Serve Christ

DIVE IN

We can live for many things that bring enjoyment. But nothing can equal the joy of living for the agenda of Christ. He has great things he wants to do in us, and glorious things he wants to accomplish through us. Don’t sit on the edges watching with your toes in the water – do something today that dives into the wondrous works of Christ!

SERMON LEFTOVERS 1.13.14

“Be Faithful” 2 Timothy 2:1-13

Chapter 1 ends with examples of those who either drifted from mission or kept it

Chapter 2 begins with encouraging us to stay faithfully on mission for the gospel

Our faithfulness rests upon God’s “grace” (vs 1-2)

“Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (v1)

Do you want to serve Christ and be faithful? You can!

1.  Grace is a gift

It is not conjured up, or figured out

Sufficient strength is held out to us with an ever flowing abundance

2.  Grace is undeserved not saved for worthy and capable workers

Don’t exalt our failure above God’s commitment of grace

3.  Grace is ‘in Christ’ (v1)

The grace that saves us is equally committed to strengthen and use us

This grace comes to us by the means God has given

1.  God’s Word, the Bible, which is all and perfectly true

Keep reading, pondering and applying God’s word and it will produce fruitfulness

But if we neglect God’s Word or dismiss it, our life will be marred by instability and waste

2.  Biblical community, the church, which is God’s care and support for us

None of us see life clearly enough to ignore biblical community

When we reject these means, we reject the Holy Spirit

He inspired, and speaks through the Bible

He regenerated, and gifted other believers

Resting in God is to be strengthened, rather than to be strong

We don’t have to feel strong, to have all the strength we need

“We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Our faithfulness applies God’s grace (vs 3-7)

Faithfulness is responsible for using grace, not for obtaining it

To help make his point, Paul gives three word pictures

1.  Be faithful like “a soldier” – and live focused on who we serve

An army’s provision frees soldiers from civilian pursuits

So God’s eternal care, frees us to focus on serving Him

We can be faithful in Jesus’ mission, because God is sovereign and good

2.  Be faithful like “an athlete” – and conform to the rules over us

Imagine a ball game in which players all used their own rules. That is the chaos in which our world increasingly operates!

If we are not serious in living by the Bible, we are not serious about God

We can be faithful in Jesus’ mission, because God’s ways will work

3.  Be faithful like “a farmer” – and work hard to obtain a good harvest

If we know our efforts will produce good things, we will keep at it

Grace brings the strength we need, and produces what we don’t deserve

We can be faithful in Jesus’ mission, because God is the future

Paul introduces these examples in v3 by saying “share in their sufferings”

He is being honest that it is not always easy to fulfill these word pictures

Most of us are committed to sacrifice and hard work in some area of our life. If not Christ, why?

Faithfulness thrives as we keep the focus on Jesus (vs 8-10)

“Remember Jesus Christ” (v8)

When Christ appears in his present glory, every creature will bow in worship (Philippians 2:9-11)

We will fully submit to Jesus one day, if we don’t now, can we say we have a heart for him?

How do we keep Christ in focus?

Exalt him in worship each day   

Keep making the little choices that put him first

Paul concludes this section with a song about faithfulness to Christ and the faithfulness of Christ (vs 11-13)

Faithfulness is what God looks for most; it is how He measures our lives

We cannot make results happen as we serve Christ, but we can be faithful!

BE CONFIDENT

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.                                     (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)

We have been given rather impressive responsibilities:

v18  God has given us the “ministry of reconciliation” (the gospel)

v19  God had entrusted us with the “message of reconciliation”

v20  We are “ambassadors for Christ”

v20  God makes his appeal to people “through us”!

This is all very heady stuff. No king or kingdom on earth can offer higher honors or more noble pursuits.

However, if we look too closely at our ability to represent Christ or the obstacles to representing Christ, we can quickly become overwhelmed as we correctly see that we are in way over our heads!

1.  Be confident, because this ministry is not something we initiated.

God is the One who is graciously and powerfully working in and through us

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1)

Since it is in God’s heart to use us this way, He will be the agent of effectiveness. We never have to convince God to use us for His gospel’s sake. He is always out ahead of us preparing the way and wanting to use us

When we step forward in obedience to God’s call to use us, it is trusting that the Holy Spirit will be the real agent of effectiveness. What seems hard for us, is never too hard for him

If serving Christ was easy, we would quickly begin to think we were sufficient and God can simply step back to watch us in action. Thankfully, he keeps us surrounded with reasons to see the foolishness of that perspective

“We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

When we know the “power belongs to God”, we are left with a wiser focus.

Instead of trying to be strong, we seek to be faithful. A right heart for God is our great task each day. He will provide the rest.

Instead of trying to change people by our brilliance, we seek to love them, be available to them and share the gospel with them. God will produce the fruit

2.  Be confident, the ministry we have been given is needed by everyone we meet

Christ is the ultimate answer to every need, brokenness, grief and burden. We are not called to convince people into Heaven, we are called to make God’s appeal to them. We share what God’s Word says and we have experienced from Him.

You may not know how unravel the enormous mess that people have made of their lives, but you know the person who can not only give them answers, He is their solution

3.  Be confident, the gospel will never fail those who trust in it

The gospel not only gives us hope at all times, it gives us hope to share

Has Christ been effective to save you?  Does the Holy Spirit ever leave you?  Has God’s Word failed yet?

We are not ministering anything that has not already proven to be wonderfully true

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

You may not be among the great and powerful, or rich and famous of this world. But I ask you, are they going to be God’s ambassador for the gospel? Is God making His appeal through them or though you?!

Only those who have the gospel can or will bear witness to what Jesus has done through the gospel

When we cooperate and follow God’s heart for us to serve the gospel of Christ, it places us at the center of His will and that is a wondrous place to be!