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March 8, 2020
SERMON SUMMARY & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

CONVICTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

We live in tough times. In whatever part of the world we are in right now we see and experience turmoil, unease, violence, disasters. But the amazing thing is - when you look back across history - you realize how amidst these havoc, God raised up an individual or raised up a group of people who began to do his work in ways that are totally unexpected!

During his time, the Jesus and the apostles found it difficult to spread the Gospel as they dealt with a mixed culture of corrupted worldly views. Alfred Edersheim (author of the book “Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah”) described the situation that Jesus and the apostles faced as that of:

  • Corrupted public morals
  • Divination, Astrology and Magic

  • Ideas and Conscience influenced by Hedonism (seeking pleasure as a way of life)

  • Might was right; absolute right does not exist

  • Cessation of the Sanctity of Marriage

  • Tolerance of Abortion

In the midst of these corrupted worldly views, Jesus takes and reads from Isaiah 61 and started preaching in synagogues, and the lives of a handful of men and women were changed immeasurably so that today more knees bend at the name of Jesus than at the name of anyone else.  

Pursuing God’s calling

To pursue God’s calling, we need to be always motivated by the conviction of Truth and Love. Convictions that are unsupported by Truth and Love become vile and repulsive. We must seek God and we must not underestimate what God can do to us, in us and through us. You won’t know until you look back in the sunset years of your life what God had designed for you and the church.

There are three convictions that changed the world:

  1. The Finger of God is seen in all of history with Jesus Christ as its Central Figure

Jesus is the point of reference for everything that transpires. The Bible teaching is neither Existential, nor Traditional nor Utopian.

a. Existentialism is described as the act of defining a person based on what he does (“WHAT YOU DO defines WHO YOU ARE”) or Existence comes before Essence. Existentialists are driven by the “now”. The Biblical teaching does not implicate Existentialism but rather the opposite (“WHO YOU ARE defines WHAT YOU DO”). This is why we are called human “beings”. BEING precedes (comes before) what we do.
b. Traditionalism deals with the past and is seen in the Hebrew culture.
c. Utopianism (Marxist) is based on futuristic reference.

Jesus took the bread and broke it and said as often as you eat of this bread and drink of this cup (in the now) you proclaim the Lord's death (in the past) until he comes (in the future). Jesus is the Lord of all History. Jesus is the Lord of all Time.

  1. The disciples harnessed the arena of persecution as a platform of opportunity

Do not be afraid of persecution and opposition, but be surprised if you don’t face any persecution, for the greater your potential, the greater the discouragement that comes from the enemies. Think of a Kenyan runner preparing for a marathon. Kenyan runners train themselves by running through hills and valleys and through steep and uneven grounds, not on flat roads. Memorize, regurgitate the scriptures, and discipline the soul for the long distance. Don't give up at the halfway point but keep running and you will breast the tape.

A job is something you choose; a calling is something for which you are chosen. No calling is superior to the other. Let every person abide in the calling wherein they are called. God has placed you where he has placed you by design.

A calling can be sacred or profane (secular). A Christian is not in secular work (worldly or ungodly). Your career is a sacred calling. Use your career as a platform of opportunity to be a witness of Christ.

  1. The Priority of the Person over Methodology

Methods are important, but they are not ends in themselves, just means; there are no guarantees for a person to succeed even if he strictly follows the methods. Individual is prior to the method. Training does not equate to gifts. Gifts are prior to the training. God has already given you the gifts. Training is used to sharpen your God-given gifts.

All of us have a calling. We have been given a platform of opportunity to be a witness of Christ. What we need to do is to fulfil the Calling and serve God that His Finger is in all History. Know your priority as an individual over methodology. We are an individual and we are indivisible. We are all fashioned by God, so do not lose heart. Let us do what God wants us to do.

Guide Questions:

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 13:2, Ephesians 4:15. How have you demonstrated your beliefs to others? Do you share your convictions in love? How can you improve?

  2. Read Isaiah 46:9-10, Colossians 1:15-17, Ephesians 2:10. How does knowing God is sovereign help you live out your calling during the specific time in history you are in? How do you see Jesus at work in your personal history?

  3. Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Philippians 1:29, 1 Corinthians 9:26. If you are experiencing persecution as part of God’s calling in your life, how can you use this as a platform for opportunity? If you are not experiencing opposition, how can you prepare yourself for when it comes?
     

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