I didn’t have a sermon outline this week for our folks, so here’s the sermon notes from Sunday’s message:
Title: “The Grunts: Ordinary People Doing Ordinary Things for an Extraordinary God, Part 7”
Text: 2 Corinthians 4
5 Phrases That Will Help Us Keep a Christ-Centered Perspective and a Christ-Honoring Attitude
1. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord…” (v. 5). The aim of Paul’s life was to make much of Jesus instead of making much of himself. Truth be told, that’s not the aim of many of our lives, which is why many of us are still emotionally and spiritually immature. The reason why we lash out in anger at our critics, get personally offended by every snarky comment on social media, and perceive unintentional mistakes as intentional slights is because we are still putting ourselves at the center of the universe. Even though we say we follow Jesus, we still act like it’s all about us. And the irony is that Jesus says he will exalt us if we will stop exalting ourselves. The reason why things in our lives get so complicated, convoluted, and crazy when we put the focus on ourselves is because that’s not how our lives were designed to function. We were made to proclaim “not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.”
2. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (v. 7). The apostle Paul could take pride and find joy in his ordinary circumstances and in being an ordinary vessel because he recognized that the ordinary moments in his ordinary life provided the perfect opportunities for God’s power to be displayed for others to see.
3. “For it is all for your sake…” (v. 15). When we’re doing things for the sake of others and for the sake of Christ’s mission, life truly does become an adventure because even the most mundane moments can become holy ground with that kind of perspective on life. So, if your Christian life seems boring and achingly-ordinary, that’s probably a good sign that you are not living for the sake of others.
4. “…our inner self is being renewed day by day” (v. 16). If you read the rest of Paul’s letters he tells us that renewal comes by keeping in step with the Spirit and keeping in step with the Spirit comes through things like prayer, reading and studying God’s Word, fellowship with other Christians, the observance of Communion, singing, worshipping, serving, working, being a good citizen, resisting sin, and living on purpose for God. So many of us miss out on the daily renewal the Spirit of God is offering to us because we have come to see the means God uses to renew us as too ordinary to be effective. But there is power in the ordinary when the ordinary is in the hands of the extraordinary God.
5. “…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (v. 18). This is really the heart of the matter because it takes an eternal focus to appreciate how God uses ordinary people, practices, and processes for his extraordinary purposes. Only God’s big-picture reality can help me see how my ordinary life can serve an extraordinary purpose, how my ordinary moments can provide missional opportunities, and how my ordinary weaknesses can exhibit God’s strength.
Each week in this series I’ve given our folks at Alameda an ordinary to-do that will lead to an extraordinary ta-da, and here’s this week’s: If you believe that there is power in the ordinary when the ordinary is in the hands of the extraordinary God, then put your life in his hands by being baptized into Christ or by recommitting your life to his service.