Do Something Pt 2: The Preparation
Pastor Terry Inman
Last Sunday night we were glued to the Discovery Channel while Nic Wallenda walked a two-inch sky wire over the Grand Canyon. This was rather precarious stunt. What I thought was more significant than the incredible feat was the twenty minutes of praise given to Jesus.
Obviously the TMZ reporter is not a believer and his intentions and language are dubious but the world takes notice when a daredevil promotes Jesus!
The discovery channel was going to talk him across to sky-wire but early on he said he did not want to talk to anyone. Apparently it took all his focus to stay on the wire so he talked most of the time to Jesus.
You may think he was foolish, but here’s a guy who prepared for years, faced his fears, and took huge risk to “Do Something”. In these twenty minutes before millions of viewers He “made his life count”.
Jesus made his life count for us, but not without some risky preparation. Last week we took a birds eye view of five “P’s” of God’s Plan to make our life count; preparation, purpose, pain, power and passion. Today we will take a closer look at “preparation”.The Apostle Paul said, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10 (NIV)
Let’s take a look at preparation in the life of Jesus. In Matthew chapter 4, Jesus had just been baptized. Then the Holy Spirit led him into the desert where he faced the devil. Jesus overcame temptation in preparation for His ministry on earth. God allowed this test to prepare Jesus for His ministry. He does the same for you and me.
Jesus’ experience in the desert provides a backdrop for our own preparation. Let’s read this story in the gospel of Matt. 4:1-11(NIV)
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered, 'It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (v.4)
Recovery programs talk about putting temptation to a H.A.L.T. Be aware when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. There are many different hungers. God has given us his community to help with emotional hunger. Anger and resentment is so easy to fall prey too. It’s ok to be sad, and to express it but don’t stay mad, it will make you vulnerable to temptation.
Loneliness is one of the most common dilemmas in our culture. Everything in creation was good, except, God said, “it is not good for man to be alone”. We need healthy relationships. We all get tired, that’s why God built into the Ten Commandments the Sabbath principle. He rested from his work we need to rest from ours. Put temptation to a HALT!
Lets read on in (v.5) Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’”
Again Jesus answers from the word, (v.7) “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
When the accuser questions your identity and God’s intentions, just remind Satan of God’s intentions for him!
These tactics weren’t working so Satan went after power and pride. (v.8) says, “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
In (v.10) Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
So let’s take a look at some of the preparation principles from this story. Sometimes life throws curve balls, sometimes we strike out. Satan would love to abort God’s plans for us. But God is preparing us for greatness!
God prepared us with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was “led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness and Luke adds, “he returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.” Luke. 4:14 (NIV) The wilderness is an interesting place to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Being tempted by Satan after fasting for forty days in the desert was not an easy experience for Jesus. This begs a question: if we are doing God's will, aren't things supposed to be easy?
Sometimes we will accomplish things with little or no effort. But at other times, we will experience an intense battle. In these times of trial and difficulty, we are much better off with the Holy Spirit than without Him.
God has promised us joy and peace as we live with Him, but He has not promised us comfort.
I mentioned last week that a lot of believers get sidelined because of injury or weakness. We take ourselves out of the game because we think God can’t use us. God actually turns our brokenness into usefulness when we let the Holy Spirit take the lead.
Simon Peter messed up big time. He denied Jesus when things got tough. Jesus even prepared him ahead of time. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Luk. 22:31(NIV)
Peter did turn back! After being empowered by the Holy Spirit he took a stand in Jerusalem where he had failed and preached to thousands. Our time of temptation can be the occasion of the Spirit’s preparation!
God prepared the Bible for Jesus and us to use.
Every time the devil tempted Jesus, He answered with scripture. He said, "It is written…" No matter what the temptation or situation, the Bible has powerful answers.
The word of God is a defensive weapon. (Eph. 6:17) describes God’s word as “the sword of the Spirit. (Heb. 4:12) says, “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
If we memorize verses, they will come to our mind in the midst of struggle, pain, challenge, or for encouraging others. God may ask us to do things that are over our heads, but the answers are all in His word. He has given us all the information and inspiration we need to succeed.
David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psa. 119:105 (NIV) The spirit and the word equip us to do something that makes our life count.
God prepared us with prayer as a means of communicating with Him. Jesus prepared for ministry with prayer. Luke. 5:16 says, “Jesus often withdrew to solitary places and prayed.”
Prayer is a direct line in between God and us. Jesus prayed all the time. He was in constant communication with His Father. In addition to the wielding the “sword of the spirit”, Paul said we are to, “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Eph. 6:18 (NIV)
Prayer kept Jesus intimately connected to his Father. Jesus had amazing power and His purposes were clear. The bible says, Jesus only did what he saw his father doing. Prayer prepared Jesus and kept him on track with God’s purposes. It will be the same for us. We will “Do Something” significant when what we do, is born out of prayer.
God created faith as a means of relationship with Him.
If we are going to “Do Something” that really counts we must be connected to Christ through faith. A lot of people do good humanitarian things. But we are talking about what Christ does through us.
“Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”Rom. 12:3 (NLT) Doing something for God involves faith.
We can't have a relationship with God without faith. “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” Heb. 11:6 (MSG)
Faith is the belief of things unseen, and we all exercise faith in some form every day. We can't see oxygen, yet we trust it is there for us to breathe. We can't see gravity, but we don't leap off of buildings because we know the effect gravity will have.
It is this trust that enables us to love God and love people. It’s what gives us the motivation to “Do Something” and make a difference? “By faithin Christ you are in direct relationship with God.” Gal. 3:26 (MSG)
Maybe you have not fully expressed your faith or trust in Jesus Christ. You may not be sure that you have a relationship with him. In a moment I will give you an opportunity to express your faith in Christ.
"If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom. 10:9 (NIV) Giving Jesus Christ the directors chair in our lives is the most important thing we can to do to prepare for doing something great!
Now let me wrap this this up with a final step in preparation.
God prepared the circumstances and opportunities for us to Do Something.
“When the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Gal. 4:4 (NIV)
Before Jesus came to earth the only way to please God was by strict obedience to the law. Humanity has historically failed at that. God sent his own and only son to die for the consequences of our sinfulness and liberated us to enjoy a relationship with him.
We are on earth at this place and at this time in history for specific purposes, just as Jesus was born at a specific time for a specific reason.
Our life experiences are not just accidental. God can use all of these circumstances and experiences to fulfill His purposes.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, find and fulfill your purpose! “Do Something”! Make your Life Count! James the brother of Jesus says, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James. 2:17 (NIV) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James. 1:22 (NIV) Disciples are “Do Something” people!
If you have not yet put your trust in Christ, he wants to prepare you for your life’s purpose. I would be honored to lead you in a prayer of faith.
Our Father God, I want to fulfill your purpose for my life. I know my sinfulness has alienated me from you. I am grateful that you sent your son Jesus Christ to die in my place. Jesus I put my faith, my trust in you. I receive your new life now. I want to you to lead my life from now on. Prepare me to “Do Something” great with you! AMEN