Payday SomedayDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | March 9, 1997
Selected highlights from this sermon
Our earthly perspective on receiving rewards skews our idea of how heavenly rewards will be handed out. In this message, Pastor Lutzer shows us how the rewards we receive from Jesus will be based on matters that usually do not concern our earthly bosses. We’ll also be reminded that our rewards are not something we deserve—they are an act of grace.
So may I ask? How are you doing today? Is everything alright? Is your life in order? If you were to die today is anything left undone that you wish you had done? Is it all taken care of? Are you all ready to see Jesus? We never know when it’s going to happen, do we?
And as you know now, I hope, heaven will not be the same for everyone. This is the fourth in a series of messages entitled Your Eternal Reward, and we’ve been talking about heaven and God’s intention, and we’ve learned that the way in which we live here on earth has eternal repercussions because God wants to entrust to us a larger piece of responsibility. And the Bible indicates that that is dependent upon our faithfulness or lack of it here on earth.
God, you remember, has in mind the idea of having an eternal companion for His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will sit with Christ on His throne and rule. But you can’t give somebody that much authority and that much power unless they have been tested with lesser things. That’s why Jesus said on one occasion, “If I cannot trust you with money, who will entrust the true riches to you?” And so the whole of life since you’ve come to know Christ as Savior is a test.
But while I’ve been speaking on this topic I know that there has been discussion and many questions, and sometimes perhaps I’ve not been as clear as I should be. So today’s message is going to hopefully clarify a number of things, bring them together, and help us to understand the way in which God evaluates us and that payday is going to come someday. Therefore I hope to first of all clarify, and secondly, to motivate us, so that by the time this message is over, all of us will be committed to making sure that our priorities are as straight as they possibly can be, because we will give an account for the deeds done in the body whether good or bad.
One of the first things I want to emphasize is that when we talk about rewards, we should not think that God somehow has a pay scale in heaven by which He evaluates us like people do on earth. It isn’t an employer-employee relationship at all. It would be wrong to think, “Well, 30 years of service, therefore 30 crowns; 25 years of service, 25 crowns.” It can’t be that way because, as we shall see, there are those who are going to serve in the Kingdom for a short length of time, and yet they are going to be generously rewarded. And the message will end by stressing that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. So let’s not think about that.
There’s a doctor in town by the name of Dr. Elmer whom I led to saving faith in Christ last June. He had been antagonistic to the Gospel. The family told me that when he would be in a room and the Gospel came up, he would actually leave the room and go somewhere else. And yet, now struggling with M.S. in intense suffering, I visited him. He had been my medical doctor. And I said, “You have to accept Christ as your Savior.” He said, “I know I do, but I don’t know how.” Well, not only did I lead him to faith in Christ that day last June, but also to the assurance of faith. We prayed right there that he would have assurance. What a transformation God wrought in his life.
But before I tell you about how God may reward him, we’re going to ask the question, “Is it simply a length of time that we serve? Is that all that is involved with all of the deeds that we do? How will God evaluate someone who even now is in glory? Yesterday when we came home in the evening there was a message on our answering machine that Dr. Elmer died at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon.
So these are the kinds of things we’re going to discuss today, and I’d like to begin by giving you five principles regarding works. I say that I’m going to begin by doing that. We’re also going to end by doing that. That is going to be the message. And I hope that when it’s over, some of the matters that have been brought to my attention will be clarified. Are you ready? I’m glad you are.
Principle number one: works done prior to our conversion are of no merit in the sight of God. At least not enough merit to gain heaven! All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. There is in the Bible a reference to human righteousness and also divine righteousness, and the gap between the two of them is infinite and unbridgeable. That’s why nobody can ever be saved by good works. And today undoubtedly someone is listening to me who is not yet converted, and you are still thinking that you’re going to be in heaven because you are a good person. I want you to know today that the Lake of Fire is going to be filled with good people who were good so far as this world is concerned, but they were not good enough for God. Only Christ is good enough for God, and that’s why you must believe in Him alone, and get to heaven on the basis of His merit. So that’s number one. Works before our conversion are of no merit in the sight of God.
