Summary: 50 DAYS TO PENTECOST - part 7
Let¡¯s start this morning with a question: Agree or Disagree? GOD NEVER ASKS US TO DO ANYTHING THAT WE CANNOT DO. We¡¯ll come back to that question in a few minutes.
Imagine that I give four individuals the identical task of putting together two 2x4’s using six 3" screws. The first person is given no tools to work with. The second is given a small screw driver. The third is given a cordless drill with dead battery. And finally the fourth is given an identical drill with a one-hour battery charger. Whom do you think will complete the task?
The first person with no tools may get the screws to start into the wood, but theirs is an impossible task that would never be completed. The second individual would get the screws into the wood, and may even work hard enough to join the two boards together, but with a small screw driver, they would be unable to finish the job. The third person with the drill and dead battery may have some success, but will also have difficulty finishing the job. The fourth person is the only one will complete the task as required and then also finish the job the others started. In only 61 minutes, 60 minutes to wait for the battery to be fully charged and then 1 minute screw in all 24 of the screws joining the 8 boards together, the job will be completed.
Jesus left His disciples with a job to do. We call it the Great Commission. Jesus said, ¡°Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere¡± (Mark 16:15 NLT). For Jesus¡¯ disciples this task was an impossibility; how could a small group of followers tell the world about Jesus? It would be like trying to screw together our 2x4’s without any tools.
If Jesus had first given the Great commission to you and me today then we might have an easier time trying to do it. Even with the world population exceeding six billion, we could at least make use of the media, the internet and air travel to make our way into the distant places of the world. Still our best efforts would be like using a small screw driver, or worse still, a cordless drill without any power.
Jesus told his disciples to tell everybody, everywhere, but He also told them something else. Jesus said, ¡°Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit¡± (Acts 1:4-5 NLT).
In order for Jesus¡¯ disciples to accomplish the great task before them they needed the power of the Holy Spirit. Even with all the modern technology available to us today, we also must wait for our ¡°battery to be charged.¡± Without the power of the Holy Spirit it is impossible for the world to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So now back to the question we started with: Agree or Disagree¨CGOD NEVER ASKS US TO DO ANYTHING THAT WE CANNOT DO? Is there anyone who wants to change their mind? If you have not already guessed, we cannot do anything God asks us to do apart from Him.
Now if you¡¯re paying attention, I just said BOTH! Can we do what God asks us to do? Absolutely . . . and absolutely not!
¡ñ God wants us to live righteous lives¨Cto be free from sin. The Bible tells us, ¡°Be holy, because I am holy¡± (1 Peter 1:16 NIV). Unfortunately our best efforts apart from God are useless; ¡°all our righteous acts are like filthy rags¡± (Isaiah 64:6 NIV).
¡ñ God can give us a dream, and we can pursue a God-given vision for our lives with everything in us. Unfortunately all our effort and hard work will miss the divine purpose God has for our lives. We¡¯re like Abraham and Sarah with God¡¯s dream for a son finding our own ¡°Hagar¡± and giving birth to an ¡°Ishmael¡± instead of waiting for God to give us our promised ¡°Isaac.¡±
We can try to do what God asks us to do on our own, but our best efforts apart from God are not even a ¡°second best.¡± We can¡¯t really do anything for God without His help.
God knows our limitations; He knows how weak we are even when we try to appear strong. Therefore, when God asks us to do something He provides the enablement. God won¡¯t ask us to do anything that He is not prepared to help us do; God won¡¯t leave you to do it on your own.
+ Philippians 4:13 For I CAN DO EVERYTHING WITH THE HELP OF CHRIST who gives me the strength I need. (NLT)