Matt Hagee - Blood, Sweat and Tears
I want to take you to a place where blood, sweat and tears came together, not to do just another common and ordinary thing, but to do an extraordinary thing. Today we turn and we look at Jesus Christ, the author and the finisher of our faith, who shed his blood, who poured out his sweat, and cried his tears for each and every one of you. Blood, sweat and tears are the things that make victory so celebrated, and sorrowful in agony of defeat. Your blood represents your life. Everything you do with your life, you have contributed your blood to. You might not have shed your blood. But if blood stops flowing through your body, you start dying. So when you get up and go to work, you're putting your blood in at work. When you come home, your blood is coming home. When you're at church, your blood is at church.
You say, "Well I'm not bleeding". If your blood gets out of you, you're done. Leviticus 17:11, it says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood". As the body of Christ, it is his blood that has connected each and every one of us. If your natural body stops providing circulation to some area of the body, that area starts to die. In the body of Christ, if you get out of circulation with the blood of Christ and his body, then you start to die. Your sweat, sweat reflects what you're willing to work for. When you pour out your sweat, you're demonstrating to others that you'll put effort in towards accomplishing the goal. And you need to know that nothing great gets accomplished without you pouring out some sweat. Equity and work all go together to make sure that you have success.
We live in a generation that has absolutely deceived itself into believing that we can have the best of things without working for it. But greatness requires great effort. Great effort is lots of sweat, long days, hard hours, toil, struggle, and strain. Comfort does not create quality. And young people, if anybody told you, you could have quality without sacrifice, they lied. It's the sacrifice that you make for your marriage that will determine the quality of your relationship. It's the sacrifice that you're willing to make for your business, your job, your career, that will determine how much you can achieve. It's the sacrifice that you're willing to make for your family that will determine whether or not your family succeeds. It's the sacrifice that you're willing to make for the cause of Christ that determines how much of God's glory and how much of God's power you receive in this life.
Jesus told us in Luke 9:24: he said, "Whoever desires to save his life is going to lose it. But whoever loses it for my sake, he will save it". He was saying to each and every one of us today, your blood, your sweat and your tears are required for success. So this morning, I want to look at Jesus Christ in Luke 22:41. If you're there, say, amen. Let's read together this morning. "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw. And he knelt down and prayed, saying, 'father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done'. Then the angel appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground".
Heavenly Father, let your Holy Spirit touch our hearts today, not only to encourage us to carry on, but to challenge us to pour ourselves out for the cause of Christ: that we might be used for your glory in this generation. In Jesus' name, do we pray and ask. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. In 33 years, in three years of ministry, he walked the earth. And everything that God told him to do, he did. He even told an audience, "I don't say a word unless the father in heaven tells me to speak it". And here he kneels, and here he prays, and he says, "God if, if..." Jesus Christ never said, "If" until this moment. If we can get out of this, if you can take this cup, if you can find another way, do it. And then he finished by saying, "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done". And there he bled for you, because he believes in you. I want you to let that sink in for a moment. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the word made flesh dwelling among us, believes in you. He doesn't believe what others are saying about you. He believes in what he created you to be. He doesn't believe in your past. He buried it in the sea of forgetfulness. He doesn't believe in expert opinions about the statistics and the analysis of how impossible your situation happens to be. When you've got a problem, don't bring your excuses to Jesus. Excuses are useless to a God who can do all things!
Some people say, "Well, I don't know if I can accept that. You don't know the wrong and the evil and the ill that I've done". No, I don't, but God does. And he believes in you anyway. The Bible says of us all, "While we were sinners, Christ died for us". When you were at your very worst, he gave his very best. And his son bled because he believes in you. He believes in your healing, which is why he took stripes on his back. He believes in your redemption, which is why he was nailed to a cross: that you might go free. He believes that you are royalty, which is why he wore a crown of thorns in shame so that you could be crowned an heir and a joint heir, a son and a daughter of the living God.
The question I have for you this morning is not, "Does Christ believe in you?", but "Do you believe in Him?". And then once you believe in it, you've got to work for it. Success only comes with work. I've heard this all of my life, so I'm going to borrow the phrase and share it with you. "The only place where you find success before work is in the dictionary". You see the thing about sweat is it comes at the end of effort. And if you bleed for what you believe in, you sweat for what you want to succeed at. Sweat shows effort, and effort equals work. The message is there is no success without hard work, not some work, hard work. We've become a generation that thinks some work is enough work. Hard work.
