Good News #6 – What Will Work Be Like in Heaven

Good News #6 – What Will Work Be Like in Heaven

– Well, howdy, welcome to our final week of the Good News series where we’re looking at heaven. And the reason I started this series, it was kind of in correspondence with all the craziness in the world. And what we’ve learned is that everyone is frustrated, all for different reasons, but the world isn’t the way that we would like it to be. Business, economics, politics, the treating of fellow human beings. Everyone’s frustrated, upset, angry about everything, and ultimately, what we’re all longing for, everyone who’s picketing, protesting, frustrated, posting on social media, cussing out the nightly news. We know it’s all of you. Ultimately, whether they know it or not, they’re looking forward to heaven and the big ideas that we all know that something has gone terribly wrong in the world and we all want it to be fixed and changed. And no matter what we say or do, it seems like we never make a difference. That’s because sin has entered the world. And the storyline of the “Bible” is that initially, originally heaven and earth were together and the culture of heaven, it flooded, it invaded, the culture of the earth, and then it was to allow human flourishing on our planet. Well sin separated us from God and severed us from heaven. The result is this is what culture and the world looks like absent of God’s goodness and presence. The storyline of the “Bible” is that one day the Lord Jesus is returning. The dead will rise, that heaven and earth will come back together and that the culture of earth will be flooded and filled with the culture of heaven, and that we’ll be living forth the values of God. And ultimately, that’s what we’re all looking forward to and longing for. And a lot of people can know that there’s something wrong, but they don’t know how to make it right. And they don’t know what it would look like if things were in accordance with God’s design. And so what we’re gonna deal with today is kind of the final picture and portrait that I wanna share with you, and that is really to undo one of the most powerful myths that I think really keeps people from appreciating, enjoying heaven and thinking forward to eternity. And that is this myth that we won’t have anything to do. And most of the pictures I’ve seen of heaven are terrible advertisements. You’re sitting on a cloud, looking at glory like a sunset or a sunrise forever and ever, and ever with nothing to do, nowhere to go and no progress to be made and nothing could be further from the truth. And so what I’m excited to share with you today is something that actually I’ve learned very recently, I’ve been teaching the “Bible” for 25 years, and I didn’t understand this aspect of heaven. So I wanna talk about your work. Think it for a moment, think about the work that you do that’s not job, vocation or paid. It’s loving your family, raising your kids, taking care of maybe older parents, just loving and serving family members. Then add to that your ministry, places that you volunteer, ways that you serve, try help and love and serve others. And then add to that all of your jobs in your vocation and your employment and your income stream, all of that together would constitute your work. And the question is this work that we do in this life, how is it connected to eternal life and will the work that we do today continue forever? So we’re gonna look at work ’cause this is how we spend probably the majority of our time. Statistically, most of us spend more time working than we do sleeping. So this is the number one category for your life on planet Earth. And how does it connect to eternal life and will there be work to do forever? So we’ll jump right in. And the first thing I wanna establish is that God works. God works. So work must be godly. Genesis 2:2 On the seventh day, God finished the work he had done and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God sets up a seven day week. Six days of labor, one day of rest. God sets for us this precedent and pattern for what it’s like to be healthy. For you and I to be healthy, six days, we need productive work to do one day. One day, we need nothing to do. We need to sleep. And I’ll tell you, I’m pretty good at the work. I struggle sometimes with the rest. How many of you are like me? If you’re gonna err in one of these two, you err in working too much. How many of you not so much, you’re up by the crack of dinner, right? Sleeping is not an issue for you. It’s getting to work that’s hard. I work a lot and sometimes I don’t rest as I should. I did, however, I just wanted to let you know this weekend, I was not a hypocrite. I went to bed late Friday night, long workweek. Great workweek. Saturday, I got up at 1:40 p.m. Okay, don’t judge me. Okay, don’t judge me. Grace kept coming up and seeing if I was alive or dead. She said, “I saw you breathing.” She’s like, “I made you breakfast. “And then the boys ate it. “And then I made you lunch and the boys ate it.” And I’m like, “Well, I’m up for the crack of dinner. “That’s when I’m up.” But for me it was six days of hard work. And my day off, I mean, I practiced for the burial of the dead. I just laid there. And then I got up. The resurrection happened about 1:40, and this is God’s design for us. So what that means is to be godly and to be healthy and to follow God’s example, six days we’re working really hard. One day we’re resting really, really, really well. And then Jesus comes to the earth and he does work as well. John 4 and 5. He has a lot to say about work. John 4:34. Jesus said, my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Your body needs nutrition to be healthy. In addition, your soul and your life needs meaningful work to do. Meaningful work, to do. How many of you have had a job that was just meaningless, pointless, purposeless? Like why do I even show up? We’re not doing anything. You were made with an innate need to do things that matter, to have meaningful work. And what’s interesting, even culturally, older generations, which would include me, we tended to choose our work based upon the highest income, the most money you could make. Younger generations, kids that are about the age of my kids. They’re now making their vocational decisions less about how much they make and more about how much value, meaning and purpose they find in the work because they saw their parents growing up, making a lot of money, working a lot of hours, not necessarily loving or enjoying their job. They saw the price that it took on the relationships in the family. And oftentimes, as the parents got older, they ended up getting divorced, splitting the assets and giving a percentage to attorneys anyways. So the pursuit of a lot of wealth actually didn’t produce a healthy lifestyle. So a lot of generations that are younger have reacted in the opposite direction, saying I want meaningful, valuable, purposeful work to do. I want what I’m doing to actually matter and to be satisfying because there’s a difference between your income and your lifestyle. You can make a lot of money and have a lifestyle that’s really