Summary: Expect Great Things from God and Attempt Great Things for God - Isa 54:1-4
Expect Great Things for God and Attempt Great Things for God - Isa 54:1-4
Illustration: Just before his first London crusade, Billy Graham was asked by a newspaper reporter, "Are you an optimist or a pessimist?" Billy said without hesitation, "I’m an optimist! I know God and I have read the end of the Bible and it assures me that we who are in Christ have the victory." Yet, many Chrisians live much of their lives in defeat, discouragement or disappointment.
We live in an age where pessimism seems to reign in our TV news report, magazines and newspapers. This negative influx of information tends to discourage people from investing in the fulfillment of the Christ’s great commission. Our God is an optimist because He knows the end from the beginning and knows that His purposes will be accomplished. He says, "The earth will be covered with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas."
Here are ten ways we are to respond to God’s confident, optimistic and buoyant promises about how Christ’s kingdom is coming in greater qualitative and quantitative measure:
1. Sing with gladness at the positive ways that the Lord will make the barren fruitful. The Lord promises the barren that they will burst forth with song fully realizing their expectations of fruitful spiritual multiplication.
Illustration: George Matthewson, who was blind since the age of three wrote the words to the famous song, "Oh joy that seeks me through pain. I cannot close my heart to thee. I trace the rainbow through the rain and feel the promise is not vain. That morn shall tearless be." Fanny Crosby who was blind since the age of 2 wrote, "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it, redeem by the blood of the lamb. Redeemed by His infinite mercy. His child and forever I am." Both of these song writers brightened the lives of millions by the joy in their heart even though they could not see the smile on peoples’ faces.
2. Enlarge your tent. Expand your plans so as to work according to Christ’s kingdom expansion agenda in all ways of your personal life, ministry and investments.
3. Expand your view of God. We have a great God who is able to do exceedingly abundant beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that mightily at work in us. (Eph. 3:20)
Illustration: J.B. Phillips, the writer of the Phillips translation of the New Testament wrote a book called, "Your God is Too Small". He desribed 15 ways that people underestimate and under utilize God’s greatness in their lives. Let us praise God for His transcendant power (His power that is supreme above all other, existing apart from or not subject to limitations of the material universe)
4. Increase your faith about what God can do through you for the qualitative and quantitative advancement of His kingdom. Jesus said, "Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6:9-13) We just have to believe that Christ will remove the obstacles to the advancement of His kingdom.
5. Enlarge your influence. Do not get discouraged, but be encouraged that what good seed you sow you will also reap, if you faint not. (Gal. 6:6-10)
Illustration: John Maxwell said, Leadership is influence." Influence is action invisibly exercised on a person, situation or relationship. People who demonstrate the Spirit’s power like Paul influence them through prayer, preaching, and teaching of His word with the authority of God and His promises.
6. Be confident that Christ will build His church in greater quantity and quality. Jesus said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18,19)Be optimistic about the way that the Lord will expand His kingdom and righteousness throughout the world as the waters cover the sea. Paul assured us that everyone would know the gospel as he had been promised. (Rom. 15:19-21)
7. Extend your ministry to the hurting, lonely and overlooked people groups of the world. There are still about 3,000 people groups that are yet to get a clear presentation of the gospel through an indigenous church. Pray, give and work toward the planting and growing of new churches in all communities and people groups of the world.
Illustration:When Julio Buival brought the Pastors of Cali, Columbia together for prayer, a great disarming of the powers of the drug cartels began to crumble. The entire city was transformed by the power of strategic spiritual warfare through prayer. Today, Cali is the center of evangelical influence throughout Columbia even though more than 200 Pastors in Columbia have been attacked by the emissaries of the evil one. Great ministries sometimes have to pay high prices for their willingness to go down to the battlefront.