Luke 22:44, it says, "And his sweat became like great drops of blood". Why? Because not only did he believe in you, but he was working hard for you. You see we often want to give Jesus Christ the benefit of being the Son of God, and saying, well everything was easy for him. No. This moment was far from easy. This moment was something like he had never known before. Because in this moment, he was accepting something you're pretty familiar with. The Bible says, "He who knew no sin became sin, so that those who were in sin could go free".
And the reason he sweat great drops of blood is because, in this moment, sin was being placed upon him. And it was creating what sin always creates and that's separation from God, the father. And though he was there in eternity, and though he created all things, and though he had all power on heaven and earth: the one thing he never knew, the one thing he never experienced was separation from God. And yet, for your sake and mine, he went to work. And he struggled with that so that those who were far from God could be brought near as sons and daughters.
Don't shrug your shoulders and take it cheaply. Recognize the agony of his heart when he prays to God in the book of John, and he says, "Make us one just like we were one before all of this began. Unite us, Lord". Because he didn't want the sin to separate them. Hear him cry upon the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? And know that he did that for you. He sweat because he was struggling. And he was struggling because he believed in you. What are you willing to struggle for? What are you willing to pour your sweat out for? There are a lot of people in the world that we live in that are willing to put out a lot of sweat for stuff that really doesn't matter. They'll sweat for all kinds of temporary things. You don't think so? Just go to the gym.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for healthy living. I want you to be good, and fit and strong. But you see how much sweat people are pouring out, and then you read in the Bible, "From dust you came, and to dust you shall return". I mean some of y'all can do a lot with dirt, but it don't change the fact your physical body is temporary. I don't understand those people. I go to the gym. Can't you tell? But I mean I see people in the gym. Whoo! Come on! And then they drop the weights, and they walk like this. Then they look at you and go, "I feel great, man. I feel great". You liar. You might look great but you don't feel great. What are you willing to sweat for? What if you took all of that effort that you put out at the gym, what if you took all of that energy and all of that monthly investment, and instead of go to the gym for an hour and a half, you took the money and the time and you went out with your wife for an hour and a half?
All right, ladies: I don't know if you understood what happened right there. But see the heaven's opened. And blessings were being poured out, because truth with being spoken. So I'm going to give you one more chance to understand what God's trying to move your family towards here. Men, what if you took that time, and that investment, and that monthly income that you're spending down at the gym, and you took that hour and a half and that money, and you went and spent that time with your wife?
What if you were willing to work for her like you work there? Ladies, what if you took the hair, and the nails, and the shoes, oh, he's getting out there, and instead of sitting down at the beauty shop and getting all the prayer requests, "Oh, we're just going to pray about it. What did they say"? What if you took that time, and that effort, and that energy, and rather than work on temporal things, you went home and you had dinner ready when the husband walked through the door? Now that might not sound like much fun, and it might sound like a lot of work, but we've got a problem in our society when we work harder at getting married than we work at staying married. Great marriages come from work! They don't happen by accident. You don't do 50-year anniversaries because it was easy. You do it because you put out blood, sweat and tears for the relationship.
Do you believe your marriage is worth working for? What about your kids? Do you believe they're worth working for? Are you willing to do what the Bible says that you as parents should do? We've got a lot of information on parenting, but the Bible is very clear what it requires of parents. Deuteronomy 6, God told Moses to tell the men in Israel, "These words I command you, and they shall be in your heart that you shall teach them diligently", say that with me, "You shall teach them diligently to your children". Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22, "Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he's old, he'll not depart from it". Paul said in Ephesians 6:4, "And you fathers". He didn't say, "And you schoolteachers". He didn't say, "And you Sunday school leaders". He didn't say, "And you youth pastors". He said, "And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training, and the fear, and the admonition of the Lord".
