The to do is I want everyone here to think about the most difficult thing you have ever done in your life not the most painful thing that you've done I'm not talking about something that happened to you but based on your decision the most difficult thing that you've ever done so maybe Here's some examples of that some of you may have. Found it very difficult to get through college going studying those four years or six years or eight years or however long it took you to do that.
I know there's lots of moms here and so I'm sure near the top of every mother's list would be giving birth to a child I would be very difficult painful thing you've done I think I'm physically for me the answer isn't even hard to come up with back when I turned forty when I when I did the grand canyon rim to rim to rim I have never in my life one of the quit something so bad when I was at the very end it was so very difficult but all of us have gone through something very difficult that we chose to go through in our life and so if you're thinking of something right now here's a follow up question. Was it worth it.
Wasn't worth it something difficult that you did and you got through to the other side can you look back and say that was worth it it was really tough to do this but it was worth it. The longer all of us live we realize that some of the best things in life can only be experienced on the other side of effort you have to do the work in order to enjoy something and so today we're talking about cheer three All right we're in the series on the four chairs and you know as as these are up here last week my dad was here and you'll notice these are different chairs right the only reason for that is I got lectured by my wife for using the chairs at the kids' need so we looked a little kids out those years and now we're using these and my dad was here last week and he said what was up with the four chairs and I said well we have visitors sit in those she. There's And we grill them and ask them questions and he was all there is like I'm not going to have you sit up there at least not on your first visit No I'm kidding I'm good we would we'd never do that but these are the four chairs I mentioned a couple weeks ago what I'm doing is I'm using this book by Dan Speight or it's called for chair disciple ing and this is just a great way for us to kind of see the progress that a believer goes through in their development and their maturing processes as someone has a relationship with Christ and so the first chair represents someone who does not have a relationship with Christ and as you go through the Gospels you see Jesus issued four different commands to the people that were around him and the first one was come and see come and see who I am see if I am the Messiah as I claim to be and so that's the first chair the second chair is what we talked about last week is the most fun it's the most fun chair it's for someone who says I believe Jesus is the Messiah I believe he died on the cross and rose from the grave to give me the hope of eternal life and so someone passes from chair one the church to now they have a relationship with him and that's where Jesus issues the command follow me so come and see now follow me follow me because I am the Son of God I am your savior the third chair is for the workers it's the people who are now putting their face into practice and chair three is the hardest chair this is the most difficult chair and this is where Jesus should the command follow me and I will make you fishers of men follow me and going to put you to work and then the fourth chair which will look at next week that's the chair when someone is now able to see the fruit of their labor the multiplying stage and that's where Jesus says follow me and you will bear much fruit and so this is this is the most joyful share so this is the this is the funnest easiest this is the most difficult and that's the one where we experience the most joy Well last week when we talked about his chair to an. The needs of someone in chair two when someone's in chair two they've made their decision accept Christ this is what they need to do they need to learn and they need to learn who they are specifically their new identity in Christ now they are not a son of this world their son or son or a daughter of God That's what they need to learn to need to learn how to walk as opposed to the ways of this world to walk according to the ways of God They need to know how to feed themselves how to talk how to clean themselves and so once a follower has spent enough time learning these things eventually it's God's will for them to move to the next chair and to start putting their face into practice I want you to open your Bibles to Matthew Chapter four.
Matthew Chapter four and this is where we see Jesus making this transition with some of his followers Matthew Chapter four beginning in verse eighteen
Matthew Chapter four beginning in verse eighteen
it says as Jesus was walking beside the sea of Galilee he saw two brothers Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew they were casting a net into the lake for they were fisherman come follow Me Jesus said and I will send you out to fish for people and at once they left their nets and followed him going on from there he saw two other brothers James the son of a seventy and his brother John they were in a boat with their fathers of of the preparing their nets Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him I think I mentioned this last week. At first glance it almost appears as if this is the first time Jesus met these young men but actually it's not this is about eighteen months into Christ's ministry and so these men had known who Jesus is they had listened to him teach they had seen his lifestyle and so after about eighteen months a year and a half of them being in chair two he says OK now you know I'm the messiah come follow me and I'm going to put you to work I'm going to have you do the things that I am supposed to do and so Jesus challenge them to get to work and so what we're going to do is we're going to talk about your three today and we're going to do three things we're look at three things we're going to really define what chere three is we're going to look at the cost of being in chair three and then we're also going to look at the benefits but let's start off by drilling defining and discussing what cheer three is and if you're in Matthew turn over to Matthew Chapter nine.
