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FORERUNNER CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP– SHELLEY HUNDLEY THE APOSTOLIC LIFESTYLE OF LABOR I.

SATURDAY - FEBRUARY 19TH, 2011

CHANGING OUR PARADIGM FROM THE RIGHT TO REST TO THE GRACE TO LABOR Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. (Matthew 9:37 NKJV) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV) Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. (2 Corinthians 11:23 NKJV) 23

II.

A.

Our current western culture has focused on an idol of rest and recreation as the main goal of life. Without recognizing it, this unbiblical paradigm has seeped into our thinking of how we evaluate our life even as believers. Many of us are okay with laboring if we think it is the short-term road to our real destination of comfort, and “earned rest” but we have failed to make the transition into a lifestyle of grace empowering us to labor which is a huge component of apostolic Christianity (radical Christianity walked out by the early apostles and laid out in the New Testament).

B.

True grace is grace that works. The apostle Paul talked about the reality of grace (think of a supernatural strengthening of the Holy Spirit) that was given to Him by the Lord so that he could labor with Jesus in his generation. While working harder than anyone, Paul’s confession was that it was the Holy Spirit working through him (grace) and that his ability to labor was actually part of His relationship with Jesus and reception of Divine grace by the Holy Spirit.

C.

True grace is not being free from laboring, but rather it is God setting our emotions free, giving us physical strength and freedom from besetting areas of sin and compromise precisely so that we might labor with Him as an expression of our love for Him. (Luke 4:37-39 NKJV)

D.

In the scripture, more anointing is meant to mean more ability to labor with Jesus for the body through the strength and gifts that the Holy Spirit gives. Increased leadership actually means increased labor and work not less. (This is real work that is physically tiring and draining)

THE PROPHETIC MINISTRY IS MEANT TO BE A LIFESTYLE OF LABOR A.

Laboring is a huge dimension of the prophetic ministry. Many see the prophetic anointing as something that just drops on them from heaven and doesn’t require work or labor to walk in. The exact opposite is true. Desiring, pursuing, growing in and administrating prophecy is hard work! God labors to give people His word, and we then labor to receive the impressions and words of encouragement that God wants to give us for the rest of the body and we then labor again as we release those prophetic in an edifying way. 1.

God uses the language of laboring, “rising up early and sending” forth prophetic words:

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And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. (2 Chronicles 36:15 NKJV) Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. (Jeremiah 7:25 NKJV) (Jeremiah 25:4; Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 29:19; Jeremiah 35:15; Jeremiah 44:4) 2.

III.

The apostle Paul lays out details on how those that prophesy will labor to receive the prophetic spirit by earnestly desiring and seeking it, then they will labor in patience and love as they release the words that God has give to them (1 Corinthians 12-14).

B.

The prophets in the Old Testament labored much to deliver the Word of the Lord. It did not come easily to them; their personal lives were dramatically affected by their continued labor for the prophetic Word to go forth.

C.

My heart is longing to see a prophetic people who would arise and who would not hold on to their “right to comfort, right to honor, right to fame, etc.” I am longing to see a prophetic people arise who are faithful, who come on time and stay late laboring above and beyond what is required. I am longing to see those who would truly live the gospel generously, pouring themselves out for the body of Christ, not holding themselves apart from the body in isolation but rather living as models of service within the body as the most faithful members of their local church communities. This is what I want to pursue all of my days, and I am longing for others to also make this paradigm shift and step into the glory of laboring with Jesus.

THE APOSTOLIC LIFESTYLE OF LABOR: 4 LABORS LIVED OUT BY THE APOSTLES A study of the concept of laboring in the epistles reveals 4 different labors that were emphasized in the life and teaching of the apostles. You may find some of your own language and subcategories of labor, but labor does fall into at least 4 categories clearly seen in the epistles. Understanding these 4 different types of labor, will help guide us in every season of our Christian life. Circumstances may change, areas of influence may change but God has called every believer to these 4 spheres of labor in every season of our lives. In every season of our lives, we are called to: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Labor in Prayer Labor in the Word Labor Contending for Righteousness Physical Labor

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FORERUNNER CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP– SHELLEY HUNDLEY “The Apostolic Lifestyle of Labor”

A.

