Sermon – We Don’t Need Celebrities, We Need Heroes (Colossians 1:24 – 2:7) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Colossians 2023

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Sermon 6 of 9

We Don't Need Celebrities, We Need Heroes

Pete Woodcock, Colossians 1:24 - 2:7, 29 October 2023

What does authentic gospel ministry look like? Pete takes us through Colossians 1:24 - 2:7, where the apostle Paul demonstrates and encourages the saints to live the implications of the gospel and to avoid the lies of false preachers.

Colossians 1:24 - 2:7

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

The time has come now for us to hear the word of god read to us, and then preached. And so if you'd like to either follow along on the screen or turn in your bibles to colossians 1 verse 24, and Steph Balcom is gonna come and read those words to us. Reading from colossians, 1 verse 24 now I rejoice in what I am suffering from you for you and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions. For the sake of his body which is the church.

I have become its servants by the commission god gave me to present to you the word of god in its fullness. The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the lord's people. To them, god has chosen to make known among the gentiles glorious riches of his mystery, which is in, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the 1 we proclaim of monitoring and teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

I want you to know how hard I'm contending for you and for those at Leodicea and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of god namely Christ in whomever hid in all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this that no 1 may deceive you by fine sounding arguments For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then just as you received Christ Jesus as lord, continue to live your lives rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness. Well, my name is Pete Woodcock.

I'm 1 of the elders of the church, and, let me add my welcome to you. Excuse me. This week, I I went to the cinema, and, as he goes through the sort of reception area, there's a massive sort of, picture of, Taylor Swift with her legs out I mean, massive. And I was thinking about this passage and, and I looked at Taylor Swift, and I thought, we don't need celebrities. We need heroes.

We don't need celebrities. We need heroes. Heroes give celebrities take. A celebrity is, created by an image that portrays an image of of someone, of herself, perhaps if it's Taylor Swift, and it's not the true person. You don't really know the true person.

It's just brilliant marketing. And in her case, men behind her marketing her. Heroes reveal that they, they They reveal themselves in difficult times, don't they? You know a hero when there's danger. You don't really see that hero until there is danger and until there is difficulty.

A celebrity is highly visible. A hero is often unnoticed, a celebrity is is well known by adoring fans, but as I say, heroes are are are unnoticed. A hero does things to help other people, celebrities are all about themselves and self protection, and they have guards around them to stop people getting to them heroes, sound a call to virtue and courage and their lives are a challenge and an example to us. Celebrities are idolized, applaud, and widely quoted for some reason. Celebrity have 3 or 4 homes and 5 or 6 husbands or wives or partners in the past.

Heroes are very often committed to 1 person, whatever the difficulties. So what do you wanna be? Do you wanna be a celebrity or do you wanna be a hero? Well, I wanna say again, we don't need any more celebrities. What we need is heroes.

Listen to CT stud. CT stud in fact was a celebrity, but also a hero. He was a cricketing legend back in Victorian times, but he gave up all his fame to be a missionary in in Africa and China and India. He wrote a book called chocolate soldier or heroism, the lost cause of Christianity. Heroism is the lost cord, he said.

The missing note of present day Christianity Every true soldier is a hero, a soldier without heroism is a chocolate soldier. The otherwise Christian is a chocolate Christian, dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. Their sweeties bomb bombs, lollipops, living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilly white paper to preserve his dear delicate constitution. We don't need chocolate soldiers We don't need chocolate Christians. We don't need celebrities.

We need heroes. We need heroes. Heroes serve, celebrities are served. We don't need Taylor Swift. We need the apostle Paul.

Look at the words that Paul uses to describe himself. Let me just whiz through them. Verse 23, I, Paul, have become a servant verse 24. I am suffering for you. Verse 24 again.

He talks about having afflictions for the sake of the body, the church. In verse 28, he does this hard work of proclaiming, admonishing, and teaching everyone with all wisdom. In verse 28, He, wants to present everyone mature in Christ. In verse 29, there's strain strenuously contends in chapter 2 verse 1. I'm contending for you.

Paul actually wants everyone to be rich and everyone to know the glorious riches of mystery, he wants to share all his riches, but nothing Paul does is like strutting across their their stage in a glittery sort of, sort of, I don't know what it is. It's a swimsuit thing. Showing off his legs. You never keep Paul doing that, do you? And the spotlight on him.

