A Heart of Service

Learning How To Live Out The Gospel Mission Wherever We Are.

George Wright
Jan 31, 2021    40m
Do you strive to live out the gospel mission in all areas of your life? In scripture, Colossians 3:23-25 reminds us that wherever we go and whoever we are with, we should all live out the mission of sharing the gospel. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:18 Hey, how you doing? Good. I think I just said, you're the man Graham, and it showed up on the mic. So that's awesome, you're the man, I just want to let everybody know that, thank you for [inaudible]. Yeah, you can clap for Graham. hey, he's the man.

George Wright: 00:28 Hey, what a privilege it is to be able to turn our attention now to the Word of God, what a beautiful, beautiful expression of worship that your voices just offered to the Lord. Thank you for joining us here today, even on a rainy, cloudy, nasty day, we have the opportunity to come together, to worship the Lord, to be reminded of who God is and what he has done for us. And for that we celebrate, and we thank God for what he has called us into. And we see here today in Colossians 3, that there is reason to be thankful.

George Wright: 01:07 So if you'd turn in your Bible to Colossians chapter 3, we're going to be in our final message of this series on Colossians 3 today. We're actually preparing our hearts for the Lord's Supper, hopefully you had the opportunity to receive those elements when you came in, just hang on to that because we're going to observe the Lord's Supper together at the conclusion of this message. And if you're joining us online, we do want to give you the heads up. we're going to have the Lord's Supper together today, and we'd love for you to participate with us. So take a moment, grab some things out of your kitchen, whatever you have, and you can be prepared to, to join us in the observance of the Lord's Supper. We've heard of people using goldfish, or Cheerios, or cookies, so, I mean, you got your choice. The folks here in the room, they didn't get a choice, but if you're at home, you can choose what you use for the Lord's Supper as we observed this here today.

George Wright: 02:00 Let's stand together for the reading of God's word, Colossians 3 verses 23 through 25, is where we're spending our time this morning. And we are saying collectively, throughout this series, as we kicked off the new year in Colossians 3, we need a change, we need a change. We see it in the world around us, we see it in our circumstances, we certainly see it in our own lives. And what Colossians 3 specifically says, is there is change that is possible, there is change that can happen in your heart and in your mind through the gift of what Jesus Christ has done. And so we stand together to be reminded, the Word of God is our authority as the people of God. The Word of God is what God has laid before us, that he declares is right and good and true. So we stand on the foundation, the firm foundation, of the Word of God.

George Wright: 03:01 Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Verse 25, For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality."

George Wright: 03:25 Very encouraging, and yet very challenging, verses we consider here together. So would you pray with me that God would use this Holy inspired word that he has given us, to speak life and to speak change into our lives here today. Let's pray. Father, as we come before you now, we are asking you to speak in a way that we can hear and see what you desire for us to hear and see. For Lord, we come into this place, we come into this message, with so much noise screaming for our attention in the world around us, so much information telling us what to believe and how to live. So. Lord, I pray that in this divine moment, this moment that you have set apart for us to have an encounter with you in your word, the Spirit would guide us, the Spirit would fill this place, and speak life as you speak truth, as you speak grace, speak life into us, that would bring about change, that we would not be the same as a result of that which you say. We collectively believe together as a church, your word comes with power, so may the power of God be at work in our lives here today. We commit this time to you, in Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing.

George Wright: 05:13 As we prepare our hearts today through this message for the Lord's Supper ordinance of the church, we are reminded that the Lord's Supper calls us to remember. That's what this is all about, it's a ceremony of remembrance, remembering what God has done for his people through Christ, remembering the gift that has been given to us through the grace of God, offered through the cross of Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection. And the Lord's Supper, when we remember the Lord's Supper, it invites us to live then in response to what we remember.

George Wright: 05:57 So here in Colossians 3, we're given this divine inspiration, if you will, in this calling to the people of God, to live in light of what Christ has done, to live in such a way that it becomes clear to others that there has been a change in us because of what Christ has done. If you truly want to see change in your life, these verses truly are a gift because they give us a perspective in how the people of God are to view our life, and to view the world around us. And the perspective that we're called to here in Colossians 3, is very different than the perspective of the world.

