Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 6/18/2006 7:24:12 PM

 

Series: "The Kingdom of Heaven "
Message #3: “Representatives of God”

Text: John 4

 

"Jesus said..., 'My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.'" (v. 34)


"To finish his work."
There's one word that's in that short sentence that's so important to the church today; it's the word "WORK."
"Work" is a very interesting word in our culture.
I think most people felt the same way I did, because--Most of us hated to get up in the morning and go to work.
We said things like, "Thank God it's Friday," and "I have the Monday morning blues."
We looked at work as a burden to bear or an evil necessity.
As one old song states, "Everybody's working for the weekend."
All week long we lived for the weekend, because that's when we could enjoy our hobbies and spend some good quality time with our families.
The problem is that even most Christians see their occupation as a means of receiving money to support their lifestyle or as getting the means to live at a certain income level.
The problem is that we equate success and prosperity with the amount of money we make.
God's view of income is totally different than that.
God wants much more out of our occupation than an income.


Last week we discovered that God has called us his "peculiar treasure."
We discovered that God's "peculiar treasure" in the Hebrew translates to "a moveable possession."
We recognized that being God's "moveable possession" was like someone playing the game of chess.
The player in chess has the authority to move the pieces of the chessboard to any position that he wishes, to achieve the desired outcome of defeating his opponent.
God has called us to be His "moveable" pieces to accomplish His purposes.
As "Moveable Possessions" God tells us:
We are bought with a price.


"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
We are the Lord's both by creation and redemption.
Here, Paul is speaking of redemption.
His ownership of us dates back to Calvary.
We were bought at a price.
At the cross, we see the price tag which the Lord Jesus put on us.
He thought that we were of such great value that He was willing to pay for us with His own precious blood.
How greatly Jesus must have loved us, that He would bear our sins in His body on the cross!
Since that's the case, I can no longer think of my body as my own.
If I use it in the way I desire, then I am acting as a thief, taking that which does not belong to me.
Rather, I must use my body to glorify God, the One to whom it belongs.

It follows that since we are bought with a price that Our lives are now for His purposes.
This is what God told Pharaoh after He put the 7th plague on the Egyptians: "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (Exodus 9:16)
This verse explains the reason why God raised up Pharaoh, or more literally, why He preserved Pharaoh's life to this point, rather than crushing him earlier and immediately freeing Israel.
God's purpose was to allow Pharaoh to experience Jehovah's mighty wonders.
As a result, God's character would be declared throughout all the earth.

 
We were bought with a price and our lives are for His purposes, and when we work for Him, Our power to work comes from His glory.
Listen to what Jesus said about His work on earth: "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do," (John 17:4)
As the Lord uttered these words, He was speaking as if He had already died, been buried, and risen again.
He had glorified the Father by His sinless life, by His miracles, by His suffering and death, and by His resurrection.
He had finished the work of salvation the Father had given Him to do.
A famous preacher put it this way:
THE CRUCIFIXION BROUGHT GLORY TO THE FATHER.
IT GLORIFIED HIS WISDOM, FAITHFULNESS, HOLINESS, AND LOVE.
IT SHOWED HIM WISE, IN PROVIDING A PLAN WHEREBY HE COULD BE JUST AND ALSO BE THE JUSTIFIER OF THE UNGODLY.
IT SHOWED HIM FAITHFUL IN KEEPING HIS PROMISE, THAT THE SEED OF THE WOMAN SHOULD BRUISE THE SERPENT'S HEAD.
IT SHOWED HIM HOLY, IN REQUIRING HIS LAW'S DEMANDS TO BE SATISFIED BY OUR GREAT SUBSTITUTE.
IT SHOWED HIM LOVING, IN PROVIDING SUCH A MEDIATOR, SUCH A REDEEMER, AND SUCH A FRIEND FOR SINFUL MAN AS HIS CO-ETERNAL SON.
THE CRUCIFIXION (ALSO) BROUGHT GLORY TO THE SON.
IT GLORIFIED HIS COMPASSION, HIS PATIENCE, AND HIS POWER.
IT SHOWED HIM TO BE MOST COMPASSIONATE, IN DYING FOR US, SUFFERING IN OUR STEAD, ALLOWING HIMSELF TO BE COUNTED SIN AND A CURSE FOR US, AND BUYING OUR REDEMPTION WITH THE PRICE OF HIS OWN BLOOD.
IT SHOWED HIM TO BE MOST PATIENT, IN NOT DYING THE COMMON DEATH OF MOST MEN, BUT IN WILLINGLY SUBMITTING TO SUCH PAINS AND UNKNOWN AGONIES AS NO MIND CAN CONCEIVE, WHEN WITH A WORD HE COULD HAVE SUMMONED HIS FATHER'S ANGELS, AND BEEN SET FREE.
AND  IT SHOWED HIM TO BE MOST POWERFUL, IN BEARING THE WEIGHT OF ALL (THE) TRANSGRESSIONS OF THE WORLD, AND VANQUISHING SATAN, AND DENYING HIM OF HIS PREY.
That's what one preacher had to say about the crucifixion and what resulted from it.


As God's "moveable possessions," we must remember that it's not about our comfort nor is it about our success, it is about God's glory displayed in and through our lives.


We don't own our lives.
God has full possession of all that we are and all that we ever hope to be.
Now that we understand that we are not of our own creation, and that we don't have the right to make our own decisions, if those decisions are outside of the call of God's Kingdom in our lives.