not healthy or enjoyable. You could make less money and have better relationships and more margin, and the result can be you have a healthier family and lifestyle. And a lot of people are choosing that. And what they’re learning is that your self-worth is not tied to your net worth. That how much you make does not determine the quality of human being that you are. And, of course, we know this from the Lord Jesus. He didn’t make a lot, but His lifestyle was one that we all emulate. And I’ll say this too, you need meaningful, valuable, purposeful work to do. This is one of two ways. Either what you’re doing is a big deal to you, or you’re doing it unto the Lord in such a way that God infuses meaning into the work. And this explains some things like people who retire start to die. Some of you are older, as you hit the retirement years, statistically, what happens when you start working, you start decaying. If you don’t have a reason to get up in the morning, keep your mind fresh, keep your body moving. You start to die. ‘Cause we were made to be productive. So for you older saints, what this means is you can retire from your job, but you can’t retire from your work. This may be a lot of time with your grandkids to invest in them. There’s meaningful work. It may be ministry opportunities to love and serve and invest in others ow that you’ve got a little margin in your schedule. It’s meaningful work. This also explains, how many of you have had this experience? You go on vacation, the first day you’re like, oh I love this. The first week, you’re like, I’m doing okay. The second week, you’re like, I’m done now. It’s time to get back, do something. I gotta do this. I’m like, I love the hammock, I love the hammock, I love that. Okay, I got my hammock time, I’m good. I gotta go back and do something. And this is why people are not doing well during the shutdown. Jesus says food is to do God’s will to accomplish some things. During the shutdown, people are really struggling. You know why? There’s nothing to do. People are bored. People are frustrated. You’re starting to see anger boil over. And it’s because we were made to accomplish, to achieve, to work. There’s something good about that. And it’s good for the soul. And for those who are struggling with addictions or those who are in what we would call recovery ministries, it’s been a particularly tough time. If you don’t have a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to stay sober and a reason to go do things, you find yourself getting into some very self-destructive habits. So what we’re seeing is massive increase in spousal abuse, domestic violence, neglect, or harm of children. Alcohol sales are off the charts. People are self-medicating and self-destructing. I was interviewing a friend of mine, he’s a clinician and a counselor, he runs a great firm, recently for “Real Men” on Wednesday night. And I asked him, so what do you think is happening? And he said, well, he was at the grocery store and he asked the clerk, “So what are you selling? “What’s flying off the shelf? “What can you not keep?” ‘Cause it was hand sanitizer and toilet paper, right? That’s what it was. The end of the world comes, I’m gonna be clean. And so what happens is it’s shifted, buying has. He said, he asked the clerk, “What’s flying off the shelves?” They said, “Alcohol, we cannot keep alcohol in stock.” You know why? Because if people don’t have something to do, they start to self-destruct. If they don’t have something to look forward to, they sort of become hopeless. Pray for all the churches in the Valley that are trying to open, and will officially reopen next weekend. Pray for all the churches in the country that are looking to reopen and pray that those who are struggling with addictions can get back with God’s people and find something to do as soon as possible. I was talking to a pastor friend of mine this week, great guy, local church in the Valley, and before they have officially opened their church, the first things they opened were their recovery ministries. Those who were struggling with addictions, they brought back first. And so he was part of the call team, calling people in the church and a guy that he knows, answered his cell phone, and the pastor said, “Hey, we’re gonna be starting up again our group this week “for people who are struggling with addiction. “And we know you’ve been a part of that.” And the guy literally said, “Praise God, you called.” He said, “I have been clean and sober for 15 years. “And I just poured my first drink.” He said, “In one hand, I have a drink. “And the other hand I have my phone. “You called just before I took a drink.” He said, “I was ready to blow 15 years sobriety.” Why? Because he has nothing to do tomorrow. And so he’s gonna self-destruct today. What we’re seeing in our world today is more the culture of hell than it is the culture of heaven. People are isolated. In heaven, they’re in relationship. People don’t have anything to do. In heaven, there’ll be meaningful work to do. And when Jesus comes to the earth and He lives a perfect life, He says part of that perfect life is doing good works that the Father has designed and decreed for us to do. Jesus says it this way in John 5:17. My Father is working until now and I am working. And Jesus there is talking about ministry and what ministry is, ministry is going to work with your dad. That’s what Jesus says. When I was a little boy, my dad was a construction worker, put a tool belt on, his name was Joseph. And you know, reminds me of Jesus’s dad. Jesus’s dad name is Joseph and swings a hammer for a living. That was my dad. And when my dad would go to big job sites for commercial jobs as a construction worker during the week, he wouldn’t bring me, obviously for safety reasons, I’m a little guy, but he would do side jobs on the weekend to help make ends meet and take care of our family with five kids. And on some of those side jobs, smaller residential jobs, he would say Marky. He still calls me Marky. I talked to him this week. Hey Marky. So I was like, and when he’s in church, I’m always. “Dad, hey, hey I’m Pastor Marky. “You gotta honor that.” Hey Marky, you can go to work with me this weekend. So I had my steel-toed boots and my little Levis and my white tee shirt like my dad and my little lunchbox with my thermos and hard hat and my little tool bucket. And there were certain jobs that my dad would take me to work with him. Not because he needed me. I’ll be honest, I don’t think added a ton of value on the construction site, but because he loved me and he wanted me to be with him to see what he was doing, and he wanted to do it together. That’s what ministry is according to Jesus. The Father is working and you’re his kid, you go to work with your dad. I now know what this feels like. I’m in the position now I’m the dad. And all five of our kids serve Jesus here at the Trinity Church, and we do that work together as a family. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my whole life. It’s amazing. It’s a great season. It is the greatest season of my whole life. And part of that reason is I’m working with my Father and as a father, I’m working with my kids and that’s what ministry is. It’s family doing the Father’s work together. So for those of you that are wondering, how do I get to know God better? And how do I get to know God’s people together? What I would say is find some ministry to do, find a place to serve. You’ll get to know more about your dad when you go to work with him and see what he’s doing. He’s saving people. He’s healing people. He’s loving people. He’s unburdening people. You get to see your dad do his work and you get to be a part of it. That’s how you get to know your brothers and sisters in the family. And then Jesus says this. John 5:36. The works that the Father has given me to accomplish. The very works that I am doing bear witness about me, that the Father has sent me. Jesus knew what to do, and he knew what not to do. Here’s what he says. This is a crazy line. The works that the Father has given me to do. That’s what I’m doing. The point is this that you need to say no to a lot of things, so you can say yes to the right things. One of the mistakes that we all make is to exchange fruitfulness for busy-ness. Some of you are like, I’m so busy. Yeah, but did God asked you to do all of that? No, but saw Sally did, and Tom did, and Tony did. And I have fear of men issues and I can’t say no. So I say yes to everyone and everything. And then when God comes and says, “Hey, I want you to do this.” You’re like, “Sorry, God, “I’ve already filled up my dance card. “There’s no room for you.” And during this slow down and shut down, many of us have literally had to reset our schedule. How many of you? You’re like I remember the old days when I would do things. That was amazing. What’s happened during this season is it gives an opportunity to reset our entire schedule. How many of you found there were things that you were doing that you didn’t need to be doing? There were things that were busy, but not productive. There are better ways to spend your time and energy. This is where, for God’s people, it could be a real opportunity to come back on the other side, not just come back, but come back better. And so I reset my schedule yesterday. I literally had been working on it and I dialed it in last night thinking okay, now that we’re getting back to, church is open, life is gonna start moving again. Here we go. Not just going back to what I was doing, but there’s certain things that I was saying yes to that I need to say no to, so I can say yes to the things that God asked me to do. So I would ask you all, just consider your schedule and pray about it and figure out not what is a need or an opportunity, but the will of God. Just ’cause there’s a need, somebody else may need to fill that need, just ’cause there’s an opportunity doesn’t mean that you’re the one to meet that opportunity. Is it the will of God for you? Is it the will of God for you? Jesus knew. That’s why Jesus could take a day off and he could take a nap. He did heal people, but He didn’t heal everybody. He did love people, but He didn’t meet everybody. He did teach people, but He didn’t teach everybody. He invested his time and energy in the people and things that were appointed to Him by the Father. And these good works that the Father has given Him to do, this included when He was a little boy. It says in Luke two that He grew in wisdom, stature and favor with men and God that He’s submitted and surrendered to His parents. So as a little boy this meant doing His chores. This meant doing His homework, cleaning up after Himself, doing the dishes. As a young man, this would have been Him continuing to obey His mother and father. As a man, this would have included Him going to work with His dad, swinging a hammer and doing construction and carpentry. The first 90% of Jesus’s life, the first 30 years, were devoted to things that we would not think were ministry. How was doing your chores and building a table ministry? If it’s under the Lord, and it’s what God has asked you to do, it’s ministry. The last three years, He’s preaching, teaching, healing, casting out demons and water skiing without a boat. And that was the Father’s will for Him as well. That was God’s will for Him. It’s all God’s will. It’s all God’s will. And the point is be faithful with the things God has called you to do. And then at some point He may change your responsibilities, but it’s all His will. So let’s look at that’s God’s work and how our God works. For us, work is part of creation, but is now cursed. The Lord took the man, put him in the garden of Eden to what? To work. Human beings, we need something to do, right? How many of you, if you don’t have anything to do, you get in trouble? You get in trouble. Average American’s packed on five pounds recently, watched a ton of Netflix and is not coming out on the other side in better shape. You need something to do, amen? Some of you are like only five pounds though? That’s a miracle. No, that’s not healthy. So God made us to work. How many of you, when you work, you do something, you accomplish something. There’s a satisfaction in it. Like I was made for that, that feels right. But here’s the problem with work after sin enters the world. So work is it’s decreed by God, but it’s fallen by us. Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer, says your work is a very sacred matter. God delights in it, and through it, He wants to bestow His blessing on you. He says, it’s a sacred thing to work. That how we work is how we worship. That part of our work is part of our worship. The problem is sin enters the world, and it’s now cursed. Genesis 3:17-19. God says to our first Father, Cursed is the ground because of you in pain, there’s your job. You shall eat of it. You’re gonna just have a real hard time making ends meet and putting food on the table. All the days of your life, thorns and thistles. That means everything is gonna war against you. It shall bring forth for you. And then he says, you’re gonna work by the sweat of your face. Now what happens now, because of the curse, everything takes more time, it takes more energy and it takes more money. How many of you are a business owner? You know exactly what this means. You bid a job. It takes 10 times longer, costs 15 times more. How many of you know that work is cursed? Not only is it harder, when you get the work done, it then breaks and falls apart. That’s because of the curse. I literally was sitting outside. So I live a blessed life. I love Arizona, but I was sitting outside by my pool yesterday. My little heaven on earth. And I was literally finishing the sermon, working on this point and a big breeze kicked up and it blew. So our German shepherd is shedding. That’s what it does in Arizona. It just sheds all year. ‘Cause it’s too hot. So a breeze kicked up and took a huge mountain of dog fur that I did not know was sitting in our backyard and just strategically dumped it in the middle of the pool where I can not reach it with the pole. And I’m doing Genesis 3 and I thought, okay, it’s cursed, but I’m gonna fight the curse. So I literally got in. I cleaned it all out. Okay? I then clean all the dog fur that