Does God Find You Useful?
by Tom Goodman
June 29, 2011
Last Sunday we began a new sermon series called Word! Changing Lives with Unchanging Truth. But is it our job or God's job to change lives?
"I am sending you to open their eyes," the risen Christ said to Paul (Acts 26:17-18). Opening the eyes of the spiritually blind is God's work (2 Corinthians 4:6), but Jesus sends Paul to open their eyes.
"I have become all things to all people," Paul wrote, "that by all means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). He knew that God does the saving (Jeremiah 24:7), and yet Paul said he did whatever it took to "save" people.
"Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering," James wrote, "will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:20). Isn't God the one who brings people back to himself (Jeremiah 31:18; Isaiah 57:18)? Yes, and
yet the Bible calls us to bring people back from sin and death.
"He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God," the angel said of John the Baptist, "and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the
wisdom of the just." (Luke 1:16-17). Again, though God works to turn hearts to himself (2 Thessalonians 3:5), John was commissioned to turn hearts to God.
"You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God," Peter wrote, adding, "and this word is the good news that was preached to you" (1 Peter 1:23-25). So, the same Bible that says
the Spirit of God causes new birth, blowing where he wills (John 3:8), also says that the new birth comes from someone preaching the gospel.
So, according to the texts above, we are to "open their eyes," "save some," "bring back" sinners from their wandering, "turn many" to the Lord, and see people born again through announcing the good news to them.
In a recent article, John Piper reviewed these texts and concluded: "God is the decisive, ultimate cause of conversion, but we are his agents, and he calls us to join him in this goal. Not to aim at it is to put ourselves out of step with his
command and his Spirit."
So... are you in step?
Join us this Sunday as we re-commit to being useful instruments in God's hands.
Beacon Articles Available Online: The staff newsletters that appear each week in the Beacon are also available on our website. You can find them here.
Check out my weblog here.
Do you know friends who would appreciate Winning Ways? Just forward this e-mail to them!
Have you subscribed to Winning Ways? You can subscribe by clicking here and following the instructions. Your e-mail address will not be sold or given away to anyone, and you can
automatically change your subscription or drop it by following the easy steps provided with each e-mail.
FRESH NEWS AT HILLCREST UPDATED WEEKLY: www.hillcrestaustin.org
LISTEN TO RECENT SERMONS: Click here.
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS TO OUR EMAIL NEWSLETTERS: Click here. If you do not have access to the web, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us of any changes you would like to make.