George Wright: 06:45 So we go back to verse 23, where we began this message together, it says this, "Work heartily in whatever you do." Give your all in whatever you do, "As for the Lord and not for men." Now, this is such an important statement for the Christian life. For the one who is a Jesus follower, that is striving to live a life that brings honor and glory to the name of Christ, this verse is so incredibly important. For one of the things that the Apostle Paul is addressing here, is this tendency that most of us have, to put our life into different categories. We have this tendency to compartmentalize our lives, we have our family life, we have our work life, we have our social life, our relationship life, we then have our spiritual life. And oftentimes what we do, is we live and behave very differently depending on which area of our life we are currently engaged with. So you may behave one way at home, you may behave very differently at work, you may behave very differently in your social life, and then sometimes you may pick up this spiritual life and it may lead you to behave differently.

George Wright: 08:03 And yet, what the Apostle Paul is doing here in Colossians 3:23, is he saying for the Jesus follower, it must be different altogether. For the Jesus follower, in all that you do, in every area of your life, this gift of what Christ has done should bring about change The gift of what Jesus Christ has done should he should lead the change in every area of your life, so that whatever you do, you can do it as unto the Lord. See, here the Apostle Paul, I believe, is telling the church to stay focused on the mission, stay focused on this call that God has given to his church, that all of these categories of our life, all of the ways that we often compartmentalize our life, can then be viewed through the lens of the mission. And here's why this is so important, because every area of your life needs the gospel, your family needs the gospel, your office needs the gospel, your campus needs the gospel, your relationships need the gospel, and yes, you in your faith, you need the gospel. So stay focused on the mission and remember whatever you do, and wherever you go, you are in the midst of people who need the gospel.

George Wright: 09:42 Our mission statement here at Shandon echoes this truth that we see in Colossians 3:23. Our mission statement is simply this, "Leveraging who we are, and what we've been given, for the sake of the gospel, wherever we are and wherever God takes us." That whatever we do, can be done as to the Lord. The mission is to be the lens through which we view all areas of our life, because the mission is needed everywhere we go. You are never in an environment where the gospel is not needed. You are never engaged in a relationship where the gospel is not needed. So in all that you do, live the mission and focus on the gospel.

George Wright: 10:37 I love what our current Southern Baptist Convention President says in this regard, Pastor JD Greear, he says this, "We must turn back to the gospel of God's grace in Jesus, if we want to go forward in mission. For none of our goals for personal growth will take off without the gospel, and none of our calls for renewal will endure if they are not grounded in the gospel. The fire to do in the Christian life, only comes from being soaked in the fuel of what has been done." And that's certainly what we see here in this letter to the church of the Colossians, for the Apostle Paul at the beginning of this letter, is talking about over and over again, what Christ has done. And so he comes to chapter 3 verse 23, and the way we break out this letter, and he says, whatever you do, do as unto the Lord, because you're doing it in response to what God has already done. You're not working to earn God's favor and earn God's love, no, you're working hard at whatever you do to demonstrate God's love, and to demonstrate the good news of the gospel, that others might see what God has done in you.

George Wright: 11:53 It's so interesting to think about this in light of recent survey that was done through Lifeway research, they surveyed a large group of adults here in the U S who don't attend church, they were asking some questions about why they don't attend church. And the number one reason why this group of adults who were surveyed do not attend church, is because of the hypocrisy of church people. In fact, over 75% of those surveyed who do not attend church said they strongly agree with the statement that church is full of hypocrites. And that's probably not groundbreaking information to you, in fact, I would say before you this morning, I agree with what they said. The church is full of hypocrites, and you're looking at one right here. Every single one of us has hypocrisy in our lives, because none of us perfectly live the way we are called and created live, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That is what this scripture reveals, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But when the world looks at the church, so often what the world sees, is hypocrisy, it's a turn off.

George Wright: 13:16 But it was very interesting to note in this survey, that the same people that said the church is full of hypocrites, over 70% of those who were surveyed also said they would listen to someone who was in the church if that person was willing to tell them about their personal beliefs in Christianity. Seventy percent of the people surveyed who don't attend church, and who say the church is full of hypocrites, said we would listen to somebody who is willing to tell us about their personal beliefs in Christianity. What does that reveal to us? Well that reveals what we know is true about ourselves, the world knows we're not perfect. I hope I'm not bursting your bubble here, I mean, some of you I know, you got a trophy for everything you did, and you've always been told you're the greatest person in the world, but you're not perfect. None of us are perfect, and the world knows it. And the world is not expecting you or me to be perfect, but what the world is expecting when they look at the church, is for the church to actually live according to what they say they believe.