I could possibly find. And I think, okay, I’ve defeated the curse. I sit down, breeze kicks up the other way, finds additional new hidden dog fur somewhere, dumps it right in the middle of the pool. I did this for about an hour, and I finally got done. I got the dog fur cleaned up. I got the pool cleaned out. And I finally sat down to finish my sermon on Genesis 3, the curse. And I thought, okay, Lord, no, I beat the curse. I kid you not. Then the dog jumped in the pool. That’s exactly what happened. The point is in heaven, my dog will not shed. And if it does, it will clean the pool. That’s what’s gonna happen in heaven. Until then, my dog is gonna shed and I’m gonna keep cleaning the pool. Life is cursed, right? How many of you have seen this? You schedule time. It takes more time. You schedule money. It takes more money. You throw energy out and it takes more energy out. Finally, you get it together, then it all falls apart. That’s the curse. And so God still wants us to work six days, rest on a seventh. And the work is harder because of the curse. And we can have many excuses not to rest because the curse means there’s always more work to do. But God says this in the next book of the Bible, six days work shall be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath day to the Lord, a day of holy rest. And so what He’s talking about there is this healthy rhythm of work and rest, work and rest. And you just need to know that because of the curse, your work is going to be harder and you’ll always have an excuse or a reason not to take your day off, but you need to, ’cause if you don’t take a break, ultimately you’re gonna break. That’s God’s pattern for us. Let’s look at the next section, how God works for you, in you and through you. So we’re talking about God’s work and our work. Here’s where those works come together. And he says this in Ephesians 2:8-10. It’s one of the most well-known scriptures in the “Bible” by Christians. For by grace, you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God. Not a result of works. And he’s talking about God’s works versus your works. So that no one may boast for we are His workmanship. That means He works in you and through you. Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Oftentimes what Christians will say is you’re saved by grace through faith. That means Jesus does all the work and you trust in Him. You’re not saved by works. I correct that, and I say, you are saved by works. It’s just not your works. Jesus worked for you. He came to Earth. He lived without sin. He died on the cross, in your place for your sins. He rose to forgive your sin, to conquer Satan’s sin, death, hell and deliver you from the wrath of God. When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.” What he was saying is I finished my work. The work is done. So Jesus does all the work. We get all the benefits. In some regard, this would be like, somebody says, I’m gonna go to your job and do all the work. And you get the paycheck. They do all the work. You get all the benefits. You’re not the one who did the work, but you’re the one who got the benefits for the one who did the work for you. And so Jesus does all the work. So if you’re here and you’re wondering, so how do you have a relationship with God? How do you get to heaven? How do you get your sins forgiven? His name is Jesus. He did all the work. Somebody said, “What do I need to do?” Nothing. Trust him. Trust him that his work is for you. That’s how you become a Christian. So we’re not saved by our works. We’re saved by the works of Jesus and we’re not saved by our works, but we’re saved to our works. God works for you. This is the life death, burial, resurrection of Jesus. God works in you where He talks about you being God’s workmanship, he’s working in you. He changes your nature. He gives you the Holy spirit. He makes you a new person. And then it says here that He has good works, prepared in advance for you to do. God works for you through the cross and resurrection of Jesus. He works in you through the power of the Holy Spirit, and he works through you. And all of your life now can be works. Not works to earn your salvation, but works because Jesus has earned your salvation, and now God is working through you. See that? And so Christianity is not opposed to results and progress. It is motivated by the results and progress that come from God, working through us. Some of you have had this experience in life. You’re like, I can’t believe that God allowed me to do that. It’s because he was at work through you. Any of you that have done ministry, seen someone come to Christ, help disciple another person, maybe even serve or give generously, something for you that’s brand new. You’re like that wasn’t me, that was God. But that was God through me. He gets all the glory. I get all the joy because not only does He work, He works for me, in me, through me. Now I get to be part of the good works that God is doing on the earth. And so we don’t have to do these things. We get to do these things as the children of God. And Paul says it this way. It’s one of my favorite lines in 1 Corinthians 15:10. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, and he’s comparing himself to all the apostles and it could sound arrogant, but he’s boasting in the Lord, not himself. On the contrary, I worked what? Harder. Some people will say, well, we don’t believe in grace. We believe in works, or we don’t believe in works, we believe in grace. I believe in grace that produces works or what the “Bible” calls fruit. What he says here is God gave me grace. And because of God’s grace, I worked harder. I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that was with me. He’s talking there about the grace of God that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. That the grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s the most powerful force in the world, the grace of God is. And the most powerful being in our world has got the Holy Spirit. And so when the child of God is filled with the presence of God and the power of God, we tap into a supernatural energy that allows us actually to be more productive, not so that God will love us, but because he already does, not because we have to, but because we want to and we get to, and not that we’re doing it all ourselves, but God has joined us in that work and he’s working through us. The Apostle Paul walks hundreds of miles. He writes maybe half of the books of the New Testament. He’s one of the most towering figures in the history of the world. We’re gonna look at his Book of Romans starting in September. But what he says is how did I get it all done? By the grace of God. By the grace of God, I got a lot of things done. The grace of God is the most powerful force at work in the world, and through the grace of God, you can become someone that you otherwise could not become, and you can do some things that you otherwise would not be able to do. So that’s the hope of the Christian. So every work that you have, if you are a Christian, next slide please, is ultimately for Jesus. I know maybe at work, you’ve got a boss and