The only legs he wants to show are the legs of the lord Jesus Christ. The only arms he wants to show are the arms of the lord Jesus Christ stretched out for us. We don't need tailor Swift. By the way, there are other celebrities available. We don't need it's just I saw her.

We don't need Taylor Swift. We need the apostle Paul. Paul is writing to this church at Colosi and at Leodicea and he's very concerned for them Because what's happening is there's a whole bunch of people really celebrity preachers and celebrity teachers are pouring into the church and their focus is about themselves and what they do and their teaching. And their group, and they're not serving the church at all. They're no servants.

They're just getting fans They're just getting followers. When Paul writes to the Corinthians church about these same people, he calls them super apostles. They're the super celebrity. They're the great preachers. They're the ones that thousands turn out to see.

They could fill in stadiums all over the place. They're the super ones that have had experiences with angels and super philosophies just have a look at colossians chapter 2 verse 18. We'll come to it eventually, but look what he says, do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person goes into great detail about what they have seen. They're puffed up with idle notions by their spiritual minds.

These super celebrities have come into the church. They've got super celebrity status. They've got gorgeous legs to strut around on the stage. They've got glittery knowledge of angels that normal people don't know about. And Paula says, be careful.

Be so careful. These people have come into the church. They cause division They're not for the church. They're all about themselves. They're serving themselves rather than serving Christ.

And so what Paul is doing here is he wants them to be able to recognize a real gospel minister so that they won't listen to a false 1. What is an authentic gospel ministry What is a true god given spiritual leadership? Well, it's not a chocolate Christian wrapped up in nice little you know, fancy box, and it's not a look at me celebrity. The first thing is he says It's a servant. Here's my first point, a servant of the gospel.

Look at verse 23 and verse 25. Second half of verse 23. This is the gospel that you heard that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Look at verse 25. I have become its servant by the commission god gave me to present to you the word of god in its fullness.

You see here? First 23, Paul is a servant of the gospel. That's a servant of the message of the lord Jesus Christ That's the message all about the glorious Jesus. Verse 25, he's a servant of the church. And he serves the church by preaching the gospel, the word of god.

That's how he serves the church. And in verse 25, He wants to raise up this idea of what a servant is. He says he's a servant by the commission god gave me. Now that word commission is is a is a administering a household or, it's the management of a household. So what he's saying here is that by the management of god's household, god who manages god's household he has chosen me to be a servant in god's household.

And he's raising that. I'm saying, what a delight? To be a servant in the household of god is better than being a celebrity. I remember when Carl and then Cole's here, when he when he worked as a servant for the royal family, he he was like a slave the way they treated him. He was he was a, a chef at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace down in the dungeons, making the fry.

In fact, 1 of his first jobs was to make rabbit for the Royal corgi. Yeah. So that's that was his job. He was making, you know, chopping up rabbit and frying up rabbit for the Royal corgi. But people wanted to know because he worked as a servant for the royals, it was, what's it like?

What's it like to be at Windsor Castle? I wanted you to know what's it like to be at Buckingham Palace? Have you seen the queen? What happened when you were when you were in the servant quarters and and the queen walked by and the royal corgi walked by? What, you know, Paul is saying, Hey, listen.

Listen. I'm digging up a servant here. I'm a servant by commission of god in the royal household. I'm called to preach I'm commissioned by god to teach the word. I'm a herald of the king.

I'm a witness of the eternal gospel. I mean, could there be a work more wonderful in this universe? Is there not a work that's greater than this? Well, I can't think of 1 because when god sent the son, the son did that work of serving the church with the word of god. So Paul sees himself as a servant, and he's not depressed by it.

Paul sees himself as a slave of the gospel, and he's not depressed by it, he's saying, I'm committed to this. This is a terrific work of god. Every true servant of god is a servant of the church. That's what makes a servant of god, not of themselves, not of their own ministry, not of their own gifts, but a servant of the church. Dick Lucas, who was, a preacher in we're still alive, a preacher in London in the seventies, eighties, nineties, had a massive effect amongst the the the the people in in in the in central London.

He writes this. It is by the the truth of the gospel that the church is formed, sustained, and equipped Listen, without satisfactory ministry of the word, the church must either wither and die or assume more or less a grotesque form. I like that. That last word. Without the word of god, without servants giving the church the word of god, it's either gonna wither and die, and that's what's happened in loads of places.

Or it will become grotesque because you're feeding it the wrong stuff so it will grow unhealthy. It'll grow weird. It'll emphasize the wrong things. Look at verses 25 and 26. I've become its servant by the commission god gave me to present to you the word of god in its fullness.

