Summary: God will give His people opportunities to serve Him, so we must be alert to His invitation.
God Invites You to join in His work II Cor. 5:15-20
INTRO.: Verse 18 of our text tells us God has taken two amazingly important actions involving you and me. First, He reconciled us to Himself through Christ. He provided the sacrifice for our sins that would remove all enmity between us and Him and deliver us from His righteous wrath. He did this by sending Jesus to die in our places.
Secondly, He "gave us the ministry of reconciliation." In the verses to follow, the writer explains this means God has given us a message with the power to reconcile and has made us His ambassadors to carry that message to others.
The first part of verse 18 is foundational. It must never be forgotten if we are to be at all successful in His work. "All this is from God, . . ." Verse 20 states, "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." The plan is from God. The work is God’s. The power is God’s. And, the invitation to join the work is from God.
When we read the third reality of experiencing God, we need to emphasize the pronouns. God invites YOU to join in HIS work. This is important because we often formulate OUR plans based on OUR best human wisdom, assess OUR available resources and abilities, even "count the cost," then ask God to bless OUR plans. We are like the fellow who used to have the motto, "God is my copilot." Frankly, if God is your copilot, you’re in the wrong seat.
Let’s review the case of Moses then examine some Biblical stories bearing this out.
I. Moses at the burning bush: Exodus 3:
A. Moses had tried to work things out according to his own plan:
1. He acted impulsively in killing an Egyptian slavedriver in an attempt to deliver one of his people from a beating.
2. He didn’t pray about it. He simply took matters into his own hands.
3. His people wouldn’t support him and he spent 40 years herding sheep and brooding about his mistake.
B. Now, he has a secure job, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago.
1. No doubt he is doing a very good job as a shepherd. It’s an honorable occupation.
2. He has forty years seniority and is married to the boss’s daughter.
3. He may be in the way of inheriting considerable wealth.
C. God has a plan for Moses that will change his life and place in history:
1. Notice how many times God uses the pronoun "I" in Exod. 3:7-10 before switching to "you" in 10. The plan is of God. Moses is invited to participate in God’s work.
2. Moses notices this. I can hear his thoughts, "YOU heard the cry of YOUR people. YOU are concerned. YOU came down to deliver them." But he says out loud, "Who am I . . ."
3. Of course, God has all the answers and meets every objection Moses raises with perfect wisdom.
4. The point: This is the story of GOD rescuing HIS people with the help of Moses, not the other way around.
II. Let’s look at a story from the ministry of Jesus. It appears in John 4.
A. Jesus finds Himself alone at noon with a woman of the town of Sychar in Samaria.
1. A discussion ensues in which Jesus convinces her He is the long awaited Messiah.
2. This is unusual for two reasons. Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans and men and women did not converse in public in that culture.
3. But Jesus is more concerned about the soul than the culture. Jesus knew God was working in her life. He knew all about her.
B. God is about to begin a work in the town of Sychar and this woman is His chosen messenger.
1. When the disciples return, she leaves her menial task and goes to work for God, having discovered where He is working.
2. She brought many people to Christ. 39-42
C. In this woman, we see the kind of person God can use in His work:
1. She had a personal encounter with Jesus and saw God at work through Him.
2. Her life was changed by this encounter. A changed life is a strong argument for the validity of the message. The message she brought was not what people expected from her.
3. She had a willing heart and immediately went to join God in the work He was doing in Sychar. Her life was interrupted by this.
III. Let’s examine another story from the New Testament. It’s found in Acts 8
A. Phillip was enjoying a great revival in Samaria:
1. Souls were coming to Christ and he was getting a good hearing. Even the local magician was converted.