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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 12) - Work, Calling and Cultural Renewal

Sunday English Service - 28 JAN 18


Psalm 90, we'll begin there Psalm 90, let me read to you verse 17, Psalm 90 verse 17. - And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us. Yes, establish the work of our hands. - I've been actually speaking about the work of our hands and redemption. We're talking about work, and in this teaching first we talked about how God designed man for work, and work for man. We talked about why God did it like that, that man is meant to work and work is designed in such a way that it suits man. There is a God, a divine purpose behind this whole thing called work. We talked about it then I talked about how sin and the fall came in and how it ruined man's work. It had made a big impact upon man, the fall made a big impact. If you read chapter 3 of Genesis, verse 16 and onwards, it described the impact upon man's work. So that his work became a toil, God meant it to be a work, fruitful, productive, enjoyable, fulfilling. That's what work was meant to be, but it became a toil.

And then we began to talk about this particular part of this teaching and that is the work of our hands and redemption. Where we're talking about how Jesus Christ came to redeem us from the curse and bring us blessing. And if He has redeemed us from the curse, that curse also has to do with the curse that came upon the work of our hands. Now the blessing of the Lord is upon the work of our hands. What kind of an impact is that supposed to have upon our work today? What impact does redemption have upon our work of our hands? That's what we're talking about. And in order to look at this, we need to understand the Protestant teaching concerning work. I showed you how the Protestant leaders like Martin Luther and Calvin dug up this truth that was hidden for so many centuries and brought it out. And what a blessing it was to society, in two generations, there was a transformation of society itself. So that in the 16th and 17th century, the European communities, nations were blessed. The nations that embraced Protestantism received these truths, these are the things that were taught. And one of the great revelations that these people taught, is the revelation concerning work and God's purposes for work. And it became a great blessing and societies became wealthy and prosperous. And new inventions began to come out, and very fruitful, productive life began to dawn for humanity.

And I showed you how in the 18th and 19th century, things changed because people emphasized knowledge and reason, and put in the back-burner the belief in God and faith in God and so on. They said faith in God doesn't matter, we don't know whether it's right or not. We can be sure about reason, we can be sure about knowledge, empirical truth they talked about. They said experimented, proven truth is what we should believe, not just some religious beliefs. So they put religion behind, they put Bible behind, they put in the front seat, reason and knowledge. And as a result, today we have a lot of confusion, we need to again return to the Protestant teaching concerning work if we want to find satisfaction in work and meaning in work. Because in the 18th and 19th centuries when they put reason forward, work became a different thing. It again started becoming, without God, work you know became everything for people. They could not put it in the right perspective, and that really led the people in the wrong way. So let's return back to the Protestant teaching, that's what we've been trying to do. And I've been trying to take you back to the Protestant teaching that Martin Luther and Calvin began to teach, which was such a great blessing.

So let's start this morning with the definition of work as John Stott, the great teacher of the Bible gives it. John Stott, some of you have heard of him, he defines work in this way. He says, "Work is the expenditure of energy, manual or mental or both, in the service of others which brings fulfillment to the worker and benefit to the community and glory to God." It's the expenditure of energy, he says, work is where a person goes and exerts himself, spends his energy in serving others, thereby the worker benefits by receiving a fulfillment through it. And for those he's working for are those who receive the benefits of his work, they also are blessed and ultimately it brings glory to God. So according to his definition, work in the Protestant thinking is this: it is about more than just us and God, it unites us within a community.

See the communities are divided, there are so many reasons we find these days to divide people. People are divided on the basis of caste in our country, people are divided on the basis of religion, people are divided on the basis of other factors, language and so on. We find so many reasons to divide people, we keep dividing them as many times as possible. Some people I think do it deliberately for their convenience so that they can achieve their purposes. We have a thousand reasons to divide people, but work is something amazing. It brings us together, why? Because work makes us interdependent. See I'm doing a particular work, my work is meant to serve you, God has chosen me and called me to this work so that I may serve you. So when I'm doing ministry preaching here, I'm serving, I'm serving others. Whatever gift that God has given me in ministry is not for myself, gifts are for others, you know, so that we may exercise the gifts and others may benefit from it. So I'm exercising my gift, through that others are benefited. So my work is essential for people like you. If I didn't do my work then this place won't be here, you won't have a place like this to go on a Sunday. But you are here because I'm doing my work, but that doesn't mean your work is unimportant, your work is equally important. Because without your work, I probably won't have running water in my house, I cannot probably build my house, I cannot probably have electricity. Whatever work you're doing, in some way benefits me and benefits others. So that you are dependent on me for certain things, and I am also dependent on you for certain things. Somehow work brings us together, it makes us interdependent, it's a good thing. So that we all have a reason now to come together, we need each other, we serve one another, we live for one another, we serve one another, that's what work is all about.

Now when we work, we cultivate the resources that God has given to us, material resources that God has given to us in this universe. Our work develops everything and work is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others. Now, this is a way that work bring us together, it unifies us, brings us together. So John Stott's definition is a wonderful definition because he points out to the fact that it is an expenditure of energy, in the service of others, where not only the person who expends the energy is benefited by receiving fulfillment, others are also benefited and glory comes to God.

