Cross Fit – Week 5 (The Cross Gives You a Role to Play in the World)
Jason White


The finished work of Jesus on the cross gives you a role out in the world. Jesus works in you and through you to love, serve, and care for people. He will use you to share the gospel with others so they can come to know the same love, grace, and mercy in their lives as well.




Sermon Audio Transcript
I have a friend of mine who in 1986 felt like the Lord was leading him to leave his normal, full-time job to start a soup kitchen and feed the homeless in downtown Austin…And so he did…and for the last 36 years, every single day including holidays he has provided a free, lunch-time meal for anyone in need. It’s an incredible ministry and many lives have been impacted, BUT there was a lot of opposition to him leaving his normal life behind to pour everything he had into feeding the hungry and sharing Jesus with them. He said that even his own children thought he had lost his mind and tried to talk him out of it…What is it that moves someone to do something crazy like this and pour everything they have into helping the homeless?But my friend isn’t a lone ranger either…there are others who have stories like this too…There’s a ministry in the Austin area as well that’s called Community First, which is a program that gives the chronically homeless an opportunity to get off the streets and live in their own little micro home in this community that they have built. Well, one day when I was doing a tour of this community, the person who was showing me around pointed out a couple of different mobile homes on the property and began to tell us that the people who lived in these weren’t homeless…that these were people who had sold their own homes and moved into this community to minister to and serve the homeless who were moving into his community from off of the streets. The tour guide explained out one of them was a retired couple and the other one was a family (parents who still had young school aged kids)…What is it that would cause them to do this???What is it that moves someone to spend their retired years in a community ministering to these people and helping them make the transition off of the streets when they could be spending their time in a retired community on a golf course somewhere or out taking cruises and travelling the world? I mean, these people had spent most of their entire lives working and raising kids and now it’s THEIR TIME…time to relax and just live it up, partying until their time on this earth is over. Why would they give that up to serve those moving off the streets into this community?And what about these families with kids who are still growing up? I mean, what would prompt them to move their kids into an environment like this? It’s hard enough trying to raise your own kids and deal with school and extracurricular activities and all of the dynamics of family, much less add on trying to minister to and serve a group of people who often have a lot of difficult problems to work through coming off of a life on the streets. And what about their safety? What about the danger of moving their kids into an area that is not the rich, comfortable suburbs, but an area where things are probably a lot less stable? What would prompt a set of parents to give their lives up and move into a community like this?Well, it’s not actually a “what” but a “who” question. See, the answer to these questions is simply Jesus. Jesus would prompt and empower someone to do what these very people are doing.GOD The apostle Paul tells us in Acts 20:35 that…35 … the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ But listen…these just weren’t words that Jesus spoke out of his mouth…it wasn’t just good advice…I mean, it’s part of who He was…who He is…it’s part of his character! Jesus is a giver…and we see it in His actions during His earthly ministry! Matthew tells us in 9:35…35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.See, Jesus is a giver. So, these verses here are a summary statement by Matthew, but as you go through his gospel and the other gospel accounts of how Jesus spent his time here on earth, you see all of the specific examples of him giving people attention, showing compassion, meeting their needs, healing them, teaching them about grace and the life they could have in Him. He lived his life by pouring His life out to others. Jesus was a giver. It’s just part of who He was when He lived His life on this earth 2,000 years ago.Now listen, that makes Jesus a respectable figure in history. I mean a lot of us look back at Jesus and see how He was living his life helping people and we have a lot of respect for him. But Jesus did not come to earth to live his life helping people so that we, 2000 years later would respect him and think he was a good man! Jesus was up to something much bigger than that!We’ve been going through this message series we are calling CrossFit, where we are learning to be fit for our life through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The apostle Paul, after looking back at Jesus’ life wrote that the message Paul himself preached and taught to people was “Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23…23 but we preach Christ crucified)At the core of everything Paul taught was what Jesus accomplished through giving His life for us on the cross. Jesus gave his life so that…He could give us forgiveness… He could give us a relationship with God… He could give us eternal lifeHe could give us a family… He could give us a role in the familyJesus is a giver. And so when we receive Him into our lives by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, we are given all of these things we just mentioned. And these are all things we have talked about over the last 4 wks, but here is something else that Jesus accomplished through giving His life for us on the cross…The ability for Him to give to others in the world through us! Jn14…16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. So Jesus (who we already established is a GIVER to those in need), tells the disciples that there was a day coming when He would come live inside of them through the Holy Spirit. And we of course read in the book of Acts (ch.2) after Jesus’ finished work on the cross, his resurrection, and His ascension how the Holy Spirit did come into their lives…AND THEN all throughout the rest of the book of Acts we see how they spent the rest of their lives doing very similar things to what Jesus was doing. They spent their lives helping people, meeting their needs, and telling them about the forgiveness and life they could have in Jesus. Why? Why did it look similar to the life of Jesus? B/C Jesus (who was the ultimate giver) was living in them and was using them to continue giving to people in need. I think it was Darrell Bock in his commentary on the book of Acts who said, “The title may say ‘Acts of the Apostles’ but a more accurate title would have been ‘Acts of Jesus through the Apostles’.”And some of what we see relates to what we’ve talked about the last couple of weeks which is the life in the Family of God and the way He worked through them to do life together and to carry out the role He gave them in the family…BUT what we also see, which is what I want you to see about yourselves today too is Jesus working through them outside of His family…In other words…The finished work of Jesus on the cross gives us a role in the world.I mean Jesus Himself when speaking to the disciples the last time before ascending into heaven and sending the Holy Spirit said this in Acts 1:8…8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”In other words, YOU WILL HAVE A ROLE OUT IN THE WORLD. “I’ll be at