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James Merritt - One Job

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    James Merritt - One Job

I'm a big reader of leadership books, I'm a leader and I try to be a better leader. I don't think you can learn too much about leadership. And since the modern era began there's been about 15,000 books just written on leadership but every now and then there's a book that comes along and it is so special you just even see by the title you have to say to yourself, "I gotta read this book. This is a different book". And about 11 years ago, there was a man named Simon Sinek, S-I-N-E-K, you like leadership you need to get this book. It is a game changer. And he wrote it and the title of the book was, Why. That was kind of the short version. It was start with why how great leaders inspire everyone to take action.

I saw the title I said that is got to be a great book. And what Simon Sinek did was he looked at some of the most innovative, influential, profitable leaders of movements and companies in history. He looked at Martin Luther King, Jr. He looked at Thomas Edison. He looked at Steve Jobs. He looked at the Wright Brothers and he said, what was the common denominator that made all of these men rise to the top? And he found out that they just began to ask one simple question, why. Why should you buy my product? Why should you hire me to do your job? Why do you think I should start this business to begin with? They asked this question, why. Why do you think my idea should be a good idea? He said, they asked this question why because he said, there are really two ways you can motivate people to do things. You can either manipulate them to do things which people do all the time or you can inspire them to do things. And what he said was is when you inspire people to do things that they really do things that last and this is so true for a church.

I know you probably get tired of hearing it 'cause you hear it all the time. We tell you about what we want you to do. Read your Bible every day, spend time in prayer, share your faith, invest in God's work, go on a mission trail, serve somewhere in the body, do something for the Lord. And you always hear the what, but too often we don't really explain the why and I understand just rattling off a bunch of things for you to do no matter how noble, how good they may seem is not gonna go very far unless I answer the one question why. You won't do the what till you understand the why. So I said all that to say that I really believe that the two greatest things, I'm looking back on my life and I would say this to all these beautiful young people down here, the two greatest things you'll ever do with your life, all of your life are these two things, get involved in God's work and invest in God's work.

You say, why? Why is that the most important thing? Because those are the only two things that will last forever. You're not gonna last physically. You're not gonna to last forever. I'm not gonna last forever. This stuff, this world, this church one day probably won't be here but God's work is one thing that has any eternal impact. So what I thought I would do is we start a little series of messages day is, instead of telling you what I wanna answer the question, why? So I may ask for a big question. Why did God come up with the idea of a church to begin with? This wasn't my idea, the building was but the concept was not. Why did God come up with the idea of a church to begin with? As a matter of fact, why did he make the church the central piece of the puzzle to get the message of the gospel out to an entire world? Why did he spend 27 books of the Bible written to churches? Why did he make the church such a big, big deal?

Well, it all goes back to one job that he gave the church. One job that he gave to every believer. As a matter of fact, here's how big this is. The church is the only institution in the world that can do this job. Delta Airlines can't do this job. IBM can't do this job. United States government can't do this job. The army can't do this job. AT&T can't do this job. And nobody else in the world except followers of Jesus can do this job. Muslims can't do it. Buddhist can't do it. Hindus can't do it. Nobody in the world can do it except those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus. He has given us one job. The problem is we're not doing that job. We're doing a lot of other jobs and we're not doing that one job.

Can you just do the one job? And I'm absolutely convinced when we get to heaven one day as a church and as individuals God's gonna look at all of us together and individually and he's gonna ask one question, you only had one job, did you do it? I gave you one, not two, not three, not four. I gave you one job. And you'll say, what's that one job? We'd have to wonder in a gospel called Matthew Chapter 28 comes right before the other three gospels, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus tells us clearly what our job is.

Now, what you're about to read is not what he just said then to 11 disciples 2000 years ago he's saying it right now to you and to me. And by the way he doesn't just say it to pastors or preachers or priest or professionals or our professors he's talking to you and me, people of all stripes, people of all ethnicities. He's talking to you, whether you're a Republican, a Democrat, whether you're black, whether you're white, whether you're rich, whether you're poor, whether you're educated or illiterate he says it doesn't matter. We all have the same job. Here's what's going on. Jesus is about to ascend to heaven. He's lived 30 years. He spent three years with these 11 disciples. He's about to check out but before he checks out he says, okay, boys, you got one job. I'm gonna give you that job.