If we are going to be Kingdom citizens we must be entirely in tune with the work of God.
But, we are never called upon to do work for God.
We can do nothing for God that He cannot do himself.
John 20:21 states, "As the Father has sent me so send I you!"
The word "send" is different from the word "sent."
The Bible commentary states that "Send" denotes a commission of an individual with the blessing of the sender, and the dictionary definition is: "To dispatch an agent or message."
 Jesus was the Father's agent in reconciling God to man. 
And the message He brought was, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."


Believers are not meant to enjoy the blessings of God selfishly.
They're to share them with others, and they're to share the message of Jesus so others can experience salvation and eternal life.
So He sends them into the world, as the Father had sent Him.
Christ came into the world as a poor Person.
He came as a Servant.
He emptied Himself.
He delighted to do the Father's will.
He identified Himself with man.
He went about doing good.
AND He did everything by the power of the Holy Spirit.
His goal, from the beginning, was the cross.
Now He said to the disciples, "I also send you."
But, we're not on this mission alone, because--
Jesus didn't give us His mission--He gave us a co-mission.
What does that mean?


1. It means that Jesus is on the mission with us.
Jesus said--
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely 1 am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Jesus spoke these words just before He returned to heaven. 
We call it the Great Commission.
The promise, "... surely 1 am with you always, to the very end of the age," was given to the apostles, and it's been passed on to every generation of believers since then.
Christ's promise of His presence, guarantees the success of the church's mission because it's really His mission carried out by His called-out disciples.
What more assurance could we want?
We are His ambassadors and we should be faithful to Him in all things.
We will not go forth alone and we will not be on our own.
In all our service for Him, we will have the companionship of the Son of God.
Remember, we are never out of the care of Jesus.
Jesus has promised His constant presence to be with us always.


2. (The second thing I want to point out is that) Jesus is on a mission through us. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)
We find these words by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:19-21: "That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Who is it that's an ambassador for Christ?
Webster says an ambassador is a minister of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or king as the official representative of his own government or king.

"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ."
And we are in a foreign land--Peter says that we are pilgrims and strangers down here.
And Paul says, "For our [citizenship! is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).
I think what he is talking about is clear:
Our citizenship is in heaven.
Christians are citizens of heaven, as well as being citizens of a country, like the United States.
But, heaven is the Christian's home; he is only temporarily in this world.
The church is really a colony of heaven, and: our names are enrolled in heaven; we are under heaven's government; we share heaven's glory; and we enjoy heaven's honor.
And you know what, we should act like it: heavenly conduct should always mark the Christian's life.
Our allegiance is to Jesus Christ.
So, we wait with eager expectation for the Second Coming of Christ.
This is the normal attitude of a citizen of heaven.
This expectancy of His coming should spur us on to higher and holier living.

The greatest event in a colony was the visit of the emperor.
And our blessed hope is in the coming of Christ.
When one government sends an ambassador to another government, it means they are on friendly terms.
God is still friendly with this world, and He has sent us into the world as His ambassadors.
One day He will call His ambassadors home.
Then judgment will begin, but that's still in the future.
When man sinned, God in His holiness had to turn away from the world.
But God loved man, so He sent His own Son to die on the Cross.
Now God can hold out His arms to the world and say, "You can come to me."
We are His ambassadors, and as His ambassadors, we are to tell folk, "God will save you!"
All God is asking any man to do is to come to Him.

God won't try to get even with you.
He doesn't want to punish you.
He doesn't want to lay a hand on you.
He invites all people everywhere to come to Him.
You don't need to do one single thing to win Him over.
You don't have to shed tears to soften the heart of God, because He loves you, and He wants to save you.
Why?
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [2 Cor. 5:21].

Jesus Christ took my place down here.
He, who knew no sin, came that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
He has given me His place, clothed me in His righteousness; and He took my hell down here so that I might have His heaven up yonder.
He did that for me, and He did that for you.
Christian friends, have you been able to get out this wonderful Word to anyone else?
Whoever you are, wherever you are, however you are, what are you doing today to get this Word of reconciliation out to a lost world?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He feels toward you just as He did the day Christ died on the Cross for you and for all mankind.
This is what the world needs to hear from you.
The world is reconciled to Him, but they will have to turn around and by faith come to Him.
Let's get this word out, my friends.
Since Jesus is "in" us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit He is working "through" us to complete his purpose.
When Jesus said to go, He did not say to go alone.
He said, "Come and go with me because I am going with you."

3. (The third thing I want to point out is that) Jesus is on a mission and He is working hard to accomplish that mission. (John 5:17)
"Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
Having finished the work of creation in six days, God had rested on the seventh day.
This was the Sabbath.
However, when sin entered the world, God's rest was disturbed.
He would now work ceaselessly to bring men and women back into fellowship with Him.
He would provide a means of redemption.
He would send out the gospel message to every generation.
Thus, from the time of Adam's fall up to the present time, God has been working ceaselessly, and He is still working.
The same was true of the Lord Jesus.
He was engaged in His Father's business, and His love and grace could not be confined to only six days of the week.


Conclusion:


Henry Blackaby, in his book, "Experiencing God," lists as one of God's principles--"God is always at work around us."
We fail to see the hand of God working around us because we have our own agenda and our own program in place.
But God is continually at work around us and He is asking us to join him in His work.
Because God is working with us, through us, and in us we can lead someone to Christ, and we can pray for them with power, and we can give them wise counsel in making decisions.
All of this is part of the "work of God."
We are not working to make ourselves a name, we are not working to get God's favor, and we are not working to build a large building, budget, or a large congregation.


We are working to build up the name of Jesus Christ in every person--one person at a time.

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