There's another person that gives a definition, because this is something that enables us to look at work, I want to give you this definition also. This person says, "Work should not be seen as a drudgery to be undergone for the purpose of making money." Which is exactly what happens many times, people think it's just something that I've got to do because I've got to pay my bills, pay my rent, pay my food and all that. It's a drudgery for many people, they just undergo this thing for the purpose of making money. Work simply means that I've got to make money so I work, that's the way people think about it. But Protestant teaching is not like that, working for making money, working for a living is not a Protestant idea, it is not a Bible idea. When I say Protestant idea, we're talking about biblical truth, it is not biblical, that concept is not there. What is work there for?

Work is a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper expression. See God has made me as a worker, God has given me certain talents and gifts and abilities. So I must find ways to express that, I must get into something where I exercise my talent, my gift, my specific gifts that God has given to me. God has built it into my nature, into my being, when God made me, he made me like that so I must have a proper exercise of those things. And that exercise of those things, of my gifts, brings me delight and fulfillment and it brings glory to God. And when I do a work like that, because I'm made in God's image and likeness, because God has given me gifts and abilities to do it, God has called me to do it. When I do it in that spirit, knowing that, then my work also reflects God's character himself. It reflects the creative work that He has done.

Remember when God made everything, there was order, there was disorderliness in the world. But when He got through the creative work, He turned the chaos into order, He turned the darkness into light, He turned the emptiness into fullness filled it with good things. So there is order, there are good things happening in that work and there is beauty. When God does something,it is always beautiful, God is the originator of beauty. And there is excellence, it is done excellently, you see. And our work, see when God did everything, He looked at it and said, "It is good," and He said, "It's very good." Our work must reflect that kind of a thing, our work must result in people looking at it and saying, "Wow, it's good. It's very very good."

I heard about a flat that was built, one of my friends, the owner of the flat, he gave it to somebody to build it. And he comes and tells me, "I gave it to this guy, he built the flat, I told him to put balconies in every flat. He has built suicide points." He said, "You don't even want to go stand in the balcony because you feel like you're going to fall off and die, you know. It's like a suicide point, it's not... it's scary," he says. There are people like that in the world, you know they do their work in such a way that when you look at it, you say, "What kind of work have you done? " you know. Instead of saying good, you feel like screaming at them because they have no idea about what work is all about. They get a contract, they get the money, they say, "Well let's do something, and give it to them." And they've already taken money from some other guy, they got to on to that work you know. So forget about what happens here, let's go to the next one. Whether it's good or bad, they don't care. Whether you live or die also, they don't care. So he's built a suicide point, and I went and saw it, it looks like a suicide point also. They keep the door closes so that no one goes to the balcony and falls off. They say when you build you have to stand right next to the person who's doing the building and show him what to do. Then why will I need a builder if I have to show him what to do. I'm not a builder, he's supposed to know what he's doing, you know. I'm not supposed to show him, he's supposed to show me how to do it, that's why I pay him you see. But people take their work in that way sometimes, and that results in very bad work that is not a reflection of God's character. Because they think work is so that he's just making money, he's into making money. The many contracts that he has just brings him money, that's the way he thinks about it, that's his living and everybody's making a living.

But according to the Bible, it is not making a living. It is something that you do because you are talented and gifted in that particular area, and you need a proper expression of those talents and gifts. That is why you got into that business in the first place and you do it, because you'll receive a delight and fulfillment by doing it. You enjoy it and you do it because it brings glory to God. That's the biblical idea, my friend. Once you get this right, I tell you, you cannot fail in life, you will succeed. And more than you succeeding, the society will succeed. Just imagine every time we give a contract to somebody to build something and he's got this attitude -that he's given gifts and talents by God, God has made him like this, that he can do the best job and his job will show forth God's character. It will be beautiful and excellent, there will be order in it, there will be good things in it. If you can get a person like that, I'll tell you, you have to stand in line to get him to sign a contract, I think because not many people available like that, you know. The thing is, the problem with the world is, they don't have a biblical idea, even in the Christian world, they don't have a biblical idea of work. They think money-making idea, they talk about it like that they say, "I'll show you a new money-making idea," one fellow said, a new money-making idea. It's only money making, it's not work as a result of God's gift, God's purposes and expression of a gift. Along those lines they do not think, alright?

And the Reformers like Martin Luther and Calvin, they emphasized this, they taught this from the Bible, they taught about calling, gifting and all of those things. They taught about work and how we should do the work, and they clearly understood these things. And as a result, the Protestant Church during the Reformation, enjoyed its greatest cultural influence. You see the Protestant Church did not just get people saved, it enjoyed a cultural influence so that it's not that some people came to believe in Jesus, it's much more than that. The culture itself is changed. What is culture? Culture is a society with a particular kind of thinking, with a particular way of doing things. That's what we call culture, the societal norms, that's what results in a culture. We all have a culture, cultural background that we come from. And the Protestant Reformation enjoyed its greatest cultural influence in every area, in every field of endeavor. In art, look at the art of that time, 16th century and 17th century, all the best art comes from that period. Art, literature, music, you know and social institution, all of them excelled in that era, why? Because of the discovery of these truths, and the teaching of these truths in a powerful way in the church. Now, I think that has to be recovered right now, the biblical doctrine of work which they taught must be recovered today. And I'll tell you if it's recovered today, I think Christianity will have the same kind of cultural impact upon this world. We won't be just getting saved, but the culture itself will change, society itself will be transformed.