George Wright: 14:33 That's what the Apostle Paul is saying here to the church, Colossians 3:23, hey, in everything that you do, live what you say you believe. Live in such a way that your faith is alive, and it is real, and it is authentic in every area of your life, not just in some areas of your life. No, live in such a way that whatever you do, you can work heartily for the Lord, because the world is watching to see if what we say we believe is actually what we believe. So are we living in such a way that we communicate that what we say we believe is actually what we believe? Do we demonstrate what we say? The church is called to stay focused on the mission, so that we can share wherever we go, and whatever we do, the good news of what God has done.

George Wright: 15:32 The scripture continues, verse 24 helps keep us focused on this mission, and we see this, "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Now the Apostle Paul is saying here, as you strive to keep your focus on the mission in all that you do, as you strive to work heartily as to the Lord in whatever you do, keep your focus on eternity. Stay focused on eternity, for when your focus is on eternity, it will keep the importance of the mission first and foremost in your mind, this is something that we in the church far too easily lose sight of. I just want to ask you to consider the relationships in your life right now, whatever category those relationships may be, friends, coworkers, family, whatever that relationship may be like. Imagine how different that relationship would be if you viewed that relationship as someone who has an eternal destination, if you looked at that friend or that coworker, or if you looked at that person who disagrees with you or is actually opposed to you, and you view that individual as someone who has an eternal destination, if you view your relationships as if eternity actually matters and eternity is hanging in the balance, this would change your perspective altogether. And oftentimes we are not thinking eternal things, oftentimes we are not thinking about the eternal destination of those we interact with, those we rub shoulders with, those we spend time with. Yet, here we're being reminded that if we're going to truly live the mission, if we're going to work heartily as unto the Lord, we need to remember eternity in all that we do, this will change our perspective altogether.

George Wright: 17:51 I love one of the things that Jesus says about eternity in John chapter 14, you may want to turn there, we'll put this up on the screen as well. But in John 14, Jesus is actually addressing a little bit of confusion among some of his disciples, because when he talked about eternity and when he talked about his Father, it seemed like the disciples were constantly trying to position themselves to have the best seat in heaven, as if they were worried there wasn't going to be enough space. And if there was enough space, they wanted to make sure they were in the right spot, and so they're arguing all the way up until the point that Jesus goes to the cross. The disciples are arguing about, who's going to sit where in God's kingdom, and who's going to have this position of influence in eternity. And Jesus, in his compassion, and in his patience, and in his kindness, towards his disciples, he knows they're confused. And so in the midst of their confusion, John 14:1, Jesus says this very beautiful statement, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." And then this is the part I want to focus in on just for a moment, he says, "In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" I love this, it's as if Jesus is saying to the disciples, hey guys, there is plenty of space in my Father's house. There's no shortage of rooms, and every room is awesome, it's going to be incredible. There's plenty of space available, so you can invite everyone, everyone, to come and have a room in my Father's house. You can invite everyone to join you.

George Wright: 19:52 And when we think about eternity, and we think about who will be there, can you just imagine the joy and the privilege of seeing every life in eternity that has been influenced or somehow impacted by your faith? What an incredible thought to consider. For remember Colossians 3:24 talks about the reward of our inheritance, and part of the reward of our inheritance is the legacy of faith that we receive, and the legacy of faith that we then continue into the lives of others that lasts for eternity. Think about this reward. Jesus followers are empowered by the Spirit of God, this is incredible, God didn't have to do it this way, but Jesus followers are empowered by the Spirit of God to live in such a way that our lives actually impact eternity, their lives actually influence others for the sake of eternity. So imagine seeing every life that has been impacted by your prayers, every life that has been impacted by your sharing the good news, every life that has been impacted by your giving faithfully, every life that has been impacted by the testimony of your life as you seek to live in all that you do as unto the Lord. Colossians 3:24 is reminding us, stay focused on eternity, as you stay focused on eternity the mission will matter more and more to you, and you will recognize that every person in your life has an eternal destination, and you have been empowered by God to be an influence of eternity in that life.

George Wright: 22:13 But then we come to this very sobering, very even troubling verse at first glance, Colossians 3:25. The way we end Colossians chapter 3 says this, "For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality." Now in a culture that is so divided, and so hostile to those who don't agree, in a culture that is constantly fighting and constantly angry with those who do not agree, this truth that is laid before us in Colossians 3:25 is of the utmost importance. What is the truth being laid before us in Colossians 3:25? There's two primary things I want to draw your attention to.

