Preferred Status With God (1 Corinthians #55)

Text: 1 Corinthians 16:10-11

The labor is what got God involved in your life first.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God…  The work of the Lord is the Lord’s priority.  It is, by definition, what He’s doing. It is what the Lord thinks about, what occupies his mind, what guides his answers to prayer.  

Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.  The complaint of every employer, “I just can’t find good help.”  That’s what the Lord said of His own work.  He can’t find people to do the work that needs to be done.

Now, God’s work is important to him.  And when he finds people interested in being a part of his work, he invests in them, answers prayers for them, singles them out for preferential treatment.

Preference given to laborers (vs 10)

  • Paul made no bones about showing Timothy special treatment because he was directly involved in God’s business.  Not because of who Timothy was, but because of what Timothy was doing.  Timothy made God’s business his business and the Lord was going to take care of him for that.
  • What defines a laborer?
    • Does that mean pastoring, full time ministry only?  You won’t find that to be the case.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
    • Romans 11:13-15 reconciliation is such the work of God that the Lord held off on working with his own chosen people so he could go after the rest of the world in an effort to reconcile sinners.
    • Colossians 1:19-20, 25, 28-29 (vs 28 defines what that work sometimes looks like)
  • Preference for a labourer – 1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Preference seen in the blessings of God

  • Give you a clearer understanding of God’s blessings and how they revolve around his work.
  • Acts 20:35 …It is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • True blessing is in the giving.  So what are God’s blessings?  What are God’s gifts?  Let’s consider how they relate to his work.
  • God gave his only begotten son.  Does that have anything to do with reconciliation?
  • God gives his Holy Spirit.  What does that have to do with reconciliation?
    • Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
    • God gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-12).
    • Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4
  • We throw that phrase out there a lot that God has “blessed” us.  God’s blessings revolve around God’s work.  Remember that.  If you want to claim it as a blessing, then know it is given to directly assist you in God’s reconciling work.

Preference seen in answered prayer

  • The need is determined by the work God wants done. So we need tools of reconciliation.
  • Ever notice how answered prayer in the Bible always revolves around God reconciling work?
    • Elijah on a national level with the prophets at Carmel, and then giving special treatment to the widow who took care of Elijah when no one else would.  The Lord scolds the Pharisees with that story and they threw Jesus out of the temple for it. (Luke 4:24-26)
    • Abraham prays for Sodom and Gomorrah and the Lord negotiates with him in Genesis 18:24-32 for 10 souls.  Abraham started with 50, 45, 40, 30, finally 10.
  • Prayer promise about being with Jesus Christ and having a need – John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
    • Ye have not because ye ask not…
    • The needs God has supplied to you came because you asked Him to supply them.  Take for instance salvation.  You may not understand all that took place when you trusted Jesus Christ to be your Savior and reconcile you to God, but He didn’t save you until you asked Him to.
    • I oversaw several facilities for a few years in the oilfield.  Many times I had guys request things that they needed for the job at hand and many times I had requests made that I didn’t think served a purpose for the job at hand.  And prayer is similar to that.
    • James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Here is a guy who requests we buy a certain tool kit and I don’t think it’s necessary.
    • The problem is what you’re asking for isn’t needed for what you’re doing.

Preference seen in faulty vessels

  • Not looking for perfect vessels, but faithful vessels prepared for the work.
    • Paul tells them not to despise Timothy.  He’s young.  He’s not perfect.
    • Proverbs 30:10 Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.
    • Nothing so discouraging as finding out your hero is a human being who sins.  Get your eyes on Jesus Christ.
  • Finished my course doesn’t mean you didn’t fail along the way.  Paul did.
  • Paul’s salvation, chiefest among sinners.
  • Went back to Jerusalem against God’s instruction.

Preference seen in preparing for the end

  • What happens when you’re no longer able to do what needs to be done
  • End is inevitable.
  • Paul said I am ready to be offered.
  • Not to prepare is foolish.
  • Numbers 8:23-26 Levitical retirement.
  • Help those that are serving.