Two-part sermon series by Randy on the mission of the Church.
On Pentecost Sunday (05.27.2007), I began a 2-part series called “The Mission.” We talked about the power God gives for the mission (that’s what Pentecost is all about). We also talked about our need to have passion for God’s mission.
1. Power for the Mission
There are good things and bad things about growing older. The good news is we gain wisdom (hopefully), but the worst thing about getting older is that we have a tendency to become self-sufficient (“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”).
Perhaps at the start of your journey of following Jesus, you were fully reliant on God. Then as you grew older and began to develop your gifts, you became less reliant/desperate for God and you began relying on your own gifts/strengths to get you through life.
I once read an article called “Teaching Smart People How to Learn.” The point was, “smart people” (people who’ve become self-sufficient) are hard to teach because they think they already know it all.
Jesus said something very similar, actually. Jesus talked about how hard it is to make “healthy people” well. People who think they’re well aren’t interested in a doctor. People who think they’re okay spiritually aren’t aware of their need for a savior.
Truth is, though, it would be possible to do life and/or ministry without God! But we do ministry alone when we take God for granted, when we become less dependent on God, and when rely on our own ability to get the job done.
Most of us live by the adage, “God helps those who help themselves!” A lot of people think that comes from the Bible. But, not only is it not in the Scriptures, it isn’t scriptural!
The Holy Spirit empowers people for God’s mission!
Read Acts 2.1-13; Acts 1.8; John 20.21-22; Isaiah 61.1-3; Matthew 28.16-20
Let’s make ourselves available to God. Let’s gain a sense of urgency for God’s mission. Let’s relinquish and repent of our self-sufficiency, and realize how desperate we are for God. Fact is, there are two kinds of people on earth: 1) those who need God, and 2) those who are in denial!
Jesus assured his followers, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (acts 1.8). Imagine if all of us would relinquish our self-sufficiency, make ourselves available to God, and become urgent about God’s mission. What would happen in our community?
2. Passion for the Mission
Apathy is being without passion. No one who has ever done anything great for God could be described as apathetic or passionless! Let’s look at one guy who had great passion: Read Acts 26.19-32.
God impassions people for the mission!
God told Saul (later Paul) that he was sending him, essentially, to change the world. I love Paul’s response: “I obeyed that vision from heaven” (Acts 26.19). As Paul was telling his story to a couple of important political leaders, one of them shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”
Paul wasn’t insane. He was passionate, passionate about God and the mission God had given him!
This story in Acts 26, the story of Paul’s dramatic experience of becoming a Christ-follower was the third time the story was told in the book of Acts. That’s pretty important when you’re writing by hand on parchment that’s not too easy to come by.
Questions to help you define your story:
What are you passionate about? What jazzes you? What’s not as it should be? What’s the story that comes to mind when you think about that problem? And, what are you going to do about it?
God calls and equips us to do his work on this planet. God gives us the power to do it. We just need the passion to go with it. I love the passion that John Wesley had, a passion he knew others needed as well. He once said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergy or lay, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the Kingdom of God upon earth.”
Empowered and passionate people will change the world for God!