Solomon, Moses, and Paul, they all echoed the same command that God's people, as parents. They say, go to work and train your children. The Bible didn't tell you, "Give them an iPhone and follow them on Instagram". Let me tell you something. A lot of kids have smart phones. And what they need is dumb phones. "Well there's no pay phones". So that don't mean you've got to get them a six-speed megahertz camera computer. You can buy groceries with that thing. Get them a phone that it takes them like nine pushes of a button to text anything. How many of y'all remember those phones? A, A, A, B, B, B, C, C, C. You know how much trouble they can't get in with that phone?
Now I know that plows up some turnips and it steps on some toes, but I'd rather tell you the truth. Parenting is hard work. Parenting does not always get fully appreciated. Parenting often gets overlooked. But I assure you, while it's filled with long days and short years, it will be the most gratifying thing in the world when you see your children grow up and become men and women of God, training your grandchildren how to become men and women of God. Don't think that God can't enroll you in some continuing education courses that you might not sign up for. He'll take you to school. He'll teach you how to pray. He'll teach you through series of circumstances, giving you problems that you can't solve, giving you burdens that you can't bear until you learn how to call upon him so that he'll show you great and mighty things you know not. He'll teach you how to give.
Malachi 3, it says, "Shall a man rob God"? Everything you have, it comes from him. Giving is not something that's extraordinary. Giving is something that God expects. Why? Because he's the one who's given you everything. He wants you to sow seed, not just ask him to bring seed. He's waiting with hands full on purpose. But the only way it will be yours is if you are willing to work, if you will combine your blood and your sweat. And then the final ingredient is your tears. You see tears are your passion. And it's passion that pushes you on whenever quit looks good. And it doesn't matter what you're doing. Some day, some time, quit is going to look really good. But that's when those hot tears that you've cried that nobody got to see remind you that there's just too much to gain, to lose. You need to know something, church. God can interpret your tears.
There are all kinds of reasons why people cry. I've got four kids. And as an earthly father, I can interpret my children's tears. I know when my four year old walks into the room going she just wants dad to go spank one of her siblings. He, he, he, he, he, he, he, he, he, he, he hit me. He didn't hit you. You're walking. He's got a hundred pounds on you. If he hit you, he'd have killed you. But just like this earthly father can interpret the tears of his natural children, God can interpret your tears. God knows when you're crying because you're angry. He knows when you're crying because you're selfish. And he knows when you're crying because your heart is broken. And when it comes to those broken-hearted tears, here's what God says, "Your tears, I've caught in a bottle. And I've kept a count of them. Are they not written in my book"?
God has an accounting department that every tear you've ever cried with a broken heart, every night you've ever prayed a prayer that didn't come to pass, everything that you've ever wanted and could not have received, God caught those tears. You may have cried and walked through the valley of sorrow and death. But if you've come through the other side, God is not through with you yet. You may have wept until you cannot weep anymore. But God sent me here to tell you today, "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy is coming in the morning"! Give the Lord a handclap of praise! Church, your blood, your sweat and your tears will bring a breakthrough. Your blood, your sweat and your tears will bless the next generation. Your blood, your sweat and your tears will change the world if you are willing to put your faith and your trust in the God who bled for you. He believes in you. Will you believe in him today?
Can we stand to our feet. With every head bowed and every eye closed, you're in this place today, and you say, pastor, I know exactly what I want God to do. I know what the desire of my heart is. I know where I need his touch in my business, in my family, in my physical life, in my finances. That's not a mystery: I know. If that's you, you know what the desire of your heart is, would you put your hand high in the air today and just hold it there? Now with that hand raised, if you know that in order for you to receive what you want from the Lord, it's going to take effort and work, and blood, sweat and tears from you: will you put your other hand in the air right next to it? And now with both hands raised, you're in a position of surrender, announcing to God in heaven that you know he can do his part, and that you're willing to do yours. So I want you to repeat these words in prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, I'm here today because you have bled for me, and you believe in me, and you have worked for me. And today I'm asking you, Lord, to answer my prayer in this sanctuary. Lord, I need you to touch my life. And now I want you to tell him exactly where you want it. Lord, touch my business, touch my family, touch my home, touch my physical body, touch my heart.
Whatever it happens to be, it's not going to be a surprise to God Almighty. He just wants to know that you recognize that he'll do his part and you'll do yours. Now continue in prayer.
Lord, my hands are raised, because I believe that you are able, and I am willing. And because God, my father, has given me his son, nothing is impossible, in Jesus' name. Amen.