This series is called ‘Do I Matter?’ We are walking through a 42-day daily devotional to discover just how much we matter. The series started with the Foundation of Life: God loves you and created you on purpose. Worship: trusting God in all the areas of life. Trusting God so much, we are jump into His arms like a three-year-old on a kitchen counter jumping into his loving father’s arms. Community: healthy community is when we are in a personal relationship with God. Discipleship: becoming like Jesus. God cares more about your character than your comfort. Serving: when you serve others you are serving God. It’s the proof that we have become a Christian. Today we jump into the last purpose.
The last two chapters in the devotional deals with jealously, envy and people pleasing.
Today let’s begin with the big picture of God. I call it the God story. It’s the story of what God has been up to for thousands of years. The reason I want to start with the God story is because when we understand what God is up to, we can understand how we fit into His story.
God creates Adam and Eve. You know the story. God created a perfect world for Adam and Eve. It actually shows us God’s desire for us. The Garden of Edan is close understanding of heaven. However, Adam and Eve wanted to be like God so they made the choice and sinned. And from that point on, God has to deal with people filled with sin. And all through the Old Testament we see how God shows His love for people. And all through the Old Testament, people show their inability to love God back. That’s why the Old Testament is story after story of this wrestling match between God and people. In this wrestling match, there are wars and death. There is rebellion against God. There are great stories of imperfect people who give their lives to God. The common theme through the Old Testament is God’s desire to love His people.
God’s intent was to love and bless the world through the nation of Israel. Let’s read what Moses said.
5 I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 6 Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’ 7 For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? 8 And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today? NLT Deuteronomy 4:5-8
When you read the Old Testament, it covers 2,000 plus years and story after story of people’s inability to trust God, obey God, and love Him back. They couldn’t do it. What does God do to solve this struggle? Does God hit the reset button? No. Does God ignore people? No. God does something remarkable. God enters earth in the form of Jesus and personally engages us in our mess. The story of God entering earth, we call that story Christmas.
Scripture explains why Jesus came to earth.
10 “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” …God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. NIV Romans 3:10, MSG Romans 3:21-24
We were born with sin. It’s our identity. It’s who we are. There is nothing we can do about it. Because of that sin, it keeps us away from God. That sin destroys our lives. It leaves us feeling guilt and shame. It leaves us feeling weak and alone in this world. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it leaves us feeling rejected by God.
Sin has done so much damage in our lives and we try to hide it from others. We walk in our addictions. We puff ourselves up as if we are better than we really are. We are jealous of others. We desperately try to hide how much fear we walk with. We check out on life. On an on. Sin has deeply damaged us.
What does God do? God sends Jesus to set things right. That means Jesus enters earth and dies on a cross. Jesus hangs on that cross for six hours slowly suffocating. And in that torment, Jesus takes on your identity of sin. He takes your sin and puts it into himself. It is devastating because not only is it physically painful but in that moment something worse happened, God has to look away from Jesus because Jesus is filled with our sin.
The Bible explains this moment like this.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. NIV 2 Corinthians 5:21
That means when you believe in Jesus and give your life to Jesus, God reaches into your life, pulls out your sin and pours it into Jesus that day. And at the same time, God reaches into Jesus, pulls out the righteousness of Jesus and pours it into you. From that day forward, you can walk with courage knowing that your sin stain is gone forever. You are free.
That is the God story. God sent Jesus on the mission to save you.
How do we fit into this God story? The mission God gave Jesus is the same mission Jesus has given us today. Listen to how Jesus prayed.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. MSG John 17:18
You have a mission. Did you know that? You were rescued by God and now God wants you to tell others about Him. You get to tell people how to remove the curse of sin. Please hear me. People are walking in unbearable pain. You get to share with them how you found relief. People walk with guilt and shame. People feel weak and alone. They feel rejected by God. And that is why God has asked you to tell others about what He has done for you.
This is how Paul understood our mission.