The mystery that is being being kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now it disclosed to the lord's people. Do you see here's how it go go grows grotesque What's happening in colossian, in colossi is that there's all these mystery religions going on, all kinds of weird mystery religions and some of these super celebrity apostles had come into the church and brought this idea of mystery religions into the church. And so there's all these things like certain rights and certain ceremonies and initiations and weird things you have to do so that you can come into the inner circle so that you could be with these few celebrities that know about these mysteries come in. It's a bit like sort of a VIP ticket for Taylor Swift, and she might poke a nose in and, smile at you. It's that sort of thing.

If if if we know more about God, we've got this mystery religion. We understand more stuff And if if if only you would listen to us, you'll experience god in extra ways and if you did these rights, so these things, you get the VIP ticket. Into our mystery religion. And so they were raised up on a platform in their glittering way. And everybody's looking and at them and here and Paul says that's just so wrong.

Mystery in the new testament is something that wasn't known but now is known. He says. And for ages, there was a mystery, but it's a mystery no longer because everything that wasn't known is in Christ. You have everything in Christ. All the things that were hidden all the way through the ages, all of the things that were hidden down the the ages are now revealed in Christ and you have Christ.

All the shadowy images, all the strange prophecies All the old testament is all about the saving king, the suffering king, the servant king, all those strange prophecies about 1 who is god that will become a man, all in Christ, all in Christ. There are no mysteries now. It's revealed in Christ. And if you know Christ, you know all of this stuff. He's saying, you know all the wisdom and all the knowledge of all the old testament.

You don't need someone to stand up and say, there's codes that you need to know. We've discovered that there are a whole load of codes. And if you get this write code, you'll understand the old testament. Or if you understand this particular word, it opens up this secret meaning of the old testament. No.

No. No. No. Christ is all of that, all revealed in Christ, the hope of glory. You don't need these special celebrities.

You have the word of god. Look at verse 27. To them, God has chosen to make known among the gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery to which Christ is in you, the hope of glory, to those who are god's people, god has chosen to make known the treasures of the mystery god has revealed, and it took none other than god to do it, but god did it through his servants, the servants of the word, the servants of the gospel. The glorious riches of Christ in you. Do you understand where you are at you're at here?

You don't need a celebrity in this world. You are a celebrity. Everything that Christ has in verses 15 to 20 that we saw in chapter 1. All of that stuff He's the creator. He's the ruler.

He's the sustainer of all things. All of that is in you. All the treasures. All the treasures are in you. The word glory there means weight, substance.

It's mostly used of god. He's life, he's substance, he's weighty, he's glorious, he's not ghostly, He's not a puff of the air. He's not vanity. It's like when you go into into a cold night and you breathe and you see your your breath and it here 1 minute and gone the next. That's not god.

He's substance. He's reality. He's he's alive. He's living. That is in you.

The hope, the expectation of weight and glory is in Christ in you. Now that is the job of the preacher. That is the job of the servant. The servant's job is to preach that. To make that known by the power of god's word.

That's a servant. That's service. And that can be very costly. That can be very costly. That in its self can make someone a hero because people don't wanna hear that.

People wanna hear what their itching ears are desiring. People wanna hear the mysteries and the rights and the special things that celebrities have got. People are taken up with glitz and legs and big red lips and all kinds of things that celebrities give us. And sometimes it can be very costly to just sit and say this price is what we need. So that's the first thing.

A servant, a servant of Christ, the gospel, and the church. Second thing though, is a sufferer a sufferer for the church. Look at verse 24. Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you. And I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body which is the church.

That's an extraordinary sentence, isn't it? There's there's a dilemma in that sentence, isn't there? Let me read it again. Now I rejoice in what I'm suffering, oh, and that's amazing, yeah, for you. And listen, I fill up In my flesh, what is lacking, what?

In regard to Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, which is the church. How can you say anything is lacking in Christ? That sounds like a, we we want to knock him off here, don't we? Or not knock him off the platform here. What's going on?

Well, there's beauty in this, I think. There's a there's a lot of division over these verses, but there's beauty in this, I think. He's definitely not saying that Christ's a toning suffering, his work to save us is lacking. And what it is that Christ sort of died 80 percent for us, and we need a like 20 percent to pick up on Christ's suffering and then we'll be saved. He's definitely not saying that, and you can see that very clearly if you just read through colossians.