Secondly, works after our conversion (listen carefully) are made acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. You see, even after we are converted, we serve God. We may serve in the Church, though that’s not the only thing that God evaluates us for. Obviously our vocations, our families, our homes, all of our relationships are evaluated. But we may do what appears to be the purest act and yet it is tainted with human sin and self-interest. And the Scriptures indicate that God takes our imperfect works and receives them because Jesus takes those works and makes them perfect. Our motives are never entirely pure.
One day I was driving along in Park Ridge, Illinois, off of Devon Avenue, and I saw a car parked along the side of the road and a woman walking along the road. And I knew that she was in some distress and in some trouble. And so I was a little hesitant to stop because as a pastor I have a policy that I do not like to ride alone in a car with another woman who isn’t my wife, because it might not look good. But I stopped and talked with her, and she needed gasoline. She didn’t have any money. We, of course, had to go to a service station and buy the right can. They wouldn’t lend us a can to use. And then, you know, I bought a couple of gallons of gas and took her back. And there I was pouring this gasoline into her car along the road, and just like that, as clear as anything, the thought came to me, “I sure wish all the people of Moody Church could see me now (laughter) doing this wonderful Christian act.” And I felt so bad that nobody was there to see it. (laughter)
My dear friend, we might be generous in our giving, but sometimes we give because it makes us feel good. There is no such thing as a perfectly pure untainted human motive. How can a work like that become acceptable to God? If it is done in the name of Christ and done because we are Christians and we love God, God receives those works because Christ makes them acceptable. First Peter 2:5 says we are to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Did you catch the Scripture reading that was read today from Philippians 1? Paul says that we should be filled with works of righteousness, which, by Christ, are done for the glory of God. By Christ! Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus takes all of our works and makes them acceptable. He does not take our sins and make them acceptable. But a cup of cold water given in His name, and given because we are filled with His Spirit, and we will not lose our reward because Jesus makes the works perfect. You see, it still is true that the only person that God is really satisfied with is Christ. And He is satisfied with us as we are in Him, received on His basis, and our works (our spiritual sacrifices) are made acceptable because of Him.
Let me give you a third principle of judgment. Ultimately God rewards us for the work that He does in us. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine. No more can you, except you abide in Me.” Now notice! “For without Me you can do nothing.” Christ is not saying that we cannot do anything without Him, but He means that we cannot do anything that will really last. We can’t do anything that will survive the fire that we talked about a few messages ago. You see, what we need to understand is that it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His own good pleasure. And it is the work of Christ in the heart. It is that work that especially attracts the attention of God, and it is for that work that we will be rewarded. You see, that’s why we can’t expect rewards in heaven if we’re not walking with God, even if we are doing good things. There are many people who do good things, but their motivation is not a motivation that is borne about through the work of the Holy Spirit of God in the heart. And that’s why sensitivity to the Spirit and yieldedness to the Spirit becomes indispensable when we stop to think of the works that will merit reward.
First of all, works done before a conversion are of no merit. Good works done after our conversion are made acceptable to God through Christ. And ultimately God rewards us for the work that He does in us.
Let me give you a fourth principle. The best works are those that involve sacrifice. Now I’m going to go rather quickly here. If you attend here at The Moody Church regularly, you know that I always like to have one major passage of Scripture whenever possible to base my remarks on. But here I’m going to be quoting some verses. I’m going to just be giving them to you, because this in itself is an entire message, this fourth point – the works of sacrifice that gain special reward. But I need to do this very quickly, and give you an example of texts in the Scripture where it says if you do this you will be greatly rewarded, or at least it refers to the fact that there will be a reward.
Let me give you some of the good works – the works of sacrifice that God pays attention to. Number one is a joyful acceptance of persecution. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name’s sake, for great is your reward in heaven.” Don’t ever bypass an opportunity to suffer for Christ. Don’t ever bypass an opportunity to be fired from your job because you love Jesus.
