The team motto – “use me” …. But are you sidelined?
We are all made to glorify God, but some of us are currently benched.
We are all commanded to share the Good News, but some of us our sidelined.
Missed Practice – not prepared / not dressed in uniform
[2 Kings 2:11-14] – Elisha
Sunday only Christian – not prepared to share your hope, to share Jesus
[1 Peter 3:15] But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hopethat you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
[Romans 12:11] Never be lazy, but work hardand serve the Lord enthusiastically.
[1 Timothy 4:7] Train yourself to be godly
[1 Corinthians 9:25] All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
[Ephesians 6] Put on the FULL Armor of God
- Helmet of Salvation – SALVATION through Christ
- Breastplate of Righteousness – RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ
- Shield of Faith – FAITH
- Belt of Truth – TRUTH of God
- Sword of the Spirit – WORD of God
- Feet Prepared with the Gospel of Peace – GOSPEL
Performing poorly / Playing bad / Head not in the game
[1 Kings 11] – Solomon
[Hebrews 12:1-2] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
[2 Timothy 2:4] No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. – YOU NEED AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
Not following game plan / Disobeying coach
[Numbers 20] – Moses
Not humbling yourself, not following God’s will – you think you know better, not seeking God
[Psalm 105:4] Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! – He is our Creator, He has the beautifully orchestrated plan, not my will by His will be done
[2 Timothy 2:20-22] In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
[2 Corinthians 12:7b-10] – Paul
Suffering, broken – struggling physically, mentally, financially
Financial struggles, health issues, pain, surgery, anxiety, depression
Maybe you think you are too broken, too sick, too depressed…
Maybe you think you are not a position to share the Good News
[2 Corinthians 3:5] It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
[1 Peter 4:11] If anyone speaks, they should do so as one whospeaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Ejected – attitude/behavior problem – “unsportsmanlike conduct”
[1 Samuel 2:22-25] – Eli’s sons
Heart problem – angry, jealous, bitter, unforgiving…
[Job 11:13-16] Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, If you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, You’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless. You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
[Psalm 51:10] Create in me a pure heart, a clean heart
[Acts 20:18-21] When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike–the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
Never shrink back
Share one message – JESUS
May He use you!!
[Psalm 100:2] Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
To Him alone …. All honor, glory, and praise! Forever and ever!
Ministry is not always easy. Many times, it is grueling. Onlookers can only capture a glimpse of what is put into a ministry. They may not see the initial planning, the preparation, and everything that goes into getting everything in place. But they also don’t see the back-end story—they don’t see the lives of those who are ministering.
No matter what we are going through, we are still able to plant. Our faithful and obedient leaders of the Early Church certainly didn’t have it easy but they pressed onward. They understood that “those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” They trusted that the harvest would come. They trusted that God would use every seed for His kingdom.
You may be struggling today and wondering how you can make a difference. You may feel unworthy or not equipped to plant. Remember that God qualifies you (2 Corinthians 3:5). Remember also that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Continue to plant the seed my friends. Some may reject it. Your testimony needs to be heard. It may not always be easy. But the harvest will come. Indeed!
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” – Psalm 126:5-6 [NLT]
This is the year both of my kids are in high school. When your children reach high school, things immediately change. They have somewhat figured out their gifts, their talents, their interests. They have selected activities and hobbies that they truly enjoy. It’s very different from the elementary years when they dabble in a sport for a year, only to not want to take it up the following year. I’ve been through baseball season, a few soccer seasons, and even a year of karate while the kids dabbled. Today, my son plays the trombone and my daughter runs. My son is musically gifted; my daughter is a dedicated runner.
Part of the school shopping this year included a new trombone for my son and running spikes for my daughter. They both have gifts in their respective areas, but they needed to be equipped with some items to help them get to the next level. My daughter just used her new spikes for the first time, and it was amazing to see the improvement in her run on the muddy mess of a course this weekend. She was equipped to do what has been placed on her heart.
God calls us each to do something in life for His kingdom. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God” (NLT). God qualifies us. God also places people in our lives to equip us to better serve for His glory. Ephesians 4 speaks of the responsibility people have “to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (v. 11-12 NLT). Today, consider who God has placed in your life. Does God want you to help equip them for service? Is the Spirit leading you to do something to help them? Are you enabling them to stay where they are at, when you could instead equip them for the road ahead? Pray about this.
Did you know you were made for more? Jesus said that we would do greater things than even He did during His earthly ministry. It’s true. Sadly, many of us never step into what God has prepared long ago. We allow our fears to dictate our steps. We make up excuses for not stepping out. We think that others have a ministry, but we don’t have our own ministry. For others, it simply is a matter of not being all in when it comes to walking with Jesus.
Each of us has a ministry. If you think you don’t have a ministry because your spouse is in ministry, that’s incorrect. You each have a ministry role. Each of you have important roles. If you don’t reach out in faith because you believe you are limited, realize that you have the Spirit of God living within you. That is the MOST POWERFUL FORCE in the world inside you! The Holy Spirit with equip you and empower you (Romans 15:13). Simply show up. You have an important ministry.
If you have a list of excuses as to why you don’t do something, consider the reason for the excuses. Are these excuses justified? Maybe you don’t show up to Bible study because you don’t feel like you know enough about the Bible. Guess where you should be then? Bible study. Maybe you don’t help out with the mission work because you feel unqualified. Who is qualified? No one is qualified by their own merits. God alone qualifies (2 Corinthians 3:5). Perhaps you don’t attend church because you feel unworthy. Everyone who attends church is unworthy. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). It is only because Jesus died on the Cross that we can approach God.
Today, remember you were made for more. Reach out for the more. Don’t stand for less. God is a big God and He has big plans. Embrace them.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NIV]
Men of Rules
- Let no one steal your freedom (v. 16)
- Legalism = slavery/bondage à Christ accomplished the Law
- Spiritual elitism – believed if circumcised, watched diets, observed days – then elite
- Asceticism (self-denial and self-modification) – Christ does more than restrain—He puts new desire within a person
- Let no one disqualify or condemn you (v. 16)
- There is NO condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1)
- Your qualification is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5)
- Let no one beguile you of your reward (v. 18-19)
- Beguile = to declare unworthy of a prize à “Don’t be cheated”
- You do receive a different degree of glory (1 Corinthians 3:8)
TRADITION CANNOT BE EQUAL TO THE WORD OF GOD
Tradition of Man or Truth and Grace of Christ…
- Does is stress man made rules over grace?
- Is it condemning or discipline in love (truth in love)?
- Does it focus on knowledge and formulas or on the Word of God?
- Does it elevate rule keepers over Christ?
- Does it act like elite group?
Bible Study Questions:
1) In verse 16-17, we read not to let anyone say we must celebrate a list of items.
What are these items we should not be forced to celebrate?
Why are these items not mandatory?
What are we to celebrate? (see v. 17)
2) The message mentioned “asceticism” which is a life of self-discipline. It involves practicing strict punishment and restriction (self-denial) to one’s body to modify or change behavior. What are some examples? What is the difference between it being part of the Law or something more?
3) Read verses 20-23.
How does following the rules makes you appear? How is this not true?
The end of this passage says all of this doesn’t “have any power over our desires.” If this doesn’t have the power, where do we get this power over our desires?