Yeah? What he is saying is something beautiful. He's saying that there's such a close identity with Christ and the church Christians through suffering. There's an intimacy in that. You remember when well, you may not remember, but, when Paul, who used to be saul, became a Christian.

He was actually on the road to Damascus to get letters to persecute the church He'd already had Stephen, the first Christian martyr stoned to death. So that was saw before he became a Christian, before he became Paul. He'd watched Stephenstone to death, He'd got a taste of blood to kill Christians, because he hated Christians. And so he was on the road to Damascus to get more papers to get more Christians arrested and hopefully more Christians killed. And he met Jesus He fell off his horse and Jesus said to him, saul, saul Why do you persecute me?

Why do you persecute me? Do you see that the intimacy between the persecution of the church and the execution of Stephen and Jesus. If you persecute the church, you persecute Jesus. And then when Paul was converted, Jesus says to him, I will show about him. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name, suffering, and the name of Christ go together.

Paul would suffer for Christ, and that's as if Christ himself is suffering. You see the intimacy here. It's rather lovely how intimate Christ is with his church. It's showing us this. The great Christ, the head of the church, is so intimate that when you suffer, he suffers.

When you feel pain, he feels pain. But I think that's the second thing as well. It sort of adds to this. Satan, and you must get this, is doing everything to ruin Christ's work. Whatever goes on in the world, even wars in, you know, in different parts of the country, even wars and all kinds of things that are going on.

In the end, there's something behind those things for Satan to attack the church. His whole he hates Christ. Yeah? But Christ is now risen and sitting on the throne of god. And so he still wants to attack and he wants to pour out his hatred towards Christ but he can't hit Christ anymore because he's on his throne, and so he hits the body of Christ.

And he'll ram in and kill and try to destroy and afflict the body of Christ. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians for just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, we're we're sharing his comfort. In the book of Galatians, he says, I bear on my body, the Marx of Jesus. So as Satan attacks the church That's his way of attacking Christ. It's fulfilling all of the afflictions.

Christ is the head, the church is the body. If I stamp on your toe, Rory, what does your head do? It screams. It screams. Should we do a demonstration?

No. If I stamp on the toe, the head if the body hurts, the head responds, Oh, it's like that, and that's Christ and the church. You stamp on the church. You hit the And so Satan is against the body, and Christ goes out. There's that intimacy.

And so Paul is rejoicing in this suffering, because he has that intimacy with Christ. But I think there's another thing here that Paul is rejoicing in because because he's a leader in the church, he's suffering on behalf of the church as well. He's taking stuff for the team. He's saving them from a certain amount of pain. And I think gospel ministers are to do that.

Gospel ministers are to absorb some of the pain on behalf of the church, and that does happen. So in persecuted areas, you'll find that the minister is the 1 who's arrested because he stands for the church, and there's something of that that should go on. In a church minister. He stands in the way of suffering. He stands against the errors that are coming against the church.

He takes something of Satan's hatred towards the church. Ministers are meant to be doing that. That's why you need to pray for those of us that are in ministry. There is something going on there where the viciousness of Satan will go against the minister in order to get at the church in order to get at Christ. Look at verse 24 again.

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you And I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's affliction for the sake of his body, which is the church. Paul isn't a chocolate soldier. Paul isn't a chocolate Christian. He rejoices in the battle. CP stud again in his little book.

God never was a chocolate manufacturer, and never will be, real Christians revel in desperate ventures for Christ. They are chuck that they are chocolate soldiers who merely go to sea battles and and coolly urge others to fight them. A true minister suffers and he doesn't just send people to fight the battles. He has to fight them himself. Actually, he goes on.

I mean, it's quite good. He goes on about the 10 spies. Do you know the 10 spies in the old they were sent to go and spy out the land that god had given Israel, but, they came back and they said, there were giants there. We shouldn't go in. They weren't really ministers.

And he's he goes on. He says, the 10 spies were chocolates. They melted and ran over the whole congregation of Israel, turning them into chocolates, gems, softies, and afraid to face the fire and water before them. God put them all into a saucepan again and boiled them for 40 years in the desert and left them there. He has no use for chocolates.

I sort of love that, and I think there is something in ministers that are supposed to be bravely saying to their congregations, come on. Let's not be chocolates. Yeah. There are there are there are giants there. Wow, but that stirs us up to be soldiers.

