting done. If God blesses us, and if God allows us to continue the work that we're doing, we will get it done with his blessing. At the rate that we're going it's going to happen, praise be to God.
Let me tell you something, not only that, I believe that God wants us to reach people in other areas too. I believe that God wants us to extend our reach not to just this Phoenix area here, but to also reach out into our Judea. Because remember he said, to the apostles he said, "You shall receive after the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." I believe that our Judea would be the state of Arizona, our region. Because this is our Jerusalem here in Phoenix Arizona. Then beyond that we have our Judea, and that's where I believe the small town soul-winning comes in, where we go out to these towns in our Judea, little small towns, and we met people in a small town that lived and died in that town. We didn't meet anybody who had died except when we went by the cemetery, but there are people who live and die in this town.
Let me tell you something, there was a lady there that was a very old lady, and she'd lived there her whole life. People are born in this town and they live there and they eventually die in that town, rarely even living the town. Who's going to bring these people the gospel? Who's going to evangelize? You want to be a missionary? Here's your chance, it's right here. The mission field is right here. Say not there are this many months until I go to the mission field. He said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." It's all right here. You open your eyes and there it is.
Judea is here, let's reach our whole state with the gospel. What if our church knocked every door in the greater Phoenix area and then we also did every small town in the whole state of Arizona into the bargain? It's possible. It's very realistic, we've already put a big dent in that. Let's do it. Now what if just one church in each state across America would get the same vision? What if there were 50 churches across America that would say, "I'm going to reach everybody in my city and I'm going to do all the small towns in my state that don't have churches." You know what? Then every small town in America would be evangelized.
It's not that the job's impossible, it's that people aren't getting excited about doing the work. They're not rolling up their sleeves and saying, "What kind of work can we do?" A lot of people are mixed up about what the purpose of the church is. A lot of people have this backwards, where they think that we go out and knock doors because we're trying to build a bigger church. Well I've got news for you, knocking doors doesn't really do a lot for the size of the church, because we knock a lot of doors and it doesn't make our church just grow by leaps and bounds through the door knocking.
I don't believe that we go soul-winning in order for the church to get bigger. Here's my goal, I want the church to get bigger so we can do more soul-winning. We want the means and the end not be swapped. We want to realize that the goal is more souls. The goal is not a big church. The goal is to get more people saved, to reach the world with the gospel. The church is a tool to reach the goal. The church is the soul-winning tool to get to the destination, not vice-versa. It's not that soul-winning is the tool to get to a bigger church. What do I want a big church for? "Oh, I just want to pastor a big church so I can be a big shot." Who cares?
Do you really want to go to a big church? "I just really want to go to a big church." Who cares about the size, right? Except, you know why I care about the size? If it's workers. Look, why would you want to have a huge company? "Oh I have this huge company, I have 1,000 employees. 800 of them do nothing. But I have 1,000 employees, God I want to keep adding more employees." That don't work? It doesn't even make any sense. What you actually would want to do is only put on people that are actually doing the work. Look, you say, "Well that sounds kind of harsh." What does the Bible say though? God says, "Let every tree bring forth fruit otherwise if the branch isn't bringing forth fruit cut it off."
God is saying that he wants people to work, to be productive and not to be a burden upon the ground. We need to understand that God's work is the soul-winning work of reaching Jerusalem, which would be Phoenix, Judea, which would be our greater region here, and then he said, "and in Samaria." You could see Samaria as the other places in the United State, or one state over, or something nearby, another region. For example if we sent someone to start a church in Texas or California or to other states, and to reach out to other places and commit the word of God and these methods to other men who could do the same thing somewhere, that would be reaching Samaria. Then he said, "Unto the uttermost part of the earth."
We ought to have a vision that's bigger than just Phoenix, that's bigger than just Arizona, even that's bigger than the United States, where we'd literally be reaching people all over the world. With the internet too, this makes that even more accessible, where you can broadcast preaching all over the world. You can actually teach people how to go soul-winning, but even beyond that you need to have ... The internet is not the end-all be-all, obviously. You need to also have people that are actually going to those places and actually going to the mission field. People going to places like the Philippines, going to Africa and starting the churches in Europe and in Asia and everywhere else and going out and being an evangelist, being a missionary that would evangelize that area and bring the gospel to the lost and start churches all over the world.