Matthew Chapter nine beginning in verse thirty five.
Matthew Chapter nine beginning in verse thirty five.
So this is a little bit later in Jesus' ministry his disciples are now with him and they are they have been made in to be fishers of men and this is what Jesus says to them Matthew nine thirty five Jesus went through all the towns and villages teaching in the synagogues proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness and so Jesus is out there and he's targeting people and share one right in his disciples are with him verse thirty six when he saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd then he said to His disciples the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send our workers into the harvest field and so that someone in chair three someone who says there's a lot of God's work that needs to be done in the world and I'm going to let God use me and my gifts and abilities to do that so chairs three is the workers you know I read for you last week or the week before the parable of the talents where the master called three of his servants and he gave two one five talents to one three and two one one he had a relationship with them obviously and all of them all two of them specifically knew exactly what they were supposed to do when they were entrusted with their master's possessions all to all just read this for you Matthew twenty five were sixteen it says the man who would receive the five talents. Went at once and put his money to work and gained five more so he worked as soon as his master said here's my here's my money this is the think there's a my resources the first thing he did is said OK he masters coming back I better get to work I need to put these things to work and we see the benefit what happened when the master returning. Twenty one it says his master came back in his mass replied Well done good and faithful servant you have been faithful with a few things I will put you in charge of many things common share your master's happiness so chairs three is for the worker the worker the one who says God isn't trusted me with these things now I'm going to do them and so chair three is about when we put our face into action chair two is all about learning and gaining the knowledge cheer three is where we put the knowledge into practice and this is kind of the difference between someone who is going to a high school going to college learning about their degree and then chairs three is when they get the job or they get their internship maybe some of you are you kind of went through a process like that you were in college or getting a degree getting some training and then all of a sudden they say OK now you have to go do it and you stop thinking about it now you actually have to go do it that's what chair three is is all about I want you to turn over your bible sufficient to.
Fusions to eight nine and ten.
Is probably my favorite passage and I have lots of favorites but this is probably my favorite.
And then here we can see both chairs too and chairs three.
He seems to eight nine talks about our salvation.
He says two eight nine says For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourself it is the gift of God not by works so that no one can boast if you're here in chair two it's because you've accepted this free gift but there is a tenth verse where you verse ten for we are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do and so God's desire is for people to understand who he is and then to put their face into practice and so chairs three. Is building on chair two we never fully throughout our entire lives we never fully are going to completely be done with here too we will always be learning and you and usually you know it sometimes it gets to the point in your face where you're probably learning new things every now and then as opposed to all the time but then you were reminded of things from before all the time someone unsure three they're still needing to be reminded of how to walk and how to clean themselves and how to talk how to do all those things but chairs three you know if you think about it from the standpoint of the the normal earthly development of all of us this would be the late teen years the college years and the early adult years that's where you're really learning who you are seeing your identity and finding your place in the world that's sort of what chair three is all about and this is where you do hard work school is hard work right if you've gone through school this is hard paring scene is hard work parents can I get an amen from that especially when the kids are a little on your job especially when you start your job for the very first time it's hard work chair three is hard work can you relate to this not spiritually but can you really. To cheer three in your life I'm looking at the audience today and most of you are not here OK you're you're not in elementary school you're now in chair three and you've been living life long enough that you realize this is hard there's a period in your life where everything is hard especially our parents and kids I remember. I remember the moment when we moved from one chair to another chair when it came to parenting our kids and it was when Jackie was able to open the car door get in herself. Put her seatbelt on herself and close the car door I remember the moment that happened sitting in our garage and I thought whoa we are now in a new stage of parenthood there was just a really good moment kind of a new stage in so I'm sure you can all probably relate this in your own life but can you relate to this in your spiritual life. Can you relate and recognize at some point you were no longer just the student but you became a teacher. You were no longer someone who was being served by others but you said you know what now it's time for me to serve I remember for me when I made that that switch at least for the very first time was when I was in high school and at my church and we actually did our own junior camp and I remember I was a camp counselor and so is the first time that I was actually in a position where I'm serving others instead of being served so this is the normal process that we go through and so that's what chair three is it's the working stage now let's talk about what it cost and this is not the fun part of the sermon because it's going to cost quite a bit the first thing that it costs to be in chair three is suffering. If you're going to sit in chairs three you're going to suffer. Some suffering might be physical especially from believers who are in different parts of the country in the actually get persecuted for their face but suffer. Being on an emotional and maybe even a spiritual level should be expected because we are living in a sin polluted world and if you're trying to serve Christ to make a difference for him you will suffer or I want to look at it just a couple of verses in fact we're not going to look at all the passages that say if you're a follower of Christ you're going to suffer because then it would be really depressing and everyone to go home scared so we're just going to look at a couple of these are right but the first one I want you to look at his actions after nine.