You understand something as a church we get to decide how we do what we do. We don't get to decide what we do. We know what we do, we already know what we're supposed to be doing. We already know what the yard stick is and he gets very, very specific. He says, okay, as a church together and as individual followers of Jesus individually this is your one job. And what I love about Jesus I've told you many times he always simplifies the complicated. You don't have to have a 40 page manual. You don't need to look up anything on Google. He says, you know what? I'm gonna give you one job. Your one job in one sentence that's gonna be made up of one verb. Here it is, therefore go and make disciples of all nations. That's it. That's our job, make disciples. That is the why behind the what?

So why did we start this church? To make disciples. Why do I preach what I preach every single week? Why do I present the gospel every week? Why do we give people an opportunity to trust Christ every single week? 'Cause our job is to make disciples. Why do I encourage you when you leave this church to go out and live a discipleship, the cross shaped life, a spirit filled life, because we've got one job, our job is to make disciples. So all of that being said Jesus tells us three reasons why we ought to be excited to do this one job, why we ought to do this one job, And why will be blessed when we do this one job and I'm gonna say them to you super quick, so listen fast.

All right, number one, we have the provision of his power. We have the provision of his power. Now Jesus is a great leader and he knows the number one thing you do as a leader is this never give anybody that follows you responsibility to do a job if you don't give them the authority to do the job. So worst thing you can do, if you give somebody the responsibility but you don't give them the authority you're gonna wind up with a lot of frustrated people. I tell young pastors all the time if you wanna hire a really good person and then see that person leave pretty fast give them the responsibility without the authority. Every staff person I've ever had worked for me will tell you one thing is true about me. When doc hires us, he tells us what he wants us to do, he gives us the tools we need to do it then he gives us the authority to go and do it.

I don't micromanage, I don't get in their business. I expect them to know all about what they're doing. Then I know what I'm doing. I expect Raleigh to know a lot more about high school ministry and while I used to do it, I expect Raleigh know a whole lot more about high school ministry than I do. Raleigh, if I can help you, I wanna help you but Raleigh it is your job. So Jesus knows and he's talking to 11 disciples and he's letting them know I want you to go make disciples and they're wondering themselves, how I got to do this you're talking to just us, and then Jesus says this, Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, all authority. Now that was kind of mind-boggling because the word that Jesus used for authorities, one of the most powerful words in the New Testament is a word that means both power and authority. And he said, why is that so important?

If I give you the authority to do something but you don't have the power to do it, you can't do it. If I give you the power to do something and I don't give you the authority to do it, you can't do it. What you've got to do to get the job done you've got to have the authority to do it and the power to pull it off. You've got to have the power to pull it off and the authority to do it. That's exactly what that word means. And what Jesus was saying to these disciples was mind-boggling. He said, "Boys, the authority that I have I am giving to you. The power that I have, I am giving to you".

We, the church, we who are followers of Jesus we are the only institution in the world we are the only people in the world that have the authority and the power to go anywhere in the world and to say to anybody in the world, you are a sinner, you need a savior, Jesus is that savior, He died for you, He came back from the grave and if you repent of your sins and give your faith to Jesus Christ, I don't care what you've done he will save you. He will cleanse you. He will feel you. You will never be the same. You'll have a purpose in life while you're here. And you'll live in eternity with God after you're gone it just doesn't get any better than that. And he said, you've got the power and you've got the authority to do that. And I guarantee you there's these 11 guys. You know what I think they all said at exactly the same time? You talking to me? you talking to me? We're fishermen. We're farmers. We're tax collectors, there's not a college graduate among us, there's not an ordained person here. There's not a seminary degree on the wall. You're telling us.