There's giants let's go and fight them. Come on, we can do it in god's name. And not hiding away. But I think there's something else about the pain in this ministry and it's just the sheer hard work involved. Look at first, this is my third point.

A stron strenuous struggle for maturity. A strenuous struggle for maturity. So we've got a servant, a sufferer, and now a strenuous struggle for maturity. Look at verse 29 of chapter 1. So this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

An amazing sentence that 1 of my favorites in the New Testament and has kept me going on many occasion. To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. You'd think it would be if all the energy of Christ is working in me, It would be easy, but all the energy of Christ working in someone means that they strenuously contend. People send me all kinds of weird clips of American preachers. Mostly, I think it's Dean.

And I thought he sent me this 1, but I don't think he did. But there was a clip you may have seen it. It's going around. It's what it's a celebrity preacher. Yeah?

I mean, to be quite honest, looking at him, I would rather look at Taylor Swift, but nevertheless, it's that he's a celebrity preacher in America. And there's this clip. I don't have have you said it. It's just it's just it's just got me. I showed it to Anne the other night.

And I said, I just can't get this out of my head. He's strolling up and down in his celebrity way. I mean, I'm amazed that a congregation would sit through this. And he starts saying, he says this that When my daughter was 40, she said to me I've never seen you sick dad and he says Yes. I did sick.

I didn't like it. Yep. So no more sick. And then she said, but I've never seen you in debt or poor. And he said, yes, I did pour and in debt.

Didn't like it. Yeah. He's a super prosperity gospel preacher. Then he's strolling up and down. I mean, it's just amazing.

He says everything I do is successful. Right? Everything I do. Everything I touch is successful. He says, wonderful.

Well, absolutely wonderful. And then he says, I've got the biggest house out of all preachers in America. No preacher in America has got a bigger house than me. It's 44000 square feet. That's my house.

It's called a mansion And you will know what makes it a mansion? It's big. Alright. There's and people that come up in this bloke. He's he's he doesn't.

I do sick. No. Doesn't do suffering, no, doesn't do, any poor. No. He's got the what?

Where? What? Has he ever read the Bible? Has he ever looked at the Bible? Has he ever read Paul?

So to this end, I stringuously contend. The older NIV translations put it to this end I labor struggling with all his energy. Yeah? Now the words, strenuous contend, labor struggling, they they mean agonize. The word for struggling is agonized.

The word for labor is cutting. It hurts. The word for labor is a road digger, you know, who's sweating all day. Digging up a road or a miner digging through the the dirt. He's got, you know, arms like tree trunks, these sweating and he's the word for struggling.

He's resting. He's resting. It's sheer hard work, and it's painful and sweat. The inventor Thomas Edison defined genius as 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent sweat Well, that's what's going on here. There's sweat and blood and pain and suffering in Christian ministry.

Look at verse 29 then again. To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. How do I know Christ is working powerfully in someone? When they're never sick, When they're never poor, when they have a house that's 44000 square feet big, No. When everything's going smoothly, no.

When you struggle, When you labor, that's when the power of god is in you, when you're doing things that you would rather not do when you're sweating when you're laboring when it hurts. That's when the power of god is working through you. When you're scratching your head and thinking, how do I prepare another bible study? How do I prepare another sermon? When you're scratching your head and you're dealing with bored kids in the Sunday school that are just not listening, and yet you know they must hear this word of god.

When you're doing the youth work and they bored out their heads. And you have to keep on going, teaching the word of god. When you stand up to lead a student meeting, you, your legs are are going, your knees are knocking you scared out of your wits, but you do it. That's the power of god in you. Isn't it?

We dig, we sweat, we show the power of Christ. And for what purpose, verse 28, he is the 1 we proclaim admonishing, teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. That's his great desire. It's hard work to try to get everyone mature in Christ. It's hard work.

That's the goal. That's his ultimate goal that people will be complete, perfect, whole, intact in Christ. That's his long term view. He's not just interested in bottoms on seats. He's not just interested in a big crowd in front of him.

It's soul as he wants in heaven that a Christ like now and it's hard work and look at the tools he has to use. The digging materials he has to use for this hard work, look, to proclaim him, he says in verse 28, we proclaim. The word proclaim is public what I'm doing now. It's public declaration. It's public speaking.

It's proclamation of the truth, but then admonish That's hard work. That's to warn to counsel it means. It means to appeal to the mind It means to urge people to choose god's way and not their own way. It's hard admonishing people, isn't it? It's hard.

