"Our Greatest Work"
No matter how you view life, in the end all that will matter is whether you spend eternity with God or away from God. But can I ask you, do you care if others spend eternity with God?
Our Greatest Work
A. Heb. 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement.” Death. This past week our prayer list has many families grieving the loss of loved ones. I have been to funerals of small children, young adults, those that we call middle-aged, and those that are advanced in age. Death calls everyone. While the natural progression is that the older die, we all know people who died long before they or you thought they would.
B. So I come back to the Heb. 9:27 passage and face a fact – we will die, but also a second fact – we will be judged. One the physical body ceases to exist we stand before God. John tells us about the Judgement Day in Rev. 20:11-15.
C. Death comes, judgement comes and it really simply about eternal life with God or eternal separation from God. It is not complicated. Yet how many live this life aware of that day when those books are opened, when you and will stand before the throne and be eternally judged?
D. I share these passages to help wake us up. Jesus realized the importance of that Judgement Day and Luke records for us what he said in Luke 12:35-40. Jesus says to his disciples to “stay dressed ready for action and keep your lamps burning.” There is an urgency in those words. As much as people did not know the first advent of Jesus when he came as a baby, born in a manger, we don’t know the second advent of Jesus when he comes back in flaming fire. The question is not “when will he come?” The question is “who is ready for him to come?”
I. The Work of Jesus
A. Jesus came in the flesh for the purpose of reconciling man back to God. Jesus died on the cross for the purpose of setting me free from the consequence of my sin. Jesus rose from the dead to give me eternal life, and now has prepared a home for me to live with him.
B. That is the work of Jesus. The good news is that you can be loosed from the bonds of sin and live in the grace of God, washed clean in the blood of Jesus to live a life of holiness, doing the good works God planned for you. That is not only achievable it is the plan of God.
C. When Jesus was buried in that tomb outside of Jerusalem, the disciples where hiding in a locked room. On Resurrection Sunday and a week later Jesus had to walked through that locked door to meet with his disciples. They kept themselves shut up when Jesus was ready for the to speak up. They were locked away when Jesus broke the greatest lock – sin and the time for telling the good news was here. The age of the Holy Spirit was coming and in just a few weeks they needed to be ready to receive Him.
D. For 40 days Jesus was on this earth and the Bible tells us in Acts 1 that he used that time to teach about the kingdom of heaven. But I want to take you to an unspecified time in those 40 days. To a place simply known as a mountain in Galilee and help you change from fear to faith.
II. The Greatest Work
A. Let me take to Matt. 28:16-17. Judas has died and the eleven are up in Galilee to a place Jesus wanted them to go. I don’t know when this happened but I know it was past the eighth day when they were in Jerusalem and before the fortieth day when Jesus ascended into have back in Jerusalem. I believe it is around the timing of John 21 when Jesus meets them on the shore of Galilee and asks Peter if he loves him, but the timing is about context, it is not the point.
B. Here they are on this mountain and Jesus is there and some “doubted.” Think about that. They are not doubting the resurrection. For at least twice they had seen the risen Lord. Did they doubt that this was physically Jesus, they had thought of him as a ghost when he walked on water? I don’t know the doubts, I know that some apprehension was inside these men, and I have felt that in me. I don’t doubt Jesus is alive, but sometimes I just have doubts. Doubts about me, my mission, how Jesus is living in me. Doubts.
C. Then Jesus spoke and his simply words became a commission, the greatest work that these men could do. The great commission was written down because it is not simply a statement solely to the eleven. It is a statement to me and you. Listen to our commission (READ Matt. 28:18-20).
D. Jesus claimed all authority. Jesus claimed to have all power in him from heaven above. That is statement that needs to wake you up. God speaks man listen. There is no debate, not argument, no voting on what you want or if you like it. There is simply a charge, a commission, a life plan for what you are to do next.
E. GO! Jesus tells these men when he has been teaching them for 3 years. The time has come to GO! Take the message, take the authority that Jesus is giving us and go make disciples. Don’t just go forcing Christianity down the throats of people who don’t listen, this is our greatest work to go make disciples. To keep this movement of freedom from sin and life eternal going. This is commission is what being a disciple is about – telling the story that God is alive, Jesus is his son, the cross is real and the resurrection secures my hope that after death I can have eternal life with the creator.
F. Anything less than sharing that story is spiritual sleepiness. Do YOU and I have a responsibility to teach discipleship to Jesus by walking them through their own death, burial and resurrection in the waters of baptism? YES! Yet we are content to be nice people and let others live their life in ignorance that after death comes a judgement. That when they die the books will be opened and if their name is not in the book of life they will be eternally separated from God, without hope, without help, and without love.
G. I have no choice but to occasionally preach a sermon like this that reminds me of my greatest work. I say I love people but does my love for them compel me to seek to help them understand discipleship? Does that love push me to look for open doors that God opens for me to talk with them about their spiritual life? I can be nice and be a coward for Jesus. I can be nice and keep my lamp under a bushel. I can be nice and let people face judgement day unprepared.
A. I don’t stand here as the one who practices what he preaches. I have lived with too many doubts even though I worship Jesus. But this charge is too personal for me to not reflect upon my need to tell the old, old story.
B. To help me I want to start a new small group that will meet this Tuesday in the fellowship for this purpose. If talking, learning, and accountability to sharing can be helpful to you, the join me Tuesday night. If you are now more energized to take that step and love people enough to open your mouth, you don’t have to come to some meeting to do that, just GO! Go and make disciples.
C. If you are here and are not a disciple of Jesus. If you are still shackled to sin, bound by Satan and living in a life that is spiritually separating you from God, the I beg you to let me or someone talk to about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. How in baptism you die to your sinful self, are buried, immersed, in that water like a grave, and come up a new creation, a child of the King, a saved person claiming the grace and forgiveness of God ready to walk differently. If we can in any way, encourage your walk with the Lord, please come forward to me as we stand and sing.