Now how do you revive the neglected biblical doctrine of work? How do you revive this doctrine that is lost in the 18th and 19th centuries where they put the Bible in the back seat and put reason forward. How do you bring it back? The way you bring it back is, they say, is to bring into Christian people, a Christian worldview. Now you heard the expression 'worldview' for so many years now, I remember from the time I was in college they've been talking about worldview. A lot of books are written about it, if you just Google it you know, you'll find some 700,000 results for Christian worldview, if you just Google it. So, so much is written about it, so much is said about it, so many conferences, so many events happen around this worldview, Christian worldview. What is a Christian worldview? Christian worldview is how you think about yourself, your world, your life in all of its realms. Your life means, your marriage, your work, everything that you're involved in. What do you think about every area of your life, your spirit, soul and body, the finances, the family, the work and society and everything. Your ideas about these things and your approach, your outlook on these things. So they say, "We need to have a Christian worldview."

Now to bring Christian worldview, people have tried so hard, that's why they've written so much. But you know not much change has happened. In America they do research on things like this, they found out some years ago they did some research, and have found that only 19% of the evangelical Christians had a Christian worldview, you know. And 13 years later they again did some research and found out the percentage has not changed, it's the same, no improvement. So what about the Christian worldview? Is not about everybody thinking in Christian way about life, is not everybody thinking in Christian terms about music, about art, about literature, about society, about creativity and all of these things. About all of those issues, economics and so on, are they not thinking in Christian ways? Are there no improvements completely? I mean why are we missing all of these things? Why is there no improvement in that area? Why things are not changing?

Now please turn with me to Romans chapter 12, because that is the verse that the worldview teachers, Christian worldview teachers use a lot and I like that verse also. Romans chapter 12 verse 2, it's a very important verse, Romans chapter 12 verse 2. - Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. - So people read this, they know that it's talking about renewing of the mind. So they said, "Well the Christian worldview means you need to change the way you think. So let's change the way you think and everything will be alright." So we tried very hard to change the way that people thought about things, we thought that a Christian worldview is a collection of various ideas, it is just an intellectual endeavor. So you go and you begin to think about art, literature and all of these things in a Christian way and present it in a Christian way. And once you have changed in their mind the idea regarding these things and brought it into a Christian outlook, then you've got a Christian world view. But that's what is not working, that is why there is no improvement in the world. This worldview change has not caused much impact, it has not revolutionized society. It has not produced the change like the change that was produced in the 16th and 17th centuries through the reformation. Even though so much is written, so much is published and spread everywhere today through online and so on, still no impact. Why? Because we have forgotten verse 1.

In the Greek language and which originally New Testament was written, they say verse 1 and 2 are one sentence, one sentence. Now what happens, see this is a letter when you write to your wife, or son, or somebody, you don't say, "Dear so and so one, this." No this is chapter 12, I don't think your wife will want to read something like that. This is just a letter, but they took it and separated into chapters and verses, why? So that I can tell you, please turn to Romans chapter 12, and where in Romans chapter 12? Verse 2, right, we read exactly that spot, we went to that spot immediately. Just imagine what kind of trouble we'll have if I had to refer to this verse and we didn't have chapters and verses, you know. How will I tell you to turn where? So that's a convenience in dividing them into chapters and verses, but it also sometimes separates things that should not be separated. For instance, here, verse 1 and 2 are separated whereas it should remain as one sentence. So we think verse 1 is something different and verse 2 is talking about something else. But the whole thing is one statement, now let me read to you verse 1 and 2. - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

I remember when I first went to Bible college, the president of the college stood up and made us all read this and made us memorize this. So until this day I just know it, you know. Made us memorize this, at that time I did not understand why they were doing it. They were doing it exactly for the same reason, they were telling me that I need to have a Christian worldview. I need to see myself, my world, and everything that I'm engaged in, in a Christian way, in a biblical way. So only when I do that, then I can make a difference in the world, that's what they're trying to convey. At that young age I did not understand it, but I memorized it. But look at that, the first verse says that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. Now what is a living sacrifice? You know, a lot of people when you talk about sacrifice, they immediately think, "I'm ready to give my life for God, you know." People say, "Well I'm ready to die as a martyr." Well nobody wants you to die as a martyr, there is no need these days. Nobody is asking for your head by the way, you know. When it comes down to that then we'll see, you know. Right now nobody's looking for your head, nobody's trying to cut your head off and take it in a platter or anything like that, nothing is happening like that.

