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September 2, 2018

Sermon: Labor in the Lord

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Scripture Lesson

Isaiah 49:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

The Servant’s Mission
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.’

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.

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Sermon Outline

Rev. Jonathan Swanson
Labor in the Lord
Isaiah 49:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

I. Introduction: Blondie
II. Prophetic discouragement (Is. 49:1-4)
     A. Isaiah is
         1. Called by God (49:1)
         2. Empowered by God (49:2)
     B. But Isaiah still gets discouraged (49:4)
     C. Ever ask if it is all in vain?
III. Paul’s answer (1 Cor. 15:57-58)
     A. The larger discourse of 1 Cor. 15
     B. The crescendo of the argument
         1. “Thanks be to God” (15:57)
         2. We are victorious (15:57)
         3. The future final victory affects the present
         4. “Therefore, . . . be steadfast, immovable” (15:58)
         5. “In the Lord your labor is not in vain” (15:58)
         6. What is labor in the Lord? (Col. 3:17)
IV. Application
     A. Death is real and destructive
     B. Without the resurrection
         1. Death has the last word
         2. The focus in immediate results
         3. Labor can seem to be “in vain”
     C. With the resurrection
         1. Death does not have the last word
         2. The focus is God (very long term)
         3. Our labor in God is not in vain
     D. Give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord
V. Conclusion: William Whiting Borden (1887-1913)


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