Locations of visitors to this page
Sweat Equity
Scripture: Genesis 4:8-9; James 2:14-17; Romans 8:1...
Track 8 of 9 in the Primal Christianity - Love4 series
Running time: 1 hour, 06 minutes, 03 seconds.
I believe Jesus was a sweaty guy. I believe that Jesus loved to sweat. I do believe that Jesus loves the sound of our voices when we sing praises to him. It is music to his ears. But do you know what Jesus loves more He loves the smell of our sweat. It stinks to high heaven, but it is a sweat aroma. Your sweat is sacred incense. God loves it when we break a sweat serving his purposes. Our energy, our sweaty hard work for His Kingdom is the real music that God loves to hear.

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Sweat Equity

Have you ever met a person who doesn’t like to sweat or they do everything possible not to sweat. These are the people who find sweat to be gross and appalling. Describe for me what that type of person is like?

Then there are the people who seem to sweat all the time. The arena they live in requires hard earned sweat. Sweating to them is like a badge of honor. The more they sweat the happier they are. Describe for me that type of person? Which type of person do you prefer to be around? Do you hug sweaty people?

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who knows the enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Teddy Roosevelt

I believe Jesus was a sweaty guy. I believe that Jesus loved to sweat. I do believe that Jesus loves the sound of our voices when we sing praises to him. It is music to his ears. But do you know what Jesus loves more? He loves the smell of our sweat. It stinks to high heaven, but it is a sweat aroma. Your sweat is sacred incense. God loves it when we break a sweat serving his purposes. Our energy, our sweaty hard work for His Kingdom is the real music that God loves to hear.

There is a phrase I want to introduce to you today. It would make a great T-shirt slogan. In fact I might suggest this to Tyler when our kids go out and do their local sweat projects this summer. “Sweat Equity”. I like this concept because it communicates something that God wants us to be very involved in. The Biblical principle goes way back in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 4:8-9 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

In a rebellious tone, Cain was asking a question or better yet, making a statement, I am not responsible for my brother. In his attitude, since he wasn’t responsible, he was asking God why He cared if Cain knew where Able was. To God, that was a very un-natural attitude to have. That attitude alerted God to a problem which led to the discovery that Cain killed is brother.

Who has the tendency to care more, the kid who worked every weekend to earn enough to buy his first clunker of a car or the kid who was given a new car by his parents? Who has the tendency to care more, the person renting a home or a person who bought their own home? What is the difference in these scenarios? Ownership.

Someone explain to me what equity is (is is much different that equality). After liabilities have been accounted for, the positive remainder is deemed the owner's interest in the business.

I am not talking about working to gain my rightful place in heaven. My liabilities are too great to do that. God accounts for my liabilities and only because of that can I ever experience a positive remainder. Only then can I actually experience ownership in the kingdom. My motivation to work and to work hard is due to the fact that I have ownership. Why didn’t Cain care that Abel was dead or not, he didn’t realize ownership in his brother’s life.

What is the difference between the true Christian and the counterfeit?

James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But what is the motivator? What is the difference between these two types of people?

Romans 8:15-17 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

You can see the difference between a church that is alive and growing versus a church that is just there. The church that grows has “Sweat Equity”. The Christians there realize their ownership and their partnership with God. They realize they are their brother’s keeper and they are sold out to serving him with every ounce of sweat they have. That type of sweat has a sweet aroma to it and attracts man’s attention. That is how Jesus did it and that is how the primal church did it. The question is, are we willing to sweat the same way?

Too many Christians have turned Christianity into a noun. Personally, nouns are boring. Christianity was always intended to be a verb. Action is a lot more fun. There is nothing more fulfilling than to burn calories for a kingdom cause. Anything less than using all our strength for God’s work is boring at best and hypocritical at worst. Every calorie we burn for the kingdom helps us build on the equity we have in our inheritance to come. And while doing it, it fills the emptiness in our souls with pure JOY.

How long are you willing to allow a person who is ahead of you at a stop light to sit there when the light is turned to green? Why? Does it bug you when someone does that? Why is that? Just for fun, try it today leaving church. Go to 36th and Broadway and just sit there when the light turns green and observe what will happen. What are you likely to experience?

