Below is the sermonette preached at our recent vision meeting on Tuesday, June 18, 2013:
Welcome. We have a lot of information to share with you tonight. Beyond the decisions, dates, and dollar amounts, more than anything, we want our church to know the heart of your pastors. The enemy, the Father of lies, is a master of confusion. He will tempt us to wrongly interpret words, to assume the worst, and to judge outward appearances. Our hope and our prayer is that we will leave this meeting with a greater love for Jesus, a stronger trust in one another, and a deeper commitment to Jesus mission. Before we share our words with you, we felt it important to begin with God’s in 2Corinthians 5.6-21 in order to describe our hearts:
WE KNOW DIFFERENT
We know differently. We know that there is one good God who is there. We know that there is one Creator of all things. We know there is one Supreme Lord of the Universe. We know that there is a judge to whom all men are accountable. According to Romans 1, all men know this one God exists, but they reject His Rule and declare themselves Lord. The world lives in rebellion as enemies of God but, by grace, we know God has rescued a people out of the world. His people know the fear of the Lord. Specifically, we have come to know that nothing is about us and everything is about His worthiness to be worshipped. God made the created world for his glory (Ps.19:1ff). God will heal the broken world with his glory (Is. 35:2). God made us for his glory (Is.43:7). God saved us to praise his glory (Ephesians 1:12). When he judges, he does so for his own glory (Ex. 14:4).When he shows mercy, he does so for his own glory (Is. 48:11). God does everything for his own glory. We know different.
WE FEEL DIFFERENT
Our knowledge comes through concluding that, this Holy God, this righteous Judge, did the unthinkable. He rescued us by sacrificing His Son to die for guilty sinners who didn’t deserve, earn, or even want His love. The Son of God denied himself all glory, denied himself all comfort, denied himself all wealth, and denied himself all power that we might live and be with Him. And that great love now controls how I feel and how live. My desire is no longer to live for myself, but for God. I am not concerned with what I want, but what does Jesus want as my Lord and Master. Where does He want me to go? What does He want me to give? How does He want me to serve? He is worthy of my worship; and my life is His to spend and use for His name. So don’t just know different, we feel different at a heart level.
WE SEE DIFFERENT
God has changed what I know and He has changed how I feel. And because I feel Christ’s desires within me, I see everything differently. As Paul says earlier in the chapter, I now walk by faith not by sight. First, I see myself different. I am no longer defined by what I know, or what I do, what mistakes I’ve made, or what things I achieve, what family I’m from, or money I have. I am in Christ. I am saved, blessed, appreciated, reconciled, gifted, forgiven, new, and victorious. Second, I see the world differently. And because I live knowing who I am in Christ, I no longer try to find myself in the world—my hope is not there. I do not look to things that are seen but to things that are unseen. I see the world for what it is, broken, dying, and in need of the love of Christ. We see different..
WE ACT DIFFERENT
Because I believe I am compelled to speak and to act. Faith is more than just knowledge, more than just feeling, more than just seeing, it is act differently. What I know about Christ, what I feel in Christ, and what I see through Christ compels me to live like Christ—denying my________ for the glory of God As missionary C.T. Studd once said: “.” By grace, know that the heart of your pastors is to follow Christ’s command to make more followers: 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28.18-20. We act, in that, we follow Jesus. But even our following is “different”…
We are following Christ knowing He is leading, but not knowing exactly where: We follow By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11.8
We are following Christ knowing it is the right direction, but expecting it will be hard. 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20.22-24
We are following Christ for two reasons: more grace and more glory: 13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 2Corinthians 4.13-15
Our hope and our prayer is that we will leave this meeting with a greater love for Jesus, a stronger trust in one another, and a deeper commitment to Jesus mission.