His People Should Be Prepared

When Christ Shall Come

Pastor Jerry Gillis - November 17, 2019

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s message.
  2. Read 2nd Thessalonians 1:11 and 1st Thessalonians 2:11-12. What does it mean to live worthy of God’s calling?
  3. Our deeds flow from our desires. If that’s the case, how can we ensure that Jesus is our chief desire? How can you detect when other priority desires are creeping in or even overtaking that place of chief desire in your life?
  4. How is Jesus being put on display in your life? Remember: the goal of our lives is the glory of Christ. How can Jesus be seen more clearly in your life?
  5. What is one action step you can take in response to what you heard on Sunday?


Sermon Transcript

Good morning to everyone here at the CrossPoint Campus, those of you who are listening on WDCX Radio, those may be watching on television, those who are streaming, those who are at every one of our campuses, Lockport, Cheektowaga, Niagara. Hello to everybody everywhere. Now, what I want to do is I want to show of hands, that's why I called out everybody everywhere. Because wherever you are... If you're driving, don't do this. But everybody everywhere, I want to see a show of hands. How many of you would consider yourselves the goal-setting types? You set goals and you try and achieve them? Raise your hand. All right, leave it up.

Here and on every campus, just leave it up for a minute. Everybody look around at our type A, high achievers. Congratulate them, all right. Now you can put your hands down. I can appreciate some goal setting and I'm doing that because I want to get ahead of you. Because when January comes around and everybody has some sense of goals or resolutions or something like that, I just want to remind everybody that there is a 92% fail rate on all resolutions, on all goal setting and there's probably a number of reasons why that's actually the case.

Some have said that the reason so many goals fail, so many resolutions fail when people turn the year is because they set too many goals. In other words, instead of being focused, they have way too many and they don't know how to accomplish them. Another reason that people fail around their goals is because they know the what, the goal, but they don't really have a compelling why behind the goal so it doesn't actually take them to the place that they are endeavoring to get. And then of course, you always have the problem of people that set the wrong goals for the wrong reasons and ultimately realize this isn't overly compelling and I don't really know why I'm doing this.

There's about a 92% failure rate on all of that, so what I did is I did a little bit of reading. I like to read and I read in a few different fields. I read in kind of the nutrition and diet field when they talk about goal setting. I read in the finance and wealth field when they talked about goal setting. And then I also read in the kind of physical and mental health field to see what they said about their goal setting. Here's what I figured out. This is not scientific and this is just kind of Gerry research at this point. But I saw a common theme emerging from each of those fields and they were basically saying it's not about many goals, it's about one. It's really about one goal. And that when you set just one goal, you're able to focus and you're able to measure against that goal and all of those kinds of things.

Now, today is not just some great pep talk that I'm offering to give you. And some of you you're going, "Hey, I didn't even raise my hand. I'm not type A, high achiever person that needs all of these goals. I do want to remind you of something though, that everybody sets goals. It doesn't matter who you are, if you raised your hand or if you didn't raise your hand, everybody does this. For instance, do you have a job? If you do, you had a goal to get a job and got a job. It may not be the job you want to end in. It may not be your final job, but you had a goal and you interviewed for the job.

Do you have a relationship, a spouse, a husband, a wife, a boyfriend, a girlfriend? You had a goal and that goal was you didn't just like out of nowhere, just go, "Eh, I'm accidentally married." You didn't do that, right? Unless this was one of those horrific Vegas stories that happened, and my recommendation will be counseling. That's what my recommendation would be, right? You don't just go, "Eh, I just accidentally did that." No, you had a goal and you ended up that way. You have a place to live? Well, you had a goal to be able to get a place to live, right? You get it, right? All of us are in that place of, we do embrace goals from time to time.

And the reason I'm bringing that up is because the Apostle Paul, when he writes, he actually talks about goals both specifically and he also talks about them implicitly. And when you read Paul's writing, he wrote about two thirds of the New Testament; and when you begin to read Paul, you see him actually speak specifically about goals. When you're reading in the Book of Philippians, when he wrote to the church of Philippi, he actually speaks specifically about goals. He uses that very term goals. But then there are other places where he's talking more implicitly. Where he's not saying it's so specific, like when he's writing to the Thessalonian Church. And as we've been studying this, we're now in 2 Thessalonians 1 where we'll be in just a moment, Paul is actually talking implicitly about goals, but it's consistent with what he said in other parts of the scripture.