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Labor in Prayer (for ourselves, our spheres of influence and our prayer focuses/assignments) 1.

Praying for others: Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12 NKJV)

2.

Interceding together corporately: And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 4

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Acts 1: 4-5; 12-14 NKJV) 12

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42 NKJV) B.

Labor in the Word (studying, meditating, exhorting others): 1.

All teachers labor in the Word so that they can adequately teach and equip the body. Every teacher of the Word should also be receiving the Word and laboring to receive and understand sound teaching in the Word of God from others. Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. (1 Timothy 5:17 NKJV) 17

2.

Every believer in the body is exhorted to labor in studying, meditating, treasuring and obeying the Word of God as well as being ready to edify others in the body even if they are not teachers on the platform. We are all called to labor in the Word of God. Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16 NKJV) 14

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:15-17 NKJV) 16

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FORERUNNER CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP– SHELLEY HUNDLEY “The Apostolic Lifestyle of Labor”

C.

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Labor by Contending for Righteousness (in Ourselves and Others) 1.

We labor for righteousness in our own lives. a. This involves laboring to fill our mind with new truths, adjust our attitudes, ask the Holy Spirit for conviction and respond rightly. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV) 10

b. It also means making tangible choices and decisions that make it easier on ourselves to choose righteousness and resist sin. (1) Making sure that the way we spend our time and relationships is bearing fruit: 16

You will know them by their fruits…17 Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (Mt. 7:16-18 NKJV) (2) Declaring war on every area of sin in our lives: If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30 NKJV) 29

(3) Disciplining our bodies: But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV) (4) Opening our hearts to others that can help us be more righteous: Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it… (Psalm 141:5 NKJV) 2.

We labor by contending for righteousness in others.

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18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:18-19 NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1) If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-18 NKJV) D.

Physical dimension of labor (physically wearying labor for finance and service) Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28 NKJV) For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. (1 Thessalonians 2:9 NKJV) 9

nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you (2 Thessalonians 3:8 NKJV) 8

The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin. (Prov. 10:16 NKJV) Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase. (Proverbs 13:11 NKJV) 11

IV.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE NOT LABORING IN VAIN? A.

We labor in vain when we adopt an attitude that we are the ones doing the work and we fail to recognize that our labor is second to God’s labor. Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2 NKJV) 1

B.

We labor in vain when we do not think God will bless our efforts and become discouraged that none of it will bear fruit. “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.’ 4 Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, and my work with my God.’” (Isaiah 49:3-4 NKJV) 3

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We must believe God sees our labor and will reward us and make our labor fruitful before Him. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1 Corinthians 3:8 NKJV) For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Hebrews 6:10 NKJV) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV) 58

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13 NKJV) 13

C.

We labor in vain when we labor for ourselves and are fearful of others taking credit for what we do or ruining the great work we feel we have done. Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. (Ecc. 2:17-19 NKJV) 17

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:8-16 NKJV) 8

D.

We labor in vain when our labor is not done in love. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV)

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FORERUNNER CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP– SHELLEY HUNDLEY “The Apostolic Lifestyle of Labor”

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“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience…. 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (Revelation 2: 1-4 NKJV) 1

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth to the field; let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine has budded, whether the grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. 13 The mandrakes give off a fragrance, and at our gates are pleasant fruits, all manner, new and old, which I have laid up for you, my beloved. (SOS 7:10-13 NKJV) 10

V.

FELLOWSHIPPING WITH JESUS IN OUR LABOR We must commune with the Lord in the midst of our labor, remaining in Him and receiving His strength as we labor for love of Him. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-9 NKJV) 4

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV) 28

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV) 5

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The Apostolic Life of Labor  

God's grace is what leads us NOT our own effort

The Apostolic Life of Labor  

God's grace is what leads us NOT our own effort

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