And I've always looked at this with a smile on my face but this week it kind of took on a.
I saw it kind of in a new light Acts Chapter nine beginning in verse fifteen. And this is directed at the Apostle Paul this is what Paul went through in his conversion Paul went from chair one straight to chair three pretty much just because of his knowledge and what he knew of the Bible and in Christ took him into the wilderness and explain things to him but in Acts Chapter nine beginning in verse fifteen talking about Paul it says and the Lord said enter nighest go this man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel verse sixteen I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. I used to think this was maybe some way of Jesus paying back Paul for him persecuting the church but I don't think so I don't think Jesus paying him back he was saying I am the Messiah and I'm calling you to serve me and you're going to learn what it means to be recognized and identified with me and you because you're going to be such an incredible servant of Christ you're going to suffer Jesus before he was glorified said he had to suffer he had to go through this world and suffer all read this passage for you this is in Luke twenty four twenty four Jesus saying he said to them how foolish you are and how slow to believe all the prophets and spoken. Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory and beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself and so suffering for Jesus that came before the glory and this is true for us as well read this passage this is second Thessalonians verse chapter one verses fourth or six it says therefore among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and face and all the persecutions and trials you are enduring all this is evidence that God's judgment is right and as a result you will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you are suffering if you're in God's will and you're serving him you're going to suffer I want you to look at this one go to Philippians chapter one
Philippians chapter one.
This isn't necessarily a verse to share with somebody still sitting in chair one but that's true Libyans chapter one beginning in verse twenty nine will converses twenty nine thirty.
Philippians one twenty nine and thirty says. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now hear that I still have another one I'll just read this second Timothy one twelve to the end of this gospel I was appointed a Herald in an apostle and the teacher that is why I am suffering as I am this is no cause for shame because I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day Paula saying I'm suffering but it's OK because I know the one that I'm suffering for and I know what he's promising to me some day so Paul is saying cheers three is hard but it's worth it I know it's going to be worth it and so chair two or chair three sounds difficult and it isn't so the temptation is wow I don't want to suffer so I'll just go ahead and all stay and share to others stay here and I'll just be it let somebody else feed me and do all the work or if there's some way that we could magically jump from chair to chair for maybe we'd all want to do that but that's that's just not how it works and so cheers three that one of the costs is there's going to be suffering another one of the costs is there is going to be pruning. I want you to turn over to John fifteen verses one and two you're going to be pruning if you're serving Jesus Jesus will want to make you more if fact of as his servant and sometimes he needs to remove things from your life so that you can bear more fruit John fifteen. Verses one into.
