You matter more than you will ever know.
We are in a series called ‘Risk.’ We started the series with Peter’s story when Jesus calls out to Peter to invite him out of the boat. Peter had to face and overcome fear. We said, to follow Christ, we too will have to face and overcome fear. We said the most dangerous place we could ever be; is in the boat. The best place to me, is to follow Christ.
Last week Sam some people hear that message about getting out of the boat and are inspired. But some can conclude, ‘That’s easy for those Pastor guys, they have the right personality for that.’ Sam said clearly, it’s not a personality thing, it’s a love thing. When you spend time with God, what matters to Him will matter to you. What breaks His heart will break yours. What does God love? People who are busted up with sin, hurts and wounds. Sam challenged us to look at everyone around us who is far from God and pray for them. Sam asked, whose eternal destiny lies in your hands?
Today I want to start with a quiz. Who are the most wealthy people in the world today? Bill Gates. Carlos Slim. Warren Buffet. Can you name the Nobel Peace award of 2016? Juan Manual Santos. Can you name who won the 2016 Miss America pageant? Betty Cantrell from Arkansas. Can you name the last three super bowl winners? Broncos. Patriots. Seahawks. Quickly, let’s understand these people don’t’ really impact us that much, we can hardly even remember their names.
Let’s make it more personal. Can you name at least one teacher who inspired you in school? Can you name a friend who have helped you through a difficult time. What is your bosses name? Kinda obvious, I know, but; what is your father’s name, your mother’s name?
Here is the point. People who make the most difference in your life, normally, are the ones in your life. Here is the bigger point I want you to connect with. That means, you matter. Think about this, to everyone you are personally connected to, you matter. You have the ability to make the most difference in their lives. You matter more than you will ever know. To ignore this, is to take what is special about you and throw it away. It’s an awful decision. A tragedy.
In the book The Divine Mentor, Cordeiro says 80% of what you do, everyone can do. About 15% of what you do, others can do with a little education or training. The last 5% what you do, only you can do. Think about this. Only you can be a husband or wife to your spouse. Only you can be a father or mother to your children. Only you can impact your work place the way you were created. Only you can impact your school the way you were created. Only you can be change a local church the way you were created.
Hear me today, you matter. You matter to everyone around you. And to ignore that is a great tragedy.
I want to read for you what God says about you.
17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! 18 All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did.
And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him. 19 For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.
20 We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you-be reconciled to God. 21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us! TLB 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Not only do you matter, you matter spiritually. The way God is transforming your family, your community, where you work, where you go to school; is through you. The moment you believed in Jesus, God gave you His grace. That means, God poured all your sins into Jesus and poured God’s goodness into you. Another translation, instead of ‘good’ it says, ‘righteousness’. Now God wants you to help others experience that grace through you.
Just allow that to sink in for a second. You matter spiritually. God wants to transform your family, your community, where you work, where you go to school; through you. How does that hit you? Does it inspire you to hear that? Think about it and say it inside yourself, “My life matters!” That is awesome! Or does it leave you frozen in fear? Ugh, I don’t want that responsibility! That scares me.
I want to briefly talk about four common responses to this truth and close with what it all means.
When people first hear this truth, I think many people struggle to believe this. God wants to transform the world through you is a big statement. We can think we don’t belong, maybe this is you. It’s hard to think that God, so holy, so pure, so powerful would ever allow His kingdom to messed up with someone like us – right? We think of our sins, our failures, our addictions and conclude that we don’t belong. I think that is why Jesus started His kingdom on earth with 12 messed up guys from the fishing docs.
If you have concluded this, ‘I don’t belong,’ you have failed to fully understand and live out scripture. God poured the goodness/righteousness of Jesus into us. Probably the hardest thing I have ever tried to communicate as a Pastor has been that one truth.
Vs 21 God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!
If you believe in Christ, if you base your life on what scripture says, you should wake up every day inspired to know that you are filled with the goodness, the righteousness, of Christ. To believe and life out anything else is live completely contrary to scripture.
You matter spiritually, second common response. You don’t want it to be true because if it is, you would have to accept the responsibility to do something. Is this you? Do you connect with this? It just seems like you now have to be a leader of something and it feels like it’s too much weight on you. So when something spiritual pops up, what do we want to do? Call 1-800-Pastor-does-everything! Why? We don’t want to step into your spiritual or God given authority. Wouldn’t you rather hirer a Pastor and dump all that junk on him? Wouldn’t that be easier? That way you could stay away from God stuff, prayer, helping people, etc. Hear me, we are taking the power and authority that God has given us and throwing it away… tragedy.
If you have concluded this, ‘I want to stay away,’ you have failed to understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ. You have experienced God’s grace, and now you are given the greatest honor to share that God doesn’t want to count our sins against us and wants to give us His grace. Please hear me, you are not asked to be the next hero, the next awesome Avenger character. There is a hero to the story and His name is Jesus. You don’t have to save the world and feed the world and save all the animals in the world. You have made something so easy and simple into something weird and complicated.
God wants you to tell people your story how His grace impact you, that’s it. He wants you to pray, that’s it. He wants you to have character and integrity, that’s it. He wants you to serve, that’s it. To say ignore seeing your spiritual value is a tragedy. To know a friend is hurting and you say or do nothing, is a tragedy. You are literally saying to your friend, I know you are in pain, I have the answer to your pain and I don’t care. To know someone in your family needs prayer and ignore praying so you can pass that onto a pastor, is a tragedy. To be a father of your family and your family needs prayer protection that day and you ignore it, is a tragedy. You are God’s plan A, there is no plan B.
