The Expository Files


Working Together With Him

2 Corinthians 6:1

I'd like to introduce to you the newest member of the Chicago Bulls basketball team. I'd like to tell you that the Bulls have asked me to join their organization and work with them to win another NBA title. I'd like to tell you that I consider it a great honor to work with such capable athletes and staff, the best in the world! I'd like to tell you all this, I really would, but I cannot because I have not been asked.

It would be a great honor, would it not, to be asked to assist a knowledgeable and successful team, headed by dedicated, concerned and capable leader in an important task?

We have been asked to join just such a team as described in the above paragraph! "And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain." (2 Corinthians 6:1). The greatest honor of all, to be a part of the greatest team of all, led by the greatest leader of all, in the most important task of all time. Sadly, many who would never think of turning down a position with the Bulls seem disinterested in working with God or even worse, antagonistic or insulted if you even suggest they are wanted on His team!

We Have Received a Very Great Privilege -"Together With Him"
Who is the "Him" of this verse? It is God. "The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell on it." (Psalm 24:1). The whole earth is His! Everything it contains. Every being that flies, swims, crawls, slithers or walks on 4, 8, 100, or 2 legs. He to whom the world belongs invites you and me to work with Him in His very special project. He has requested your cooperation! But you need to cooperate (Psalm 24:3-5).

Something important to understand about His request; We need Him, He does not need us! So don't get too uppity about being asked. (Acts 17:24-28). And don't think His purpose will fail without your assistance; His work will continue whether you lend your help or not. The failure will be yours.

The "Him" of this verse is the One who formed us (Isaiah 43:7). This "forming" has reference to redemption, the physical redemption of Israel of old from captivity and the foretelling the spiritual redemption in Christ (43:1,2; 5-7; 12-15). What He did with Israel He does with us spiritually in Christ. You who have obeyed the gospel have been redeemed, and there is work to be done "together" with Him. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Trust God's wisdom and judgment in the instructions He has given us to show us how to live and how to do His work. We ought not to even try to improve on the divinely ordained design/work/mission of the local church.

This Privilege Involves Activity: "Workers"
"...for the people had a mind to work." (Nehemiah 4:6). Too many do not have their mind set on doing the work God has for us. The people described by Nehemiah had a job to do and they realized its importance. Despite all odds they were successful, by God's grace, in part because of their attitudes. They "worked together with Him" to rebuild the wall. God protected and provided for them, and gave them the leadership to direct them to success.

Think about Jesus' attitude about time and opportunity: "We must work the works of Him who sent me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work"(John 9:4). Because of this attitude, Jesus was able to claim success at the end of His walk on earth (John 17:4).

The point of the parable of the talents is that everyone needs to be involved in this work. We do not all have the same ability in every area, but must not allow that to keep us from doing that which we are able to do(Matthew 25:15).

Many other passages echo this principle. Do the job now, for there will come a time when the work for you will be over. Do not go to your grave without having accomplished God=s work for you (Ecclesiastes 9:10) !

How much does God expect of me? How about "always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). If it is less than that, then start making a few changes. Your efforts will never be in vain!

Direction -"With God"
Looking at Jesus at Gethsemane we have a good example of working with God no matter what (Matthew 26:39). This is an attitude we simply must have to give proper direction to our efforts. God's will be done! Always! Without exception!

Surprisingly, the worst sinner of all had this same attitude! "Just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it!" And, then he did! It is Paul who describes himself as "the chiefest of sinners" but look at what he became! (Acts 9:6).
If I am lethargic about the Lord's work, is that really so bad? At least I'm not persecuting Christians like Paul once did. No, but I will find passages directed at me telling me to get my act together (Matthew 12:30; cf. Revelation 3:15,16). Working "with God" means accepting His authority instead of man's (Matthew 15:9).

Unity -"Together"
"Together" applies to God and all His workers. We all are to work together. All of us!

We need to be of same mind & judgment so we can pull together in the same direction (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). We find three outstanding fellow workers in 1 Corinthians 3:6; God, Apollos and Paul, all providing a different ingredient to the work which ultimately has the same goal; getting people from here to heaven.

It is important for all the members of the body to be working together, so that newer members can see by their example how to successfully apply the teachings of Christ to their lives. (Philippians 1:27). Motivators for unity ought to be natural outgrowths of the gospel received into the human heart. Consolation in Christ, love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection/mercy all work to bring unity to disciples (Philippians 2:1-2).

Strength of the Command: "Urge You"
The word "urge" means to "encourage"; "appeal". We are given the appeal to serve God in a reasonable way (i.e with the proper amount of dedication (Romans 12:1). It is important to help one another be stirred up to do likewise (Hebrews 10:24; 3:13-14). Consider this article just such an appeal to you to be active in the Lord's work; make it a real part of your life. (Acts 11:23; 14:22).

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 14.1; January 2007