Summary: Sermon Objective: Teach how those called by God can honor/glorify God through the rest of their lives and ministries.
Good evening, I want to honor God tonight for the privilege He has given me to open the Scriptures and to declare to you how every follower of Jesus Christ, especially those of you who are participating in this Commencement Exercise, honor, glorify, and please God with your lives and ministries – and especially what becomes of you – 5 -10 – 20 – 30 – 50 years from now. Nothing will give you more joy that honoring God; nothing comes near second to the thrill of pleasing our Father.
John 15:1-17 contains Jesus’ strategy for training and preparing and now just about to release his disciples to continue His mission on earth. The mission of Christ is to save sinners through His death and resurrection, and to transfer His heart and vision to the Twelve; and He had only 3 plus years to do that! Here he reiterates – repeats what they should do – This is the way you will continue the mission I am giving you. This is the way my Father will be greatly honored.
(One very important note here is these words of Jesus were given in anticipation of his death and resurrection of Christ, the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation in Christ, and the giving the Holy Spirit.)
(Let me digress a little to share this foundation truth about our calling). To be called is such an awesome privilege. I remember how as young boys, we use to play some game, where two boys are assigned group leaders, and then the leader picked up his mates. There is a sense of pride – you were chosen.)
This is the second most profound way of God’s expression of His love. The first is through the cross: God demonstrated his love for us by sending His Son to die on the cross. The second is His calling us. The apostle calls it “grace of God.” We are called by His grace – He prepares us by His grace – He releases us by His grace.
What does God want from you, the Chosen Ones, and the rest of us who have also been called by God? God wants to be glorified in us. Consider these verses:
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8 (NIV)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV). Note: praises is “excellencies” (NASB) referring to the glorious honor of God.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2 (NIV)
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:10-12 (NIV)