somebody gives you a performance review or a job description, but over everyone and everything is Jesus, who is Lord overall. And for the Christian, whatever we do, if it is ultimately to be the good works that God has intended for us to do, it has to be done for Jesus. What this does, some of your work is meaningful and it already has purpose in it. Some of your work is just kind of meaningless. That’s the way it feels. Any of you experienced that job? Like if they didn’t pay me, I wouldn’t come. I would never volunteer to do this. It’s not very exciting or purposeful. All of a sudden if it’s for Jesus that infuses the work with a new purpose and meaning. So sometimes the work is meaningful. Sometimes the work is not meaningful. It’s more mundane. But if it’s for the Lord, it’s infused with new meaning. New meaning. So he says it this way in Colossians 3, whatever you do, again, I would go back to my first three categories. This may be what you do for your family. This is serving your family. This may be volunteering in ministry and/or gonna work and getting your income stream, and this is your job or career path. All of this counts as the work. Whatever you do work heartily. Christians should not be lazy. Our whole country was built on something called the Protestant work ethic where a bunch of people said I work for Jesus. And what that meant, they worked harder and more honest. And as a result, the United States of America comes into existence as the greatest nation in the history of the world. Say, well, how did that happen? By people who not everyone was a Christian, but there were many who said, I work for Jesus, therefore, I’m gonna work wholeheartedly and I’m gonna work honestly. That’s the opposite of a sense of entitlement. It’s a sense of worship. It’s a sense of worship. As to the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. And that concept of Lord is that Jesus is over everyone and everything. And though you may have a boss, your boss has a boss, your boss’s boss’s name is Jesus. And your boss may pay you, but ultimately Jesus has an eternal inheritance for you. And what he’s talking about here is heaven, where Jesus says, don’t store up your treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy. store up your treasure in heaven. Say, how do you do that? Through your good works. Whatever you do under the Lord is sent ahead of you into the kingdom of God, and it’s part of your eternal inheritance in the kingdom of God. So what this means is everything you and I do has this great opportunity to, for us, be an act of love. And so you need to know that work and service is how we love through action. For the Christian, love isn’t just what we feel, it’s what we do. And what he’s saying here is if you love the Lord, you’re going to demonstrate your love for the Lord by serving, by working, by achieving, by accomplishing unto the Lord, under the Lord. Martin Luther, again, says it this way. A praise of work should be inscribed on all tools, on the forehead and faces that sweat from toiling. Martin Luther was the Protestant reformer who basically obliterated this concept of the sacred and the secular. We have this silly notion of the sacred and the secular. And sometimes people will say, I wish I could do ministry, not a secular job. If it’s under the Lord, what is it? It’s ministry. You could be a plumber and it’s ministry. You could be an electrician, it’s ministry. You can be an auto mechanic, it’s ministry and I’ll just tell you, we need those. How many of you would love to find somebody who’s honest as a general contractor or as an accountant, or I’ll just throw it out there since we’re talking miracles, a politician. Somebody who was honest. We need these things. And some say, God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does. Your neighbor does. We can all benefit from somebody who’s good at what they do. They do it honestly and wholeheartedly. And they do it unto the Lord. So what he’s doing here, he’s obliterating anything that’s sacred and secular ’cause sacred will be that’s not under the Lord. Secular’s not under the Lord, sacred. No, no, no, it’s all under the Lord. It’s all under the Lord. Jesus was doing good works as a carpenter in the same way that he was as a preacher and a minister. It’s not like he didn’t glorify God until he got into full time ministry. For him, carpentry was for, most of his life, quite frankly, his quote unquote full-time ministry. So whatever you do, what this does, this infuses your work with meaning, I’ll give you a kind of a simple example. So I became a Christian at age 19 and I felt called into ministry. So God literally audibly spoke to me at the age of 19 said, Marry Grace, preach the “Bible”, train men, plant churches. Literally audibly told me what to do. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do. And one of my first jobs before Grace and I got married was working as a dockhand for a ship. Obviously I didn’t live in Arizona. I worked on a boat. And so what this boat would do, it would ferry passengers, primarily tourists. And so it would run all day, and then at night it would dock and you’d have to get out a pressure washer and clean all this sea salt off the boat, take the boat out to a fueling station to fill it up, go in and clean all the windows inside and out, fill it full of meals, full up the boat with water, so that it would have water on board for the trip the next day. And so to me, it was the best job I could find that paid the most money ’cause I wanted to marry Grace, and we were in college. This was between our junior and senior year. And it was one of those temporary summer Joe jobs. And so I applied and they had a hard time getting people to keep the night shifts. So I ended up taking two shifts. I would work, I think it was 5 p.m. to 1 a.m, and then 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. So I worked a 16 hour double shift, and oftentimes would sleep in my truck. I had a 1968 Chevy pickup truck that got gallons to the mile. And I would sleep in my truck and then I’d go back to work. And I did this for a whole summer ’cause I love Grace with all my heart and we’re in college and I wanna make enough money that we can actually get married. And then one day I can get into ministry. And so what I quickly find is that the night shift, how many of you have ever worked the night shift? The night shift are not the real pacesetters, just so you know. Those are not the lead sled dogs at the job. They’re not out front. And so literally all of the managers and everybody that was sort of higher up, they would leave at five o’clock and then the night shift would take over and the boats would stop running. And the work would grind to a halt. First night, it was around 10, it got dark, everybody’s gone. They pull out a grill, they turn on music and they’re all grilling and drinking beer. I was like, what are we doing? They’re like nothing. I was like, okay, is this our lunch break? They’re like, no, this is our evening. They’d work a couple hours and then grill and drink beer for hours, every night. They said, yeah, you know our boss isn’t here. They’re