George Wright: 23:11 Number one, this has to be said, and it's never fun to hear. In fact, this is the sobering part of this verse, but do not miss this truth because it shows up all throughout the scripture. Here's the truth, no one will get away with anything in the sight of a Holy God. Not you, not me, not the person across the street that you disagree with, not the person who's living crazy, reckless, wild, and evil. No one will get away with anything in the sight of a Holy God. And here's why, for God is just, he is perfectly just.

George Wright: 24:06 What's the second truth, the second truth, do not miss this, as we consider the justice of God that the wrongdoer will be paid for the wrong he has done, we must recognize our only hope is the gospel. The gospel is our only hope. And so the Colossians 3:25, is the call to the church to stay focused on the grace of God. Stay focused on the grace of God, because remember, it's hard to hear this, but the Bible shows us over and over again, every wrong will be dealt with. Every sin will be justly punished by a just, righteous, and Holy judge, who is God. All wrongdoing will be paid back.

George Wright: 25:10 Galatians 6 is another example of this. Galatians 6 verse 7, it says this, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." It cannot be overstated, the gospel is our only hope. Apart from the grace of God, please don't miss this, every single one of us apart from the grace of God, would be reaping the corruption of the flesh that deserves just punishment from a Holy God. Apart from the grace of God, every single one of us would be Colossians 3:25, the wrongdoer deserving to be paid back for the wrong that we have done. That's every single one of us, apart from the grace of God.

George Wright: 26:31 But here's the beauty of the gospel, here's the life, and the joy, and the hope, of the gospel. In the grace of God, the sin, and corruption, and wrongdoing, of those who have trusted their life to Jesus Christ has already been dealt with at the cross of Christ. Do you see the beauty of the gospel here? He is our hope, he is our salvation, he has taken the just punishment and the wrath of God that our sin deserves, and placed it on his own back at the cross, and in turn has given us the gift of new life, the gift of grace and mercy that covers sin, and the promise of eternal life to come. This must be our perspective as we, the church, interact with the world around us. Please don't miss this, we so often lose sight of this when we talk about the grace of God, because we often talk about the grace of God, just as it relates and applies to us. But the grace of God that saves those who are followers of Jesus, can save and transform anyone who places their faith in Christ, including those right now, who seem to be the most opposed and the most hostile to the message of the gospel. This is so important as we seek to keep our focus on the mission, and to do whatever we do as unto the Lord, we must see this. We are nothing apart from God's grace, and the same grace that saved us if you are a follower of Jesus, can save those who seem to be the furthest from God.

George Wright: 28:40 I am going to read a quote from Dr. Russell Moore, in a great book he wrote called Onward, that I absolutely love. He writes this, speaking to this same idea, "Jesus will be King, and his church will flourish, and he'll do it in the way he chooses by exalting the humble and humbling the exalted." Listen to this, let this paint a picture, "That atheist on the highway in front of you, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture, just might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren. The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with a Darwin fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynistic, profanity, spewing, hip hop artists right now. The next mother Teresa might be a heroin addicted porn star right now. But the spirit of God can turn all of that around, and seems to delight to do so."

George Wright: 29:45 And listen to this, Acts chapter 8, "After all, while Philip was leading the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ." Acts chapter 9, "Saul of Tarsus was still a murderer." The murderer, Saul of Tarsus, became the Apostle Paul who wrote this beautiful gospel letter to the church of the Colossians that said, "Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord for the world needs to see the grace of God alive in you. The grace of God, that changed my life, needs to be seen in you by the world that so desperately needs a change. The world is so desperately longing for hope, no one is beyond the reach of God's grace. Hey, cheer for that, that's great.

George Wright: 30:48 So the call to the church, the call to the church is to stay focused on the grace of God. And remember
that apart from the grace of God, you are no different from those that you may find it very easy to dismiss or condemn. It is the grace of God that truly changes a heart and a life.

George Wright: 31:20 And so as we enter into the Lord's Supper here today, we enter into the Lord's Supper remembering the grace of God, so beautifully displayed at the cross of Jesus Christ. As Jesus went to the cross to take the sin from our life that deserves justice, the wrongdoing in our life that deserves to be paid back, that deserves to be accounted for. He took that sin on his back, your sin and mine, and died in our place that the justice of God would be fulfilled, and that the grace of God would be lavishly poured out. So we remember the cross, and we remember the gift that has come through Jesus Christ our Lord.