I was talking to a doctor recently who was saying that in his hospital (This was in another state.) there were all kinds of integrity questions, and he keeps raising these integrity questions, he and the other Christian doctors, and they are considered to be irritants. You have to live out your Christian life, and do you know what the cross of Christ is? We talk about bearing our cross. The cross is the trouble we are in because we are Christians. Bear that cross joyfully. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad if you are not invited to the office parties because you are a Christian, or because you are ostracized or bypassed because you are an honest person and you are goofing up company policy. Rejoice!
A second example is financial generosity. I’ve already quoted the words of Jesus who said, “If I can’t entrust you with filthy lucre,” that is to say the mammon of unrighteousness to use His words, “how shall you receive the true riches?” You know, money in the Bible is one of the most important tests of our loyalty to God. In fact a series of messages like this should have an entire message just on money. You know, when I started this series someone said, “Well, how can he preach six messages on the judgment seat?” My problem is not six. I wish it were eight because there is so much in the Scripture about this.
“Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break through and steal, but treasures in heaven where neither moth or rust corrupt or where thieves cannot break through and steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
And so, at the Bema I fully expect our checkbooks are going to be opened. We’re going to be evaluated based on not just the amount of money we gave, though that will be interesting, but also the amount of money we spent for ourselves, and whether or not the other money was spent wisely. We will be accountable to God for all the debt we got ourselves into because we would not trust God to give us those things that we thought we needed. All of those things become very important, because now remember God is testing us to see where we are going to be slotted in the Kingdom. And we here at The Moody Church have a policy whereby people who give, give in secret. And we honor that, but there’s a reason for that too. It’s so that the Father who sees in secret can reward you openly. It has a down side, however also, because there may be those who are financially able to give, and yet they do not give. They do not have a generous heart. And Jesus said, “Your reward is in heaven if you use your funds wisely.”
Hospitality! Let me read you a verse, and I wonder if it’s been a while since you’ve read this text because it struck me with a new force. He says, “When you have a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they invite you in return to make repayment. Watch it! Don’t invite the people who might have you back, but when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed since they do not have the means to repay you.” Now notice this verse. How quickly we read without recognizing what Jesus continued to say. He said, “For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Giving to people who cannot give back to you is especially precious to God because there’s no way that you are going to be rewarded on this earth. You have to wait until the resurrection. But Jesus promised a reward at the resurrection of the righteous.
Another example: loving the unlovable. By the way, I read from Luke 14. Now I’m reading from Luke 6. I prefer that you just listen for a moment. Do you know anybody who is difficult to love? Have you ever met anyone like that? Did you marry somebody like that? Is it not true that God often brings into our lives people that are difficult to love? And notice what it says: “But love your enemies and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.” God gives you an enemy to love, and He does it because we always say that we want to be godly, and that’s one way to be godlike. The text says, “You will be sons of the most high for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men, so be like your Father who is in heaven. Love your enemies.” And the text says, “Your reward will be great.” It’s a promise. Take it to the bank. It’s Jesus who is speaking.
Let me give you another example, and that is doctrinal integrity. You know there’s a little verse tucked away in 2 John, verse 8. Sometimes we don’t read those epistles of John as carefully as we should. By the way, the epistles were not the wives of the apostles, like the little boy in Sunday school thought. But tucked away in the letter of 2 John, it says that we should guard the doctrine. “Do not lose what you have accomplished that you may receive a full reward.” The church to which that letter was written was in danger of being inundated with false doctrine.
What about an investment in the lives of people? It says in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, “Who is our hope and our joy, our crown of rejoicing?” Paul says, “Is it not you in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” The investment in lives! The ability to be hospitable! Yes, the ability to disciple, the ability to go out of our way, and to ruin our own schedules because there are people who have needs. That merits great reward.
Well, there’s just one other, and I’m by no means giving you an exhaustive list, but another is diligently waiting for the appearing of Jesus Christ. When the servants were waiting for the appearing of the Master, the Scripture says that because they were longing for His appearing, He will reward them diligently and completely. Do you remember what the Apostle Paul says? He says, “There is for me a crown of righteousness which shall be given to me in that day, and not to me only, but to all of those who love His appearing.”