My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. NLT Acts 20:24
To Paul, there was nothing more important in life than telling others how they can be rescued. God has placed you where you are on purpose. Why? Because it’s through you God wants to impact people around you. Did you know that? It’s your mission. It starts at home and goes with you everywhere you go. It’s the mission of your life. It’s the mission of Church. God placed you where you are on purpose to tell others about what God has done in your life.
Please stop and think this through with me. Everyone is born with the mark of sin and like you, they can’t do anything about it. This includes everyone you go to work with, go to school with, or do life with. People around you are walking in guilt and shame – just like you. They feel weak and alone in this world – just like you. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it leaves them feeling rejected by God – just like you. Living in fear – just like you. And through you, with your Church, God wants to rescue them. That’s your mission. That’s the mission of the church.
Couple questions. Did you know that? Did you know that you have a mission to tell others about what God has done in your life? Did you know you can join God and help rescue people? Did your parents, if they went to church, did they model this for you? Did you ever hear them say, “I am spending time with so-in-so, pray for me because tonight I want to be a friend and tell them about God”? What did you think church was for? Was it for you and your comfort, your likes and dislikes? Or was church about something bigger?
I want you to think through this with me today. This mission that God has given us, can you think of anything more important to be a part of? There are a lot of good things you can be a part of, but can you think of anything more important that connecting people with God? Is there anything more important that watching God remove sin from people? Is there anything more important that helping people walk into eternity with God in heaven?
There is nothing more important than the God mission. This is what Peter wrote.
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
The mission of God is heaven’s highest priority. It’s so important God is pushing back the end of time so that people have more time to be rescued.
My question for you is this. What would you be willing to do to help rescue people? Would you be willing to pray for every person you know who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus? Would you be willing to hang out with them in hopes that someday you could tell them about your God story? Would you be willing to join the meal ministry to make and deliver food with no strings attached? Would you be willing to prioritize Church, bring your best to Church, in hopes we could introduce people to God’s message?
Couple of things to make this real practical.
First, you need to wrestle with that question. What would you be willing to do to help rescue people? How you answer that question will define your Christianity. The devotional pointed out that there are two kinds of Christians. Some are saved but stay self-centered. They pursue anything and everything that would make them feel good and comfortable while at the same time they avoid serving, commitment, leadership, anything that would cost them something. It’s a ‘me-first’ kind of faith that shows up to local churches and asks, ‘What do you have for me?’ They don’t ask God, ‘What Church do you want me to be a part of and build it through giving 10%, praying, serving and maybe leading?’
The devotional explained the other kind of Christian that is saved but is others-centered. They have been saved by God’s grace and it has rocked their world. They are very aware that God has rescued them. And because they know what God has done in their lives, they would do anything to help rescue others. These few see life and others through the lens of eternity. To them the things of God matter. Eternity matters. They aren’t petty, today focused, easily hurt or winey. They are the strength in every local church.
I challenge you to wrestle with that question. What would you be willing to do to help rescue people? Your answer will reveal if you are self-centered or others-centered.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit saves people, you don’t. It’s up to God to bring people to Himself. So don’t put the weight of people’s eternity on yourself. That’s between God and them. Our job is to share your story, it’s God’s job to save. We know this because Jesus said this.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. NIV John 6:44
Because of this, we pray. We pray and we pray. Your friends and family may reject your story and Jesus, but they are defenseless against your prayer and fasting. We are 100% dependent on the Holy Spirit moving.
Third, be a real person who is a friend with no strings attached. Probably the greatest thing you can do is be a real person. At home, have friends over and have fun. At church, be others focus on how to care for people – children’s ministries, making and delivering meals, etc. At work, go out of your way to care for people.
I want you to leave today with a paper doll. Take it home and write the names of those you are praying for. Let’s end today with a quote.
“We are engaged in warfare, the issues of which are life and death, and every day that we are indifferent to our responsibilities is a day lost to the cause of Christ.” – Robert Coleman in The Master Plan of Evangelism