Summary: This sermon defines the struggle we all face, and encourages people to PRESS ON! The climb toward Spiritual Greatness is for the ambitious.
One typical morning, a respectable, casually dressed man in his mid 50’s got up and headed to work with his usual brief case in his usual Lexus. On this particular morning however, he arrived with a beautiful woman, who was not his wife. When he pulled up to his usual parking space and got out, he opened the door for the lady, gave her a kiss and they went their separate ways.
A coworker couldn’t help but notice the svelte blonde, who wasn’t his wife, and commented on the “hotty” he saw getting out of the car. The gentleman patted his coworker on the back and smiled saying, “That’s my sister, Linda…”
Continuing on, he made his way out of the underground parking and across the busy city street to the ground floor of a skyscraper 80 stories high.
Once on the ground floor, he headed for the elevators with his usual brief case but before he could press the UP button, an employee he had never seen before came flying around the corner and crashed into him. The young man looked curt at the older man and said, “Watch where you’re going, JACK!”
The older man said, “My name is Bill… Are you new here?” But the new employee dismissed him and stormed away without a reply.
When the elevator door opened, Bill stepped in with his usual brief case. He slid his magnetic access card into the elevator receptor to take him to the upper levels of the building and as he stood there, all alone in the elevator, he prayed for the young man… “Lord, thanks for the Grace you’ve given me. Give that young man grace today too.”
As the elevator numbers ticked by 20, then 40 and all the way to 80, Bill prayed for opportunities to witness and interceded for the young man he just ran into. He feels the presence of God in the elevator on the 80th floor. When the doors open with a ding he steps out and makes his way to a corner office with a door labeled, “BILL PETERSON: PRESIDENT.”
His secretary greets him, “Good morning Mr. Peterson!”
Still anointed with God’s presence, Bill opens the briefcase and pulls out a Bible he placed in there for just such an occasion. “Good morning, Mary.” He hands her the Bible. “See that the new employee on the ground floor gets this.”
In a world of cutthroats and headhunters, Bill is an outstanding man. He’s a spiritual man, and that’s what makes him so great! He loves Jesus, and just like Bill, the attributes of spiritual greatness, such as Righteousness (living above reproach), Grace (exceeding graciousness and kindness), Humility (greatness without the great hat size (big headedness)), Zeal (angelic passion for the lost), Utter intimacy with God (unending connection with the person of God), Spiritual Anointing (continually and obviously gifted by the Spirit of God), Confidence (uncommon faith in Jesus Christ), Divine Love (unique ability to share the love of God)…
These attributes are the things that make us great as well.
THESE QUALITIES ARE MEANT TO DEFINE YOU. All of us want these qualities.
YOU ARE DESTINED FOR SPIRITUAL GREATNESS: ALL OF YOU, but you haven’t yet obtained it… Some day you will exude all these qualities. Some day you will become all you’re meant to be in Christ Jesus… But it won’t happen while you’re here on this earth.
Phil 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
In the end, when we meet Jesus face to face, He will finish His work in us.
Rev 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!”
Until this work of new creations is finished, we look up the stairway of Spiritual Greatness and climb toward Jesus…
While we live in these imperfect bodies, corrupted and stained by sin, while we war against the flesh we climb toward Spiritual Greatness. Every day, the Spirit of God refines us a little more. Every day, we make one step toward the Savior and become a little more refined than the day before, but it’s a long climb.
ILLUST: I remember a trip we took to the Ballard Locks in Seattle Washington. You could go underground and watch the salmon from under the water through these great windows. Salmon spend their entire life in salt water till spawning time. When it’s time to lay their eggs, the travel upstream to the fresh water streams where they lay their eggs.