Summary: Every Church can have growth by observing the characteristics of the ox found in this text.
Subject: The Church
Theme: Church Growth and Stewardship
Preposition: Every church can have church growth.
Transitional Sentence: By observing the characteristics of the ox set forth in this text.
Proverbs 14:4 “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
Today, we will see the importance of the ox in this verse of scripture compared to the importance of the people in the church. You may say, “What in the world does a stupid, dumb, stinky, ugly, smelly ole ox have to do with me?” Well, certainly God is right when he said in II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for correction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Let’s look at three characteristics of the ox:
I. His Person
A. Pictured as the Servant
1. He pulled the plow
2. He pulled the carts
3. He did the hard, dirty work
4. He stunk and was dirty
B. Pictured as the Saviour
1. Was used in sacrifices (peace and sin offerings)
2. In Judges 6:25-28 God told Gideon to take two bullock (oxen) and do two things:
a.) Break down his father’s altar of baal
b.) Sacrifice the other oxen on a new altar, to atone for his father’s sin.
· This will represent two things that Christ did for us on Calvary:
1.) He broke the bonds of death and sin; conquering death
2.) He made atonement for our sin.
3. As that ox had pulled the plow and that heavy load through the hard and dry ground, so Jesus totes our load of sin through this dry, hard world. The plow was made of wood just as HIS plow was made of wood. He also pulls the cart of the church and will one day pull it on home! Hallelujah!!
4. The ox was used to Barter or trade for something else as payment.
Illustration Potatoes Story
I THANK GOD FOR THE HARD AND DIRTY WORK THAT THE LORD JESUS DID ON CALVARY’S CROSS FOR ME AND FOR YOU!!!
Just as the ox did all of the hard labor, so does the bus worker, the soul winner, the nursery worker, the bus mechanic, the jail preacher, the homeless preacher, the college students….And everybody has a part to do. We all have a plow to pull and work to do for the Master. We all have a cart to pull or a family to tote around or people that are dependent upon us to lead them. We all have the seed to trample into this world after the Master has sown it into our hearts.
II. His Purpose - much increase
A. His Loyalty
1. To Produce Results
· Furrows, Fruit, Food, Families needs met, Fortune,
· The Harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few.
2. To be driven by the masters bidding, not the other way aroun
B. His Labor
1. Trampled the seed into the ground
2. Trampled the stalks to separate the grain during threshing.
The Servant vs. The Saviour
The servant of God can produce results and much increase by the laboring and the loyalty of the soul winner, the bus captain, the nursery worker, the homeless preacher….so on, so on, and so on. From the Labor and Loyalty of the Saviour, and what He did for us, we will become more and more like him and He will produce results in our lives.
a) As the sower (the Lord Jesus) has sowed the seed into our ground (hearts) let us get busy in the laboring process and “trample” the word into the hearts of others. Grinding it into the minds and the hearts of christians. The Saviour, too, grinds that word into our hearts with the Holy Ghost.
b) As the ox would trample the stalks on the threshing floor to separate the grain and the stalks, let us always, as men of God be seperating the bones from the meat in this walk. Let the Saviour in the Power of the Holy Ghost work in your lives to clean you up and separate those things not fit for your spiritual walk with him. As the ox would trample the stalks, it was forbidden for the people to muzzle the ox while he labored. We do good not to muzzle the down and out who are working and doing their best, for the Glory of God, in the midst of this church. Let them enjoy the fruit of their labor. Let them breathe a little. They shouldn’t have to worry about a jealous pharisee putting a muzzle on their joy because they are producing results.