Now, I do want to remind you that for those of you maybe who are just checking in on this, that we're in a series and the series is called When Christ Shall Come. You figured that out by the cool little bumper right before I got up here to talk, right? But we've been studying in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 and now 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 because we're seeing Paul teaching the Thessalonian Church about what is going to happen when Christ actually comes. For those of you who are new to all of this, here's a spoiler alert. Just as surely as Jesus came in Bethlehem and we celebrate Christmas when he came, he is also going to come again. You see, he lived, he died, he Rose from the dead, he ascended to the father and he made a promise that he's coming back. And so we're talking about this event, this second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and what all that means, what that entails in our lives.

And we've covered a bunch of things, but I also want to remind you, Paul speaking specifically to a church in a place, so this is a church in Thessaloniki called the Thessalonian Church. And he's trying to encourage them, and here's why. Because they're going through tribulation in the form of persecution. In other words, there are people that are troubling them because they're following after Jesus and they're causing them harm and heartache and all those kinds of things. It can be both mental anguish and emotional anguish and physical anguish.

And Paul's trying to encourage them by saying, "Hey, remember, ladies and gentlemen, that Jesus is going to come again. And when he does, he's not going to forget you. He's not going to forget that you've been going through all of this, and that you've been showing faith and hope and love or perseverance in the midst of this. And he's also not going to just wink at the people who've been causing you trouble, who are raging against the things of God and who hate the things of the gospel. God's going to deal with all of that because God is just, and he's going to take care of all of this. He's not going to make any mistakes, and Oh, by the way, here's the end result for you as the people of God, you're going to be glorified with him." This is how Paul tells us this in 2 Thessalonians 1.

And it's almost as if he puts in front of us a goal line or a finish, with the finish being when Jesus comes his people are going to be glorified as they marvel at him and all that he's done. This is a goal that we ought to have. Paul, what he does in this context is when he finishes teaching on this, he actually writes out a prayer for the church at Thessaloniki. Now, I find that unique because if you've ever written out a prayer, what you know is you're giving it really great fall. You're intending to say, "I'm doing blank. I'm wanting to think about this. This is what I'm praying for you about," and you've really given thought to it.

And Paul knew he's not with them, so he's going to send this to them. He wanted them to be clear on what it is he's actually praying for them to do. I want you to take a look at that. It's in verses 11 and 12 of 2 Thessalonians 1, and I want you to see what Paul says. He says this. "With this in mind," hold right there. "With what in mind? With the teaching that I've taught you about the second coming of Jesus." With the fact that he's going to come, he's going to judge those who have opposed him. He's going to glorify his church. "With all of this in mind, the second coming of the Lord, we constantly pray." Notice he doesn't just say we pray for you. He actually says, "We constantly pray for you."

In some of your translations it says, "Always pray for you." And by always, it doesn't mean it's the only thing he does. He doesn't work. He doesn't do anything else. It just means, you're always on our mind and we're continuing to pray for you, "That our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you and him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. So here's what Paul's doing. Paul's praying a prayer and he's saying, "With the second coming of Jesus in mind, I'm going to pray very specific things for you, the people in Thessalonica. You the church in Thessalonica, I'm praying very specific things for you." What are those things? Well, let's take them one at a time. With the appearing of Jesus in mind, what does Paul pray?

Here's the first thing. That God would count them worthy of his calling. Now when we talk about this idea of his calling, we're talking about his calling to himself. Not just what we do vocationally, like the call to be a pastor or the call to sell insurance or the call to motherhood. We're not talking about that. We're talking about the call to God himself in the salvation that he has provided us in Jesus. And what Paul says is, "Here's what I'm praying for you. In light of Jesus' return, I'm praying that God would count you worthy of his calling." I want you to see where that is in the text. It's in verse number 11 in the beginning part of it. He says, "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling."

Now, I don't love the translation there, "Make you worthy." It's appropriate. It's not incorrect when the NIV uses it, but I wish the NIV would've stayed with its same translation from verse number 5. It actually uses the same root Greek word in verse number 5, and I think that the translation there is clearer because that word that we talk about, that we're looking to translate, means to count or to deem worthy. In fact, look back up in verse number 5 of our text. It says, "All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result, you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering." I wish they would have kind of maintained that consistency, but it's neither here nor there.

