Ambassadors of the Kingdom
Introduction:From an article found in the Wall Street Journal:
Boddy Dodd, Georgia Tech’s athletic director, tells of the coach who, with his team leading 7 to 6 in the last minute of play, carefully instructed his quarterback not to pass under any condition. But when the ball was carried within the opponent’s ten-yard line, the quarterback was overcome by temptation. He passed and the ball was intercepted by the rival’s fleetest back, who broke into an open field and raced toward pay dirt. He was speeding past midfield when suddenly, out of nowhere, the quarterback who had passed overtook him and brought him down.
After the game, the losing coach remarked to his barely victorious counterpart, “I’ll never understand how your boy overtook my fastest back.”
“Well, I’ll tell you,” came the reply. “Your back was running for touchdown—my boy was running for his life.”
· Priorities are indicator of our dedication
· For the fleetest back, the priority was the goal-line, as for the over-zealous quarterback, he knew he was in hot water by the coach if he didn’t tackle the other guy.
· It all depends on where we are at… and where we are going
· We hear a lot about priorities from motivational speakers, top business executives, and preachers
· Someone else also spoke a great deal on priorities
o Remember the words of Jesus from Matthew 6:21?
§ “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 
o Jesus was talking about the fact that we need to be preparing for eternity, and that the temporal things of this world cannot go with us
· Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life said it best when he said “This life is preparation for the next”
· Let me ask you a question this morning, what are your priorities?
o A question we need to ask ourselves on a daily basis
o “What am I doing to prepare for eternity, today?” “Where is my focus?” “What is most important?”
· In today’s Gospel lesson, we read of great miracles and the compassion of Jesus to heal those who were experiencing physical illness, and even demon possession.
o We read of Jesus’ concern for an elderly woman, Simon’s mother-in-law, who was ill with a fever, and the immediacy of her healing
o We read of many coming to Jesus, where He was staying, and His compassion to heal them, even when they stayed late into the evening hours
§ Though the miracles were spectacular and an amazing sight to see, and experience, the miracles were not the priority of Jesus’ work
· Amidst the miracles of healing and deliverance, after a long night of ministering to the sick and demon-possessed, Jesus got up early in the morning (v.35) and went to a quiet place to pray.
o This begs the question: How many of us, tired from our days work, though good and time well spent, follow through with our priorities of spending time with God?
§ I mean, what about that extra ten minutes we slept in that morning; do we skip our morning devotions and prayer so that we can get to work, or church on time? Is our day so busy that we say to ourselves “I’ll pray extra hard tomorrow”?
· I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of these things
o One of the priorities for our lives, on a daily basis, is to spend quality time with God
§ Quality time is not necessarily a lengthy amount of time, but a time spent in genuine fellowship with God.
· God is interested in the condition of our spirit and our hearts, not our show of piety
· After Jesus had returned from praying, Simon (Peter) and others questioned where Jesus had been, because more people were looking to see and experience more miracles
o But, look at Jesus’ response in v. 38
o Jesus doesn’t address the fact that people are looking for Him, because He knows that His primary work is not to be a miracle-worker, but a redeemer.
§ Do you see where the disciples seem to be focused?
· They seem to be focused on wanting Jesus to take advantage of His growing popularity, because of His performing of miracles
§ But, Jesus knew the priority of His calling, to do the will of the Father
§ The disciples failed to understand that it was the popularity that actually drove Jesus to withdraw!
§ Though it might have been good for Jesus to stay and heal more people, He knew that the greater calling of the Father was to continue on to the next town.
· Speak about Mary and Martha – Luke 10 – Martha distracted with home issues while Mary sat and listened to Jesus’ teaching – Mary chose the better thing, more necessary than preparing the meal or the home for a guest
· Look at Simon’s mother-in-law as another example: right after being healed, she begins to wait on Jesus and the others (v.31)
o Though it might have been good to rest after what she had experienced, she instead decided the greater thing was to become a servant
§ Do you see a theme here? Servant-hood attitudes (opposite of worldly thinking)
§ Important for us to be aware of why we do what we do and how it aligns with God’s will for our life.
· “Is what I am doing right now in agreement with God’s will for my life?”
· What if I’m not sure of God’s will for my life?
o Even if we are not sure about God’s will for our life, our priority must be to seek Him so that His will might be revealed to us
o God’s will for all of us begins with our worship to Him first and foremost
· For us to keep the priorities of God first and foremost in our minds, something transformational must occur
o John the Baptist spoke to this required change in thinking, and living in John 3:20 when he said “He must increase, but I must decrease”
o Paul, in our New Testament lesson for this morning spoke to this as well as he has indicated his desire to be made a bond servant to everyone so that more might be gained for Christ (v. 19)
§ Paul indicates as well that his purpose in becoming a servant to all is for the sake of the Gospel
· But also that he may “become a participator in it and share in its blessings” (v.23)
· Ultimately, this is a call for us to become ambassadors for the Kingdom
o Spokespersons for Christ
o When we take communion, part of the communion liturgy includes the words that Jesus said, that we are to remember His suffering, death, and resurrection so that we might become His representatives, His body, in the world
o Our ultimate priority should be to bring all honor and glory to Him
· “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Mt 6:21