George Wright: 32:24 I want to say before I close in prayer, and we enter into the Lord's Supper together. I recognize that there are some among us, anytime we gather, some perhaps joining us online right now, who feel completely unworthy or disqualified from receiving the love of God because of the way you've lived, or because of some things that have taken place in your life. Please just hear me for one second, if you're joining us today and you feel unworthy or disqualified because of things that have happened in your life, or because of the way you have lived. I want you to know you are in good company, for every single one of us in this room, every single one of us joining online, would be called unworthy and disqualified but for the grace of God. And I know that's hard to believe, because church people have a way of presenting themselves as if they've got it all figured out, and I've always had it figured out. But there's not a person among us, not a person among us, who could be called worthy in the sight of God, if it weren't for the grace of God. For Jesus Christ has done for us, what we could never do for ourselves, and it is by grace alone, that men are saved. And so if you feel unworthy or disqualified today, I want you to know the grace of God is pursuing you, pursuing you even now. Jesus Christ wants you to know that he loves you, that he gave his life for you, for your sin, for your wrongdoing, at the cross. And if you will trust in him, his grace will cover your life, and invite you into new life, new life that lasts forever more.

George Wright: 34:33 So with that in mind, let's go before the Lord, as we prepare our hearts to receive this Lord's Supper and respond in gratitude to what Christ has done. Let's pray. Oh, Father, I pray that we, the church, gathered here in this place, gathered in many places at the same time, through our online service. I pray, Lord God, that as we return to the cross, now we would return to the cross in humility, and in gratitude, and in worship, at who you are and what you have done for us that we could never have done for ourselves, and certainly don't deserve, Oh Lord, I pray that as we returned to the cross, we would be fueled with the gospel, that would then propel us out into the world to live as a people who been changed by the gift of Jesus Christ,

George Wright: 35:43 That we would take seriously the call to live the mission because of what you have done for us, that we would keep our eyes and our hearts fixed on eternity, recognizing that everyone we interact with has an eternal destination. And Lord that we would stay focused on the grace of God, that is so beautifully displayed at the cross. Jesus has offered his life to forgive us of our sin, and to invite us into new life and in the power of his resurrection, to invite us into life for evermore in eternity with you. Oh Lord, may we worship, and may we live in light of what you have done?

George Wright: 36:28 And for those joining us who feel unworthy, and for those joining us who feel far from you, I pray that today would be the day that they would see the grace of God pursuing them in a personal way through Jesus Christ. I pray that today would be the day that they would step out on faith and say, Jesus, I am ready to trust you with my life. I need your grace to cover my sin, I am ready to follow you in new life, I need a change.

George Wright: 37:04 Oh, we praise you, Lord God, for the gift of salvation that comes to all who believe, and we pray that this time of observing the Lord's Supper would be an act of worship before you. It's in Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

George Wright: 37:24 Just grab your little packet, If you're here in the room with us. And just know there's two different wrappings on these little packets, there's a top layer where you can pull out the little wafer representing the bread. I think it's bread, but I know it represents the bread. That was a joke, but I know it represents bread, and I know it's edible. And we remember that Jesus took some bread at the Lord's Supper, what we call the Lord's Supper, on the night that he would be betrayed and taken away to be crucified. He's with his disciples, and he breaks bread with them, and he says, as you eat this bread, remember that this is my body that is given for you. The testimony of God's grace, given for you, that you might have new life in me. So take and eat, and remember the gift of Christ.

George Wright: 38:30 In the same way Jesus took a cup and he passed it around the room to his disciples, and he said, this cup represents my blood, my blood that would be shed on the cross for your sin. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. So Jesus said to his disciples, I am I'm fulfilling what is required, I'm giving my life for your life, I'm giving my blood for you to have new life through the grace of God. So remember what Christ has done, and take and drink to worship the Lord.

George Wright: 39:19 Let's pray together. Father, It is with grateful hearts that we return to the cross. It is with worshipful hearts, that your people remember what you have done for us to invite us into new life, and to cover us with your grace. So I pray, Lord God, as we remember the cross, and remember the power granted to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that we, your church, would live in such a way that the world would see and hear from us the good news of what Christ has done. So may we live in light of the grace we have received, and be distributors of this grace to a world in need. It's in Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

George Wright: 40:26 Would you stand and sing a song of worship with us, as we respond to the good news of what Christ has done.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206