When we were young children, if we had been born in an unstressful environment, we went about our business playing, and having fun, with no real worries. We had no thought of direction for the future because we don’t have to think about those things. But as we got older, society or our culture put on us a need to look forward toward having a future.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I struggled with that. At age 16 at a youth retreat in Madison, WI, I was called into the ministry as a vocation, as a life. My father was a Youth pastor, and the word I received that night, was, “You will do what your father is doing.”
I was like in my mind, that is just you thinking that up, at that time I thinking “No way”. I wasn’t going to be a pastor because I saw what my father went through, I saw poor leadership in the pastorate. Pastors who were users. I saw many issues that I had in my mind about that, and it was a definite No.
As I grew older, I never had any direction in my mind what I wanted to really be. It was interesting looking back. I had been given a Word by the Holy Spirit, and I didn’t even know the Holy Spirit. I was a Wesleyan Methodist pastor’s kid. We didn’t do the Holy Spirit. But again looking back, I do remember the voice I heard leaning down next this old wooden pew in this ancient church that didn’t know what heat was in the month of January. I remember I was freezing. But I do remember it like yesterday, and that was 43 years ago.
And after that time being in High School, I was being questioned by adults of what my future path would be. All I could say was I don’t know, maybe be a cop, I liked helping people, and that had me go to college. It is funny though, that looking back over so many years, the Lord had a plan for my life, and all I had to do was walk it out. But I like many was a product of my environment at the time.
I had a destiny that I could have been walking out that day, right after I heard from the Lord, but who knows where I would be today. But like many of us who grew up in the church, I did not receive any discipleship, nor the instruction how to walk that calling, that destiny out.
The church today as well as looking back to the 60’s and 70’ is all about converts, but not about making disciples even though that is what Jesus told us to do.
But this message tonight is not about making disciples, but maybe it is, but it is about our destiny in Christ on this earth. Even if we are on the backside of life.
Many people do not have the Holy Spirit speak to them like I did. Many have felt or were prompted to do ministry, or may have received Godly direction from others, or the Holy Spirit unknown to them moved them to minister, all being led into a direction because you felt the Lord leading you there.
It was a process for me. I went the opposite direction. But God in His love and mercy, prayers of a praying family and through the relentless prompting of the Holy Spirit, I was steered to the place God called me.
Destiny and direction is different for all with different paths that God has for us. But we all have destiny in Christ Jesus, and it isn’t all about having a position in the ministry, like a pastor, evangelist, worship leader, etc. We were created to do good things. Miraculous things. Supernatural things to show people the Kingdom of God.
Ephesians 2:10, “"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
We are God’s workmanship, and God doesn’t make junk. He makes awesome beautiful things. We were created to move mightily in the Spiritual, as well as in the physical realm. And God already laid it out what we are to do. We don’t have to make things up. He is the one who will lead us, if we follow.
I have been truly walking with the Lord, 35 years. Yes, I did grow up in the church, but fell away for a time and did what was right in my own eyes. When I came back to Christ, truthfully I was still walked in disobedience because I did not want to do what I was called to do.
I want the so called rich worldly corporate life as well as being a minister, but God in His sovereignty and His mercy, steered me to the path He had called me to.
And truthfully, during the time I was trying to make it on my own, I was a frustrated child. A few spots of “wow look I made it”, only to have those times turn into another frustration.
God had a plan, and in my double mindedness, I would pray to do God’s will, but I would then outside of that, strive to be like my neighbor and make it in this world of make believe. I was never happy in business. Truthfully I was only happy helping people; restoration. That is what I was made for. That is what we were all made for.
See, I did not put two and two together. Restoration was to always be a part of my life even when I was not doing what God called me to do as my vocation. I was one thing in the church, and another thing outside it. I did not look for opportunities to bring Jesus to people. It was all business.
I had to come to the revelation that my destiny was in Christ, and it had nothing to do about position, it was about bringing Jesus everywhere with me. Yes, now I am a pastor, but it doesn’t matter what I am. It matters what I do.
God has given me specific tasks to do in His Kingdom. He has been faithful to me, even though I was not faithful to Him. But He holds no grudge. The same for all of us. When we get it, God releases His providential revelation to us to begin the purposes He has called us to do.
Nine years ago, I was supposed to start this church. I didn’t do it because of fear. Fear that I did not have the mental and spiritual capacity to do it. But when I gave up, and crawled to God, and threw myself on Him to carry me to plant this church, a word was given over me the last day I preached at my former church. The word was even though I didn’t start the church when He wanted, God was still going to bless what I was to do, because I now was obedient to His Word.
I had to lean on the verse that I always go to when I think I can’t do it, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can do all things He tells me to do.
Because He will make a way for me to do it. For His good pleasure, I was created in His image to represent His Kingdom on this earth and bring the restoration of that Kingdom here as an ambassador.
