Friday, August 23, 2019

The Vision (8.23.19): He will not forget your work

Note: Devotion taken from 7.28.19 sermon from 1689 Confession 16:6.

Hebrews 6:10: For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

London Baptist Confession 16:6: Yet notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight, but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

The picture that comes to mind here is of a parent who has very young children, and the children take a crayon, and they scribble some works of “art”, and they come and present it, with real sincerity to the parents. And it’s just a scribble. It is filled with weaknesses and imperfections. It is not “gallery ready.” But it is deeply pleasing to the parents, who put it on the refrigerator, or they might even frame it and put on their walls. “This is what my beloved child did for me!”

So, our good works, though they are but filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6), are accepted by God in Christ.

The key prooftext for this paragraph is Hebrews 6:10, in which the inspired author says that God will not forget your work and labor of love in his name, your ministry to the saints.

It may seem like no one else remembers, no one else notices, no one else acknowledges, but God does. And who are we really serving anyhow?

The first time I ever preached from this verse was when we had returned from two years of missionary service in Hungary in a missionary debriefing conference with our fellow returned missionaries.

A large group of young people in their twenties had gone out to places around the world two years before. Some came back exhilarated, others exhausted and disappointed. Some openly wondered whether they had been able to accomplish anything. Some came back to families and friends who didn’t understand why they had even gone in the first place. Two did not come back. They had died while on the field. One was killed in an act of terrorism in China, and one had died of natural causes in rural Africa. Several had come back with life altering diseases, including some who came back from Kazakhstan with hepatitis.

And all for what? We must remember that God is not unrighteous. He will not forget our work and labor of love showed toward his name when we have ministered to the saints and continue to minister. He accepts our good works in Christ, despite their many weaknesses and imperfections.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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