ASIDE: The Village Parkway church building debt is now $299,000. Currently on target for debt free in 2/03!
May 5th, 2002, Sunday Morning
CINCO DE MAYO
"The Will of GOD"
Prioritizing your career and your calling
OPENING: 2 Timothy 1:1-7
One of the greatest martyrs until Hitler is--of all people--one of his own: Count Helmuth Carl Bernhard von Moltke.
- BACKGROUND: The name Moltke has resounded proudly through two centuries of Prussian and
German history. He had been Chancellor Bismarck's field marshal and the terrible, swift sword wielded in his crushing
German victories over the Danes, Austrians, and the French. The field marshal's greatest triumph, the destruction
of the French Imperial Army at Sedan in 1871, had led to the capture of Paris and the creation of the German empire.
- At the start of World War II, when everyone else left, Moltke stayed. He used his influence to try to
stop Hitler. His name and character made him a natural rallying point for resisters to the regime. Inevitably, he
was betrayed and captured on January 19, 1944. He had been working two goals the entire time: 1. Countering
the deportation and murder of Jews and 2. Execution of captured soldiers (he saved many Jews in Denmark).
- At his trial he said he was proud to stand before his prosecutors not as a Protestant, not as a big
landowner, not as a nobleman, not as a Prussian, not as a German ... but as a Christian and nothing else.
- Letter to his wife before his death at 37 -- "For what a mighty task your husband was chosen; all
the trouble the Lord took with him, the infinite detours, the intricate zigzag curves, all suddenly
find their explanation in one hour ... Everything acquires its meaning in retrospect, which was hidden. Mami
and Papi, the brothers and sisters, the little sons, Kreisau and its troubles ... it has all at last become
comprehensible in a single hour."
- "Dear heart, my life is finished. This doesn't alter the fact that I would gladly go on living
and that I would gladly accompany you a bit further on this earth. But then I would need a new task for God.
The task for which God made me is done.
2 Timothy 1:1: Notice Paul begins his letter with the fact he's (and we are all) called
for a purpose in our life according to GOD.
2 Corinthians 12:11: Here, Paul makes known he is a "nobody" and that anyone else would
be more capable of the task he's been handed by GOD--becoming an apostle.
- BACKGROUND ON WHY PAUL FEELS SO UNWORTHY:
- Paul was raised in Judaism--he was the rising star of the Jewish faith.
- He was the chief persecutor of the church--with great zeal.
- A man with no great skills, but a passion for knowledge.
- He had great influence with the Jewish leaders.
- NOW GOD CONVERTS HIM ALONG THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
- Now the faith and people he swore to destroy are the very entities he's proudly proclaiming.
- Consequently, the Jewish leaders now hate him for uplifting Christ's name--call him traitor.
- 1 Timothy 1:15: Now he not only feels unworthy but the worst of all life's sinners
And at the same time, the believers were scared to bring him in to their group because of his
extensive history of church hatred and believer persecution. They thought perhaps it was a trap.
It took years for the others to fully believe Paul's salvation was real. Paul studied 14 years
before he began his ministry.
The journey begins one day when Paul, Barnabas and Mark all leave Antioch.
There was initial success. But the glamour of it quickly faded away into the reality of living
in a tough and evil world.
- Paul was soon alone in the journey. Yet, his calling by GOD motivated him not to stop traveling
from city to city and preaching message after message.
- The obstacle that would cause most people to quit--Paul walked them not only successfully but
with rejoicing and perseverance.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7: We all have a calling from GOD in our life. Paul knew his was from
GOD and he carried it out joyfully.
The truth of our calling is as vital to our ending as to our beginning.
- The calling is the motivator that keeps us journeying purposefully--and thus growing
and maturing to our last day.
- 2 Timothy 4:7: Paul concludes at the end something we should all conclude:
"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith."
- 2 Timothy 4:13: Paul calls Timothy to bring with him on his trip Paul's cloak,
books, and parchments to Paul's bedside. Why? Because Paul fought to the very last minute.
KEY: Our calling prevents us from confusing the end of our occupations (job/career)
with the end of our vocations (calling from GOD).
- Our calling and job are not the same.
- Paul had many jobs: preacher, teacher, missionary, tent-maker, prisoner... but his jobs had no relation
to his calling
- William Wilberforce: a politician, his calling in life was to stop slavery...and he did it.
On the night the House of Commons passed the clause of the Act of Emancipation, he died.
