Summary: All true churches are made up of Christians who want to see the hand of God working first in their lives, so they can be made usable to Him. Second, they want to be empowered by the Holy Spirit so they can fulfill their part in the “Great Commission.”
Turn Your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 3:6,8-9
Title: Controlling Desires
Theme: Beware of Becoming a Controlling Laborer
Series: Laboring Together With God
Introduction: A God-loving, Word-filled disciple-maker will be more concerned about his spiritual heart than about any unpleasant circumstance that he may be in. He will welcome everything in his life that will enable him to grow in Christ, whether in success in ministry or trials or chastisements. Ministry to the Lord is doing whatever He has called and gifted you to do. You fit in one of these categories in regards to being a laborer, 1.) An Undisciplined Laborer. 2.) An Controlling Laborer or 3.) A Trusting Laborer.
All true churches are made up of Christians who want to see the hand of God working first in their lives, so they can be made usable to Him. Second, they want to be empowered by the Holy Spirit so they can fulfill their part in the “Great Commission.”
There are great men and women of God who have learned the joy of allowing God to examine their hearts during the first season of their ministry for the coming year. For example, many great preachers and teachers of God’s word will spend most of the first month of the calendar year, January, inviting the Lord to do a work in their heart, before asking for direction for the rest of the year. They have the heart of the psalmist who wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
They know the truth the apostle Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 3:6-10, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-10) Let us pray!
“And each will be rewarded according to his own labor” and growth only comes from God.
Every child of God knows that his labors for the Lord must be done in a manner worthy of the gospel they preach. If they are lazy they will see the results that sluggard gets. If ministry it is done with a mean spirit, it will only set up huge stumbling blocks in the paths of those they hope to make disciples of. Christians can fulfill their responsibilities in teaching and proclaiming the Word of God, but that does not mean that they are disciple makers lead by the Holy Spirit.
There are those who become “Controlling Laborers,” They do just as much harm to the work of the Lord as the “Undisciplined Laborer.” Thus, the church that is going to be pleasing to the Lord and a blessing to the body of Christ will examine the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse her own heart before she tries to deal with the fault of others.
Proposition: I would propose to you that the condition of the sluggard and the controlling laborer is always destructive. From these the church needs to be rescued by the reproofs of God’s Word. It must be understood that what is in the heart of the sluggard is also in the heart of the controlling laborer, pleasing self.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what are the early signs of becoming a controlling laborer?
Transitional Sentence: Since self is so destructive, both the sluggard, I spoke on last week and the controlling laborer need to face the truth about themselves and then surrender their hearts and lives over to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Just as there are character traits and consequences to being a sluggard, there are character traits of the controlling laborer. His self-centered life births forth negative consequences as well.
Before we get into the character traits and consequences of a controlling laborer today in the church, home and work place, let’s take the advice of God’s Word. There is a principle set forth in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit wants us to obey so we can see how God deals with sin, even among His chosen people. The apostle Paul writes, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) What Paul is warning about is not to become smug or arrogant in our stand for Christ or on Godly things. Keep alert lest we fall. (The Expositors Bible Commentary)