What we're reminded of here is this. Is that when God says he will count us worthy of His calling, that's not based on anything that we have done. We're not worthy of that on our own. It's not as if God looked down in went, "Jerry, my man, you are so good. I can't help myself. You are worthy of this." When in fact, when God looked down on Jerry, what he saw was he saw somebody who was a foreigner to the promises of God. He saw someone who was an enemy to the crown and had been rebellious in his heart. He saw someone who was not only not worthy, but clearly guilty as someone who had sinned against God and against other people, whose life was characterized by darkness rather than light.

And yet in the midst of that, God initiates his love to a guy named Jerry in and through what he has done through his son Jesus Christ. It's really a beautiful thing, but we need to be reminded ourselves that we're not worthy in and of ourselves of this calling to salvation. If we were worthy of it, then what was all of this fuss about Jesus going to the cross and dying and rising from the dead? Would seem like a real waste of time if we were good on our own.

In fact, when Paul is writing in another letter to the Ephesians church, he says this. He says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.". That's clear enough, isn't it? That it's really clear we have not been saved by anything that we have done. We've been saved by grace through faith. And you say, "Well, it is our faith." It's a faith that God gave you. God's gift of faith to you to be able to put it back in him. This is the grace of God, it's not by our works.

But what's interesting is although Paul makes that clear to us that we're not worthy of this calling in and of ourselves. In that same passage in Ephesians, just a little further down in chapter number 4, after in chapter 2 he reminds us, it's by grace we've been saved through faith. And this is not of ourselves, it's the gift of God. It's not of works, unless any of us should boast. Listen to what he says in chapter 4 verse 1, "As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Isn't an interesting that Paul in the same letter says, "You're not worthy. You didn't do this. Live worthy of it."

Now, this is not something, by the way, that Paul hasn't all ready said to the Thessalonian church. When he's talking about this here, where he's praying that God would count them worthy of his calling, he's not saying that in a way that he's never said something before. His first letter to them said this. 1 Thessalonians chapter number 2. He says, "For you to know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory." Isn't it interesting when we begin to read all of this? Here's what Paul is saying. Listen to this. He says, "We are unworthy to receive this calling, but since we have received it, live worthy of it. We're unworthy to receive this calling, but since we have received it live worthy of it."

So how do we do that? How do we live worthy of the calling of God? Because this is what Paul's praying for them, and by extension that we're praying for ourselves. How do we live worthy of the calling of God? Listen to this. When his worth is something we prefer over our own, we're starting to get there. Our worth is found in his worthiness. And so when we prefer His worth over our own, now we're starting to move into a place where we're living lives that are actually worthy of His calling. So that's the first thing that he prays. But then he prays something in addition to that, with the appearing of Jesus in mind. Remember he's saying, "With the second coming of Jesus in mind, I'm also praying that God would fulfill their desire to be good and to do good." Isn't that interesting? He wants God to fulfill their desire to be good and to do good.

Now stay with me here. Notice again what it says in our text in verse number 11. He says, "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you that our God may make you worthy of His calling and that..." Are you ready? You're ready? You're ready? "And that by His power..." Whose power is that?

(Congregation: His.)

Say it with me one more time, really big. Whose power is that?

(Congregation: His.)

It's his power. "By His power, he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith." I find it interesting because in the kind of the modern evangelical church, we get really freaked out when we start talking about the idea of good works or good deeds. And I understand why. Because everybody quickly is like, "Ah, don't say that. Don't say good works. Don't say good works. Because Paul has said for it is by grace that we have been saved through faith. And it's not of ourselves, it's the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast." You're exactly right. We cannot talk about good works when it comes to our salvation. We can't do enough good things to somehow tie God's hands behind his back and say, "Oh, I've got to do this for you." No, God has done this as an act of his grace. This is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God.

But remember what Paul went on to say. I just quoted verses 8 and 9 of Ephesians chapter 9, "For it's by grace you've been saved through faith. It's not of yourselves, it's the gift of God. Not of works, lest any of us should boast." But what does the next verse say? "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works." Now, have I settled it? Listen carefully. What we have to understand when we hear the gospel, when we understand what the gospel is, it is a both end. It is both good news and good deeds. Do you know why? Because changed people, transformed people, their lives begin to demonstrate acts that come from that change.