CONCLUSION: He had many jobs (one being a politician) but the completion of his calling was not until years after
he was out of politics.
- Our calling should not only exceed the priority of our career but outlast them all.
- Our sense of calling must be deeper, wider, higher, and longer than the best and highest of the
tasks we undertake.
- Following our calling helps us to finish strong because we leave the entire outcome of our life
to GOD (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- What's sad is most live as W.B. Yeats in his memoir "Reveries": "All life weighed in the scale of my
own life seems a preparation for something that never happens."
- TRANSLATION: We all look for our purposes/accomplishments in life and they either don't come to pass
or life is cut short (i.e., world cruises, dream homes on beachfront property, retirement plans, etc.) What's
truly sad is to die without knowing our life's purpose.
Nothing frustrates the child of GOD who rests in Christ.
- Proverbs 16:4: GOD has made both the good and wicked person ... all for a specific purpose.
So don't ever think if there's a situation where evil won that GOD couldn't have prevented it.
- Proverbs 16:9: If thinks don't work out according to your plans, understand it's
because that's not the avenue GOD wanted you to travel down.
- Psalm 139:16: GOD knew you and me before we were born and has already ordained the number
of days we're going to live! We cannot add or take away from them. Therefore, take advantage of every day and
do your best.
- To quit your work because of difficult obstacles or something you don't like is to rebel against GOD.
Remember GOD is always in control ("on the Throne")
- 2 Corinthians 4:17: GOD never said life would be easy. In fact, our pains would only last
for a moment and not even compare to the glory that awaits us who are saved.
- Acts 14:22: We are encouraged to continue by faith because there are many obstacles before
we can enter GOD's Kingdom.
- Most never make it past the obstacles of life--they are controlled by averting all troubles or just quit.
- What is your calling in life? (Paul knew his--to be an apostle ... I know mine--to build this web site)
- For what reason did GOD make you? When/if you hear, "Well done thy good and faithful servant?" (Matthew 25:21)
what would you have done to have that said to you?
- The great tragedy in life: to live no purpose!
PAUL'S SECRET TO KNOWING GOD'S PLAN FOR HIS LIFE
- Notice that Paul's calling is based on a promise--the promise of life in Jesus Christ. A calling must
be for a reason--a known outcome at the end.
- 1 Timothy 6:19: Store up treasure for yourself in Heaven by doing GOD's work--where it
cannot be stolen. Don't work for earthly possessions and riches which can be stolen or eventually rust away.
- You cannot have a calling until you repent and trust in the Lord
- Paul came to know Christ and after his life's purpose began to move forward
- Matthew 6:33: You have to put all your purposes aside and seek GOD's will (Kingdom) first ...
all the time. That's a tough one because of all the things that occupy our life and all those times people never
follow-up when they say, "I'll go to church ... next Sunday" (and it doesn't happen).
- As a result, we'll no longer live for ourselves but for Christ. We will "take up our cross and follow Him."
- Faith in Christ will help us face the drudgery of living life
- Life isn't exciting every single day--sometimes, obviously, it's a drudge. Awful!
- Pastor Branson had a Saturday to himself while the Mrs. was away. All he did was cook a 4-minute roast
in the microwave, mowed the lawn, watch a movie, go the cleaners, and read a book... life is not always exciting.
- We have to be exceptional in our ordinary work--to be holy on mean streets, among mean people.
Look in retrospect of Jesus' life: he was a carpenter before his calling and the plows that he and Joseph made
are still being made today! (reference: Justin Martyr--native from over the hills of Galilee)
Jesus did his job so well, his character still shines today--in parallel to the results of His calling!
- 2 Timothy 4:8: A reward is already defined by GOD for those who are faithful to the very end.
There was a philosophy professor from Austin, Texas, who became so popular for his teachings, the classroom was standing room only.
The students cherished his insight, discipline, and philosophy. But what the students hated were the 5-page paper assignments.
But in this assignment, the professor said to forget the possibility of a job and a grade and just submit something
- Unfortunately, we live in a world today where minimal is given to satisfy the job. Perhaps that's
because the calling has not yet been discovered.
- Even 25 years after preaching and teaching, Pastor Branson is still for ways to unfold the Word of GOD
to the people.
For every martyr of Christ (Paul, Count Moltke)--notice how since their life had many more tribulations
since becoming Christian how happy they were at the end of their life to suffer for Christ.
What is your calling? What is your purpose in life for where GOD has put you now?