not here. They don’t know what we do. It doesn’t matter. They’re not here. Nobody’s looking, nobody sees it now. Well then at one o’clock, the next crew would come. They were less impressive. These guys were less impressive. They would clock in and leave. I mean, literally they’d leave. I think the bars at that time closed at two o’clock and they’d be like, yeah, we’re gonna go drink and we’ll be back in an hour. Clock in, go drink. I don’t think they’re paying you to drink. I don’t think that’s how this works. Other guys then would literally go home and sleep and come back and clock out in the morning. Other guys would go out with their girlfriends. Certain guys would go out, they’d literally tell me, they’re like, I’m be playing poker, I’ll be back later. They would clock in and leave. So here I am, I’m like 21 years of age. There’s many nights, I’m the only guy there. And I looked at them, I said, guys, we gotta work. We’re getting paid. Like this is our job. They said, hey, nobody’s looking. And honestly, God brought to mind Colossians 3. I felt like God spoke to me and said, “I’m looking.” Your boss ain’t looking, but your boss’s boss is looking. It’s all right. I’m not saying I’ve done a lot of things right in my life. But on this one, I just worked my 16 hour shift and I worked it. And the more I worked, guess what the other guys did? Less. Less. They drank more, they played more poker. They went on more dates with their girlfriends. They grilled more dead animals. They did less work. And what I decided was, you know what? I work for the Lord, not for men. And I need to do what God has given me to do. And if I don’t do this, why would I ever expect Him to give me something else to do? Right? If I don’t do this, why would I expect someday to get entrusted with more? The point is this. Even when your boss isn’t looking, your boss’s boss is looking, and not only does your boss reward you, your boss’s boss rewards you and those rewards are eternal. And if you like getting a paycheck, imagine one that’s forever. This is the motivation for service and good works in the kingdom of God. And then here’s where I wanna go to. Your good works are actually rewarded in heaven. Most of you didn’t know this. Most of you think you work and you die. There’s even been some Christian books, very popular, written by some godly people that I love. And I won’t name names ’cause I don’t wanna be critical, but I do wanna be corrective. And they almost give this impression that all you’ve got is this life, and when you die, it’s over. So just do everything you possibly can because when your life is over, your works are done. That’s not true. That’s not true. I’ll prove it to you. 2 Corinthians 5:10. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, good or evil. He’s talking here about dual judgments. There are two judgments in the “Bible.” One is for the believer, the other is for the unbeliever. One is for the Christian. The other is for the non-Christian. For the Christian, Paul speaks of this in the Book of Corinthians in this context and it’s called the Bema seat. The way it worked in that day, if you competed in an athletic event, like a precursor to the Olympic Games, you would run your race or compete in your event, and then at the end, the judge would be sitting up on a high seat, the Bema seat, the judgment seat, and you would pass before the judge and they would give you whatever you earned through your competition. It’d be kind of like today, the judges are judging the Olympics and then you get the bronze and you get the silver and you get the gold, that you get rewarded or honored for your completion of task and for your performance. That’s for the Christian. For the Christian, how you live your life, the works that you do, the people that you serve, the money that you give, the effort that you extend, it is part of your eternal rewards. Similarly, for the non-Christian, that judgment is called the white throne judgment. It’s in Revelations chapter 20. And what it means for those who go to heaven, there’s different rewards, there’s different accomplishments or achievements or acknowledgements. For those who go to hell, their punishment fits their degree of rebellion in life. So the decent, moral person that was a sinner, but not catastrophic in their behavior, their eternal sentence will not be the same as someone who was malicious, abusive, harmed children, damaged women, did all kinds of horrible things that the punishment will fit the crime, and also the rewards will fit the faithfulness. That there’s perfect justice for everybody based upon their life. And what he’s saying here is that your good works ultimately are eternally rewarded. Now, what I wanna talk about on this is really to encourage you. Let’s ask this question. In this life is a mother really honored and rewarded? No. Is a teacher really honored and rewarded? A caregiver, those who do hospice and help the elderly and those who are struggling, do they really get the honor and the recognition? No. Right now in the children’s ward at a hospital, serving grieving, struggling families, not the degree of fame or fortune. What about first responders? Police officers, firefighters, soldiers. Do they get a great income and a great pension? Tragically often, no. And the question is, well, why should we serve if we don’t get the prestige and we don’t get the reward? Well, what God says is you will. You will. I mean, we live in a day that to be rich and famous doesn’t mean that you helped anyone or did anything, you were just well known. So you can be beautiful or naked or stupid and be rich and famous. In fact, that’s the shortcut. You put those three together, we call you a celebrity. That’s how it works. You’ve not done anything. I mean, I’m just telling you. I don’t write the mail, I deliver it. I’m just telling you how it works. Beautiful, naked, and stupid. You know, that’s the trinity for the celebrity. That’s just how it works. They’re like, what did they do? Nothing. Who did they help? No-one. What contribution do they make? Nada, nada. So in this life, they’re getting their reward. People know who they are, they praise them, and then they get compensation. What God is saying is that ultimately those who faithfully serve will be eternally rewarded for faithful service. So yeah, here’s what I think. I think teachers and moms and caretakers and first responders, I think in heaven, we’re all gonna know who they are. They’re gonna be the ones that are rewarded for their faithful, humble service in this life. This is the example of Jesus. While he’s on the earth, he’s very humble serving. And now he has been glorified to the highest place, that the last shall be first, that the humble will be exalted. Right? I want you to start to think beyond this life, into the life that never ends. And then it says this in Revelation 14, and I find this to be one of the most encouraging scriptures. Here is a call for endurance of the saints. How many of you are exhausted? You’re frustrated, you don’t like this planet. Now that you know there’s heaven, you’d like to know when the flight arrives? Amen?

