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Sunday, July 29, 2012                Song Index

I WANT TO BE A WORKER, #114

Tonight we want to examine the words of another song we sing from time to time.    AS we continually note, as we sing we are “teaching and admonishing one another.” (Col. 3:16).

This song was written by Isaiah Baltzell (1832-1893).    He was born near Frederick City, MD.  In 1854 he became a minister.  He wrote many hymns and composed some.   He also produced several hymnals.  The song we are discussing today was his best known song, written around 1880.  We know little about the background of this hymn.   But the message is worthy of consideration. 

This is a song challenging us to be continually engaged in working for the Lord.

 I.                    VS. 1 – The desire to work trusting in His word

a.        “I want to be a worker for the Lord.”  The life of a Christian is to be a busy one. 

                                                   i.      Continually we are reminded of this – Titus 2:14 – zealous for good works.

                                                  ii.      Jesus went about doing good – Acts 10:38 – Peter described Him that way.

                                                iii.      Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 speaks of how it is good to enjoy the fruits of our labor. It is a blessing from God that keeps us busy with the joy of our hearts.

                                                iv.      Rom. 12:11 describes the Christian as “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”

b.       I want to love and trust His holy word –

                                                   i.      Such is a prerequisite to being a worker of the Lord.  It is those who love Him and His word that will continually work for it.

                                                  ii.      2 Tim. 2:15. “Be diligent…as a worker who does not need to be ashamed…”

                                                iii.       James 1:22 challenges us to “be doers of the word and not hearers only.”

c.        I want to sing and pray, and be busy every day –

                                                   i.      Jas. 2:18 in a passage that addresses the importance of work, it says, “Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works.”

                                                  ii.      Do we spend time worshipping God on a daily basis?  We need to ensure that our worship is more than when we assemble together.  Daily we ought to study, pray and do things that bring praise to Him.

d.       In the kingdom of the Lord – most older versions read, “in the vineyard of the Lord”.  This accords with the chorus.  (Some use this expression in the first verse and “kingdom of the Lord” in the remaining verses.)

                                                   i.      The idea of a vineyard teaches us about the importance of working.  

                                                  ii.      John 15:1-8 speaks of our Lord being the vine, the Father the vinedresser and we are the branches.  His message is one of production, which is the theme of this song.

                                                iii.      Among the parables of Jesus we fine the parable of laborers – Matt. 20:1-16 where a landowner hired workers throughout the day.

 II.                  Vs. 2 – A Worker every day

a.        “I want to be a worker every day” – the Christian life is not an occasional activity, it is a lifetime commitment.  In fact, we don’t take vacations from serving God.
Jesus reminded His disciples to be busy daily because “the night is far spent.” 

                                                   i.      Rom. 13:12-13 speaks of walking in the day – among the messages portrayed in this is the need to be busy today.

                                                  ii.      John 9:4, Jesus spoke of working “while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

b.       I want to lead the erring in the way,

                                                   i.      More than once in this song we are reminded of our concern for others.  That ought to be a pressing need in our lives.

                                                  ii.      James 5:19-20, concerning erring brethren we ought to do all we can to bring them back.

                                                iii.      Jude 22-23 speaks of doing whatever is necessary to reach others – some with drastic measures while others are taught with compassion.

                                                iv.      2 Cor. 5:10-11 – we will be judged (and so will everyone else).  Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.

                                                  v.      Is this truly a desire of ours?  I firmly believe that most of us are concerned about souls that are perishing and we want to reach the lost, but we need some direction.  There are plenty of resources available, but where it has to start is with what we WANT TO DO!  Not just a glancing desire, but a strong drive that burns within us to tell others about Him.

c.        That leads to heaven above where all is peace and love

                                                   i.      Is this not our goal as we seek the lost?  We don’t want them to be LOST!  We want them to be in heaven with God the Father, countless thousands who have gone before and US! 

                                                  ii.      Heaven needs to be the motivation that keeps us going.  1 Cor. 9:19-23 describes how Paul became “all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”  Why?  Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”  Is that our motivation?

                                                iii.      Where all is peace and love – just two of the many descriptions of the character of heaven.  1 Cor. 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Heb. 11:16 – the heavenly city.

d.       In the kingdom of the Lord – as noted above, this is the alternative rendering for this phrase.

                                                   i.      Just as His church is described as a vineyard, it is also described as a kingdom.

                                                  ii.      We know that His kingdom and the church are one and the same (cf. Matt. 16:18-19) and established on Pentecost (Acts 2).  The idea of the kingdom is Jesus as our Lord and we are His subjects.  WE are NOW in the kingdom (cf. Mk. 9:1, Col. 1:13) 

III.                Vs. 3 – Courage & Faith

a.        I want to be a worker strong and brave

                                                   i.      True service to God is not for the cowardly.  Rev. 21:8 speaks of the cowardly being eternally condemned.

                                                  ii.      1 Pet. 1:17 calls for us to conduct ourselves throughout out time here without fear.

                                                iii.      Phil. 1:27-28, let our conduct in the gospel be worthy so that we are not terrified by our adversaries.

                                                iv.      2 Tim. 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear.

                                                  v.      It takes courage to faithfully work for God in so many ways.  It takes courage to:

1.       Speak up in a hostile crowd

2.       Go to a sinning brother

3.       Open your mouth about Jesus in an uncertain environment

4.       To confess your sins to your brethren

5.       To trust God to take care of us.

b.       I want to trust in Jesus power to save

                                                   i.      As just noted this is a part of our bravery.  Do we truly trust Him?  That is what faith is!

                                                  ii.      Heb. 11:6, without faith we cannot please Him.

                                                iii.      As to salvation, let us NEVER forget that we do not possess the power to save.  It is Jesus Christ through the gospel – Rom. 1:16, etc.

c.        All who will truly come shall find a happy home.  In the kingdom of the Lord

                                                   i.      Again we are reminded of our motivation.  It’s not just about us, but “them”.

 

 IV.                Vs. 4 – Help me Lord –

a.        I want to be a worker help me Lord – in this final verse we find a realization that we need our Lord’s help.  John 15:4-5 – back to the vineyard analogy.  Jesus said, we cannot bear fruit unless we are in Him, and “without me you can do nothing.”
There are some who become overconfident in their abilities.  Let us never do that.  Before we seek the lost, we ought to ALWAYS go to God in prayer!  We need Him and we need our Lord in all things.   Phil. 4:6 says to be anxious for nothing, “but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

b.       To lead the lost and erring to Thy word – we have already discussed the need to reach the lost in this song.   Here we simply add Matt. 9:37-38 where Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

c.        That points to joys on high, where pleasures never die – Peter could write to His audience as He begin has first letter that we have a living hope with an inheritance, “incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” (1 Pet. 1:3-5)
In heaven we will be rejoicing – John 14:1-3 – Jesus spoke of mansions being prepared in heaven for us.   1 Pet. 1:8 of our rejoicing looking forward to the salvation of our souls.

d.       In the kingdom of the Lord

 V.                   Chorus – Working in the vineyard of the Lord – the analogy of a vineyard with workers.  In this chorus we have a repetition of things we have already discussed.

a.        I will work; I will pray; In the vineyard of the Lord; I will work and pray and be busy every day; In the vineyard of the Lord

b.       Repetition is a good thing if it reminds us of that which is good.

 

As we sing this song, may we constantly remind ourselves of our “calling” to reach the lost.  As we conclude, let us consider Hebrews 6: 9-12, “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 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. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  Are you a worker for the Lord?  Think about it!