Many a Christ follower has this feeling that something is missing. Oh – they may well be warming a pew on Sundays … but is their life really making an eternal difference here on earth? Jesus said something outrageous – He said that we would end up doing things even greater than the things He did while He was on the Earth. Question is – did He mean that about thee and me? Hmm?
I know of people, people who believe in Jesus, people who go to Church Sunday after Sunday and they sit there in the pews, they sing the songs, they listen to the preacher but they’re not flashy up front performers or musicians or speakers or leaders.
Every now and then perhaps they make morning tea or contribute somehow to the life of the Church. But because they’re not high profile, up front people, because they’re more people who blend into the background, they have decided in their hearts of hearts that they have nothing to contribute.
The worlds been telling them and subtly the Church has been telling them, ‘You have nothing to contribute’. Lots and lots of people suffer from low self esteem. Lots and lots of people have come to the conclusion they have nothing to contribute.
Lots and lots of people have stopped trying to live out their faith in Jesus, a faith that used to beam so brightly and gradually, little by little, the flame within has grown dim. It’s almost gone out. And yet still, for some reason, they can’t quite put their finger on it, they toddle along every Sunday hoping, no surely there’s no more hope, secretly hoping perhaps, hoping in a way that they wouldn’t even admit to themselves let alone anyone else that Gods going to come along and do something powerful in their lives. I wonder, I wonder if you know anyone like that.
Well if you do, if perhaps there’s just a little, even a lot of that going on inside you, if perhaps you’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for God to do something powerful in you and through you to give you some part to play in His plan, that’s custom made for who you are, I believe then today with all my heart the wait comes to an end.
Today it’s over because He has a word for you, His word not mine, that will set you free to be what He always planned you to be. An ambassador of Christ. Not in the same way as anyone else you know because you’re not the same as anyone else you know. But in a unique way that fits with who you are.
We’re talking this week and next week as well about living our lives out as ambassadors of Christ. That means two things. Firstly that:
“Our citizenship is in heaven and it’s from there that we’re expecting a saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s Paul, Philippians chapter 3, verse 20.
In other words we may well be in this world but we aren’t of it. We are, when we put our trust in Jesus, citizens of heaven, citizens of the Kingdom of God. And not just citizens but, as Paul also writes, “Ambassadors in a foreign land.” 2 Corinthian, chapter 5, verse 20:
“So we are ambassadors for Christ since God is making His appeal through us, we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
And as ambassadors our role is to allow God to make His appeal to this world through us. As I said not the way He does through other people but through us, the way He made each one of us to be. Each disciple of Jesus Christ is an ambassador of Christ with a role to play, a part to play in His plan of reconciling countless people, countless souls to Him, here and now and for all eternity.
Now, I know, I know without any shadow of any doubt that there are countless people listening to this message right now today who simply can’t believe that this could possibly be true. Because the flame, the flame’s almost gone out.
That’s why I’m going to share with you a powerful word from God, in fact from Jesus own lips. Anyone who’s spent just five minutes reading any one of the four Gospel accounts of Jesus life in the 1st century, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, you’ll be able to recount a string of powerful miracles that Jesus performed.
He healed the sick. He raised the dead. He made water out of wine. He fed thousands with almost nothing. He did so many amazing powerful miracles, miracles that were witnessed by lots and lots of people. It was this power that in the end got Him crucified.
Not only did He preach with power, He acted in power and people flocked to Him. It was because of the preaching and the deeds of power and miracles that the Pharisee’s and the Sadducee’s, the religious leaders of the day, became so threatened by Him they had Him crucified. And ultimately, just in case anyone had any doubt, He Himself was raised again from the dead.
You and I, we look at Jesus, He is after all the Son of God, He is someone that you and I can never, ever, ever be. We look at Jesus and we think to ourselves, ‘Wow, no one, no one could ever minister that powerfully again here on earth’. Have a listen to what Jesus said to His disciples just before He was crucified. John chapter 14, verses 11 and 12:
“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. But if you don’t then believe in me because of the works that I have done. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and in fact will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father.”
See Jesus didn’t say that we’d be able to do just the things that He did. No, He said that we’ll be able to do those things but anyone who believes in Jesus will, in fact, not only do those things that He was able to do but they would do, “greater works than these.”
In fact we’ll do greater works than these, He said, because I am going to my Father.
Now it seems to me that we have a choice here. We can sit there quietly in the third pew from the rear on the left hand side, you know where we always sit week after week for what seems like it’s been an eternity. We can sit there. We can believe in the world’s lies.
We can believe the devil’s deceptions that you and I, we have nothing to contribute, no role to play in Gods great plan of redeeming and saving and reconciling this world to Himself. And you know, as I look back on my life I had every reason to believe that about myself. We can believe that rubbish.
But if we do that, if we continue doing that the flame in our hearts for Jesus, the one that’s growing dimmer and dimmer, that flame will eventually go out. Or we can believe God and what He has to say in God’s Word.
So often faith is believing God’s apparently outrageous claims and promises square in the face of the mundaneness of life. Square in the face of a world that squeezes us into it’s mould. Mundaneness verses majesty. Poverty of the spirit verses power of the spirit.
Well let me tell you something, I have made my choice. I was a man whose life was broken in a terrible mess when I accepted Jesus with the simple faith of a child. Just on face value. And still today I’m accepting what He has to say, really simply, not in any complicated theological sense, just on face value and Jesus said:
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and in fact, will do greater works than these because I am going to my Father.”
I’m taking that. I don’t know about you but I’m taking that. You see He really means it. I think He means it. Just as Jesus came as God in the flesh to bring the Kingdom of God near to us, I believe He’s calling me and He’s calling you to take up our cross to follow Him and to be His ambassador and to do just the things He always planned for us to do. Not in our own strength but in the power of the Spirit. Works greater than His because He has gone to the Father and His plan is to involve you and me in bringing His love to those who need it. That’s what I think. But you know what, it doesn’t really matter what I think. Question is, what do you think?
EPISODE TWO – DID HE REALLY MEAN THAT?
From SERIES: LIVING LIFE AS AN AMBASSADOR OF CHRIST (PT 2)
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