And see what Paul is praying here, is he's praying that our desires for goodness... Some of you are going, "I feel bad wanting to be good." Don't. Don't. But understand this. It is only by his power that you can even be afforded the opportunity to be good and do good. And Paul takes those in order. He says, "I want you to fulfill the desire to be good, to demonstrate the desire for goodness." Why? So that every deed will be prompted by faith. Listen to this. Your desires lead your deeds. And when Jesus is the chief affection of your heart. Then we begin to live out of that truth, but when someone or something else is the chief affection of your heart, you begin to live and act, and do according to that. The only way ladies and gentlemen that you and I will be able to fulfill this prayer of Paul is by his power.

It is only works that are done in the power and the motivation of Jesus that will stand. See, he's trying to help us understand the difference between doing things in our own flesh, doing things for our own glory, and doing things out of the life of Christ in us.

That's why, and I don't have time to articulate this today, but that's why Paul writes elsewhere, particularly when he's writing to the church in Corinth about the judgment seat of Christ. What he says is that, "Every believer... and Paul makes that very clear, "Every believer will stand before the judgment seat of Christ."

Now, that word, judgment seat, is a fair word, but Bama in the kind of Greek language also talks about the mercy seat of Christ. This isn't a judgment for the believers. When we stand before Jesus. It's not a judgment to determine whether or not we enter the kingdom, that has been settled at the cross.

What God has done for us in Christ and when we have put our faith and trust in him, we are now transformed by the power of his spirit. His spirit has been put inside of us as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come, and God doesn't make promises that he doesn't fulfill.

And so, that has been settled at the cross when we are born from above. Then when we put our faith in what Jesus has done, taking our sin upon himself on the cross, satisfying the justice of a just God, dying in our place, rising from the dead, and when we put our belief in hope in him, we are changed. We are made new. We become children of God, not just creations of God.

See, that's a great reminder. Now this judgment seat of Christ is not about our possession of the kingdom, but it may be about our position in it. You see this judgment is about rewards or lack thereof, and how it's judged is that Paul actually articulates it in second Corinthians and he basically says this, he says, "You're going to find out real quickly on that day whether your works were made of wood, hay, and stubble, things that will burn up and burn away, or were made up of gold, silver, and precious stone. Things that when fire is applied will be refined and remain."

You see, this is what we hope to do, but we can't do this in our own power because some of us in our minds are going, "I'm going to walk more older people across the street. I am doing it. I'm going to start paying my taxes. That's what I'm going to start doing."

Listen, those are all good things and should be done. And in a civilization such as ours, we hope that, that's the case. But listen, what we're trying to do is actually let the life of Jesus in us, get out of us. That's what we're trying to do. The life of Jesus in us, get out of us, so that the people around us see and hear, and experience the beauty of who Christ is.

It may have happened to you and your life before. Maybe you've been with a brother or sister in Christ, and maybe after the time that you were with them, they said something like this to you, "I really sense Jesus in your words. I really sense Jesus in your actions for me. You showed me an example of the life of Christ in what you did."

That's what we're after, not in our own power. We can't do that by our own force of motivation and will. This is actually something flying over my head. Everyone at the same time started looking up as, "Has he come?" We would know this. We would know this. I would not be surprised by that. Are we all okay? Did something fall out of the ceiling? Fantastic. Fantastic. Super good news. It's hard to being me. Never know what's going to happen.

We are looking to see... listen to this, our desires for goodness and our desires to do good things come from his power at work in us for his glory. This is what Paul's praying. So Paul, not only prays, "In light of Jesus coming, I'm praying that God would count you worthy of his calling." How is that possible? When we make his worth more preferential than ours, and when we find our worth in his worthiness, but he's also praying as well that God would fulfill our desires for goodness and to do good, but that can only happen in his power with his life in us living out of us.

But there's a third thing that he says that I don't want you to miss and it's this, he's praying that the character of Jesus is seen in them, or by extension, that the character of Jesus is seen in us. What am I referring to here? Well, the text makes it pretty clear when we read it. Notice what Paul says after saying this in verse 11 that, "These are the things that I'm praying for you about."

Then he says, "We pray this so that..." in other words, now he's telling you, "Here's why I'm praying this." Paul has a goal in mind. Paul is headed somewhere, "I'm praying this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." I'll leave that there for a second.

