UNCERTAIN | A Better Job! (Ambassador at work) | PART 9
May 24, 2020

UNCERTAIN | A Better Job! (Ambassador at work) | PART 9

Speaker:
Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:15-21
Service Type:

One of God’s primary ministries in our life is our vocation. This message in 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 demonstrates how to live our everyday lives for Jesus and his kingdom.

Series: UNCERTAIN: Discovering Who We are Through Difficult Times,
Speaker: Pastor Don Dodge,
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:15-21,
Video: https://www.facebook.com/avalonchurch/videos/612142276313239/,
Sermon page: https://www.avalonchurch.org/sermons/uncertain-a-better-job-ambassador-at-work-part-9/,
Sermon Notes: 2020-05-24_uncertain_part-9_sermon-notes.pdf,
Discussion Questions: 2020-05-24_uncertain_part-9_discussion-questions.pdf,

Notes:

INTRO

Good morning, everyone!
I’m so excited!

I hope you’ve heard.

On Sunday, June 14,
We’re meeting back together in person!

I also want to invite you
to our interactive “Discovering Avalon” class.

…It will be a Zoom meeting
On Sunday, May 31 right after the service.

It’s a free class.
You can register at

AvalonChurch.org/DiscoverAvalon

So we only have a few weeks left in our Uncertain series:
Discovering who we are, In Christ, through difficult times.

And thank you, Pastor John,

…For last week’s powerful message
about transformation as we wrestle with God.

Me

Before coming to Avalon Church
It felt like we were wrestling with God.

We had moved to Wisconsin a couple of years earlier
to help a struggling young church
while I worked on my doctorate.

Within quickly realized we moved there
to close the church well,
and care for the few remaining people.

So, I suddenly found myself a doctoral student out of a job.
I needed income with flexibility.

So, I became a substitute teacher.

After a while I was paired with a Spanish intern, Seniora Hernandez, who had permanently been hired while she finished her certification.

She was a really good teacher,
And I didn’t know much Spanish,

but the law required a certified teacher, or substitute,
be in the room as she taught.

And for a whole semester, I was
Señior Dode’ hay.

And that semester,
spending all that time with Sra Hernandez,
who had grown up with atheist parents,

We had some of the best conversations about life and God
that I’ve ever had… even as a pastor.

It completely changed my view
of how God uses our daily lives for his kingdom.

We

Here’s a question to think about…

Where do you spend most of your Christian life?

The church?
Maybe if you’re a staff member.

Is there any difference between your Christian life
and your regular life?

There shouldn’t be.
As followers of Jesus,

he is involved in every aspect of our lives.
Right?

And where do we spend most of our lives?
Where are most of us called to minister?

I believe that the primary ministry of Jesus’ followers
happens nowhere near the walls of a church building,

…but happens where you live and work.

See, I believe that
What you do for a living,

…if it’s not illegal or immoral,
is extremely valuable to God

I believe that your job,

…Whether you love or hate it,
…Whether it’s exciting or boring,

Is the opportunity to use your abilities
To contribute to the greater good of the community.

That’s part of God’s original plan for us.

…To be stewards of his Creation
…working under his authority

…to bring his kingdom to the world
like it is in heaven.

Obviously, this is easy to forget.

But I think God has imparted to each of us
talents and skills and jobs and relationships

through which we demonstrate
the life of Christ in each of us!

Let me show you what I mean

God

The Apostle Paul spent a year and a half
in the city of Corinth

Investing in the community,
Sharing about what Jesus had done.

As a result, many chose to follow Jesus
And a church was born.

When Paul finally left
to continue starting churches elsewhere,

the church in Corinth kept growing.

And like so many now,

…They started separating their
Christian Life” from their “regular” life.

And their regular life just began
creeping into the Jesus community.

The church was becoming known
 
…As selfish,
…and judgmental
…and hypocritical,
…and close-minded.

And the church was losing its influence
in the surrounding community.

Sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it?

When Paul heard how quickly
they were abandoning the ways of Jesus,

…He was devastated.

He wrote the letter that we call 2 Corinthians
to help them understand the purpose of their “Regular Life”
 
in Jesus.

So if you’re looking for your purpose in life,
Here it is… directly from Paul.

He begins,

15 And [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again. –2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

That when you chose to follow Christ,

…You recognized that your own way
was the path towards brokenness
and separation from God’s design for your life.

But Jesus’ death on the cross provided the means for rescue.

His death paid the penalty for your sin.
His resurrection is proof that this is true.
That he is King of God’s Upside Down Kingdom.

That’s why we give our allegiance to Jesus.
He created and designed us for life in him.

And Paul continues…

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. –2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

As followers of Christ,

…We don’t care how much people make,
…what titles they have,
…Where they live
…Or what they drive.

Our value is not longer based on what separates us.

