by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Matthew 10:16-25
I. God has not promised His children a life of ease.
A. Christ warned his disciples that if men are willing to call him “Beelzebub” then we shouldn’t be surprised when they turn against us.
B. Christianity is not easy because of the rejection we must face. It is also difficult because of the commitment expected of us. - I Corinthians 15:58
1. We must give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.
2. Paul even calls it “toil” – hard work that saps your strength.
C. Imagine our life on earth as a river we are required to navigate upstream in a canoe.
1. Some areas of the river are wide and slow. Some are narrow and fast.
2. It would be a mistake to decide the trip is a breeze when we reach the smooth currents. It is so easy to relax and forget to paddle.
3. Soon the gentle currents will slow us down and ever so gradually send us back.
4. There is no point in our lives when we can take time off from serving God.
II. The need to serve God
A. The great race - I Corinthians 9:24-27
1. A runner needs strict training. He will not be successful with some effort, once in a while.
2. Only the best obtain the prize.
3. They have to have the resolve to stay on course or they will be disqualified.
4. Brethren, you can’t walk into heaven.
B. A spiritual war
1. We are struggling against the corruption of this world - Ephesians 6:10-17
2. We must fight the good fight - I Timothy 6:11-14
3. Wars are not won with half-hearted poking
C. We need to be active doers to prevent being swept away by the cares of this world - Luke 6:47-49
D. We need to strive to enter heaven - Luke 13:24
III. The first foundation of zeal is truth
A. Proverbs 19:2 - When a person tries to act without knowing what he is doing, he is going to make mistakes.
B. Luke 8:13 - Some gladly accept the message, but they don’t put down any roots. They fail to develop any depth of knowledge which will carry them through the drought of difficulties.
C. Being zealous without the truth is like paddling a leaky canoe. You can put in a whole lot of effort, but you are still going to sink before you reach the goal.
D. In the armor of God was the belt of Truth. It is what holds our armor together. It is what holds our weapons - Ephesians 6:14
E. Since truth is so important, we need to develop our ability to handle the truth
1. We can fight off Satan’s attacks, if we know how to handle our sword - Ephesians 6:17
2. Grow in grace and knowledge - II Peter 3:18
3. II Timothy 2:15
a. “Do your best” - make an effort, be prompt, be earnest
b. “Workman” - one who labors or toils
c. “Correctly handles” - cutting straight. Someone who presents the truth accurately, not altering it or handling it like a charlatan, but treating it honestly, fully, and in a straight forward manner.
(1) I Peter 4:11 - speak as God has spoken
(2) II Corinthians 2:17 - presenting it sincerely
d. Paul is requiring more than a casual reading or even light studying. He is demanding in-depth study, a study which demands hard work.
F. How do we accomplish this goal?
1. Set time aside for personal study. Make a daily effort to learn from God.
2. Study together - Build each other up - Romans 14:19
a. This is why we have studies here.
b. This is why there should be group studies and family studies
c. This is why we search for and invite preachers to come and teach a series of lessons.
IV. The second foundation of zeal is love - Romans 12:9-11
A. Philippians 1:27 - We are to contend as a unit. We can only do so if we love each other.
B. Paul describes the love brethren are to have for one another - I Corinthians 13:4-8a
1. A fervent, sincere love - I Peter 1:22
2. A fervent love for each other - I Peter 4:8
C. When we love each other, we are concern for each other’s welfare
1. We build each other up for their own good - Romans 15:1-3
2. Like Paul we should not only share the gospel, but our own lives - I Thessalonians 2:8-12
D. Our love is proof
1. Of our discipleship - John 13:34-35
2. Of our salvation - I John 3:14
3. Of our love for God - I John 4:20-21
E. Without love for our brethren, we would be paddling our canoes without oars. There would be no strength or vitality to our movements. There would not be enough “umph” to get us through the difficult times of life.
F. There is always room for developing our love - I Thessalonians 4:9-10
1. Take time to be with one another, not just in services but at other times as well - Acts 2:44-46
2. Have people over. Visit each other. Do things together.
3. Don’t let disagreements erect a barrier between you and your brother
V. Without effort we are lost
A. James 1:22-25 - We must do God’s will
B. James 4:17 - To know what we should do and then fail is to sin.
C. Too many are hoping to progress down the river of life without paddling and they wonder why they aren’t making progress.
D. Laodicea failed because of a lack of zeal - Revelation 3:14-19
E. Psalm 119:2-3 - Serve the Lord with all your heart
F. Put the church first - Matthew 6:33
G. Don’t wait for others, take the lead
1. The Corinthians stirred up others by the effort they displayed - II Corinthians 9:2
2. Opportunities await - John 4:34-38
H. Pick up that paddle and start rowing with all your might.