– That’s right.

– Right? I mean like, please, can I go now? Right? As soon as you start to learn about heaven, you wake up every day, pray for it, hit the alarm and hope it comes before your alarm goes off again. That’s how it works. It’s hard to endure when you realize what God has for you. Eternally resurrection, heaven, and earth come together. Blessing, lifting of curse. All the nations together. No more racism, no more classism, no more national conflicts. No more soldiers, no more rioting. No more looting. No more dying. No more weeping. No more quarantine. Oh, it was like, please get me there immediately. Well, how do you exist until you get to where God intends for you to be? It’s gonna take some endurance. You gotta keep going until you get home. Those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, write this. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Bless it indeed says the spirit, the Holy Spirit, that they may rest their labors for what follows them. Your good deeds. People always say, you can’t take it with you. I would say, but you can send it ahead. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead. Your good deeds follow you. God has an account that shows your labor, your service, your generosity, your faithfulness. How encouraging is it to know that some people have never said thank you, but God will. That some people have literally ripped you off and they’ve not even paid you what you earn, but God is gonna generously and lavishly compensate you eternally. How many of you, you’re like, I love them, I serve them, I did that. They never said thank you. I never got appreciated. And we can get very frustrated. We just need to know the day is coming where all that we have invested will return an eternal return on investment. That’s super encouraging, right? That’s super encouraging. I got an email from a mom. She’s got some special needs kids. She said it was so encouraging to hear about heaven. To know that one day my children will be healthy. We’ll have a perfect relationship, that they’re going to speak to me and hug me. And Jesus has an eternal relationship for us. And she said, it just gives me perseverance to continue loving and serving my kids, who right now aren’t getting better and can’t even communicate with me. But for that woman, there is a great inheritance that awaits her. I think in heaven, a mom who’s loving faithfully special needs kids who can’t thank her and won’t hug her, I believe, that that mother in eternity is going to be a queen. And I believe every day is gonna be a good day for her. I don’t believe that anything that she is doing is wasted. I believe everything she is doing is invested. And I believe that God is going to richly reward her for all eternity. Okay. That’s where we set the finish line beyond this life because if all we have is this life, like I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to do, or it didn’t turn out the way that I hope that it would, just be faithful with the things that God has entrusted to you, knowing that He’s ultimately eternally gonna reward you. There’s so much encouragement in that. And we live in a day when everybody’s trying to make heaven on earth and fill up their account and be able to retire. I hope you can, but let’s just say that the stock market might crash and everything may not work out, but ultimately, God has a plan and it’s forever. And so for a little while, we need to practice some endure. It’s perspective. And then this verse to me is really, really, really encouraging. Revelation 5:10. Talking about heaven and the eternal state and the resurrection of the dead. You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God. Priests were their concept of the holy person who was set apart to serve God, that’s you. And they shall reign on the earth. That’s the kingdom of God. That’s eternity. That heaven and earth come together, that we are risen from death, that the curse is lifted and that God will allow your good deeds to follow you after you have the judgment for the believer of rewards and that ultimately, you will be appointed a leadership position in the kingdom of God. So the kingdom of God is not a socialistic kingdom. Everyone is not the same. They’re all equally loved. And to be in the kingdom is amazing, but those who rebel against the Lord their whole life and accept them on their death bed, they do make it into the kingdom, but those who faithfully served Him and endured for Him through their whole life will be given rather a higher position of authority and leadership. There’s going to be cities. There are going to be nations. There will be businesses. There will be technological advancement. There will be human exploration. The kingdom of God begins where Genesis 3 leaves off. Just as Adam and Eve were perfect and heaven and earth are together, and they have meaningful, purposeful, valuable work to do. Sin enters the world, God’s going to overcome sin, lift the curse, and then heaven and earth will come together and your life will pick up where Genesis 1 and 2 left off. Jesus gives this parable in Luke’s gospel of people, servants, who are given a certain amount of money. And it’s to indicate life and investment of life. And the parables are little stories that teach big truths about the kingdom of God. Parables all point to the kingdom. And what he says is this guy was given this amount, this guy was given this amount, this guy was given this amount. This guy didn’t do anything with it. He doesn’t get to rule anything. This guy made a five-fold return on investment, so he gets to rule over five cities. This guy made a 10-fold return on investment. He gets to rule over 10 cities. How many of you, if you were looking for a place to invest, you would want the best possible return on investment. Well, your life is God’s portfolio and he is looking to have a return on investment from our lives. And he rewards the return on investment for those who are faithful. I literally believe that right now, there are princes and there are kings and there are presidents who, in heaven, will just have a regular job. And I believe that there are single moms with special needs kids who are gonna rule over kingdoms. Because the kingdom of God does not operate in the exact same way that the kingdoms of the earth do. That God looks at your life, and then he determines your faithfulness, and here’s the point. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just figure out what God has appointed for you to do. This is where Paul tells a young man named Timothy. It comes to mind. He says, fulfill your ministry. Your ministry is different than their ministry. You will be judged and rewarded according to what you were supposed to do, they will be judged and rewarded according to what they were supposed to do. If God has called you to be the owner of the company, and he’s called them to be the manager of the company, and he’s called them to be an employee of the company, everybody stay in your lane knowing that you’re going to be rewarded according to the things that God has appointed you to do and your faithfulness to them. What this does. This means. Let me say it this way. Your whole life is an internship. It’s summer. We’re bringing on some young interns here at the Trinity Church. They’re gonna figure out how to do ministry. So that one day they can go into whatever position God has appointed for them. For you and I, this life is our internship. This is where we do some things and we figure out how God made us to be and what he’s called us to do. But ultimately death is where we get the promotion, and we ultimately get the role that we have been given by God, in part, by being faithful to the things that he’s given us to do on the earth. How many of you find this encouraging? It is to me, amen? It is, right? I mean, many of you have built businesses and they’re falling apart. That’s the curse, and it’s gonna get lifted. Some of you have worked very faithfully and given very generously and you’re like, why? Well done, good and faithful servant. You’re gonna hear it from Jesus. And I promise you, you’re gonna love that performance review. So let me close with this. A list of 10 things. 10 seems like a good number. What will work be like in heaven? How many of you didn’t even think we’d have work to do in heaven? I mean most people don’t. Hell is an isolated quarantine with no purpose or progress. Heaven is the opposite. Everybody who’s frustrated right now, it’s ’cause ultimately whether they know it or not, they ultimately long for heaven. In hell, you’re isolated with nothing to do forever. How many of you that does not sound good? Nothing to do sounds good for a day or two. That’s a sabbath. Eternity, it becomes a hell. What do we do with someone if we really wanna punish them? Solitary confinement. You sit there by yourself and do nothing. People go crazy. Heaven is relationship and meaningful work to do and progress. Hell is a quarantine, isolation with nothing to do. Number two, some jobs will continue, other jobs will be no more. So since we’ve got nothing else to do, and there’s a couple of us here, I’ll just tell you whether or not your job will be in heaven. So tell me what you do for a living. What’s your job? You’re a nurse. I love you. Thank you. In heaven, you get to sleep. Take a nap. We’re not gonna need nurses ’cause nobody’s gonna get sick. Okay, so if you’re nurse, what do you like to do for hobbies or fun or what are things you enjoy? You like to make furniture? So in heaven, I think your hobby might become your new job. God might say, hey, thanks for being a nurse. Everybody’s better now. The great physician knocked it all out. We don’t even need insurance or deductibles or copays. We got this all fixed. Oh, you like to make furniture. That’s something fun for you. People in heaven need a place to sit. You can make furniture. Do you think that’s possible? I just prophesied it. Yeah, that’s true. What else do you have as a job? I’ll tell you if it continues in heaven, You have cancer treatment. You’re unemployed, brother. I’m just telling you right now. Thank you for your service. We need cancer treatment, but upon the resurrection of the dead, no cancer. So what do you like to do for fun? You like football? Play or watch? Both, okay. Well, I mean, you’re about my age. So this is gonna take a miracle, but I think maybe you could coach football and play a little football ’cause football is not a sin. Unless you’re on the Raiders. That’s the line, that’s the line, that’s the line. So not cancer treatment, but maybe football, maybe coaching football, okay? Any other jobs you guys have got? What else? Architecture. Will the architect still get to design in heaven? Yes. Because we’re gonna build cities. Like God told Adam and Eve in Genesis, be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, exercise dominion. That includes architecture. So if you enjoy architecting, designing, building, in the kingdom of God, you could keep your job. Anybody else? Cigars. Oh man, I don’t, ah, ya, ya. Okay, I don’t know. I’m glad I didn’t get medical marijuana dispenser. I am glad I didn’t get that. Every plant the Lord God gave is good. The pothead always knows one verse. All right, let’s take a vote since I don’t know. How many of you think that cigars will be in heaven?

