Fourteen years ago when my wife Jay-ellen and I started talking about moving from Sydney (where I was completing Bible College), to Mackay, to plant a new church, some people no doubt thought we were a bit crazy. How do you even do that? Would it work? Why would you want to do that? There were lots of legitimate questions.
But as I’ve thought about it, I’d been surrounded by people who had planted churches for the ten years prior to contemplating it myself, since I’d become a Christian. It was a relatively normal thing to do in the company I was keeping. And what’s more, many of the people I knew who had planted churches, had seen God blessing the work of their hands - it had worked. That fitted with what I knew about God and his plans and purposes to ‘build His Church' on the confession that Jesus is the Christ. Put bluntly, we were filled with hope.
It’s fascinating to see how hope stirs action. You see someone else do something, it goes ok, it builds hope that maybe you could do the same thing with similar results and so you do it.
But that then rightly raises the question: how do we build hope, that we might stir new actions, that haven’t been tried before?
Made For Greatness
I’m constantly amazed at the different endeavours that humans give themselves to. We are so creative. Whether it’s building things, making things, growing things or new ideas - there is this constant pushing forward and pursuit. There is this sense within us that we are made for greatness.
Even as a church family, we have plans brewing for ‘great things’ as we pursue God’s Kingdom here in Mackay. We’ll aim to share some of these on Sunday. But the question is, how do we keep pressing forward for great things?
The Battle For Greatness
Asking this question is really an acknowledgment that there is a battle we are engaged in.
In the 15th century, when the winds of change were blowing through the church in the Reformation, there was a painting that confronted people as they walked through the church door to hear Martin Luther preach and teach from the Scriptures. The saints were on one side with halos, while on the other side were sinners being assailed by demons wielding pitch forks. Luther in his teaching flipped the image - the so-called saints, confident in their own righteousness based on their good works were already in Satan’s Kingdom, hence their false peace. The sinners on the other hand, who looked in faith to Christ Jesus for right standing with God, were assailed by demons wanting them to give up faith for fear. One change we might make to this image that Luther gives us, would be to have the ‘sinners’ saved through faith, CHASING the demons, putting them under their feet, by the blood of Jesus. Because that is the birth right of the church, through the price paid by Christ Jesus who bought them for himself. But how do we see this kind of victory come about in the battle for greatness we’re engaged in?
Finding Hope For Greatness
In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, the writer quotes from the Old Testament to show the foundation of our hope for greatness, in God’s Word:
‘You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour and put everything under their feet’ (Hebrews 2:7-8)
The writer goes on to explain we don’t see this reality fully expressed now, but we do see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels and then crowned with glory for what he suffered for us. He invites us to share in that glory and honour - quite amazing really!
The Foundation of Hope For Greatness
The foundation then of our hope for greatness firmly rests on Jesus Christ.
'Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.' (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Jesus has freed us from the punishment of death that we deserve and has brought us into the blessing of being true children of God. The devil has nothing on us. Our job is to believe the Word of God and so put the devil under our feet, as we live instead for Jesus our gracious King.
Fix Your Eyes On Jesus The Author of Greatness
The Devils only play now is to take our eyes off Jesus. So we need to not give in.
‘Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest… Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.’ (Hebrews 3:1, 6)
We have been made to rule and reign with Christ in this life, and in the life to come. It will be a battle now, but we are not to give in. Praise God that we don’t walk this journey alone, but with Jesus, who knows what we’re going through. Let’s keep looking to Him! That’s the way we will build our hope.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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