Those who believe differently,
And those who vote differently,

Straight people,
And gay people,
 
Drug addicts and porn addicts,
And those with multiple divorces,

And those who have destroyed their own families
And those who are bankrupt,
And those who seem destined to attract the wrong relationships,

And those with special needs,
And those with cancer,

And those who put on a good Christian mask,
but inside are scared of being exposed,

We are all desired by God.
We are all invited to the table.

Paul is saying,

Yes, we used to judge people by these standards,
But no longer.

Paul used to think Jesus was nothing but a crucified criminal,
Until he met the resurrected Jesus.

Jesus changed his perspective.
Jesus changed everything.

That’s what Paul means in the next verse:

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! –2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

We are new in Jesus.
The old no longer owns us.

Jesus’ Spirit lives in us
and is continually transforming us.

We are no longer in bondage
to the actions and beliefs that damage us.

We are “In Christ.”

And as we submit to Christ,
he transforms us to become more and more like him.

In Christ, we are literally exchange death for life.
Hopelessness to Hopefulness.

God is working and we’ll never be the same.

And then Paul puts feet to what God is doing
in all who follow Jesus.

He answers the “So What?” question that I love so much.

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. –2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

God is the Initiator;
…The one who offers life;
…The one inviting us back.

We don’t have to figure out how to please God.
We don’t have to jump through all these hoops
for God to accept us.

He took that burden upon himself.
He did everything necessary.

And now he invites us to come back.
…to be reconciled.
…and to join him in sharing this invitation with everyone else.

It doesn’t matter how big your failure.

God’s love is bigger.
His death and resurrectionmore powerful.

God is in the restoration business.

And in the same way someone shared his love with you,
You go and do the same.

He’s talking to you and me.

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…. –2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

You are Jesus’ invitation to the world,
…to experience the sacrificial love God has for them.

…to be reconciled with the One who created them,
…To discover the purpose for which they were designed.

You (Application)

So here’s the question for all of us?

Where do you most often rub shoulders
with those who need to experience God’s love?

At our jobs.
And in our schools.

These are some of the most important areas of ministry
that exist in your life.

This is where you engage with people
God is drawing to himself.

Where you work and study

…Is where you model integrity,
…And righteousness,
…And justice in Jesus’ name.

This is where you live out the kingdom.
This is where you shine like stars in a dark and dying world.

This is how God sees your job, your school, and your home.

Before you go to work each day,

...Pray for eyes to see what God is doing
in the lives of those around you.

Pray for the boldness to join him
in what he is doing.

Engage in conversations,
Asking about what really matters in people’s lives.

Ask questions about their families
and the things they love most.

And share about yours when they ask.
Be vulnerable about your own struggles.

And share about what God is doing in your life;

…How you joined with your church family
To give away food during COVID,

…or how you joined others to bless
our 20 or so graduating seniors.

Share about what God is teaching you.

Don’t force it.
Allow the conversation about Jesus to occur naturally.

And here is an important one.

ASK how you can pray for them,
…And make sure you pray for them!

Whether right there or later.

I can’t think of one time I ever had someone tell me
they would rather me not pray for them.

Just make friends with people.

And maybe you work with a couple of other believers.
Ask them to join together daily or weekly.

Talk about what God is doing at work.
Pray for people who need Jesus, or who are hurting.

Meet needs together.
And care for people… together.
And invite others to join you.

Following Jesus is learning

…To simply ask God to use you,
Listening for his voice,
…And saying yes when he provides opportunity.

Paul’s vocation

Do you know Paul did for a living?
He was a tentmaker.

And in his culture,
tent-making was very profitable… and strategic.

Think about who needed tents:

The Roman military.
Sailors that needed the fabric for sails.

Merchants needed tents for their stalls in the market.
And travelers who needed them on long trips.

Virtually every segment of society needed tents.

And Paul utilized his skill to build relationships,
And to build credibility through his integrity,
…and the quality of his craft.

Paul understood that he had a greater purpose,

…he found life in Jesus,
…and it was time to share that life with everyone else.

It is the greatest calling in the world.

It’s a calling that changes people’s world,
…just like it changed yours.

We (Closing and Challenge)

So, will you pray that God opens your eyes
to see your vocation as he does

Will you pray that God gives you boldness to love others,
and ask questions, and offer to pray for people’s concerns?

And I want to invite you to join me in a YouVersion devotion
To spur some thought about this idea.

YouVersion Devo:

And maybe you’re watching and God is moving in your own heart, inviting you to be reconciled to himself.

Our invitation is Paul’s invitation…

20…We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. –2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

I invite you to follow Jesus.

(Pray)

And would you let me give you some resources
to help you begin this journey.

Just let me know you are choosing to follow Jesus.

You can

Text “Life” to 407-559-8210,

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