You see, if every church would individually get this kind of a vision, man we would get so much work done for God. Our church is not a huge church. This isn't [inaudible 00:36:57] church, this isn't a mega-church. Our church has about 200 people in it, but look at the work that God has used us to do, just the little old church that we are, but yet we're doing great, big works for God. I think spiritually our church is a giant. Whereas other churches might be giant but in God's sight they're little, because they're not doing great works. It's about the work that's being accomplished, that's the measuring stick in God's mind.
We need to get this in our minds because we have it all wrong, where we think the works don't matter. "It's just the heart," yeah but that heart is what makes you work. "Oh man I love this worker at my job, he's got such heart. Doesn't really get anything done, but man he's got heart." First Thessalonians chapter 5 there's another verse that talks about ... If you would flip over to first Corinthians 16, here's another verse that talks about the pastors or the leaders of the church. It says in first Thessalonians 5:12, "We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."
The respect for the pastor is based on work that he does, it says, "Esteem him highly for his work," meaning that the work is an important part of what a pastor does. That's why it says, "If any man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." It's not a sit back and relax job, it's a roll up your sleeves and make something happen kind of a job. It's a working job. Look at first Corinthians 16 verse 9, "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren." You know what he's saying? Don't treat Timothy bad because he does work. Therefor he shouldn't be afraid, he shouldn't mistreated. I don't want anybody to despise him.
Over and over again Paul talks about what a great worker Timothy is, in various epistles, and how he is a doer of the work. That's why no man should despise [him 00:39:23]. This is how I feel, sometimes there are people in our church, or there are people even that are not in our church but there are people around the country or people around the world who tune into the sermons because obviously there's a big group of people online that listen to the preaching from this church. Sometimes someone will come to me and criticize a certain person, or that person of the other. When somebody comes at me and criticizes someone in our church who's a major worker, they actually do a lot of work for God, my attitude is always like, "Wow, back off that person because that person is doing a lot of work."
If they do things that I don't like, I'm really more likely to overlook them doing stuff that I don't like or that you don't like if they're doing a lot of work for me. Then I'm going to be really gracious with that person. Why? Because I like people who work, people who get things done. Now there are some people who talk a big talk or they have a lot of ideas but they don't really do anything. Then there are some people who get in there and they get some work done, I love that. Love it. You know what? There are people all over the world who will just contact like, "Hey I translated your sermon into this language," or, "Hey I put subtitles on it in this language," or, "Hey, we dubbed it into this language." I love you. I love it.
I like what Paul said, "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." You know, bang, here's somebody who's a profitable servant, who's getting stuff done, who's getting work done. I like it. I love people like that, who just take initiative and get things done and make things happen. If then that person says something I don't like or does something I don't like, and I'm not talking about some wickedness or something, I'm just saying if that person is maybe at some point annoying or rude or something, I'm just like, "Whatever." Because who cares? They're working. You know what I mean?
There's so few people who really roll up their sleeves and work hard and get things done. Here's the thing, people are always calling me and it's hard for them to get through to me because millions of people call me. I get thousands and thousands of emails and phone calls. I'm not able to get to all that stuff. I wish I could but I can't. It's just that I don't live in a call center and it's a full time job, all the phone calls and emails. Now that brother Baker is helping me, he spends hours a day answering phone calls and emails. Is it a big job? Yeah, he spends 2 hours every day, and here's the thing, I told him, I said, "Go back over the old messages and the old emails, try to clear up the backlog." He's only calling people back and answering emails that he considers to be important or people that are nice people.
All the people who are just, "You stupid blankety blank," he's just deleting those, and there's a lot ... Are there a lot of those? Yeah, all right. Wow, what's that supposed to mean? Basically he's sitting in there and going back through. I checked out, he'd sent almost 500 emails over the period of a couple weeks or something. These are the people that he decided, this person needs an answer. Over 500 and some emails he'd sent out. Then I looked how far back in the backlog he'd gone, it was only several weeks or something. It was a month and half or something. It's a huge, huge job. But I tell you what, the people where I'm like, "Here's my personal email, here's my phone number," when they call, "Yes?" It's the people who work and do stuff for the ministry, do stuff for the church.