Jesus talking to his disciples and he says. I am the true vine and my father is the gardener he cuts off every branch of me that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful and so if you're in chair three and you say I'm a follower of Jesus Christ you should expect at some point in your life God might take something away because it's a weight that you're carrying that you don't need to carry or you might change something in your life so that you can bear more fruit God wants us to be as effective as we can and so sometimes he prunes us so that we can bear more fruit another thing about Chair three it costs laboring costs our time and our effort that's what Jesus said I went to his disciples when He says the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few… a lot of the harvest therefore to send out workers into the harvest field and what does a worker do when they're out there in the harvest field they don't stand there and tax you know they don't stand around and and watch everybody else work they're out there and they do the labor so cost the cost is there is laboring Have you noticed I'm sure it's been like this throughout all of human history but have you ever noticed that our society especially is very adverse to labor they don't want to work a lot of people they want other people to work for them and they want everything to be given to them for free and I'm not trying to make any kind of a political statement I'm just this is just reality people want other things they want it would be done to them and for free and and people feel entitled listen when it comes to your salvation of myself ation there's nothing that we can do to be saved there's nothing we can do salvation is not by our works but just think of how much work other people had to put into you being saved specifically Christ. Think of the things that Jesus had to do the work that he needed to do in order for you to be saved and not only that. Think of the things that other people had to do so that you could hear about what Jesus did for you you could only hear about this if someone is in chair three doing the work and so God has called us to accept this free gift and then he says now do the work so that other people can hear that salvation is a free gift so that's the cost of chair three all right there is a cost. Is it worth it it is it is worth it now let's talk about the benefits once you go over to Hebrews Chapter twelve. Heber of Chapter twelve.
Beginning in verse one and this is another one of my favorites and I'm going to read this and this is a great way for us to view the things that Jesus did in order so that he could provide for us salvation is leaving us an example to follow because we are followers of Christ and so when he verse twelve vs one through three it says this.
Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight in the sin which claims so closely and let us run with and Durrance the race that is before us and listen to what association pursue looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and his seat at the right hand of the throne of God How did Jesus get through the hard work he was focused on the joy that was set before him he knew that it was temporary The suffering was temporary but there is going to be this joy that he was going to be able to experience. You know where do we experience this year where you know I'm going to get a little personal right now just talking about how I experience joy in serving Christ and and as I share my own experience the things that I focus on I hope everyone in here is able to relate and say I I I. Experience that to so the way that I experience joy when I'm sitting in church two is when I really see God working through me that's a very humbling experience I happens in several different ways but every now and then when someone says you know when you said this in that message you know God really spoke to me and it's probably some obscure thing that I didn't even plan on saying and it's it's very humbling to know God really does use you if you put yourself in a position to be used by Him He will use you so I experience that and I'm sure most of you do as well if you're serving. Another way that I experience joy is when I see God working through my weaknesses. Not just the things that I enjoy doing that I feel excited and confident but I'm not going to share with you what my my weaknesses are as far as my my role as the pastor is concerned if if you've been at this church long enough I'm sure you know them but you know we're on hold all perfect but every now and then if there's something that I'm supposed to do and it's not the thing that I feel comfortable doing it's not something that I would naturally want to do but I show up and I do it and I see God's faithfulness and. And I see the goddess saying I don't need you to be good at this I just need you to show up you just have to be there and let me work and that was very humbling when that happens so that's the time when I experience joy another time I experience and I focus on the joy that God has given me is I have noticed over the years that I have my ability my my in durance is increasing if that makes sense my ability to endure is increasing. For the first several years of my my first pastor earliest the first few years you go from chair to the chair three in and studying in school it's all about theory and and you have this idea of this is what church should be like and this is how everyone should act in this so everyone should live their life and if everyone does that it's going to be just amazing and guess what. It's not like that church is difficult church can be very difficult so I remember the first few years and I'm certain every pastor goes through this. I thought this is hard Why can't people do the right thing and am I really should i really do this or maybe I should just quit and find find another job and just those thoughts go through my mind and they used to and they go through everyone's mind but as it as I've allowed all of my ideals to be completely shattered now I can appreciate ministry for what it is and and now when I'm in a situation that that it's not as it should be and when I'm frustrated with the person or or some kind of a problem I'm able to look at it and say you know what. That's OK It's OK if this problem exists it's OK if this person is is acting this way it's OK because that's just today and tomorrow it might be different and so God has given me over the years just this ability to see that the present isn't nearly as important as the big picture and as you're in chairs three the the benefits are God increases your insurance. If you don't give up he will increase your insurance if you don't give up I also get to experience joy in knowing that when I serve it's meaningful and it has everlasting value and that some day I'm going to stand before Christ and I'm going to be rewarded and if you're here today and you're serving you're saying you know what this is hard I'm tired.
