Summary: If we will live in trust and obedience we can be successful in the eyes of God. This message is based on a sermon by Rev. David Wilkerson preached in 1967.
The Secret of Success for Christians
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Pastor Jim May
1 Corinthians 9:9, "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?"
Paul wrote this referring to the teaching that he had as a Pharisee where it was required to know the Law of Moses in every detail. Paul said that he was a Pharisee among the Pharisees which meant that no one else could out quote him, or know more than him, and that he was dedicated to perfection in knowing and fulfilling the Law of Moses. Therefore it was no great thing for him to draw upon his knowledge and quote this law from the Old Testament. The verse he quoted is found in Deuteronomy 25:4, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."
Tonight I want to point out to you that the secret for success, for every Christian, whether called to pulpit ministry, or to work in the church, can be found in these verses. God’s Law is given as a schoolmaster, a teacher, to bring us into the fullness of Christ and to help us know what is required to be successful in from God’s point of view, and that is very often, quite different from what the world considers as the means of being successful.
If you can grasp the truth that is hidden in this simple law, then it will change your life forever. Perhaps you will see the Lord with a new perspective. Maybe you will set free from some things that have kept you limited or held back from being all that you can be in God’s army.
First, let’s look at that word “Muzzle”. What does that mean?
It can mean several things in our English language such as: the mouth, or end of anything where something comes out, such as the muzzle of a gun. In the animal kingdom it describes the jaws, mouth and nose of the animal. But the definition that I want us to mainly look at tonight is this one:
It is a device or a blocking apparatus that is placed over the mouth to limit or stop speech, expression of opinion, or even certain types of actions. In other words, it means that something is there that “bind the mouth.
If were then to look at the verse read before and paraphrase it, giving it meaning for you and I, it would read like this, “Thou shalt not bind the mouth of the worker who labors in the harvest.”
Paul continues with a question and says, “1 Corinthians 9:9-10, "… Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes?
God, in his righteousness and justice, determined that it would be inhumane to force an ox to work all day in the corn mill and not allow that ox to eat some of the corn that he milled.
Jesus said in Luke 10:7 that, "…the labourer is worthy of his hire”, and now we can see that this goes even for ox who are yoked to perform hard labor.
Jesus also said in Matthew 11:29-30, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." So we can see that these verses are talking about much more than an ox. They are talking about every one of us who become disciples. We are all identified with that ox that is treading out the corn, and God is telling us that while we carry the yoke that he places upon us, to do a work for him, that we are to be free from the muzzle and free to be filled faith and hope that is present in our work.
In 1 Corinthians 9:10 Paul answers his own question, "… For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."
We see so many Christians today who work out of a sense of duty! They seem to have lost hope of ever reaping a real harvest. They just don’t see themselves ever being truly successful in their work for the Lord.
Too often we hear preachers who preach what they have not experienced. How many preach being filled with the Spirit but are not full themselves? How many are teaching others how to be victorious in their Christian walk, and yet their own lives are wrecked by the storms of sin and shame? Their vision has died, their dreams have faded into the past and their hope for success has been shattered. They teach that all things are possible to him that believes, but they wonder why they can do nothing!