Here's the thing, I've noticed this about people too, some people come to our church, and look maybe this offends you, maybe it doesn't but there are some people who come to our church, and then they complain that they don't have friends, or, "People aren't being friendly to me," or, "I don't know anybody." Here's the thing, if you go soul-winning you'll have friends. Why? Because when you work you make friends. You say, "Pastor Anderson I just want to be your friend pastor Anderson. I just want to hang out with you." Listen, if you want to hang out with me, come soul-winning with me. Let's hang out. You want to hang out with me? Work with me, because that's a good way to hang out. That's a good way to get to know people, by working with them. Right?
Think about how well you know the people at your job. You work together. Look, I'll tell you this, the people here that you feel like are the inner circle, it's the people who go soul-winning. Why? Because when you go soul-winning with a different person each time and you're spending an hour with that person and you're talking between doors, you're chatting, you're making friends, you're getting to know people. Otherwise sometimes, if you show up to church and you listen to the sermon and then you get in the car and leave immediately, and then you wonder why you don't know anybody.
Now here's the thing, if that's what you want to do, you're more than welcome to do that. We love you and we're glad that you're here but don't then say, "That church wasn't friendly enough." No, a man that has friends must show himself friendly. The way that you get to know people is by getting in the work with them. Okay? Or why don't you go up and start greeting visitors and greeting new people and making friends on your own and reaching out, and not expect it all to come to you? See, God loves a good worker. I love a good worker. Work is the principal thing amongst men, even outside of church, in our lives we work. We're men, we work, that's who we are, right?
Of course ladies have works that they've been given to do as well. Go ahead and turn if you would quickly to Matthew chapter 21. The Bible says in second Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." See, God's grace abounding in you, what's the goal? What's the purpose? So that you can abound to every good work. So that you can do work. Matthew 21:28, "But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." Now that's some pretty harsh words, right?
What's he saying? He's saying, "You know what? You guys talk a real big talk but you're not doing the work. You didn't do the will of the father. You said you would, you [Pharisees 00:46:57], you say that you're going to do the work but you don't." Other people who said no to God but then after they'd screwed up their lives and had even become publicans and even harlots, then they went into the vineyard. They're actually doing the will of God. See, it's not about the talk that you talk, it's about the walk that you walk. It's really even about the work that you work.
What are you doing to reach people for Christ? What work are you doing to get people saved? It's not hard to show up and go soul-winning. It's not hard to be a silent partner, just to show up and tag along and be a part of the work. What are you doing to disciple people in your life? What are you doing to teach people the word of God? What are you doing to advance the cause of Christ and to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ? If you can't think of anything then don't be surprised if you don't get a bunch of rewards on judgement day. It's not going to happen. Don't be surprised if you feel that God is displeased with you in your life, because you're not doing any work.
I don't think anybody who goes to this church is confused as to what the work is. There's all kinds of work to do. Look, there's other menial work that people help out with too, where they clean the building, or where they volunteer to help with this and help with that. They're working. They're showing up and doing some kind of work, or they're working at least with the music program and working with whatever they're asked to do. There are people who need meals brought to them, after they have a baby we bring meals to those families so that the mother can lay down and rest and take it easy. Then we put out a call that says, "Hey, we need somebody to volunteer to help bring meals unto this family that's in need," or somebody's in the hospital or someone's suffering and we're going to help them out.
When you step forward and say, "You know what? I can cook a meal," or, "I can transport a meal that someone else cooked," you're working, you're doing something. Okay? We all should ask ourselves, what is the work that we can do to please God and to cause his work to prosper and to get something done for the Lord. It's important. Now one last place I want to turn to is first Corinthians chapter 1. First Corinthians chapter number 1, because I want to close on this thought, nobody's perfect. Right? We all have flaws. We all have sin in our lives. You're not going to believe this but people in this church have sin in their lives. I think sometimes we get to where we live in a dreamworld or live in a fantasy where because we all come to church and we're all dressed really nice and we're all praising the Lord and saying hallelujah, that we actually get this idea that the people in our church don't have sin in their lives.