God wants you to live right now, that's why a living sacrifice is very important. God wants us as a living sacrifice, God wants our lives to be given as a living sacrifice. What they did is, by separating verse 1 and 2, this emphasis upon how we should make ourselves a living sacrifice, is lost. We're only talking about a mind change, but not becoming a living sacrifice. What the verse is saying is, you offer yourself wholly to God. What is a sacrifice? You take that animal, sacrificial animal and place it on the altar and kill that animal there and offer it as a sacrifice. That animal's life and everything is given for God, right? So you make yourself a living sacrifice, you put yourself on the altar, your spirit, soul and body, everything belongs to God. You make yourself a living sacrifice, it says. Now, once you make yourself a living sacrifice where you're saying, "I don't belong to myself, oh God, I belong to you. I am not my own, I've been bought with a price. Here I am, I lay myself upon the altar, I'm yours."

Once you reach that, see that is the most important thing. Once you reach that, then you go and begin to work on the mind to think in a new way. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. What happens when you renew your mind? So that you may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. You begin to do the will of God because you have brought your mind in alignment with God's purposes now. So you offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice, and then you begin to work on the mind so that you think in a new way. New way means that you begin to think about everything in this way, that your life belongs to God. You're not your own, that you can't do what you want, you're not free to go whichever direction you want, you're not free to do whatever you want, you do not have an agenda in life. You are here to do only what God wants you to do, you belong to him, totally and fully. See we left off that commitment, and we said just change your mind, everything will be alright. So people tried to change their mind but because that sacrifice part is not there, changing the mind doesn't help. First we must offer ourselves as a sacrifice and acknowledge the fact that we do not belong to ourselves. We are not free to do whatever we want with our lives. We are here for God, we live for God, we belong to God, we have been bought with a price. Our whole life belongs to him.

It is not like, you know some people think that Christian life is what you do on the weekends you know. That you go to church on Sunday, so that's spiritual life, Monday to Saturday it has no connection, you know. In Harvard University, they did some research about this, about Christians and their work and they found out that people are complaining that what they hear on Sunday has no connection to the Monday to Saturday. People openly said it, people in business said, "When I go to church and I hear a message, it has no connection with what I do in my profession or in my business from Monday to Saturday. In fact, it is contrary to everything that I'm doing in my business or in my profession." "When I go and tell my pastor," one fellow says, "When I go and tell my pastor that I'm working on this thing that is very profitable financially. And that it will make more money or something like that, immediately the pastor thinks that I'm a selfish, money-minded, materialistic person. He thinks that I'm working for myself to better myself. And he thinks that I've got a materialistic mind, that I'm running after money and I want to make more money." One fellow said it seems, "But I don't think like that, what I'm saying is that I've got a wonderful product and it will be useful for so many people, that's what I'm thinking. And it will be profitable for us also, so that we can develop more products like this and I can give jobs to hundreds of people. Where hundreds of families will live based on this. I'm thinking like this but my pastor can never think that like." He said, it seems, "My pastor thinks that I'm just interested in making more money. I'm just interested in more money, not interested in anything else." There is no connection he says, between me and what I'm doing and the church, so I feel disconnected, people say.

So I just do whatever I do Monday to Saturday, and turn that off and go to church on Sunday and hallelujah, you know and praise the Lord. And then on Monday I turn my worldly self on and start working on these projects. I've got to think in a different way now, and the whole time I'm thinking about doing things better, growing the business, and doing this and that. I'm thinking maybe I'm materialistic, maybe I'm a very money-minded person, maybe I'm just trying to make more money, maybe this is wrong, maybe God won't bless me, maybe I'm headed to hell, you know. All these thoughts are going on in that person, there's no connection between the people, what they do from Monday to Saturday to what they do on Sunday when they hear the sermon.

I tell you when you come here, there is a connection between what you do from Monday to Saturday, to what you hear on Sunday. There is a connection, I can tell you I know that there is a connection. I know that you are made for work, that God has designed you for work, and God has designed work for you. And I know that your work can be meaningful, fruitful, blessed, I know that your work can bless the world, transform culture. I know that your work can be a blessing to so many, I know that your work can glorify God. So when you talk about your business and growing your business and all of that, I think like that. I think that he's doing something very fruitful, meaningful, doing something that is a blessing to so many people. Doing something and growing something that will bring profit and benefits to so many people. There is a connection between what you do and what you hear on Sundays. So it is not just a mental, intellectual thing of switching your mind in a particular direction. It is first of all giving yourself to God as a total offering, alright?

Now let me explain this a little bit more, turn to 2 Timothy and chapter 4. I'm going to read to you a passage usually read in funeral services. See we've relegated some verses for funeral, some for marriages. We made them funeral verses, so whenever somebody reads they say, "Oh, we're in a funeral service now." No, we are not in a funeral service, we are in a Sunday service, listen to this. - For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. - Now Paul has come to the end of his life, he realizes that he's going to die. He has come to the last stages of his life, because he says that in verse 6, "My time of my departure is at hand." He's not talking about the departure of his flight to go somewhere, he's talking about departure from the world. He says the time of my departure, I'm going to go away, go to God, meet God. The time of my departure is at hand, but before that he says, "I'm already being poured out as a drink offering." You know a drink offering is one of the things that happens in the sacrifices of the Old Testament times. You'll read it in the Old Testament, I don't need to go there, we won't have the time. But if you read in the Old Testament, a drink offering is given along with other offerings where they bring a vessel full of a drink. And they pour it before the Lord until the last drop is poured. It is a symbolic thing, that I'm giving myself to the Lord, I'm pouring my heart to the Lord, I'm just giving my whole self to the Lord, you know. So you pour the drink to the Lord. This is what is called the drink offering.

