We conclude the “Make Your Mark” message series as we celebrate the birth of the first Christian Church at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus with great power and moved them to share the Good News about Him with the whole city of Jerusalem. The Church was born, and its members served others with loving works and powerful words of life.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised his followers the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit and the power He brings to do good works. The Bible tells us that these good works have been prepared by God in advance. Because of His perfect plan for our lives, it is our destiny to do them.
The world teaches that I should look out for what blesses me and those I love; Jesus teaches that I should seek to bless others. God’s heart is full of love for everyone, and to seek His heart is to love the way He loves me: with sacrifice that points others to Him.
The Bible teaches us that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but our culture’s ideals focus instead on taking what is rightfully ours. The Christian life is best lived out in actions, not just words. Compassion for others is a Spirit-given mark of the presence of Jesus in our hearts that a dying world needs.
The world defines greatness through wealth, fame, power, superlative talent, appearance, and other temporary markers. For the Christian, however, Jesus identifies a different road to greatness: humility and service to others. To be great in the kingdom, one must be a servant, just as Jesus served.
Our culture tends to focus on things that divide us, rather than things that we have in common. However, the power of Jesus’ resurrection helps Christians to “be of one heart and mind” and celebrate unity. That does not mean that we all share the same opinion; rather, we all see the same big picture of God’s work in the world through His Son, Jesus. When we focus on common ground, we can build a legacy of service to one another that changes the worlds and makes a mark.
Welcome to worship at Christ Lutheran Church Ministries! Today we begin a new message series called “Make Your Mark: Lessons of Living a Legacy of Service.” One way to do that is with intentional Acts of Goodness. Such acts lead people to Jesus as we share our faith with others. The book of Acts features such examples, which is how the book got its title. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can leave a legacy of lives changed and a growing kingdom of God.
Jesus’ triumphant procession amid the cheering crowds was a foretaste of the fulfillment of Philippians 2, when “every knee will bow” to give God the glory due Him. Jesus was able to accept their praises, even though He knew of His impending death on the cross. We are to follow His example and live in the now, giving God the glory He deserves today in spite of what may lie ahead in the future.
The Christian life brings inevitable challenges which our human nature causes us to trey and escape or avoid. If we are honest, we must admit that there is one person standing in the way of the life God has planned for us…ourselves! Jesus calls us to carry our cross and follow His example of suffering. In Christ, we can meet life’s challenges with courage and victory, dying to self by experiencing His resurrection power.
When we are distracted from Jesus, we can flounder in life and lack direction and purpose. The more we look at Jesus, the more His power is multiplied in us, for us, and through us. God is calling us to a life of focused victory as we follow our Savior.