Then when one of you gets sin in your life you start thinking, "I'm probably the only one that has sin in my life, because look, I can't picture anybody at church committing any big sins or anything." But you know what, honestly, let's just be real. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There's none righteous, no not one. Even the apostle Paul said that he was constantly doing things that he regretted and things that he didn't want to do. He felt so wretched and so forth for the sins that he committed. See, everyone has sin in their life. That's the true story. It's funny, and a lot of pastors make the mistake of thinking to themselves, "Nobody in my church is struggling with that sin," so then they don't preach on sin, because they think, "Nobody ... Good [inaudible 00:50:47] it's an independent fundamental baptist church, nobody's drinking." But here's the thing, there are people who come to independent fundamental baptists churches who will drink, or will smoke pot, or will smoke cigarettes or do things that are harmful or sinful or whatever.
I remember one time when I first started the church and there were only about 20 people coming to the church, in the first year or second year of the church. I preached a sermon against smoking. I did not of anybody in the church who smoked. I didn't know anybody smoked, but I'm just preaching on everything. You're just preaching against smoking because it's there. Literally, it turned out they were 4 people in the church who smoked. I didn't know that any of them smoked. Several people came to my wife and they're like, "Man is pastor Anderson mad at me? He's really coming down on me hard in that smoking sermon. I know he was talking about me because I'm the only one that smokes, and he was ripping my face in that sermon. Did I do something to make him mad? He seems so mad up there when he's screaming about [smoking 00:51:55]."
I did not know that anybody smoked, I was just preaching. Multiple [inaudible 00:52:01] and thought, "That was directed at me." I know, I've gotten emails from people like, "I know you were talking about me in that sermon." I'm like, "What? I didn't even know that you [were there 00:52:11]. I feel like a priest or something, like you're confessing your sins to me. I didn't even know that you did that." By the way, I don't have a very good sense of smell, so even if you smoke like a chimney I probably wouldn't even notice, unless I just got right in your face to notice that. I don't really know if you're smoking, but I'm not going to ask a raise of hand of who smokes in here but I promise you there are people in this auditorium that smoke, period.
You're like, "Oh man, what in the world?" There's people in here who do all kinds of stuff. Those are just the obvious, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, that are just easy to throw out there. But you know there are people in here who lie, who steal, who look at something they're not supposed to look at, the list goes on and on. Okay, people are sinners. Okay? Now I'm not condoning it, I'm not saying, "Hey everybody's doing it so it's not a big deal." Obviously there are sins that are worth than others, there's no question about that. But let's just face the fact that all of us are sinful being. I'm going to tell you right now, I'm not perfect. If you lived with me and followed me around 24 hours a day you'd find all kinds of things that you could pick apart about me and criticize about me, and all kinds of things where [you're 00:53:26], "Oh pastor Anderson, I can't believe you."
But here's the thing about it though, God is still able to use me, even though I am not, and I don't consider myself a great Christian. I definitely don't consider myself the greatest, I don't even consider myself great. I don't even consider myself even above average. But I'm telling you, I'm being used by the Lord in spite of that, even though I do make mistakes and even though I'm not a perfect person, even though I do sin. I am not this saint up here that never makes a mistake, but let me tell you something, God can use you if you work hard, even if you're not perfect because none of us is perfect.
Obviously, look we should strive to live as clean and holy and righteous as we can and we should be growing and improving. I'm not condoning thing in anyone's life, but I'm telling you you can't get this attitude that says, "Oh well you know what? God can't use me because I'm sinful." That's what Peter said to Jesus, he said, "Just depart from me Jesus." Jesus is trying to pick him to be a disciple. Can you imagine Jesus walking up to you and picking you to be a disciple? You can see where Peter's coming from, where he kind of said, "You know what? Just depart from me. It's not that I don't want to follow you but I want you to know I'm a sinful man." That's what Peter said. He said, "Look, depart from me Jesus I'm a sinful man." He said, "Fear not, from henceforth though shall catch men. I'm going to make you to a fisher of men Peter. I'm going to use you greatly."
But you know who God can't use is somebody who's not working, who's not willing to work. If you're not willing to work He can't use you, period. I don't care how good you are. I don't care how nice you are. I don't care how smart you are. You could be the most intelligent person, you could be so separated and Godly and holy, if you are not willing to work what can he use you for? He's looking for servants. He's not looking for people to just put on a pedestal and be on display, He's looking for people to serve, people to work, people to get something done.