2 Cor. 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God."
Which leads me to, when we realize who we are in Christ in His kingdom, our perspectives change on why we are here on this earth, and what our purpose is, and what we can accomplish.
So my first question is about us who call ourselves Christ Followers:
What is the body of Christ here for today?
I’ll go back to the Old Testament to start this.
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
As an old English Christian Philosopher/Teacher named Ian Hart said, "Exercising royal dominion over the earth as God's representative is the basic purpose for which God created man.... Our work in God’s image begins with faithfully representing God.
As we exercise dominion over the created world, we do it knowing that we mirror God. We are not the originals but the images, and our duty is to use the original—God—as our pattern, not ourselves. Our work is meant to serve God’s purposes more than our own, which prevents us from domineering all that God has put under our control.”
Our destiny is to have dominion over the earth. I believe in past sermons I have referenced that after the fall in the Garden of Eden, we lost dominion over the earth. Satan took that dominion, but Jesus when He walked on this earth, and upon His death and resurrection changed things. He brought restoration. He fulfilled promises.
In Matthew chapter 16, when the Disciple Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus says in verse 18 and 19,
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Scofield said, “the keys to the kingdom of heaven is our profession.” Our speaking the Word of God into situations. Scofield also said, “a key is a badge of power and authority.” The Apostle Peter “opened the door” or he turned the key on the Day of Pentecost, and the Church, the Ekklesia came into its own, bringing the Kingdom of God into situations on earth which had the church and the believer taking dominion back from the forces of evil. The Church restoring the dominion that Adam once had.
Our destiny, is to speak the Words of God, the promises of God to bring restoration. When looking at the second part of Matthew verse 19, when it speaks of binding and loosing, it struck me when looking at those words, bind and bound. They are the same words in the Greek, “Deo”, “the primary verb is to bind, it also means to petition or pray that comes from the the Greek word Deomai.
So whatever we petition on earth, will be petitioned in heaven. Whatever words we pray, will be heard in heaven. We know that from other words of Jesus.
Matthew 21:22, "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
John 14:13-14, "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
And whatever we loose on earth, the Greek word “luo”, or whatever we loosen, break or destroy on earth the same will be done in heaven. Or in other words, when we pray, when we speak words we are heard in heaven, and heaven acts on those words. When we speak the Words of God, action is taken and impact is made.
In essence, we restore people back to God using the Words of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are destined to reclaim all the things that are God’s, and we are to use the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the Word of God to do it. The Apostle Peter as I said earlier, opened the door for us, even for today to possess the Kingdom.
Since we have a purpose, to reclaim and restore dominion, the next thing we need to know is who we are to do it. We must know who are. This brings up our identity.
What is our identity? Where does our identity come from?
Understanding our identity, and what God has given us through Jesus, is foundational to knowing His will, direction, and destiny for our lives.
Back to Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…”
Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
There is our identity. When we professed Christ and turned our hearts to Him, we passed from being a part of the kingdom of this earth which is death, to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven which is life.
Because our identity is Christ Jesus. I believe we all know that here, but do we live in that identity?
To live in that identity takes faith.
Ephesians 3:17 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”
We have been filled with all the fullness of God, it says that. All the fullness. So God the Father did not leave anything back. We have that fullness, that power at work within us.
And by the foreknowledge of God, who knew us before we were born, who laid out our lives out before us to do His will, to do good works, and to restore the Kingdom, it is upon us to walk that out. Walk it out in the capacity of who we are. As a pastor, or as a school teacher, or as a factory worker, even being a mom. We do it in the fullness of the promises of God that He has laid before us.
And we are to live in the identity that we have received in Christ to fulfill our destiny, our unique mission God gave us before we even knew we had one.
To find out that mission and destiny, takes us to a place where we must deny ourselves. Jesus said in:
Luke 9:23, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
We must lay our will down, to do His will. We hand over the authority of our lives and give it to Jesus. Then we make a move, to get into His presence to hear Him.
Our destiny in Christ, that was laid out for us before the foundation of the world, and comes into contact with us through self-denial and when we hear the still small voice of God, we have to take action.
“ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” I had to say that over and over again many times in my life to move forward. I had to believe. But as I did, faith rose up in me through the Holy Spirit, and I had a peaceful and quite supernatural sense that God was with me, and I could accomplish whatever He was sending me to do. He was directing me through His grace, and love, and mercy, with power to accomplish my life goals He laid out for me before I was even born. He had a plan for me, like he has a plan for all of us. He has a plan to prosper us.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
That’s our destiny. As we give life to those that need it and restore the Kingdom and take dominion, God gets all the glory, and we fulfill the destiny God puts before us. It’s all win-win for us and those that need Jesus through us. Amen!