Olsen Park Church of Christ

God Working Through Us

Introduction. (Phil. 2:12-13). One of the greatest challenges of faith is identifying the work of God in the present world.

·         We imagine that it would be easier if God’s work could be seen directly.

·         Israel saw the Red Sea parted; Judas saw Jesus walk on water; Nebuchadnezzar saw three souls delivered from flames—yet all turned from God.

I. How Does God Work in This World? Often, we struggle with seeing God as either so directly responsible for all things, and thus to blame for hardship—or so removed from us that He doesn’t care and does nothing. We must understand that not all work (even among humans) is direct.

Illustration: My father made great effort before his death to make provision for my mother’s care in the event of his death. She now has all that she needs. This was largely because of his work—but it is not direct work. When we consider God’s work in this world, it is clear…

A.    God works through His providence (Acts 14:17)—“without testimony” (NIV).

Illustration: My father’s will was a written declaration of his desire. It carries legal force to carry out his desires. In the same way…

B.     God works through His word (1 Thess. 2:13).

C.     The text we began with in Phil. 2:13 suggests yet another way that God works just as surely as He does in these ways, but in a way which is sometimes not recognized as it should be…

II. God works IN and THROUGH His people. Note: I am not talking about some  miraculous or extraordinary action by which God forces action or takes over the will. Rather, as Christians we must recognize that when we allow His word to work in us and through us we become instruments by which God works in this world to carry out His will.

A.    We are God’s “workmanship” (Eph. 2:8-10). There are works He wants us to do. Worship? Yes. Moral living? Yes. Service to others? Yes. Teaching and example? Yes.

B.     How often do we see this in Scripture?

1.      Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). There is some miraculous action here, but not in the heart of the Eunuch. Philip’s words allowed the word of God to work in this man’s heart. God worked through Philip to win a soul.

2.      Paul was (and we are) “workers together with Him” (2 Cor. 6:1). In teaching the gospel God worked through Him to teach others.

3.      Relief to others (2 Cor. 9:6-15). Not merely a good deed done, but God working through His people. Note…

·         God makes “grace” (i.e. the ability to help) abound  to “have an abundance to every good work” (vs. 8).

·         God supplies “seed to the sower” (vs. 10).

·         This causes “thanksgiving to God” (vs. 11). God does it through His people.

C.     God supplies abilities (1 Pet. 4:11). When we use these abilities, God works in us and through us (Phil. 4:18-20).

III. Two Important Questions. If God’s work through His people is a real and important way in which God works in the present world it leaves us with two important questions:

A.    Do we recognize and look for God’s work through His people in our own lives?

1.      We need each other in Christ for many reasons, but one is because we need God’s work in our lives that comes to us through others.

2.      Work of encouragement, edification, correction, support, teaching, and love.

B.     Are we carrying out God’s work in the hearts and lives of others through our actions?

1.      The watchmen (Ezek. 3:17-21).

2.      We are instruments  by which God works in others—or by which a work of God is not done in the lives of others. Will we carry out this role or leave it undone? (Esth. 3:8-13; 4:7-14).

Kyle Pope 2012

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