Do you like being admonished? And what do you like when someone comes up to you and says, you shouldn't be doing that. Yeah? You're not doing the right thing. Who do you think you are?

I'm trying to show you god's way. It's hard admonishing people. It's hard listening to the enemies around and trying to save people from that. Paul is saying, but it's the work I do. It's the digging work Paul is saying.

And then the word teaching, which is nearly always used for teaching the scriptures. We teach the scriptures. We dig in the scriptures. We show what the scriptures are saying with all wisdom. Making it practical, making it for everyday life.

That is hard work, that is mental work, that is emotional work. It's agonizing. And I want to say, you know, sometimes, you know, trying to write a sermon, it's like incredibly hard work, It's it's not easy. It's 1 of the reasons why I had a van that was taken away from me and scrapped this week. And I got 224 pound for it, which is way out of order.

But anyway, the reason I bought a van is that I can move people in the congregation? Why? Because I like doing that manual work. That is nice. Bit of sweat harrying up.

It's just a laugh, isn't it? Trying to get a bed upstairs. You know, it's quite, it's good fun. But writing a sermon. Oh my goodness.

You wanna see the team on Monday morning. Oh, we gotta do another 1 next week. Another 1. Yeah. Oh my goodness.

The emotional, the stress, the blah, I don't wanna do it. On Friday, I I'm gonna give up. I'm gonna send my resignation Monday morning after you've preached it, the resignation is coming in. How do you do it first 29? Only in the energy of Christ, with the power of Christ.

That's his goal. To present you mature in Christ. Well, there's more stuff here. But what do you want to be then? A celebrity or a hero?

A celebrity or a hero. What do you want to be? Setting up these chairs, doing all of that work in setup. That's hero work. I'm like a celebrity.

Look, I'm just like Taylor Swift. You can look at my legs if you want. I've got the platform. Not I've got this platform that I can walk on because all she ever does is strut, isn't it? I can do that.

Look on this platform. But the workers are putting all the chairs up so we can hear the word of god. To join that team, be a hero. I read an article some years ago. It was about a missionary organization that I always admired I won't say what it is, but, the man, 1 of the founders, or he started off right at the beginning, of this missionary organization.

He he was he was talking. And he says when I joined this organization, our brochures to get people to come on this mission. Our brochures talked in military terms We asked for soldiers to give us a summer or a lifetime. We told them of the challenge and the hardship and the commitment Now he paused, lifted up the new glossy publication with a smiling, gorgeous young lady on the cover. Now he says, we've come to this.

It says after consulting the advertising agency, defining their needs and giving details of their plans, the organization scolded them. They said, you've got it wrong. Today, you have to emphasize what they can get out of an experience. And not what they give to it. And the whole magazine was, wow, if you go on this summer mission, you'll see a lovely looking girl like her.

Is that where we're at in our Christian church? We want to be served. We want to just get stuff out of it. Or will we be heroes that give, and will we pray that the ministers of this church would be heroes in the sense that there'll be servants, be servants of the word, and they'll suffer for the church. And that they will be people that give their lives for preaching the word of god.

Let's pray that would be the case. Let's bow our heads and pray. Father, we do thank you for the the heroic life of the lord Jesus Christ, who came into this world, not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a as a ransom for us. We thank you that his whole life was 1 of service and that he was even willing to wash the the feet of his disciples to take the position, the lowliest position of a servant and a slave and to to give his life on a cross in service of us. We thank you that he is the heroic 1 who who suffered for us.

And who who labored night and day to bring the mystery of the gospel, the word of god, the message of the kingdom to the world. And we thank you that Paul so, understood the savior that he wanted to live that heroic life as well, and he wanted to spend himself for the for the health of the churches and for the progress of the gospel in the world. And we do pray that you would forgive us for for for just how much time we spend thinking about our own comfort and our own material safety and our own prosperity in this world. If if we're honest, it's it's embarrassing how much time we give to protecting ourselves and making ourselves safe and stable. And we just thank you for that reminder this morning, that we are called not to the chocolate life but to, a life of, heroic service.

Whether that be going across the nations like CT stud or whether that just be giving our lives to faithfully laboring in a congregation to serving week after week to putting our own needs, down and taking up the needs of others and giving ourselves for others. Now we thank you that these are the stories which heaven is going to be all about, and which is going to be celebrating. And we want to use, our gifts and our personalities not to just, make ourselves better in this life, but to give ourselves for others. Help us to do it. We we pray in Jesus' name.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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