How far have we come in our discussion? The first principle is works before our conversion are of no merit. Good works after our conversion are made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Thirdly, God rewards us for what He does in us. That’s why submission is so important. “By the grace of God I am what I am,” the Apostle Paul says. Number four, the best works, the ones that merit special attention, are those that involve sacrifice, and I’ve given you a sampling of them.
But now there’s a fifth principle, and the fifth principle is that rewards are not just based on actions, but also attitude. And for this now I do want you to take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 20, where Jesus told the parable, which often has been misinterpreted. The context is this: Peter says to the Lord Jesus Christ, “We’ve left everything,” and he asked a perfectly good American question, and he said, “What’s in it for us?” That’s in chapter 19, verse 27. “We’ve left everything. What then will there be for us?” Interestingly, Jesus didn’t chide him. He didn’t say, “Well, you shouldn’t be asking a question like that because that’s selfish.” Jesus, in fact, says in verse 28, “Truly I say to you that those of you who have followed me in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” And in the last message of this series I’m going to comment on that and what it’s going to be like to rule with Jesus Christ. But notice verse 27: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for my name’s sake shall receive many times as much and shall inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last.” The last first! Wow!
And then Jesus tells a parable, and I’ll sketch the story for you. Here’s a man who is the owner of a vineyard, and at 6 o’clock he is sending men to be working all day in his vineyard, and they agree for a denarius, which is a day’s wage. So he sends them out into the vineyard. But the man knows that they can’t do the job alone so he goes to the labor relations board where there were people who were gathered together, who were looking for something to do, and at 9 o’clock he sends some others out. And he simply says, “Whatever is fair I’ll pay you.” And they say fine and they go into the vineyard. He goes out at noon and he does the same thing, and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon he’s doing the same thing. At 5 o’clock, one hour before closing time, he still finds that there are some people who have nothing to do and says, “Why is it that you are standing here idle?” And he says, “Go into the vineyard and I’ll pay you whatever is right.” So far so good!
But evening comes. It’s 6 o’clock now, and he says to the foreman, “Bring all the workers together, and pay those who came last first.” So let’s visualize it. Here’s a long line of workers, and those who showed at 5 o’clock are the first ones to be paid. And the vineyard owner hands each of them a denarius. Can you imagine that? A full day’s pay for one hour! They leave probably waving it. And you can just imagine that they go home and they are excited. They say, “You can’t believe the generosity of this owner to give us that much.” Well, of course, you see the others who are in line, and especially those who came at 6 o’clock in the morning, are thinking, “A denarius for one hour? We worked twelve – twelve denarii, if that’s the plural of denarius, and that’s what we are expecting because after all, he has to be fair. There’s a big emphasis today in our culture on fairness. The shock is, everyone gets a denarius, including those who showed up early in the morning. And do you know what? Are you shocked that they aren’t happy? They begin to complain. They do what sometimes happens in the lobby of a church after a business meeting. They grumble. You’ll notice it says in verse 11 of chapter 20, “And when they received it they grumbled at the landowner saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’” But he answered and said to them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? I mean wasn’t that what we shook hands on? Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own, or is your eye envious because I am generous?” And then Jesus adds the punch line. “The last shall be first, and the first last.”
Many people have struggled over this parable because they say, “Why is it that everybody is rewarded the same?” Some people have even said, “This must be salvation here, because in the end everybody has salvation.” It can’t be salvation. Number one, you don’t work for your salvation. Number two, I can’t imagine people arriving in heaven and complaining because some people are showing up whom they thought shouldn’t be there. I mean, even if Hitler showed up because he repented before he died, I don’t think we’d say, “You shouldn’t be here,” though we’d sing Amazing Grace with more enthusiasm. (laughter) So I don’t think it’s salvation.
Some people have said, “Well, you know the people who came later worked harder. They did in one hour what those loafers did in a 12-hour period. There’s no evidence of that in the text. Those who came at 6 o’clock said, “We have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.”