Now why is Paul saying that I'm being poured out as a drink offering? He's saying that because this is his worldview. See we've been talking about worldview, you ask Paul, Paul what do you think about your life? About yourself, what is your worldview on yourself and your ministry and everything that you're doing? He says, well I think of myself as a vessel in God's hand. A vessel in which God has poured a lot of good things. And why he has poured a lot of good things in this vessel? Is so that I may go and pour it out, so that others may drink out of it and benefit from it, their thirst can be quenched. So I view my life as a vessel, full of a drink that my ministry is a ministry where I pour out what God has poured into me, into this vessel. See, all of us I think we should view our life like that. But some people have that verse in Job as their favorite verse - Naked, came I from my mother's womb, and naked do I return. - They like that verse, they think that means that I came with nothing. No, see some verses in the Bible you have to interpret literally. When it says naked came I, it literally means naked came I. It doesn't mean I came with nothing, nobody comes with nothing. When you came into this world, your full abilities, talents, gifts that God has placed within you, it's buried inside of you. It is in a seed form, you wait after the child is born, you think the child can't do anything, helpless little thing. But just wait a couple of maybe 20 years, 25 years, the child may... who knows what the child may become. Full of abilities, knowledge, abilities, talents, amazing things, just 10, 15 years old he begins to show great potential, why? God has filled the child with all those things already, from the womb itself, you see.

Paul says in Galatians chapter 1, God has separated me unto the gospel, unto the apostleship, He's defending his apostleship, his ministry. He says God has separated me unto the gospel in my mother's womb. When I was in my mother's womb, he says. But when he was born, and when he grew up, he grew up in a Jewish family, he did not realize what God has called him for, what is his vocation. He has no knowledge of what God has called him for, he knows generally that he needs to do some kind of ministry, so he went and studied for ministry. Did some higher studies and all that, studied under the best man in Jerusalem, named Gamaliel. And then he heard about this Jesus of Nazareth, see he's from Tarsus, he didn't know what happened in Jerusalem. He had studied in Jerusalem and gone back to Tarsus and lived there, while Jesus was shaking the whole place here in Galilee and Jerusalem and so on. And he heard about it, and they called him back probably, and he comes back after Jesus crucified and risen. He comes back because this new sect has now risen, they're claiming that Jesus is risen and they're spreading this news everywhere. All of Jerusalem, street after street there are groups gathering and worshiping Jesus as Lord and savior and believing in Christ. Thousands of people have become followers of Christ, so Paul is summoned because he's one of the most able persons. He comes back to Jerusalem and he's put in charge of destroying this group. And here is a man who's called to be an apostle, now goes around destroying churches, destroying preachers. He was behind the killing of Stephen, the martyr of the church in Jerusalem. You know, he was responsible for that, he was right there when Stephen was killed and so on. Later on he says, "I did it all in ignorance, I didn't know what God has called me for. Out of ignorance, I was behaving like that. I didn't know that I was called to be an apostle." But one day he met Jesus and he realized that he's called to be an apostle, he's life got turned around and he immediately started preaching Christ. The Christ whom he hated, instead of burning churches and destroying churches, he goes around building churches and pioneering churches.

God has chosen him from his mother's womb, God has taken him as a vessel. This is what he means when he says God has separated me unto the Gospel. That means in his mother's womb, God has put within him all the qualities, abilities, and talents and marked him. Marked him for ministry, for apostleship, when he was born, he was born for that purpose. And everything that is required, every kind of ability that is required to be an apostle was given to him right at that point in his life in seed form. He didn't know that, he came into this world full, right? None of us come into this world as an empty vessel, we are a vessel, but full of something. God fills us with some good things, He has not filled us with good things for ourselves. He has filled us with good things so that we may give it to others so that it may be beneficial to others. Whatever profession you're in, it is a gifting, it is an ability, it is a thing that God has put within you. Even when you were in your mother's womb, God has given it to you. And usually if you just follow even your instincts, you will come upon your calling, you will know what you're called for, you know. Even a person who lives a very natural life, if he just follows his own instincts he will know what his life's calling is, you know. Nowadays people write to evangelists and preachers and say, "Please pray and tell me what God tells me, what God tells you about what I should become and all that." You don't have to do all of those things, it's a very simple. God has a way to work within you, to show you His will and plan purpose, what He's made you for, what He's called you for and all of that.

But none of us are born empty, we came naked, yes. But that nakedness does not mean we don't have anything, no, we have rich resources inside, right? One fellow said, one preacher said, "The grave is the richest place on earth because God filled people with good, rich resources when they were born in this world. And after they were born, they never realized throughout their life, whatever they're called to do." They never came to touch with what they're born to do and they lived their life, 70, 80 years like that and then they died. And go into the grave, and make the grave rich." None of us should make the grave rich, we should make the world rich. We should make the other people rich because God has put within us resources, and those resources are for the benefit of others, for the blessing of others that God has put within us.