You see, for some us when we read this, this is just like Bible speak to us, "I don't really know what that means. Like what does it mean for the name of the Lord Jesus to be glorified in me? I don't even know what that means. Like, do I need to get a tattoo that says, Jesus? Do I need to wear a Jesus hat? Do I need to put a fish on the back of my car?" If you want, just don't speed, giving us all a bad name at that point.

By the way, that's why I don't have a fish on the back of my car because I have been ticketed on a couple of occasions. They're like, "What do you do?" "I'm a Buddhist. I don't know." I didn't say that. Maybe. We pray this so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you and him.

What does that mean? What are we saying? Listen to this. The word name, when he talks about the name, he's not referring to that which differentiates you from someone else, right? It's not what he's talking about. "Hey, you're Jerry." "Hey, you're Laura." That's not what he's doing. He's actually talking about when the Hebrew people, when the Jewish people, even in the ancient world use the idea of name, it was to talk about the entire of the person, the wholeness of their personhood, their very character and nature.

"And his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father." Was that like his given name? No. Angel said, "Call him Jesus," "But his name shall be called," we're describing his character.

You see what Paul is praying here is actually this, that the goal of our life would ultimately be that the character of Jesus would be seen in us. That we would put Jesus on display. You see, this is what it means for Jesus to be glorified in us. Remember when we talked about that word glorified? What we said is this, that the glory of God is when the whole of God's attributes gets made public, gets put on display.

And so, when you and I are in a place where Jesus is being put on display, you know what's happening? He's being glorified in us. He's being glorified in us, and we in him. You see, for the Thessalonians what did it look like for them to put Jesus on display?

I'll tell you what it looked like. It looked like them walking through tribulation, suffering, persecution, and doing so with the character of Jesus. That's what it looked like for them, because they were demonstrating faith and hope, and love, and perseverance in the midst of the trials that they were facing. And Paul is saying to them, "This is how Jesus is glorified in you because he's being put on display for the world to see. Even in the midst of all that's going on."

You see, Paul had a goal here. He had an end finish line kind of thinking, and here it is. If you haven't already seen it real clearly by this point, the goal of our lives is the glory of Christ. That's the goal of our lives. Wouldn't it be awful, ladies and gentlemen? Wouldn't it be awful to have the wrong goal? Wouldn't it be awful to know the what, but not know the why? Wouldn't it be awful to have a bunch of goals? None of them related to this goal, because this is actually the goal of our lives. It's the glory of Christ, and this is fundamental to the second coming. That's why Paul prays this prayer set against the relief of the second coming of Jesus. Think about it.

When Jesus comes, when Jesus is revealed, the entire cosmos is going to see the glory of who he is. He will be on display for everyone everywhere to see it. That at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God, the father. That he is the King over every King. He is the Lord over every Lord and the entire cosmos is going to demonstrate Jesus being put on display in the glory of who he is and when he comes, everything will be laid bare in the burning fire of his presence.

So it makes sense to pray this in light of the second coming, because that's what Paul is doing. And by the way, Paul's doing something that the other new Testament writers do as well, talking about the second coming and talking about what kind of people we should be when we think about that. That's what Peter did. I don't know if Peter was borrowing from Paul, but I do know this, is that when Peter wrote about the second coming, he talked about what kind of people we should be. I also know that Peter borrowed from the imagery of Jesus coming in blazing fire that Paul used. You remember that? Jesus said just a few verses earlier in verse number seven of our same text, he said, this will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. We talked about that indicating the presence of God. And Paul's writing when he wrote first Thessalonians and second Thessalonians. It was probably another 15 years before Peter wrote his letters. First and second Peter, so Peter knew about these.

Peter had read these. In fact, at the end of second Peter when he's talking about the second coming of the Lord, he refers to Paul's writings. So I don't know for sure what Peter was borrowing from Paul on when he talks about this idea of the second coming, but I do know that he lifts this metaphor for fire and that he also talks about what kind of people we should be, just like Paul did. In fact, notice what Peter said, he said, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar.

The elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way. What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live Holy and godly lives. As you look forward, the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."

