Part 6 of GRIT. 1 Peter 5:8-11.
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. November 4, 2018.
When I was in third grade, I calculated what year I'd turn 60. I can still see myself in that portable classroom figuring it out - 50 years ago. Back then, 60 seemed so old. Today, at 59.9, I feel so young. I feel more energized today than ever in my life. Here's why: I feel a new passion for Christ and his church. Christ and his church are THE hope of the world and there's no Plan B.
Today, I want you to experience a renewed passion for Christ and his Church.
I admit it: I don't always feel this way. I get tired and discouraged. I get distracted and self-centered. There have been times when I've fallen out of love with the church and looked for other ways to serve Jesus.
You've all heard the story of the guy whose mom yells up to his bedroom on Sunday morning: "Johnny get up, it's time for church." "I don't want to go to church mom." "Johnny, you've got to get up right now and go to church." "Why mom?" "Because you're the pastor." Ha!
What if you're not feeling it? You feel kind of blah about the church. I've got great news for you. No matter what's going on in your life, God can light the fire again. Here's how he does it:
GOD LIGHTS MY FIRE WHEN ...
A. GOD LIGHTS MY FIRE WHEN I STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH, verse 9a
(1 Peter 5:9a) Resist him standing firm in the faith.
We're at war and the enemy is the devil. He's throwing everything he can at us to get us to walk away from Jesus/church. His #1 weapon is the lies he plants in our minds, ideas such as: "God hates you. You're hopeless. Your failures are final. You'd be happier without the church. What's the church done for you today?" On and on.
Our #1 weapon is the truth, what Peter here calls "the faith." He's talking about the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our lives. All through the letter, he points to what Jesus has done for us. For example:
(1 Peter 3:18) Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Our sins are forgiven. We're restored to God. Peter says, stand firm in that.
The apostle Paul called "the faith" the full armor of God:
(Ephesians 6:10-11) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
We're not fighting FOR victory. We're fighting FROM victory. Claim it. Resist the devil.
When the devil tells you to give up on church, saying don't connect, don't serve, give, or pray, it's not worth it, stand firm in the faith and tell yourself how amazing the church is:
"Jesus is building his church and the demons of hell can't hold him back. The church is his pure, spotless, bride, clothed in his righteousness. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, radiant in holiness. The church is a billboard for the manifold wisdom of God, and I am blessed to be part of it."
Stand firm in the faith and God will renew your passion for Christ and his church.
B. GOD LIGHTS MY FIRE WHEN I STOP MAKING EXCUSES - verse 9b.
(1 Peter 5:9b) You know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
What's Peter telling them, and us? He's saying, every believer is going through something, but they're still in love with Christ and his church. They weren't making excuses; they were driven by a dream.
Why do Cornerstone people step up to serve - even when they're busy, tired, or discouraged? They're driven by a dream, God's call on their lives, to something bigger than themselves, to Christ and his Church.
Peter tells us that we are ALL CALLED to minister in the church. He talks about it in:
(1 Peter 4:10) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.
That word "serve" is the word from which we get minister. And the word "steward" means we get to use God's stuff in his house for the benefit of his house, the church.
The "gifts" AND "grace" come from the presence of the Holy Spirit. He's our power-source for working in God's house. That's so exciting and reassuring. It's not what we can do for God, it's what God can do through us. Christine Caine writes,
"God only ever uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Don't doubt what He can do through you."
Here's what will renew your passion for Christ and his church. Ask the Holy Spirit to make it very clear how he wants you to serve. If you do that, I believe he'll fill you with a dream that burns like fire in your heart.
Nick and Christine Caine's A21 dream: Our mission is to end slavery. We are fueled by radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. We are the abolitionists of the 21st century. We work with you to free slaves and disrupt the demand. Human trafficking is destroying lives, but freedom will have the final word.
C. GOD LIGHTS MY FIRE WHEN I SEEK HIS SUPERNATURAL POWER - verse 10.
(1 Peter 5:10) The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
This is a promise that God will give us whatever we need for whatever we face. The four verbs - restore, make strong, make firm, make steadfast, all emphasize one thing: When we are weak, God is strong. His grace is sufficient. His power in us is enough for us.
Last Sunday, I got done teaching and I was tired but I still had something really important to do. I was about to pray for someone who was very sick. I don't have a category for this, but often when I pray for the sick, I experience supernatural "something" flowing through me. I don't even know how to describe it, but I believe it is the Holy Spirit moving in a physical, tangible way. Often the person being prayed for, and the people praying with me, feel it too.
That fires up my commitment to Christ and his Church. And he'll do the same for you when you step up to serve. God promises supernatural power when we serve others:
Verse 8: Your healing will quickly appear.
Verse 8: The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Verse 9: You will cry for help and the Lord will say, Here am I.
Verse 11: The Lord will guide you always.
Verse 11: He will satisfy your needs.
Verse 11: You will be like a spring whose waters never fail.
Verse 12: You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls.
Verse 14: You will find joy.
God's power in us is enough for us. Commit to Christ and his Church.
CONCLUSION: COMMIT TO CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH
Maya Angelou, the late, great, author-poet, said:
"If you're going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can't be erased."
God is calling all of us to leave a legacy, to make a mark that can't erased. The best way to do it is commit yourself to Christ and his Church. Let's all blaze for the one thing that matters most, the greatest cause, the hope of the world. That will be our legacy.
Craig Groeschel posted this on Instagram last week:
"You don’t have to be seasoned to have influence. You don’t have to be brilliant to make a difference. You don’t have to have degrees, titles, or rank. You just need to love God, love people, and be obedient."
Before we finish, I've got to ask: have you asked Jesus to bring you home to God? Now is a perfect time to ask.
Today, I'm asking every believer to re-commit to Christ and his Church. I'm asking you to get fired up, then to sign up to serve Christ at the Cornerstone. Get off the bench and into the game. This is how the Lord takes ordinary people and uses them for extraordinary impact.