Study 10 THE WORKER’S CONFIDENCE
THE KING’S WORKERS
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Our study is based upon the words of this verse, in Romans chapter 14. The apostle expounds what might be called the Christian’s brotherly responsibilities - the responsibilities the Christian has towards other Christians. The words in verse 8, however, are vital, and they provide us with a practical and challenging theme. They declare the fact that if we are the Lord’s, if we belong to Him, having acknowledged His sovereignty in our life, we should be willing to say with complete confidence - “whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”. We do not know what the future holds, except that it must in its nature be full of uncertainty (Psalm 90:9-10; Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-15; 1 Peter 1:24). What we do know, however, is that ”whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”. Notice three main thoughts.
1. THE PRIVILEGE WE ENJOY
It is this: that “we live…” For the Christian to be able to say ‘I belong to the Lord’ is a rare and joyful privilege. To the unbeliever life must seem very frustrating and without purpose. The worldly person, the man or the woman who is not a Christian, has no hope for the future, for eternity. What a tragedy! But how different it is for the Christian! Among the many reasons why it is a privilege for the Christian to live are the following two:-
- (1) Think of the privilege of living for the Lord. Think of the amazing privilege to walk with Him, like Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24); to talk with Him, like Moses (Exodus 33:9); to be guided by Him, like David (Psalm 32:8); to be provided for by Him (Psalm 37:25). What a privilege it is to know His joy, peace and presence every day! - look up Philippians 4:4-7. What a wonderful thing it is to be a Christian, and to know Jesus as Lord! – look up John 20:28.
- (2) Think of the privilege of serving the Lord. When Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem at the age of twelve, He was engaged in His Father’s business, and surely this is a great privilege (John 20:21). We are His ambassadors, representing Him on the foreign soil of this world - look up 2 Corinthians 5:20; we are witnesses for Him (Acts 1:8); and our job is to tell others, to preach the gospel, to make Christ known, as we are reminded in Matthew 28:18-20.
So, “whether we live…” well, we do live; and this is the privilege we enjoy. But we do not live down here for ever. Sooner or later we must go …!
2. THE APPOINTMENT WE KEEP
This is indicated in the words “or (whether we) die …”, and it is referred to in Hebrews 9:27. Of course, if the Lord comes in our lifetime we shall go to be with Him without dying, as we learn from 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. God has His appointment book in which the day of our departure is recorded; but there are two things about this appointment, and these refer to the Christian:
- (1) Death is a blessed experience for the Christian. If you will link together 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23, Revelation 14:13, you will see this fact clearly stated. We all have a strong instinct to live, but to die will only take us into the presence of the Lord - look up Psalm 116:15. We do not think enough about the fact that “heaven is better than this!” and ”to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
- (2) The Lord Jesus has conquered death and has removed death’s sting. We learn this by a comparison of 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 and Romans 14:8-9. We must keep this appointment; but we need not be afraid because all will be well - that is, if we really belong to the Lord. There is no need to be fearful of death, or of the Lord’s return if it should be our privilege to go without dying, for the One who is coming for us is “this same Jesus” - look up John 14:1-3 and Acts 1:9-11.
3. THE CONFIDENCE WE HAVE
What is our confidence? This does not mean that we shall not suffer, that we shall have no pain, or that we shall escape trials. Our confidence is that we are the Lord’s, and that is all that matters. We belong to Him. Notice this:-
- (1) We are the Lord’s here and now. While we live on the earth and serve Him we are His! We are His by election (1 Peter 1:2); by choice (John 15:16); by donation (John 6:37); by redemption (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); and by our own decision (Luke 19:5-6). We are His now!
- (2) We are the Lord’s for ever. We are eternally His and nothing can ever alter this. Look up John 10:28-29 and Romans 8:35-39. Nothing on earth or in hell can alter this wonderful fact. Turn to 1 Peter 1:3-5 and rejoice in the great truth of the believer’s security in Christ.
”So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”