Post by the Husband…(a sermon summary)
To watch the message, simply click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZoObdQIun0
2 Corinthians 3:3:
“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”.
I’ve had the privilege of listening to thousands of people’s stories of their lives and one of the common questions that people ask is: “Why am I here?”.
For the Christian, this should not be a mystery. With the multitude of goals that most of us have in the 21st century, we can easily lose focus. Even in church life, we can get so caught up in our programs and endeavours that we forget one basic point – that we are “letters from Christ”, called to preach the gospel to a dying world.
The metaphor that Paul has chosen to use is that we are letters from Christ. So if this is who we are – ‘letters’, then:
1) There is a SENDER
Jesus said: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world (John 17:18)”.
If you are a letter of Christ, then the Sender is Jesus Christ himself, who is also the Author of the letter.
2) There’s a “FROM” address
You are a letter sent from Heaven! And heaven is your from address now. You are not from this world. Here, you are just a visitor and will leave this world one day. But as a Christian, you know that you will return to the one who sent you out. And if you are heaven-sent, you’ve got to fulfil your mission while being here on this earth.
3) There’s a “TO” address
Acts 17:26: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.
Wherever you are right now, God knows.
He knew where you would be born, where your parents would settle, where you were raised as a child and where you will be tomorrow. He has sent you to the place you are right now.
Sure He may send you somewhere else in the future, but for now – you are where you are! So remember, you’ve been sent here. Don’t complain that you are in the wrong country, or in the wrong side of the city.
Don’t wait until you have climbed the social or economic ladder until you deliver the message of Christ. You have to start the delivery process now, no matter how imperfect or unfinished you are.
Romans 10:15-16: “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
4) There’s a MESSAGE
He has written his message to the world on your heart. What does that mean exactly? The Gospel is not just the “Roman Road” – or some other evangelistic technique you get taught at church, the gospel in your life is your life itself.
In another words – you are a witness to the goodness of God’s saving grace!
Your life is evidence itself that the gospel has power to save – because it saved you!
In another word, your testimony itself is a presentation of how the gospel of Jesus Christ has changed a life. You don’t have to speak beautifully or with fancy words. You can just deliver the message of your life to those around you. Whatever God done in your life, share it!
1 Corinthians 1:17-25:
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
Especially for those of us that have “grown up in church” and don’t have a particularly “exciting” conversion story – we don’t feel that our testimonies have any power. However, people need to know what God has done in your life. You may take it for granted that you have the peace of God, that you don’t fear death, that you love your family, and that you honour your parents, …you can tell people why you do all those things and bring glory to God wherever you are and however you can.
5) There’s a TIME frame
If you’ve seen “Mission impossible” – you’ll know about the self-destructing messages that the main character watches. They are usually short videos telling him his mission followed by “this message will self destruct in 30 seconds” – then BOOM. Gone.
In a sense we are like those messages. We are only in people’s lives for a specific period of time.
As we’ve been doing some building recently, we’ve had interactions with perhaps 20-30 different people. From sales people to tradies, and these are people that we may never see again in our entire lives. So in every interaction we have, we need to remember that we’ve been sent as a letter of Christ, and think exactly about what we are trying to communicate to this world.
God sent Jesus to a location and time on planet Earth for the sole reason of reconciling man to God. So Jesus now sends you and I to the world for the same reason – to reconcile man to God.
Romans 10:9-1: “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
We sometimes forget that we are the ones being sent here for a reason and instead we pray that God would send His angels to go and do these things for us! And yes – God will do things for us, but the whole framework of thinking must be that we are here because God has sent us here.
There are, however, several obstacles to our effectiveness as letters from Christ that we need to overcome.
Firstly, we may get distracted by the scenery.
2 Timothy 2:3-6: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
1 Peter 2:11-12: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
As Christians it’s easy to be caught up in “civilian pursuits”. In fact, everything apart from preaching the gospel is essentially “civilian pursuits”. It’s good to have good families, good marriages, healthy friendships. But what is it all for if not to preach the gospel?
Secondly, we may get distracted by the process.
Let’s be frank. The Gospel is simple. It doesn’t need super duper explanations. That’s why a 6 year old can understand the gospel. We don’t need the world’s best speaker to present the gospel. You don’t need a PHD to get the gospel. It’s not complicated.
If we are relying on our methods to communicate the Gospel and not reliant on the power of the Gospel itself, then what we are really saying is that the message of the cross of Christ is NOT ENOUGH, and we need to somehow make it more appealing, and in that way, we empty the Gospel of the power inherent in itself.
Thirdly, we may get distracted to change the message.
We must stay true to the pure message of the Word, though people may ridicule us or the world is laughing at us…we must stay close to the Word of truth and be exactly what we are — letters of Christ.
Prayer: “Lord, help us to remember who we are and why we are here…and help us live our lives and order our days exactly just for that — ‘letters of You’. Amen.”