Paul says,"Yeah I was called like that, it took me some time to realize that", sometimes it takes us some time to realize that. So none of us are born empty, without anything, with no purpose, with no gifts, no abilities. And Indians we understand this very well, when a child is born we have no problem buying a gift for the child. We know exactly what to buy, we go buy a piece of cloth, we just buy some dress for the child, because the child has everything but no dress. Born without anything to wear, so we readily go and buy a gift and come because we know that's what the child needs. And literally that verse means that, naked did I come, yeah but not without anything. It doesn't mean without anything, just empty did I come, no, it is not empty. Naked did I come, it's naked alright?

So we are a vessel, Paul says, I'm a vessel and God has poured into that vessel like the drink offering, something he has poured in. And it is my job to go and pour what God has poured into me and filled me with, into this world, into the lives of people that he has called me to go to. So I've been doing that he says, so I've been doing that for some time. And I've been pouring, and pouring, and pouring, going everywhere, ministering, doing things. And I'm coming to the last few drops, I'm going to die, it's over. What a wonderful way to think about life, worldview, every single one of us must think like that. When we come to the end of our lives, on the day we die, that must be the glorious day, why? Because we realize that we've been called for something and we've received something from God, and we've been pouring that out all our life. Our life's mission and work has been about going around pouring what God has poured into us and put it within us. And poured, and poured, and poured and we're coming to the last few drops and we're going to be dead. And the moment you close your eyes, you're empty again, you're ready to go back. Don't make the grave rich, pour it all out, Paul says,"I'm being poured out as a drink offering."

I was preaching recently in a funeral service, one preacher was there he came to me and said, "Thank God you said this thing about this drink offering because mostly we read that and everybody said I'm being poured out as a drink offering, Paul says. Because he's going to die as a martyr." No, no, no, he's not talking about dying as a martyr, he's talking about how he's been living, pouring his life out, pouring what God has poured into him. All his ministry and life has been a life and ministry of pouring out what God has poured into him. And it is come to the last few drops, he's going to complete it because he says, "I have fought a good fight and I've finished the race." Right, so he's completed it, he's talking about how he has lived his life. What he has done with his life, the work he has done, that is what he is talking about that. So he says, "I've been poured out as a drink offering," the word offering is the same as sacrifice. I've been poured out as a drink offering, you know you and I are an offering that is given to God. We are not just giving some offerings to God, we give ourselves to God, everything that we have and that we are belongs to God. Spirit, soul, and body and everything about us belongs to God. That is the first thing that marks a Christian, we totally and completely belong to God. I am like a drink offering, I am vessel with a drink being poured out, I'm an offering, I'm a sacrifice. Paul has this view, his worldview is amazing, he says, I'm in the altar of God, so to speak, I'm just there, completely given to God. My whole life I've had no other agenda, he says, ever since I came to know Christ I've been fulfilling this plan and purpose of God. Doing what God has called me to do, walking through my call in life and doing what God has called me to do.

The idea of call is very important, we'll be talking about it more and more in the days to come. Do you walk with the knowledge of your call? Can you say, "I am being poured out as an offering, my whole self I belong to God. I'm not my own, I've been bought with a price. That everything that God has given unto me is given so that I can fulfill a mission in life. I'm living for that vision." Every person doing any kind of work is called by God, to do that work. And placed by God in a particular place to do a particular work, and you are being poured out. So this is the Protestant idea that changed the world, that people began to view their life as not their own but given to God. That they may be engineers, doctors, professors, they may be teachers, they may be in all kinds of professions.

There's an example told about a woman during the middle ages. The cathedrals were being built in those days, the big cathedrals became the thing of the day at that time. And the people working on building the cathedral saw a nobleman there, walked around talking to the builders, people that were working on the building. Wanting to find out what's happening, so he stopped by the stonemason and talked to him. And the stonemason said, "Sir, you know what it takes to build a plumb wall you know straight level? It takes a lot of skill and this is how I do it." He was explaining with pride how he did it. He was talking to a guy that worked on glass work, cathedrals had a lot of glass work, and he's explaining how tricky it is to do the glass work and how much skill is needed and so on. And then he happened upon a carpenter, and the carpenter told him look at the roof, you know. "The whole thing stands on my work, I've framed the whole roof and I've designed it and this is the way I've done it," and taking pride in his work and so on. And then the nobleman looked and saw a woman with a broom in her hand and a dirty bucket in her other hand. And he stopped by her and said, "Woman, what are you doing? " She said, "I am building a cathedral for the glory of God." That's the Protestant idea, what is there in her words? She's saying,"I am building a cathedral for God." In other words, she's saying,"I'm working for God sir, I'm a laborer here for God. I'm building a cathedral for God, I am a servant of God, my work, this broom and my cleanup work where I pick up the trash is a work that has been given to me on this day by God to do. I'm in the business of building a cathedral for God, I'm working for God", that's the concept. For the glory of God we're building a cathedral.