And by the way, we have all authority in Jesus and it gets better than that. If Jesus had said to them, "All authority in Jerusalem has been given to me". Pontius Pilate would have stood up and said, not so fast. If Jesus had said, all authority in Rome has been given to me, Julius Caesar, the Caesar Augustus, the Roman army would have said not so fast. Jesus said all authority from one end of the universe to the other, there's not a square inch anywhere in the universe that's not under my authority and not under my command. There's not one random molecule out there running around doing its own business. Everything is under my control. Everything is under my command and the authority that I have, I am investing in you. So why should we carry this out? Why should we go make disciples of all nations? Because we have the provision of his power, the authority that he had, he has invested in us. But then he does the second thing a great leader does. He says okay, I've given you the authority and the power too do your job. Now, let me just remind you of what a great job it is.

So, number two, we have the process of his plan. We got the provision of his power. We've got the process of his plan so look, you've got a simple job, it's not hard it's in three stages. Stage number one, he said you've got to go and make disciples of all nations. Now let me just stop because the most important word right now is that little word there. Let me tell you why that's so important. If we don't do that, nothing else works. If we don't do that, the job doesn't get done. If we don't do that we will have failed miserably. Everything depends on that very first word, go. So I'm gonna tell you something that may shock a lot of you, particularly those of you that don't come to church very often.

So I wanna kind of help you out on something. If you're a follower of Jesus your primary job is not to come to church because I know some of us, let's be honest you think you've done God a big favor because you came today. I'm glad you came. Thank you for coming. I'd rather you be here than be at home sleeping or like some of these kids right now, they're fighting to stay awake 'cause they didn't sleep all weekend, I get that, okay. By the way if they might sleep right now, slap them, it's okay. Listen, just a joke, just a joke. Your primary responsibility is not to come to church. Now you have a responsibility to come, matter of fact, you're commanded to come. I said this is the first service we've actually got people, And some of them watching right now, they have said I don't have to come to church I'm just gonna watch pastor on TV. I will tell you you're out of the will of God you're disobeying God. The Bible is very clear. We should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. You ought to be here.

So you ought to be in church. Well, let me just be honest with you. If you're a follower of Jesus your number one responsibility is not to come to church. Your number one responsibility is to leave the church and go into your community and into your neighborhood and into your schools and into your workplace and do the job that you were called to do. As a matter of fact, let me tell you this this one job that God's given us to do, you ready for this? It's the church's job to do it but it will never be done in the church. You can't do this job in the church. So let me put it to you this way we are to come to the church so we can go from the church and be the church for people who don't even attend church. Now I was pretty good. Okay, Imma say it again. We're to come to the church so we can go from the church and be the church for people who don't even attend church, you say, okay, so what are we supposed to be doing? Well, he tells us, make disciples he says of all nations. Jesus is talking to both disciples then and disciples now.

So here's what he basically saying, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, the Bible term for that is disciples, here's what Jesus said, disciples do, you ready? He said, disciples make disciples. That's our job. That's your job, my job, disciples make disciples. So one of two things is true about every one of you listening to me right now, you are either a disciple or you need to become one. Now, if you are a disciple, then this ought to be true. If you're also then you need to be a disciple maker because what Jesus did when he was on this earth is what we're to do while we are on this earth. And by the way, while I'm in the neighborhood. So where did Jesus do his disciple-making. I've told you this a 1,000 times. In a small group, here's the strategy I'm gonna find 12 men. I'm gonna pour my life into those 12 men and that's how I'm going to make disciples. So for 12 years, he spent his years in a small group making disciples.

So I just wanna remind you the primary way we make disciples in this church is not in this service, not in this building it will never happen here. The primary way we make disciples in this church is through a small group. I'm in one, every one of you ought to be in one. There's not a one of you that's so spiritual, so Godly and so mature you don't need to be in a group. I'm sorry you're just not there. And by the way, if you are one of those rare people, Oh, I'm too godly. I'm too spiritual. I'm too maturity. I don't need a small group. Okay, I'll grant that. Then they need you. Please if you're one of those people you're a lot better than I am, come I need your help because that's what we all need. We need to be in that group where we encourage one another and we love one another. And by the way, if you're not in a group and you say, "Okay, I know I need to be in a group".