What in the world is going on? I think what Jesus is saying is that the Gentiles were the latecomers in the Kingdom. The Jews were there early. They were the ones who had the covenants. They had the blessings but they began to take it for granted. And I think that what the passage is teaching us is it is a difference in attitude. Those who came at first haggled. They agreed for a denarius a day. We can imagine that there was some discussion going on. Those who came later simply said, “We’re going to trust the vineyard owner. He’s going to do right by us. Whatever he says, fine. We’re just going to go in and we’re going to believe in him.” The vineyard owner was touched by that faith just as God is touched. Listen, don’t ever bargain with God. Don’t ever say, “God, if you don’t send me to the mission field, I’ll support ten missionaries.” Don’t you do that, because you tie God’s hands. He can’t be as generous as if you yielded yourself to Him and simply said, “I go to whatever part of the vineyard you send me to because I believe you will do right by me.” God loves that attitude.
A professor of mine who taught me homiletics many years ago said that he had a son who came in out of the scorching heat of the Texas sun one day and said, “Father, I have mowed the lawn,” which is to say, being interpreted, “Pay me.” So he said, “How much do you think it’s worth?” And the boy wouldn’t give an amount. And the Father kept pressing and saying, “How much do you think it’s worth?” And finally the kid said, “Look, I don’t want to tell you what I think it’s worth. I want you to make the decision because I believe that if you make the decision, you’ll give me more than I would have ever asked for.” That’s the way God is. And these later vineyard workers were willing to simply trust the owner. You serve God in faith, and He’ll be generous to you.
Also, the early workers not only served out of a sense of duty and legalism, but then also served with envy. They were watching what the vineyard owner was doing, and they were upset because he was generous. Now there was nothing wrong with him giving the latecomers the same as those who came early in the day. Really? Why? It’s because the early birds had agreed for a denarius, and they were getting what they agreed on. That was fair.
Dr. Ryrie, who wrote some study notes in a Bible that some of you might have read, said that one day he was on an American Airlines plane, and they asked some people in the coach section to move to first class, but he was not among them. And he was displeased. “Why should they get to go to first class? I paid just as much for my ticket as they did for theirs. Why do they get to go to first class?” And while he was sitting there stewing he thought of this parable, and he pulled out his Bible and he read it this way. “But he said to him, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with American Airlines for a coach seat? Wasn’t that the whole idea? Didn’t you get a coach seat? What’s your problem? Are you envious because American Airlines is generous? Is it not lawful for American Airlines to do as they will with those who are their own? If they wish to have some people who purchase a coach ticket sit in first class, do you have an evil eye of envy because they are so generous?”
You know, it’s really interesting that when we are not asked to move to first class we can get irritated, but if we don’t deserve first class, somehow we don’t sense any irritation. One day my daughter and I were flying to Kansas City and we bought coach seats, as we always do, and we were asked to sit in first class. I didn’t write a letter to United and say, “What kind of a schlocky airline do you guys run anyway? Here we buy a coach ticket and we are given first class treatment.” I didn’t do that. In fact, the first thing that came to mind was, “Well, it’s about time.” (laughter) That’s what I thought.
By the way, are you envious because God is generous? Does it trouble you that God sometimes blesses some people more than He should? If He didn’t bless all of us more than He should we’d all be damned. But you know there’s a lesson to be learned here. And this might even be another principle. It’s that really we are rewarded on the basis of grace. It is true that God, the owner (shall we say?) overpaid the latecomers. It’s true! But I want you to know today that no work that we ever do does God compensate us for, as if to say that we earned it. We never earn rewards in the natural way in which we think of it. Never! I want to disabuse you of that idea. It would be like saying to a young person, “If you clean the garage I’ll give you a new car.” It’s not as if cleaning the garage somehow merits him a new car or pays for it. No, it’s just a test to see whether or not you are worthy of driving a new Cadillac. Just a test!
It’s the same way with us. Are you telling me that there is anything that we can possibly do in this world that would somehow merit us to rule with Jesus Christ on His right hand? It’s absolutely unthinkable. All those are gifts of matchless indescribable grace, but all that He does do is He tests us to see in the smaller things whether or not He deems us worthy for the larger. It is a test. It is not repayment in the way in which we think of it.