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in£ the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

2,000 years ago Jesus said “GO”. So why do many of us operate with a red-light mentality. It seems like many of us are waiting for the green light to turn on when we have already been given the green light. Jesus is the guy behind us honking and saying, “What are you waiting for, you have a green light, GO.” But many of us only see red. We are more comfortable when the church is not moving, not going anywhere, always the same. It seems safer not to move. But if you are the car in the middle of 36th street when the light turns green and you don’t move, you are more likely to get hit and injured by not moving than moving and getting out of the way.

As a parent, do you remember the “why” days? When you ask your child to do something, their response was “why”. What were they actually telling you? How would life be if your child always responded by saying, “why not”?

The problem with too many churches today is they ask the question “why” when God prompts them with a great God Idea. Instead, our reaction should be “why not”. Why not do this or why not do that? Can you imagine what would get accomplished if MPCC always responded with what is keeping us from doing this great work for God? In many cases we would discover that nothing is stopping us from doing it because God has already given us the green light to go.

True or False: God’s highest aim is the absence of sin.

Do you think that God’s ultimate dream for us is to do nothing wrong? If this were true, what would our life be like?

What is the Greatest Commandment? Do you think this requires taking a risk?
Do you think God expects us to make mistakes and to fail when we take these risks? How does Grace figure in here? What would you consider the greatest omission?

We have to remember that there are two types of sin. There is the sin of commission – doing something we should not have done. Unfortunately the church spends most of its attention on these types of sins. Back in Jesus’ day, that is exactly what the Jewish leaders were fixated on. They were more concerned about doing something wrong while missing all the things they were to do that was right.

Then there is the sin of omission. In my opinion, I think this sin is the greater sin. In fact, Jesus spends more time dealing with this type of sin in the Gospels than the sins of commission. These are all the things we would have, could have or should have done for the cause of Christ but did not do.

There is a very important lesson from the Parable of the Talents.

Matthew 25:24-30 Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

In God’s economy, breaking even is a total loss. The wicked servant missed a severe lesson God’s wants us all to know and understand. The wicked servant was afraid of risk and he didn’t want to realize a loss with the money of a master who holds his servants accountable. Many mistake God for a fool. They think God is this loving old man who is too weak to hand out justice. God is no fool and God is a God who demands accountability. The wicked servant didn’t realize that the greatest risk with God is taking no risk at all. Breaking even with God is not only risky, it is just plain wrong. Righteousness is using all our God-given gifts to their full God-given potential.

Loving God with all our strength doesn’t play it safe, it takes risks. Loving God with all our strength doesn’t make excuses, it takes responsibility. Loving God with all our strength doesn’t see problems, it seizes opportunities to step up and step in. The word used by Jesus for strength means the direct opposite of apathy.

Close your eyes. I want you to think back and describe for me the person Jesus. In your mind’s eye, what was Jesus like?

John 2:13-17 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

I think the last verse in this passage is the most important. Jesus was passionate about His ministry. Jesus wasn’t crucified because he was weak, timid, meek or mild. Jesus was a threat to the Jewish leaders. Jesus didn’t follow the so called rules. The status quo wasn’t satisfactory to Him. Sitting at a green light like it was red was totally wrong to Jesus. He came to get the world to GO. He came to call a people to GO. The people who followed Jesus in that first century followed in the footsteps of His passion. They were passionate for the things of the Kingdom and they took great risks every day, even risking their own lives to follow Jesus.

Enthusiasm is a very powerful word. This is what loving God with all our strength means. This word comes from two other Greek words. En-Theos meaning “in God”. When you and I buy into (take ownership) the Kingdom of God, enthusiasm becomes the by-product. Why do Christians work and sweat tirelessly for Jesus, because they are plugged into the one source who gives them their strength, the Holy Spirit. They are part owners of the Kingdom, not just participants. Our enthusiasm is a by-product of the one we love. Why do churches sit and die? They aren’t plugged in, they aren’t real. They have not bought into the Kingdom. They don’t have anything invested personally.

The second law of thermodynamics states this physical truth: If left to its own devices, everything in the universe moves towards disorder and decay. According to Einstein, that is why the theory of Evolution is so bogus. Cars rust, food rots, and of course, the human body ages. Nothing becomes newer on its own. Everything moves to decay. The only way to stop this is to introduce an outside source to counteract it. Thus the idea of refrigeration or the thermos. If your refrigerator dies, what happens to the items in it over time?

What happens when we get disconnected from God? Life moves toward decay and disorder. If sin causes entropy, then what reverses that tendency? Investing our energy in a God-sized vision.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.