1. Our lives are shaped by our expectations. Shaped by the Old Testament, the disciples expected God quickly to bring in a physical, national kingdom of Israel with a victorious, messianic ruler who would squash all Gentile opposition. The disciples expected and wanted one thing, but Jesus had something else in mind.
False Expectation #1: God will fulfill my hopes and dreams. Jesus’ disciples deeply wanted Israel to regain her former glory. They wanted Jesus immediately to dominate world affairs. God will do that some day, but for the present Jesus is forming a new community of the Holy Spirit, called the church. In the church, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile.
False Expectation #2: God will accept me when I get my act together and follow all of his rules. Jesus’ disciples lived in a time of transition, from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. It took them a while to figure out this “new thing” that God was doing. See Hebrews 7:18-22, 8:6-13, and 9:15-28.
False Expectation #3: God will change my circumstances. The church is brought about not by soldiers or through force, but through the willing submission of Spirit-filled believers. The kingdom of God begins internally, in the human heart, and then shows itself externally thru the power of a transformed life.
False Expectation #4: God does not need me. Jesus’ disciples were convinced that he alone would bring about the kingdom, while they were passive. In the church, all believers are ministers (Ephesians 4:11-12)
2. To fulfill our God-given mission we must understand what God expects of us. God is going to restore the kingdom to Israel in the future (Jeremiah 16:15; 23:8; 31:27-34; Ezekiel 34—37; Isaiah 2:2- 4; 49:6; Amos 9:11-15. “End time speculation”, while interesting, is a distraction to our calling. The church’s calling is to “go and be”—to go to all the world and to be Jesus’ witnesses (1 Peter 3:15).
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Do you view the church primarily through the lens of a consumer or of a contributor? Be honest!
- Of which of the four “false expectations” (see Sermon Summary) have you been most guilty? How might a Biblical perspective on these issues change how you relate to God and others?
- The church’s mission is to bear witness to Jesus Christ everywhere that we go! What three changes could you make to be a more effective witness?
- Make a list of five non-Christian friends you believe God would have you build a redemptive relationship with and begin praying daily for them. Look for opportunities to bear witness to Christ.