You see, Peter's fundamentally talking about the same things that Paul is talking about. Jesus is coming and we as a people should be prepared, and how will we be prepared? Well, Paul's praying that what will be is will be a people that will live lives that are worthy of the calling that he's placed on our lives, and that we would fulfill the desires for goodness and to do good. Why? So that the character of Jesus might be demonstrated in our lives. That our lives are actually aimed in the direction of the glory of who Jesus ultimately is. You see, the fire of Jesus' presence is going to melt away everything that doesn't belong and is going to refine everything that that does. By the way, if we are alive and remain when Jesus comes, let's pretend that we are. We will not enter his presence as is. Do you know why? We need to be remade. We're not cast aside. We're not thrown away. We're just renovated. The mortal becomes immortal. The perishable becomes imperishable. And by the way, that's what happened with Jesus.

Jesus died not with a sinful flesh, but he died with a mortal one, but he got up from the dead with a brand new resurrected new creation style body that could eat fish and walk through walls, that could show up where he wanted to, apparently at the speed of thought. Sign me up. It's a new thing to even consider, but here's what Jesus is doing for us when he shows up in his blazing fire to melt away everything that does not belong and to purify everything that does, whether it's the earth and everything in it or our very lives, he's doing that because he is fitting us for new creation. Because all things heaven and earth become new. And you know why? Because this is what glorifies God. So why wouldn't our lives be the goal of them to be to glorify Christ? The one who is ushering in new creation, the one who is doing all of these things.

That's what Paul is doing. So do you know why Paul is praying? He's praying that we as the people of God who are going to be, in an instant changed and purified and remade. He's praying that we would start right now cooperating with the spirit of God to be purified increasingly as we look toward that day. It's never going to be in full until Jesus comes, but until then, we are a people who should be growing in our purification, growing in our godliness, growing in our holiness. Why? Because in so doing, we're putting Jesus on display for the world to see. That's what we're doing. That's the goal of our lives. That's where we're headed.

Is that your goal? Is your goal in your life, the glory of Christ? Like is your single life goal the glory of Christ? If it's not, why not? Because that's God's goal for us. That we will be glorified in him as his people and that we are growing in our glory right now. That's his desire for you and his desire for me. Why wouldn't that be your greatest life ambition? Why would that not be your greatest life goal, the glory of Christ? And if it is, have you gotten specific about that?

What it means to put Jesus on display in your relationships as a husband and a wife. What does it look like to do that? If you're in a dating relationship, is this just about your flesh and your desire, or Is it about putting Jesus on display because that's what his desire is for you? What about as a parent or a grandparent? How do we put Jesus on display for our kids? What about with our resources? Does it put Jesus on display to consume them all on ourselves and our selfish interests or should we think about how we maximize that for the kingdom of God?

What about our influence? Some of you in places where you work occasionally have meetings where in that particular meeting, maybe not in all meetings, but maybe in that particular meeting, you're the most powerful person in the room. How do you steward that influence to put Jesus on display? How do you do as a student with those of people that you go to school with? In every aspect of our lives, we should be asking the question, how do we put Jesus on display and remember this, it's not going to be by your power. It's going to be by his, that as we press into him, that's how it's going to change. It's by his goodness on our behalf because the goal of our lives is the glory of Christ. This is what Paul prays, so that's what we're going to pray, not just me praying for you, but that you're going to pray for one another.

We're actually going to do that at every one of our campuses and our campus pastors are going to pick it up at their campus right now. But at this campus, here's what we're going to do. In a moment I'm going to ask you to pray for the person on your right and your left. You can do it quietly, silently. It's okay. You don't have to talk out loud. It's fine. I get it. Not everybody... Everybody's freaked out like, "Jerry, don't do this to me. I'm freaking out. I'm here for the first time." Right? But here's the thing, you need to know who those people are. So the person on your right or person on your left in just a moment, when I turn you loose, all you're going to do is say your name to them, and they're going to say their name to you. You may have been sitting next to them for a lot of time, for a lot of years or whatever, and you just forget. I get it. Say the name one to another, right and left. Some of you that are on the ends of the aisles you don't have to pray for the wall.

You pray for somebody in front of you or behind you, that's fine. No problem. If you're across an aisle, just look at them across the aisle and go, Jim. And then somebody says "My name, right?" That's what you do. Okay? So I just want you to know their names because in a moment I'm going to ask you to pray for the person on your right and your left, and I'm going to give you what to pray for them. Okay? But right now, very quickly, do it quickly. Get the name of the person on your right and your left. Go ahead. Okay, awesome. Great job. Now you know their names and they know yours. Every person, every person under the sound of my voice will not only be prayed for, but will be praying for someone.