You matter spiritually, third common response. I’m not really interested, I would rather get a bigger house. As mind blowing as God’s invitation to us is to be a part of transforming people’s lives forever, many people don’t care. Now we would never say that out loud, but based on how we live, how we give, how we serve, we would rather find bigger income, bigger home, bigger 401k, more beach time. None of those things are wrong, but when we pursue them over pursuing people, we don’t have the right priorities. If you want to give me a new $500,000 – sweet, I’m in! Nothing wrong with stuff, it’s our priorities.
In church world, another version to ‘I would rather get a bigger house’ is, ‘I would rather build a successful church.’ We get busy, real busy doing endless church activity. We would rather be busy than meet with a neighbor who needs Christ. Why do we do this? Church activity can be intoxicating. In North America, we love activity, success, business. It creates a buzz, an intoxicating buzz. Hear me today, that buzz isn’t God. We have a God hole in our hearts and we are trying to fill it with the buzz of activity. All activity outside of spending time with God and joining Him in what He is doing, is nothing more than building a sand castle that will never last. You can spend all day building the most beautiful sand castle. The next day, it’s gone. That’s what happens spiritually with endless, passionate, church activity. That’s why at MRC, we invite people into a relationship with Christ, not endless church activity.
You matter spiritually; lastly, many people hear that God wants to transform others through us and feel defeated because they are overwhelmed by life. They have allowed life to take over. They are busy, exhausted and defeated. So when Jesus invites us to be ambassadors, they think it’s just one more thing to add to their already exhausting life so they check out. They are the Martha in the Mary and Martha story. Do you connect with this feeling? I want to but when would I? I get it.
I will till you, there is nothing more life giving than telling your friends that God doesn’t want to count their sins against them, He wants to fill them with His grace.
You matter spiritually. You are God’s plan A. You experience God’s grace and He wants you to help others experience that. What are common responses? I don’t believe it, too good to be true. I don’t want it to be true because I would have to do something. I’m not really interested, I want a bigger house or endless church activity. My life is exhausting, I can’t jam that into my life.
Do you know what is common about all of these responses? We are taking the authority, the passion, the power of God, the one greatest thing that makes us special, and throwing it away.
Big point here. What happens to our Christianity when we throw away God’s authority, passion and power? It’s watered down. It leaves us dazed and confused looking for something that would make the Christian life easier, something we could fit into our busy lives. A quick bible verse. It leaves us looking for another book, another DVD series. We search for more church programs. Now we are exhausted and don’t have time for it, but we want another program. So sad. We want deeper teaching. Have you heard that before? It sounds so spiritual doesn’t it? The problem is we can’t do the two most simple things Jesus taught. But when you throw away what makes us special, that’s what happens.
Listen, you matter. You matter spiritually. To fully experience God, His authority, His passion, His power, you must get out of the boat. You love people where they are and it will be messy.
Please hear what scripture says about what is unfolding around you for thousands of years.
God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. MSG 2 Peter 3:9
That means God was coming back last week but He didn’t. He looked at Dillsburg and Gettysburg and saw people who don’t know about his grace yet. So he pushed back the end of time for another year. Do you realize how incredible that is?
Anyone who welcomes you is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me. – Jesus NLT Matthew 10:40-41
That’s authority. If someone likes you, they like Me Jesus said. Wow. They don’t like you, they don’t like Me. Wow.
You matter spiritually. God is pushing back the end of time to give people space and time to experience His grace. His plan is to give you His authority, passion and power to connect with people.
What is your response to that?
Five things to know about being an Ambassador for Christ.
First, be real. Be yourself. It’s not an invitation to be a dork at work. No need to bring the world’s biggest bible to your work place. Be yourself, you aren’t God’s marketing department. Do you know what I mean by that? Christians who are going through hard times and scared to death to admit it because it might make God look bad. Be real. Be honest.
Secondly, you have to understand God is doing the work, so whatever you do, chill out. It’s not your job to convict people or convert people or get them to do anything; that’s the Holy Spirit’s role. It’s not your job to have the perfect responses to argue people into Christianity. It’s not your job to judge.
What is our job? To love, accept and forgive. Take it down a notch and chill out.
Third, start at home. Here is one of life’s greatest goals. Your family should have better things to say about you than people who don’t live in your house. Being an ambassador of Christ always starts at home. Love them, pray for them, get your heart right at home.
Fourth, be prepared. As a disciple of Christ at home, at work or school, that means you absorb hurt and give back love. It is the only way that will stop the cycle of sin and pain in this world. You want the world to know about Christ’s love? It will probably hurt. You are going to have to forgive a lot, it’s coming.
Lastly, pray to unleash God. Pray. Pray for your family. Pray for your coworkers. Pray for those you go to school with. Pray everywhere you go. You are completely dependent on God to show up.
Listen. You matter spiritually. You are God’s plan to transform our world. If you want authority, passion and the power of God, you accept the reality that you are God’s plan.
So I want to end with this question. Whose eternal destiny lies in your hands, who are you talking to?