There’s something else in the text here and that is, of course, Christ’s central point. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first because there are those who come into the vineyard late. They show up at 5, but they are so glad to be in the vineyard. They serve with single-minded abandon. They are thrilled for the privilege of walking behind the gate. And because of that, they are going to be rewarded generously, more generously than those who have served the Lord for many, many years out of a sense of duty, and out of a sense of obligation but with no love. That’s why Jesus is saying, you see, the first on earth, the people whom we think about who will do well in the judgment. We might be mistaken because they may have done some wonderful things but we don’t understand their motivation. That’s why Paul said, “I don’t even judge myself.” We do not understand the depths of why they are doing what they are doing, and so only God can make the distinction. And there are those who serve in obscurity who will be generously rewarded. Last on earth might mean for some first in heaven because God is generous.
Dr. Elmer, saved last June in a hospital bed, was so transformed that he began to pray for his family. And my wife and I visited him two weeks ago, and he said, “You know, the last time you were here, you converted me to Christ.” And he died yesterday at 5 o’clock. He couldn’t do the things that we talked about today. He couldn’t throw a party and invite the lame and the halt and the blind. He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t begin to defend doctrinal integrity and invest really in the lives of people. There he is. He is suffering. How will God judge him? Well, you see, it isn’t just a matter of action but of attitude, his attitude of worship on that hospital bed, his decision now to pray, his newly found love for God. He is one of those who showed up not maybe at 5 o’clock in the vineyard, but may be at 5:55 he shows up in the vineyard. But he’s glad to be in the gates, and we don’t know but that God might be very, very generous with him because the first shall be last and the last shall be first. And it isn’t just a matter of action. It’s a matter of attitude. You want to be rewarded? And it’s perfectly right that you want to be. You serve God with love and abandon and reckless enthusiasm and you’ll do well.
You know, there is that story that I like to tell about the missionaries who came home from the mission field. And they were very discouraged because here they are spending years serving the Lord in a very primitive culture with all of the challenges that that has. And they get on a boat to come to America. This was in the day before planes made that route. And here they are on a boat, and they are, of course, the lower class. And then there are those who are the upper class on some of those sailing ships. And the upper class were drinking and carousing and having a “great time.”
The missionaries weren’t doing that, and they arrive in the harbor in New York, and here’s a big delegation to come and to welcome all of these worldly friends, and nobody is there to meet the missionaries. You know, that’s very discouraging. I have a sister who has been a missionary in Africa for 30 years, and that’s happened to her too where she’s gotten off a plane in New York or somewhere. And there’s nobody there after she’s been gone four or five years.
And they felt very discouraged because of the contrast. And they had bitterness in their hearts. And they kept saying to themselves, “You know, isn’t that something? Here you have all these people who serve the devil, and somebody is there to meet them. We serve the Lord, the King of kings, and nobody is there to meet us when we get home.”
One day it was clear to the wife that the husband had the victory over this particular thing that nagged within their souls, and she asked him why. And he said, “Well, I was just explaining to the Lord one more time.” Have you ever noticed how we keep talking to God about the same thing as if He didn’t hear us the first time when we’re really irritated? We always have that sneaking suspicion that He was out doing something else since the first time we told Him.
So that’s what he did. He said, “I told the Lord the same thing. These people serve the devil. They get home. There’s a delegation to welcome them. We serve You. We get home and there’s nobody there. And it was as if the Lord said, ‘Wait a moment. You’re not home yet.’”
I want you to know today that God is generous but the first shall be last and the last shall be first because those who serve with joy are the ones who will be generously rewarded. It’s not just enough to be in the kingdom, though that means that you’ll be in heaven. It means that you are content with where He puts you in the vineyard, with one act of service of teaching a Sunday school class, of being an usher, and of serving Christ in your vocation through your integrity and your witness in all areas of life. Whatever He asks you to do, do it for Him, and you will not lose your reward.
And if you will, let us pray.
Our Father, we want to thank You today for Your matchless grace, for the wonder of Your love to us. And we do pray, Lord, that You might make us faithful until we see You face to face. You are able to keep us from falling, and to present us faithful through Jesus Christ, our Lord and our King. Oh Father, grant that we shall have that ability. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.