That's a good day. Every single person. Here's what I'm going to ask you to pray for them. It's a recapitulation of the message. You can see it on the screens. Pray their lives would put Jesus on display, that they live worthy of his calling, that God would fulfill their desire to be good and to do good by his power and that the character of Jesus could be seen in them. Right? All I'm doing is asking us to pray the word. That's what I'm asking us to do for one another.

So right where you are and use their name, I want you to silently, wherever you are right now, pray for the person right now on your right. Go ahead. Father, I pray as Paul prayed for the church of Thessaloniki that we would consistently pray for one another. That God, you may count us worthy of your calling and that by your power you would bring to fruition our every desire for goodness and our every deed that is prompted by faith. We pray this so that the character of the Lord Jesus might be put on display in our lives because we know this is in accordance with your grace.

You see God, what we remember and sometimes we fail to remember is that apart from your goodness, we would be helpless. But you've been so kind to us that even when we were sinners, Christ, you still died for us. That you initiated that you are the one that came running, that you chased us down. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Just as we say, your goodness comes running after us. You chase us down because you don't want to leave us like we are. You want us to be shaped more into the image of Jesus so that Jesus's life in an increasing way is put on display through our lives. In whatever spaces and places our lives touch and stay and live that you Lord Jesus can be put on display. So may we cooperate with you knowing that it is only by your goodness, only by your power and grace in us that this can be. We pray that you would do it for the glory of your name, praying in Jesus' name. Amen.

As you remain seated, and even just in a spirit of prayer, Nick and our team are going to sing over us about the goodness of God for just a moment. And then in a moment he'll ask you to join him. And we'll do that. And when we finish, I'll take a moment and close us out in prayer. Let's let them just sing this over us for a moment and just take a moment to reflect on the goodness of God.

It's his goodness that enables his life in us to be able to make much of Jesus. To put Jesus on display. This is the goal for for your life. God's goal for you is the glory of Christ that your life puts Jesus on display. Whatever's hindering you from that in any area of your life would you be willing to bring it into the blazing, fire of his presence, and let him melt it away or let him refine it into that which will remain, that which we'll be able to stand.

And if you're here, I want to remind you, if you've never before in trusted your life to Jesus, that in light of the second coming. There's a twofold reality of Jesus coming. One is for perfect justice and one is for him being glorified in his people. And he wants you on the glory side of that equation. That's why he gave his life for you. See, God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that whoever believed in him wouldn't perish, but would have everlasting life. His desire is for you to know him, not just to check a box that, "Hey, I've gone to church before. I've been through catechism or confirmation, or I went to Sunday school or attended a VBS." All good. None of that saves you.

So I encourage you, if you've never settled that issue in your heart. That when we dismiss in just a moment, you'll come by the fireside room. We'd love to talk to you about what it means to embrace Jesus. Have your life transformed, your sins forgiven, your life made new now and the forever hope of being with Jesus. For those of us who believe, who have been changed, who've been transformed, who'd been made new. One way, not the only one, but one way we can live out putting Jesus on display is by loving people who haven't had the blessings that we have had. To help them know that they aren't forgotten, that they are loved by us and they are loved by Jesus.

That's exactly what our season of giving out in the atrium is all about. It's about being able to say to some people, "We remember you, Jesus remembers you, and we love you." So I encourage you to take advantage of that here over the next number of weeks. Father, it's a joy to be able to stand in your presence and to reflect on your goodness. That we could never be, I could never be standing where I am had it not been for your goodness, had it not been for your grace. Where would we be?

Thank you that you initiated love. That we love because you first loved us. And that now when we live for you and we do things in your name and by your power, we're not doing it to earn your love. We're doing them because we're loved. May we learn to live from the posture of doing great and glorious things in this world because we're loved and because we don't need to earn your love.

Help us to be molded into the image of Jesus and help the goal of our hearts, the goal of our lives to be the glory of Christ, and would you by your spirit, work in every single nook and cranny and space of our lives so that we may learn what it looks like to put Jesus on display in every place in space of our lives. We ask this now in Jesus name, amen.

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