When you leave our building in just a minute if you'll go out in the lobby to our connection table we will tell you all the groups that are available we will custom make a group for you. We hope you find a group that you'll enjoy being in that will be close to where you live or are at the right time that you can meet. We will do everything can to get you in a group. Now let me just stop here and make something else real easy. When I say you're to make disciples, we kind of freeze up because we say, "Gosh, I don't know how to make disciples. I do love the Lord, and I know you talk about it but I don't know how to do it". So let me just kind of help you on something. You're sitting there thinking, "Okay, do I have to go through training? Do I have to get a degree? Is there something I need to know"?

Let me just make this as easy as I can. Jesus spends three years with these guys in this small group. So he comes to the end of the road and he says, "Okay, boys, you got one job, go make disciples". Doesn't give them a manual. Doesn't give them notebook. Doesn't say, "Okay, go take this course". He said, just go and make disciples. And it's very obvious because they didn't ask what he meant. They knew exactly what he was telling them to do. You know what he was telling them to do? You ready for this? Boys just go do what you've been seeing me do for three years. That's all you need to do. So let me give you some great news, ready? The best way for you to be a disciple maker is just model for other people what it means to be a disciple.

So let me just kind of brag on you for a minute. When you got out of bed this morning and you cleaned up, we're believing by faith, and you use mouthwash, we're really believing by faith, and you came to church. You know what you were saying to everybody in your neighborhood? You know what you were saying to people that were walking to this building as you were walking to this building? This is what a disciple does. You're a parent, when you read your Bible and your kids see you read your Bible, you know what you're saying to your kids? This is what a disciple does. If you're raising little children and you start teaching your little children early to say a blessing in a restaurant you know what you're telling that little child? This is what a disciple does. When you provide, when you take your hard earned money that God gave you and you give God his tithe and your offering and you pass that basket and people see you put an offering in the basket for example, you know what you're telling people around you?

This is what a disciple does. When you get out of your house, raise some money get involved and go out on a mission trip you know what you're doing? You're saying to the church, this is what a disciple does. He says we're to be making disciples and so when you get together in a small group with other believers and you study God's word together and you share your heartaches and your headaches and you get encouragement and you give encouragement you know what you're saying to unbelievers and believers? This is what a disciple does. And Jesus said, we're to be making disciples, now I love this, of all nations. So the first thing Jesus was saying to these disciples now these are Jews, remember this God's chosen people. He said, "Oh, by the way, boys, no discrimination. We believe in amazing for every race. We don't leave anybody out. We're gonna make disciples of all the nations".

And by the way, the word for nations there does not refer to countries or political states. It refers to people of different ethnicities, different colors, different languages, different cultures. One of the reasons why I tell people everywhere I go why I love our church so much... I love our church because our church is so multinational. And our church is so multicultural. And our church is so multiethnic. Let me take something to make you feel good about our church of all the churches in the United States of America, you ready for this? Of all the churches in United States of America, only 5.5% of all the churches that's five out of a 100 only 5.5% qualify as multicultural. What does that mean? Sociologists define a church, this multicultural, is a church where no one race makes up more than 80% of the congregation.

So if you've got one race or one ethnicity or one culture, one color, and they make up 80 plus percent, they say, "Okay, you're not multicultural". You ready for this? This church is 41% minority, 41% minority. We've got them from everywhere. Ethiopia, Nigeria. They come from Europe. They come from Asia. They come from South America. I mean, they come from everywhere and that's exactly the way Jesus intended it. Multicultural diversity is baked into the job that we're supposed to do. It's in the DNA of the gospel. And by the way, it was supposed to be that way from the very, very, very, very beginning. This will blow your mind. That's another reason why I'm so glad I'm a Christian. The Christianity of all the religious face in the world, listen to this. Christianity is roughly divided equally percentage-wise roughly divided between Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

You say, why is that such a big deal? Every other religion, every other faith except Christianity every other one has at least 80% of the people who believe it concentrated on one continent. We are the most diverse movement in history because Jesus said go and make disciples of all the nations. Don't you stay in Jerusalem. Don't you stay in Judea. Don't you stay at Sumerian you're to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. So what does that mean? Okay, put on you thinking cap for a minute, you cannot make disciples of all the nations unless something happens. Now, somebody tell me what's got to happen if we're gonna make disciples of all nations what's got to happen? We got to go to all the nations. You're not gonna do it in Gwinnett County. You're not gonna do it in this building. You're not gonna do it in your neighborhood. If we're gonna make disciples of all the nations we have got to go to all the nations. So you have to know the why we do missions.