So she saw herself as working for God, engaged in something that God has given to her. Just imagine a society where everybody thought that their job is something into which God has called them and they have to do it as unto God. How will they do it? Turn with me, just keep that right there and turn with me to Mark chapter 8:34. - When he called the people with his disciples, he also said-no, no, no Colossians, I'm sorry Colossians. Colossians chapter 3, Colossians chapter 3 and verse 22 onwards. - Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Jesus Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. - Look at the words here, to the people that worked he says obey your masters in everything. Not do eyeservice, not be men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart fearing God. Whatever you do, do it with a whole heart, that's what it means, as to the Lord. Do it as unto the Lord, you're working for the Lord and not to men, knowing that you're reward comes from God. That woman had all that idea in her, said I'm working for God, I'm building a cathedral for God. She didn't see herself as a lowly servant that is just picking up the trash, she saw herself as someone doing something for God. Contributing her part of it in the whole effort.

That is the kind of thing that Protestant Church, Protestant teaching brought into the church in those days. Now go back to Romans chapter 12, we were in Romans chapter 12 and I started explaining that. The idea of sacrifice, a living sacrifice, we're a living sacrifice. We're not called to just give our physical life to God, we are called to live for God, that's the meaning of a living sacrifice. Give yourself wholly to God, so that all your days you will serve the Lord. So that spiritual life is not a Sunday, going to church kind of spiritual life. Spiritual life is 24/7 365 days, it is all the time in everything that you do, in every field of endeavor, whatever work you're engaged in. Whatever you're doing, that is your spiritual life, that's the way the Bible presents it. That is what is called a sacrifice, a living sacrifice. And once you offer yourself a living sacrifice, when you say I don't have any agenda of my own, I belong to God, I do God's will. Then you can go and start working on the mind to begin to think in God's ways about everything and fulfill God's purposes and God's will.

Now you go to Mark chapter 8 and now you'll understand some verses that have always been difficult to understand. Mark chapter 8 verse 34 -When he had called the people to himself, with his disciples also, he said to them, "Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."-Oh I heard a lot of things said about this, and every time somebody took this verse, I was only scared you know. Was trying to take up the cross you know and follow Jesus which meant very bad things for me. You know I though, finished! you know, take up the cross and follow me. What does He really mean? He just got through talking about how He's going to go and suffer, He talks to the disciples and tells them in the previous verses how He's going to suffer at the hands of these authorities and give His life there on the cross and so on. And then He says if anyone wants to come after me, follow me, let him take up his cross. In other words He's saying, "Hey I've decided to take up my cross, I came to die on a cross. I've decided to take up my cross, if anyone wants to follow me let him take up his cross."So we know what His cross is, His cross is that he must die on the cross. On the cross in which He died in Golgotha.Is our cross the same? Is our cross also to die on a cross? That kind of a cross? No, we're not all going and hanging on a cross, no, our cross is not that.

See when Jesus went in to get Gethsemane He prayed, He knows that He's going to go to the cross next and die. His heart was burdened, heavy, because He knows that He's going to carry the sin of the world. Now this is not an ordinary death, imagine a person carrying the sin of the whole world and the curse of the whole world. And His death is the punishment for that sin that God gives, that's His death. His death is like that, He's going to become a sacrifice for the whole world. He's going to die there, He's heart is heavy, cannot bear it, He sweats blood literally and prays in the garden of Gethsemane. Tells the disciples to join with Him, they all sleep, they don't care, and He prays there, what does He pray? He says at one point His heart's become so heavy so He says, Lord if it be thy will, Father if it be thy will, remove this cup from me, this cup of suffering. This cross, this whole episode that I'm going to go through, it's better to avoid it. If it's possible, remove this from me. And then within a second He realizes He's doing the wrong thing, then He says it nevertheless not by will, but thy will be done.

As soon as He said that, He got up and He looked at His disciples, He says come on, get up and the soldiers are coming to get Him. Judas Iscariot is bringing them to get Jesus, it was not like the soldiers were looking and searching for Him, or chasing Him, trying to catch Him, or that He was hiding and they found Him or something like that. No, He gets up from praying, calls the disciples, He says let's go, and then He looks up, they're coming, He says, "Hey, I'm here." He presents Himself, He says come over here, let's go. What is He saying? He says, "I'm ready to take up my cross. I know why I came in this world." I came to die, that's the reason God sent me, I know what it means, I know what I'm going to go through, my heart is heavy. But I've prayed about it, I've decided to take my cross, I'm ready to go to the cross. Let's go, He says to them, and then they bring Him. And that same Jesus is saying here, I've decided to take up my cross, my cross is to die in Golgotha on the cross of Calvary have you decided to take up your cross? If His cross is laying down His will and taking up God's will, to do God's will, if He's cross is Him saying, not my will but thy will be done, I would rather not go through this, but nevertheless it's your will, I will do it.

