Summary: A look at the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to empower us to accomplish the Great Commission. There is a long introduction. The primary passage is not introduced till nearly 1/2 through the message. Expanded outline.
THE STRENGTH TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE
> Matthew 28:19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, Jesus has been crucified. He has been buried and risen again. He has visited with His disciples and taught them. Over 500 people have seen Him. Now, Jesus is about to leave the earth. Just before He leaves, just before He ascends into the clouds to take His place at the right hand of the Father, He gives the 11 disciples that are there with Him, and those to come to know Him through their testimony, an assignment. He says, “Go and make disciples of all nations!” Did you hear that? “Go and make disciples of all nations!” I want you to underline the word “ALL”. Have you ever considered the magnitude and impossibility of the assignment Jesus gave His followers? Have you ever considered the importance and the magnitude of the assignment God has given you?
In 1534, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor & King of Spain, suggested for the first time that a canal be built in Panama. The French were the first to try the impossible undertaking, beginning construction on their canal on January 1, 1880. After working for more than 12 arduous years on the project, and after the death of an estimated 22,000 workers, the French gave up in defeat.
The United States later bought out the French equipment and excavations, and began work on the canal themselves, on May 4, 1904. The Canal was finally opened on August 15, 1914, one year ahead of schedule.
At the time the canal was completed, the designers estimated that the most traffic the canal could ever support was 80 million tons per year. In 2005, over 278.8 million tons of cargo moved through the Panama Canal. (Wikipedia, Panama Canal).
An impossible task, finally completed by people who wouldn’t give up, who wouldn’t quit, and who wouldn’t let the obstacles and impossibility of the task ahead of them cause them to quit. The results today are past the designers’ imagination.
Listen, God hasn’t called you to do just little things. He hasn’t called you to a diminishing, shrinking, receding and retreating assignment. He has called you to be a world shaker, a world changer. He has called you to do the impossible. He has called you to change the world!
As we think of the assignment God has given us, however, the question lies before us, “How do we do what God has called us to do? How do we make disciples of every nation? How do we avoid the failure others have known and make the most of our lives? How do we accomplish the impossible?
There are a number of tools God has given us, to help change the world. He has given us:
I. TOOLS FOR CHANGE
1. Example – First, we lead others to Christ, we bring glory to God, we change the world by our example, through the way we live.
> Matthew 5:13-14 You are the salt of the earth,…You are the light of the world…
> Philippians 4:9 Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Do you remember the Sermon on the Mount, that the Matthew verses we just read came out of? In Matthew chapters 5-7, we find the Sermon on the Mount recorded. In that Sermon Jesus says that you and I are to turn the other cheek. We are to go the extra mile. We’re to love our enemies. He says, “Don’t worry, trust God, and refuse to judge others”.
My friend, when you live a life that is different than the world, when you respond differently than everyone else around you does, you are being a witness, you are helping to change the world through your example. But, to change the world we cannot stop with only being a good example. So there is a second tool you and I can use for change in the world and that is our witness.
2. Witness –
> 1 Peter 3:15 but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
Did you see that? Peter says that you and I are to always be ready to give a defense, to give a reason for the hope that is within us. After people see that we act and react differently than other people, after they notice that we talk differently and love differently, that we are to be ready to witness, to tell other people why we act the way we do.
God has given us an impossible mission, to make disciples. We use our examples, and our witness to help accomplish that mission. There is another tool we use for change, for making disciples, and that is teaching.