GOD’S CONTINUING WORK
Jesus’ life and ministry can be summarized in FOUR phases: preparing, launching, fulfilling, and continuing. His early life was spent preparing for His work on earth. We know almost nothing about those days except that He “grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). He launched His ministry with three public acts: (1) calling His disciples, (2) preaching His message, and (3) performing His first miracle. For approximately 3 years, He carried on those core works while incrementally educating the disciples that He had come to be “the Lamb of God,” who takes away the sin of the world. The cross, in His own words, was the finishing point of His work on earth. But it did not mark the completion of His great work. He told His disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will He do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14).
During the “upper room discourse” (John 14, 15, 16), Jesus promised the disciples that another advocate, helper, and comforter would come from the Father. His disciples would not be abandoned when Jesus ascended back to the Father’s right hand. He promised the Holy Spirit as the third act of God’s unfolding story for the ages. The promise Jesus made to His disciples was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The presence of the Holy Spirit marked God’s continuing kingdom work on earth. The Holy Spirit would be given to every believer along with whatever gift He sovereignly bestows on them for the purpose of continuing God’s work until we reach “the end of the age.”
It’s very exciting to me to know that God is still working to fulfill His plan. And the astounding news of the Bible is that He invites and equips you to get in on His plan. The Holy Spirit is in you as a Christian to create the desire and the will to join God’s building program, His kingdom work. In four different passages of the New Testament, Paul introduces us to the various gifts that God gives to His people to work alongside Him. (1 Corinthians 12:8–11; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:6–8; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11.)
I like to call the Holy Spirit the KEEPER of God’s House, the church. He bestows and generates the desire and use of the gifts that He has given us as fellow citizens in this amazing household of faith. We have a purpose to fulfill. God does have a plan for your life. In the words of that great Baptist pastor, John Piper, “don’t waste your life.” Get up and get involved in God’s building program. Use your spiritual gift to serve God, serve others, and serve the world.
Church family, I can’t wait to get back to our new series this Sunday morning. This week we tackle the list of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. See you at either the 9AM or the 11AM. Bring your Bible and a notebook.