There are benefits and you need to focus on the joy in First Corinthians fifteen I want you to look at this this last first we're going to look at today. We're not done yet but this is the last verse first Corinthians fifteen fifty eight this should be underlined in your Bible especially if you consider yourself to be sitting in church three.
First Corinthians fifteen fifty eight.
Says their form. My beloved brothers be steadfast in moveable always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain if you're in chair three and you decide to serve Christ in some way no matter how it is no matter what it looks like whether it's in the church or outside of the church because not everything that we do for Christ is in in a local church I think you realize that but if you are going to stand in church censure three be immovable always give yourself to this work because it's not in vain. I want to show you a video right now some of you probably have heard the song before it's kind of an old song it's in there the guy's a look at me they're all kind of confused on this is a song by Ray voles saying thank you for giving to the Lord again this is an old song now you're going to see the video and I'm going to warn you I'm not showing you this because the video is really flashy it's old so don't get caught up on the graphics are right I want you to listen to the words all right and I don't know if it's going to be like this someday Well listen to the words of the song OK we're ready.
You're in chair three it's going to be worth it this life and we don't know what it's going to be like in heaven but I'm sure we're going to know the people that we touched whether we knew it or not. The longer you sit in chairs three and you keep working the more people in chairs one and two you're going to effect and it's going to make an eternal difference for them.
There's one last thing I want to say about your three and that's the big danger that is involved here three. It's hard. Chair three is hard in unless you have this internal perspective the know that there is this Fourth Chair what happens to people in chair three is they say you know what it's too hard.
I want to go back to chair two.
And they'll say I've done my time I've served I'm done it's too hard I'm going to go back to being served by other people that's not what God's will is for our lives you know I'm at this conference this last spring when Dan Spader was talking about this and he actually meant and he said just what I said right now a good friend of mine a pastor a friend of mine he's in a really hard church he's not in Greece about which are to be. He's in a hard church he's in a church where everyone's unshared to him and he's one of the only people in here three and I remember him saying you know Josh I might just go back to secular work and this is too hard maybe I'll just take some time and I'll go back and I'm just listening to Iman mean what do you say to somebody who is just that frustrated that discourage and when Dan Spader said that don't give up don't go back to chair three Afterwards he said to me he said I feel like God was speaking to me I'm not giving up I'm not going to give up there's something on the other side of this so if you're unsure three Keep going it's hard to cherish three is hard you know what it was hard for Christ. Cheer three it was hard for the Apostle Paul cheeriest three is going to be hard for everyone but it's worth it and so if you're here today and you're still in chair to strap on those boots let's get to work let's get to work and if you're in chair three Don't give up it's worth it it's worth it today and it will be for eternity so let's ask God to give us all the Endure Ince and also the eternal perspective we need to keep serving the Lord this break.
Dear Lord I thank you so much. For giving us this unique perspective on this process of discipleship and the insight that you gave to Dan Spader that I'm able to to relay and share with everyone here today and it's so it's so wonderful to be able to see the for the progress that each of us goes through and there's a process to us being made into your image so I pray for everyone here Lord a grace publisher to Phoenix I know we have so many people who serve we have so many people in chairs three. Help us to just enjoy the benefits of charity three help us to be an encouragement to each other no one should be in chairs three alone we have people that that we serve alongside of and so I thank you so much for creating such a positive environment or we can do that and for those that are at that stage in their life where they are serving help us to focus on those that are not yet there so that we can encourage them to serve as well Lord our desires to be shining lights to this world around us Lord there is there is a harvest all around us even here in Phoenix and you need workers and so Lord I say is as the pastor of Grace about what you're to Phoenix here we are send us we want to be used by you for your honor and glory or thank you so much for this high calling that you placed on our lives we want to do. The best that we can and show your faithfulness in price and we praise him. And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship with all the Spirit be with you all a myth.