– Spurgeon.

– Spurgeon smoked cigars. So he has one preacher who smokes cigars. I’m not. Yeah, okay, fine, cigars are in heaven. And even if they’re not, if the rapture comes, if you take some with you, just grab some, they’ll be in heaven. Any other jobs you guys have got that you wonder if they’re gonna be in heaven?

– Sales.

– Sales. What do you sell?

– TVs.

– Audio visual. Oh, this one’s, this is a conundrum brother. Okay, so here’s what I see in Revelation. I see the throne of Jesus. It appears in 14 of the 22 chapters, all glory goes to the one on the throne. All authority comes from the one on the throne. Surrounding the throne, it says that there is smoke and there is light, and there are peals of thunder. You know what that is? AVL. That sound, light and video. A lot of people are like I don’t know why we need a smoke machine and sound and lights. ‘Cause it’s in heaven. Okay. Just so you know, we’ve got coming in now a big new LED wall, new sound is in, new technology is coming together. Because we believe in heaven, the sound is gonna be amazing. According to Revelation, it seems like there’s a smoke machine and there definitely is lighting in an LED wall. So yes, you’ll be hawking some stuff in heaven, but it’s gonna be cheaper and it won’t break. I promise you that. Okay, anybody else got a job?

– Electrician.

– You’re an electrician. Will we need electricians in heaven? Yes, okay. Yes, ’cause are we’re gonna need electricity? Yes. Yes. How else are we gonna plug in our LED wall, right? Any other jobs you guys? I’ll do one or two more, I got nothing else to do.

– Finance.

– Finance. Will there be money and wealth and investment in the kingdom of heaven? Yes, there will be.

– Pool cleaner.

– Pool cleaner. I don’t know. I’m praying for you, brother. I hope you’re unemployed and get something else to do. But if you are a pool cleaner, you can come to my house. I’m sick of my dog, okay. So some jobs will continue. Other jobs no more, which may even mean that you get to pick a new job or what you enjoy as your hobby or your volunteer ministry now becomes your new job. That’s third point. Some people’s hobbies will become jobs. People will do work they were made for and find purpose in. Doesn’t that sound amazing? How many of you are right now. You’re like I’m working my job because it pays the bills. But if I could, I would really love to do that. And when you do what God has made you to do, there’s a sense of real satisfaction in that. People do work they were made for and find purpose in. Number five, this one’s amazing. Your work will not involve the curse and be more efficient and effective. Can you imagine if you didn’t have the curse, all the progress you’d make? And imagine if you didn’t have the limiting variable of time. You could keep working on it. That sounds interesting, right? The curse is lifted. What would it be like to do work that wasn’t cursed. It wasn’t as hard. And when it was built, it wouldn’t be broken. Number six. You’ll never run out of time to continue learning, working, and befriending. Right now, our biggest struggle for our work and our relationships is we just don’t have enough time. I’d love to see them, but I don’t time. I’d love to do that, but I don’t have time. In heaven, we have eternity. This means you’re actually gonna pick up some new skills and hobbies ’cause you’re gonna have time. How many of you would love to learn how to play an instrument. You’re like I just don’t have time. In the kingdom of God, you’re gonna have time. You can start to pick up new skills, new relationships, new hobbies, new work, new opportunities. You won’t have the limiting variable of time. In addition, your work will not be motivated or limited by finances. Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have any financial pressure? Imagine what it would be like if everything was taken care of and you could just focus on the people and things that you’re passionate about. That’s the kingdom of God. Your needs are all met and you’re just free to do what God has made you to do and to do it enjoy and do it unto the Lord. What you build will not be broken. I love that. I hate building things that fall down. This could be organizations. This can be work on your house. This lately was my Jeep. Pray for me and my Jeep. We have got a relationship. We need marriage counseling, me and my Jeep. We’re really having an impasse. I replace my windshield every 17 minutes in my Jeep. I just replaced it. I literally drove off the lot, I was driving home. Didn’t hit a tree. Didn’t hit anything. It just broke. Apparently wind is too much for my Jeep. Somehow I got the sissy Jeep. I don’t know what happened. You know, everything is, you’re like I just fix that roof, and now it leaks. I just fix the plumbing, now it leaks. I just changed the kid and they leak. It’s just always something, right? The worst day of work in heaven is better than the best day of work on earth. How many of you have had actually a good day at work? You’re like it happened. I got it done. It all came together. I enjoyed it. There was this deep sense of satisfaction and completion. The worst day of work on Earth does not compare to the best day of working heaven. And lastly, the good works you did not finish in this life will be completed in eternity. Revelation says that your good deeds, your good works, will follow you. There’s an author named Blaise Pascal. He’s a Christian philosopher. He’s one of my favorites. One book that is published under his name is called “The Pansees,” it means thoughts. It was a book that he was working on, but he never completed. He had little slips of paper in his pocket and in his “Bible” and in his nightstand and they collected them all and they published them as “The Pansees,” which means thoughts. It’s a book he never got to finish. I believe in the kingdom of God, Blaise Pascal can finish the book. That was a good work that he started, that he never completed, but it was a good work. What this means is there’s relationships that you’ll get to work on in heaven. There are businesses you’ll get to work on in heaven. There are ministries you’ll get to work on in heaven. There are things that you started in this life that were the good works that God prepared in advance for you to do, Ephesians 2:10, and you didn’t get to finish them because of the curse and a shortened life. But in the kingdom, you’ll get to complete them. Some of you are gonna start art projects here that you’ll finish there. You’ll start books here that you’ll finish there. You’ll start songs and composing music and storylines and entertainment, a narrative that you begin here that you’ll finish there. There are relationships that you are building here that you will pick up and complete there. That’s amazing. Father God, thank you so much that we have a home to look forward to. Father God, thank you so much that the work that you did for us through the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus has secured for us forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the dead, the kingdom of God and perfect eternal life. God, thank you that the work that we do in this life, it is filled with meaning if it’s under the Lord and Lord, thank you that we’ll be rewarded for our work in this life. And thank you that we’ll be able to complete works that we don’t finish in this life. And thank you that in the kingdom of God we’ll have meaningful, valuable, enjoyable, purposeful work to do and we’ll also rest really, really well. And so Lord God, thank you for working for us. Thank you for working in us. Thank you for working through us and I pray for hope and encouragement on these dear people in Jesus’s good name, amen.

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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