Some people say, look, man we got a lot of lost people right here in America. Tell me about it. We got start in Washington, DC that would be a good place to start right there. I know we got a lot of lost people, I get that. But Jesus, didn't say, just go to your country go to your state, go to your county. We start there we don't end there. He said we're to go to all the nations. That means our job as Christians doesn't just entail where we live. It doesn't stop at the city limits, or the state laws, or the national borders. Then he says, you're not through yet. He says, then you're to teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. In other words, he said, look, here's your job. Go teach people to number one, trust in me. And then number two, simply to obey what I want them to do.

So we're to lead people to trust in Jesus. And then we are to lead people, to obey Jesus, which is why if you're usual around here you'll see our mission statement it's real easy to point people to Jesus that's, make disciples and inspire them to live the cross-shaped life that's baptism and that's teaching them to have to obey and do what God wants them to do. So we've got one job, three simple parts. He says, number one, get people to believe in me, that's discipleship. Number two, lead people to belong to me, that's baptism. Number three, get people to be like me that's teaching them to obey his commands. So why should we do it? Why should we be passionate about it? Well, number one, we've got the provision of his power. Look, I've given you the power and the authority. Don't waste it go use it. Number two, we've got the process of his plan. I've laid out this is exactly what I want you to do. But then he tells us one last thing we're gonna be done. We have the promise of his presence. He says, and behold I'm with you always to the end of the age.

Now, why do you think he said that? Why do you think he added that? Why do you think that was the last kind of the whipped cream on the cake? I'll tell you why, 'cause you're a fisherman, you're a farmer. You can't even sign your name. And this son of God just said you're gonna be my disciples. You're gonna go to all the nations. You're gonna transform the world but you won't be alone, you won't be by yourself I will be right beside you every step of the way I'll be with you in every word you speak, I'll be with you in every person you talk to, I'll be with you every time you take the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus. I'm not gonna throw you in the water and you don't even know how to swim. Don't let that be a second thought I will be beside you. And I will let you in a secret I walked with the Lord a long time and I bet you have the same experience I have. There are times I feel like Jesus is just this close to me, but can I be honest? There are times I feel like Jesus is so far away I can't see him with a telescope.

How many of you have that experience? Can you please help me? Don't lie. Just go ahead raise your hand. Yeah, okay. Listen, if you say, "Oh me and Jesus were just like that all the time". See me after the service you got something I don't have. That doesn't bother me because Jesus doesn't deal with us with feelings. But can I be honest with you? If you said, "Hey, pastor in all these years, you've walked with Jesus When was Jesus the closest to you"? I can tell you easy. I never ever, ever feel the presence of Jesus like I feel him when I'm sharing him, never. When I sit there in Panama with the president's wife, the President of Panama, the First Lady of Panama, who's a nominal, who's a Catholic, but not a believer.

I'd never met her in my life and I knew I had my one shot and lasted there at that table talking to her and her assistant and I was just sharing the gospel, I got so emotional tears were coming down my eyes I was telling her what Christ meant to me and how she could have a relationship with God. You could ask the guys, saw a couple of them here that were in this room. I want to tell you I felt the power and the presence of God so thick you could cut it with a knife. You say, well, how do you explain that? I'll tell you how. Jesus will be most real to you when you share that Jesus is most real to other people. So here's all I'll say and I'll be done. It still comes back to the why question, but why should I do it? Here's my answer, plain and simple. If the one that died for your sins, if the one that paid off your sin debt, the one who took hail so you wouldn't have to go there, if he just ask you to do it, how can you not do it? So together, we've got one job. Let's do it for the glory of God.
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