work in you through the Holy Spirit out in the world so that people will experience Me giving to them through you!” (MY witnesses)And again, we see it…we are told over and over again that “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Because of their role out in the world, other people outside the family were being impacted.And it wasn’t just the original 12 disciples that Jesus had spent his earthly ministry with…it was normal for ALL of those who now had Jesus living in them and through them after putting faith in Him.When the church experienced persecution in Jerusalem in Acts 8, we are told that those in the church except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, and Luke says this in 8:4…4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.As they began to settle down in other communities, find jobs, build homes, raise their families in these new areas, Jesus gave them a role in this new world they lived in and Jesus used them to give of their lives to others and share the gospel and bring more people into the family and plant new churches. So, this is what Jesus did through those in the early church…and this is what He still does through us today… JESUS, THROUGH HIS FINISHED WORK ON THE CROSS, GIVES US A ROLE IN THE WORLD.So this is why people can do crazy things like pour everything they have into starting a soup kitchen to feed hungry people and tell them about Jesus… It’s why retired people can give up “receiving comfort and luxury” and move to a community to serve homeless who are transitioning off the streets and point them to Jesus. It’s why parents who still have kids in the family can do the same thing…because they experience the blessing of Jesus giving through them (which is now part of their DNA) and it’s so much better than receiving… getting… or being comfortable.I heard a story one time about a pastor who had been in ministry for a number of years, and he loved it and the Lord was using him to impact a lot of people in his church and outside the church too, BUT he began to really sense that Jesus was calling him to an even greater role out in the worldAnd as he prayed about that and really searched for clarity, Jesus didn’t lead him to start some non-profit ministry or local mission organization…what Jesus led him to do was to quit his job as a pastor and to get a secular job. And the reason was b/c there were lost people who would be working at his place of employment and Jesus wanted to use him to give to them, to serve them, and to share the gospel with them…And so he did, and he worked hard at his new job, and he built relationships with his co-workers, and he served them when he had the chance, and as the Lord opened the door, he shared the gospel with them.Before long they were doing a lunch-time bible study, people were getting saved and baptized, and he was counseling people on marriage and parenting and just giving of his life to serve his co-workers.Jesus is a giver…and as we make ourselves available to Him, He will lead us to give to others through a role he gives us in the world.TRANSITION…So, what role or roles has he given you out in the world? And how does He want to use you to give and serve and share the gospel with others out in the world?YOU…Well, I can tell you one way I think He wants to use all of us today and that’s through the Car Show coming up later this morning.YOU…Well, I can tell you one way I think He wants to use all of us today and that’s through the Car Show coming up later this morning.I mean, each Sunday God gathers us together for worship and then sends us out into the world…BUT TODAY HE IS BRINGING THE WORLD TO US! I mean, we don’t know exactly how many people will be here today, but based on years past there could be over a 1,000 people here today from our community…many who don’t know the Lord or if they do don’t have a church family…And Jesus wants to give to them today through us. He wants to give his love to them and meet their needs and share the gospel with them and invite them to be a part of our family.So…my hope is that we will each pray, “Jesus, I’m available to you today. Use me to build relationships w/others…use me to serve others…use me to invite others…use me to share the good news about you today”Now…that is today…but of course Jesus isn’t going to stop being a giver through you after today. He’ll live in you tomorrow and this week and the years to come…So, what other roles has He given you out in the world?Let me suggest that you look in 3 areas as you make yourself available to Him…1. IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODFor many of us, Jesus has placed us in the home we are in with a role to serve and share the gospel with our neighbors. He loves them and wants to give to them through us.So look for Jesus to lead you to have them over for dinner, to meet their needs in some way, to invite them to church, and to share your faith them.I mean one of the things I love the most on Sundays is when some of you will come up to me and introduce me to someone and say, “These are my neighbors and they are here to worship and be a part of our family today.” And I just get so excited. I love seeing how Jesus works through us to reach people out in the world in the very neighborhood he settled us in to live.2. IN YOUR WORKPLACE OR YOUR SCHOOLI think we way to often ignore this as an area Jesus is really involved in. “This is where we go to make money to pay the bills” or “this is where I go to learn to get an education so I can get a job later.”And Jesus is at work in those ways to provide for us certainly, but He is also up to so much more. Jesus is a giver and He works through us to give to people in the world who are lost and in need.I told you the story earlier about the guy who left ministry to get a job in the secular world and how many people’s lives were being changed b/c He was allowing Jesus to give and serve his co-workers around him.How does Jesus want to work through you in your workplace or your school? It’s really not a matter of IF He wants to but HOW He wants to b/c this is who He is…it’s part of His character and He’s put Himself in you to give to you and also to give to others through you.3. IN A LOCAL MISSION ORGANIZATIONJesus is at work in our community to give to others through some great mission organizations who meet people’s needs and share the gospel with others. Over the last 4-5 months we’ve had several of you who have become mentors through the Mentoring Alliance and others of you who are on the waiting list. Jesus is giving us a role in the world to impact kids growing up in single-parent, impoverished homes and He is changing lives through us. Does He want to mentor kids through you? There’s still plenty of kids in our community who are waiting for someone to mentor them.And of course, this isn’t the only way Jesus is working in our community. There are other great missions organizations like The Salvation Army, The Hand Up Network, East TX Foodbank, and on and on.WEI mean, think about what it would look like for a second if we all made ourselves available to Jesus to show us our role in the world and use us to give and serve others…Think about the number of lives in our neighborhoods and in our workplaces and in our schools would be impacted…Think about the lives that would be saved…the needs that would be met…the relationships that would be reconciled…the hopes and dreams that would be restored.This is what Jesus does…and this is what He is inviting us to participate in with Him outside of these church walls today and every day of our lives.Let’s do it…let’s trust Him and watch Him change lives in our community through us as Colonial Hills Baptist Church!