That's the cross, that's the actual cross, He took it and He says, if any man follows after me let him do the same thing. Let him take up his cross, what is your cross and what is my cross? It is laying down our will and taking on God's will. Now people never think of it that way, they'll think of so many ways in which they carry the cross. Some people say, "Well this sickness is the cross that God has given me." For your information, no, it's not the cross that God has given to you. He died on the cross so that He may save you from that sickness and heal you from that sickness. Some people say, "Well my wife is my cross," one fellow says. Or "husband is my cross, and I've been carrying this cross for 30 years." Well for your information that's not your cross, he didn't call you to take up that cross, you don't have to carry that cross. God didn't say take up this cross, no, no, no, some people think that's my personal cross. No, that's not your cross. See people imagine all kinds of things, that's not the cross. What is the cross then?

The cross is saying, "Not my will but your will be done, in everything." In every area of your life, particularly we're talking about work. When it comes to work, people just decide whatever they want to do, and they say, "Well I just chose this but I'll do a Bible study every week, so that I do something for God." So they give that one hour for God, but rest of it they'll do themselves, whatever they want to do, whatever they wish to do. They never care about what God's will is, you see. God says a person that comes to me must take up his cross and follow me. That means must put down his will, and take up my will. That means that you don't have an agenda of your own, that you're not going anywhere on your own. You become like Jesus, you say, I will never even do anything that is not His will, I want to do only His will and nothing else. And you decide like that and do His will, that is what that carrying the cross means. And when it comes to work or doing business, or whatever, it is doing the will of God for your life. Not doing something because it looks like that's the thing for you. No, it is because you know that you are called to it, you know that are gifted to do it. You know that God has placed you there and brought you through the things of this life, so that you may do that particular thing. That you are convinced that that's the call of your life. Not my will, by thy will be done.

People say I'm ready to become this for God, that for God, you know. One fellow said, "I'm ready to become the donkey that Jesus carried." No, God doesn't want you to become a donkey, not even a horse. God just wants you to be a man made in the image and likeness of God. He has made you for something, what did He make you for? What did He make me for? Why was I made? Why was I made this way? What did He put inside of me? What is there that has been given to me? Have we taken time to think about it? Have we thought about our call? Where does God want me go? What does He want me to do? What is the thing that I must get into? What is my gifting? What is my ability? That is a good indication of what God has called me to do and you walk closely with God, He will guide you in the direction of His will and you take up the cross. That is you take up His will, you lay down what you want to do, but you take up what God wants to do. And you lay down your desires, take up His desires, make it your desires so that when you pray, you're not praying your desires, you're praying His desires that He put inside of you. And that is the prayer which Jesus said, whatever you ask my Father that he will do for you. That whatever means, whatever God has put in your heart, whatever desire God has put in your heart, whatever God is moving you to do. That God will give to you, he says, 100% result in prayer, why? Because you're not a person who's doing what you want to do, you're doing something what God wants you to do, that's all. When you do what God wants you to do, then I'll tell you, God will do everything to make that possible. When we want to do what we want to do, then no matter how much we try to do it, it becomes impossible. When God wants to do something through you and puts it in your heart, no matter how impossible it is, God will enable you to do it. God will bring it together and cause that thing to work out in your favor so that you accomplish what God has called you to do. See this is all faith and prayer, everything is linked to this, doing the will of God. Amen.

So what are you called for? What is God's calling upon your life? That is something that we need to think about. That is something that we need to be tuned to God. Many years ago when I was thinking about that, you know, ministry is something that I was afraid. And God led me into the ministry, I thought, I wished that God will call me to something else, but then I was called into ministry. I knew that this the thing that I want to do, once I came into this, initially I was afraid, but then God led me into certain things. Which gave me the assurance this is the thing that I must do, for all my life, till I die I must do this. I decided one day after one year of going to Bible college, I had an experience where I listened to a man preach from the book of Romans. I decided I will preach this Bible the rest of my life, this is what I'm called to do. I felt one with it, I know that this is what I'm called to do, alright. But then where to do it? And I had my own plans you know, I'm good at choosing places, I thought. So I had chosen my place and I was doing it, again I felt the call of God, God said do it here. Which seemed very inconvenient for me in the beginning, why should I do it here? Why can't I do it there? That man is doing it here, this man is doing... why can't I do it? You know, plus in the Bible college some preachers would come and they said, "Don't ever say to God, I'll go wherever you send me. He may send you to Somalia, you know." So I was always afraid that God's going to send me to the worst place in the whole world, you know. But I found out after more than 30 years of preaching and being here and preaching, I can tell you, if God sends you to Somalia, Somalia will be blessed because of you. You will transform Somalia, Somalia will become like heaven because of you. If God has called you, that is where you should go and that is what you should do. And when you boldly enter into what God has called, that is what is called enterprise. When you step into what God's call in your life and step into it boldly and do it with confidence, knowing that this is what you're called to do. Do it, live or die I'm going to do it. When you get into that, I'm not talking just about ministry, I'm talking about everything in life. When you do it knowing that this is what God has called you to do, I tell you, you may have some struggles in life that you will face. But through it all you'll learn how to trust in God, and you'll come out ahead and you'll be a winner and you'll be a blessing mainly to so many people and you will bring glory to God in the end. Amen.

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