Look what he says in first Corinthians 1:25, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." He's saying, "Look around at the pastors, look around at the great preachers and the great men of God and the great women of God who are doing great works for God in the church or in other churches. Look around, you know what you're going to notice about the people that are doing great works for God? There aren't that many that are wise after the flesh. There aren't that many that are mighty. There aren't that many that are noble."
Look, I've seen some guys that God used greatly and I thought to myself, "Wow, that guy?" Look, I'm not trying to be rude or anything, I'm talking about growing up and my childhood, I've seen preachers that were greatly used by God and I thought, "Wow, this guy is kind of a dork. This guy is kind of a nerdy guy." You know what I'm talking about? "This guy is a dweeb." But he was doing might works for the Lord, mighty works for God, powerful work reaching thousands of people with the gospel. You look at them and you're like, "This guy is the one that all the hype is about?" But you know what though, it's because then God gets the glory.
You know why? Because the guy who was good looking and cool and mighty, the guy that was a big buff cool dude, he's out living for himself. He's out living for the devil. He's out partying and making money and enjoying everything. You know what? The guy who is not mighty and not super duper smart by the world standards and not noble and of great breeding, he actually is humble enough to be used by God and not let it go to his head, and he can actually roll up his sleeves and work hard. That's why he succeeds, because he's a worker. He's working his tail off, that's why.
You know what Paul said? "I laboured more abundantly than they all." He said that out of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that he worked harder than any other apostle. "I laboured more abundantly than they all," you think it's a coincidence that he wrote 14 books of the New Testament? Stop and think about that. John was the disciple whom Jesus loved. Peter, come on, Peter. Peter, James and John, these are the guys that walked and talked with Jesus Christ for 3.5 years. Wouldn't you expect them to be the main authors of the New Testament? Wouldn't you expect Peter, James, John, Andrew ... Wouldn't you expect them to write more scripture than what they wrote?
Do you think that Jude only wrote one letter? Do you think that Peter only wrote 2 letters? Why is it that God chose to let the apostle Paul write half the books in the New Testament? I'll tell you why, because he said, "I laboured more abundantly than they all," that's why. It's not because he was the Godliest, it's not because he was the best, it's not because he was the smartest. It's because he laboured more abundantly than they all and God likes that. Again, I'm not condoning other ... Look, if we have sin in our life it can destroy our life and derail us and stop us from working.
What did it say in Revelation 2 and 3? You're in sin, I'll take away the candlestick. But wait a minute, what about the works? He says, "Did you notice brethren your calling?" Verse 26, "how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." See? He wants a humble servant who's just ready to roll up their sleeves and work.
Look, you might be a skinny dweeb tonight but you can be a giant of a man spiritually. You could be a mighty man of God. You can earn great rewards and be a spiritual giant. You may be a homely person tonight, but you know what? You can be one who shines as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars for ever and ever. You can be glorified with Christ and earn great rewards if you work for Him. It's not about being good looking, it's not about being super duper smart. You don't want to be a total idiot either folks, okay? But it's not about being super smart, it's not about being good looking. It's not about being cool. You can be the most uncool dweeb ever and walk up to those doors and you can win people to Christ and be a giant spiritually and do great works for God.
I hope that this sermon encourages you to want to work for the Lord, because that's really what I'm trying to get across in this sermon. The point is that at the end of the day God looks down and he judges you based on your works. He judges our church based on its works. He's going to reward us based upon on our works. He will give you more grace and more opportunities and more blessings if you'll do a lot of work for him. Is this the only part of our lives? No, there are other aspects of the Christian life, but tonight I just wanted to emphasize this one major important facet, work. Work. Be a doer of the work tonight.
If you don't have any work to do, come to me and I will put you to work. I'm not kidding. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much Lord for our church. Lord, it's our workplace. Lord, it's a job. It's where we serve, it's where we preach the gospel and teach the Christians and serve you and fulfill the great commission. Lord help us to be a blessing to the church Lord. Help all of us to edify the church and to greet the visitors and to be friendly and to encourage people and to bring the meals and to clean the building and to win the souls and to preach the gospel and to do everything Lord that we can to get this job done Lord, to fulfill the mission of Faithful Word Baptist Church, which is Your mission. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.