Sermon:  Heroes in the Kingdom

Summary:  The greatest heroes are ones who follow God, understanding the power God 
grants to them for the purpose of not only bringing glory to God, but also for the 
purpose of transforming lives from the inside out through the compassionate sharing 
of the Gospel.  God desires us to be that kind of hero.

Know:  God has given us Christians the power of the Gospel, which comes with the 
responsibility to share and live it with compassion.

Feel:  The desire to touch people with the compassion of Christ

Do:  Contrast the meaning of heroism in the world and in the kingdom of God.  Reflect 
on the responsibility that comes with receiving the Gospel and all of the change it 
brings to your life.  Identify specific ways to carry out the responsibilities that
come with receiving the Gospel.

Text:  Col 1:28-29

Scripture Reading:  1 Cor 1:22-25

1.  Youth Rally theme was "heroes"
	a.  Can understand why, we are enamored with heroes
	b.  See them in comics, movies, shows
	c.  Even as adults, we still enjoy heroes
	d.  Youth Rally spoke of how we can overcome challenges and be God's 
	     heroes.  I am going to emphasize something different
2.  What makes a hero a hero?
	a.  If map out the anatomy of the ideal hero, what would there be?
	b.  I think it boils down to basically three things
		1) Power
		2) Identity, usually a secret one
		3) Purpose
3.  What we will find is that God defines each of these
	a.  Heroes are real
	b.  God doesn't necessarily define them the way you think
	c.  Let's take a closer look at these

I.  Power
	A.  This is not like the typical super hero power
		1.  Col 1:29 - Paul said the power of God works mightily within him
		2.  He didn't have a cape, or fly, or lift busses, what is this power?
	B.  Characteristics of this power
		1.  From 2 Corinthians:
			a.  (4:7-10) - Connected to dying
			b.  (10:4-5) 
				- Not of the flesh (knives, guns, bombs, brute force)
				- Powerful enough to destroy fortresses/strongholds
				- Takes every thought captive to Christ
			c.  (12:7-10) 
				- Found in weakness
				- Diametrically opposed to pride
			d.  (13:4) - connected to weakness, even in Christ
		2.  The power of God is not like the power of the world
			a.  First thing that comes to mind is brute force
			b.  Brute force does very little….eg.
			c.  Example:  
				- By Brute force, Lex Luthor caught by Superman
				- Goes to prison, then goes out
				- What changes?  Nothing.  
				- Goes back to what he did before
		3.  (Eph 1:18-20) - This is why prayer is for eye to be enlightened
			a.  Need to see the power of God for what it is
			b.  It is much more than brute force
		4.  Power of God is to transform lives
	C.  ILL:  Operation Auca in the 1950's - Group of Missionaries to Equador
		1.  Nate Saint was pilot, son asked him if he would protect himself 
		     and shoot them if they attacked
			a.  Answer:  We can't shoot the Waodani, they are not ready 
			     for God, we are
			b.  Four men were speared to death by them at the river
			c.  Wives didn't give up, didn't retaliate, did not go home
		2.  The tribe was perplexed as to why these missionaries didn't 
		      shoot at them and why they never retaliated, or went home
			a.  Were they weak?  
			b.  No, they had power of God, sufficient to destroy 
		3.  Eventually, one of the tribe, Kimo, breaks his spears and vowed 
		     never to kill again
			a.  He devoted himself to follow the man-maker's "carvings"
				(man-maker=God;  "carvings"= Bible)
			b.  Eventually, the tribe is converted, killings stop
				- When faced with enemy tribe, they said, "Even if you 
				   spear us, we will not spear you"
				- Their whole character changed
			c.  No longer "Auca" (savage) but their true name, "Waodani"
		4.  They now "brethren" of those who killed close family members
			a.  Steve Saint met the man who speared his Father
				- According to Waodani tradition, supposed to avenge
				- The man worried about this
			b.  Steve extends mercy to the man
				- "No one took my Father's life, he gave it"
	D.  This is the power of God
		1.  No police action, show of brute force, etc. could have done this
		2.  Power of God is found in these sorts of things:
			a.  Meekness, humility, service, kindness, gentleness
			b.  Especially in love, as God defines it
		3.  God has given you an arsenal that can destroy fortresses
			a.  Jesus said the gates of Hades will not prevail against the 
			     church's assault
			b.  Our assault is one of the compassion of Christ
		4.  Question to ask:  How can I utilize God's arsenal?
			Service, humility, gentleness, love?

II.  Identity, usually secret
	A.  Most super heroes have a "secret identity"
		1.  Why?  To protect themselves from enemies
			a.  All anyone sees is the masked man or woman
			b.  No one knows who they truly are
		2.  Not the same for Christians
			a.  We not to have a "secret identity" and hide who we are
			b.  However, we are to have a "subdued identity"
	B.  Passages that speak of a subdued identity
		1.  (1 Cor 2:1-5) - Nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified
			a.  Did not use his great speaking abilities 
			b.  Did not want people to say, "what a great speaker!"
			c.  Wanted people to say, "What a wonderful savior!"
		2.  (Mt 5:14-16) - You are the light of the world
			a.  Light is connected to good works
			b.  What you normally do when someone sees your good 
				- If they say, "Wow, you go out of way to be kind"
				- Or, "You are about the most honest person I know"
				- Or, "I never hear you complain, or backbite"
			c.  What do you normally say?  Thanks?  
			d.  Whose light are you letting shine?
	C.  ILL:  Like at a Christian concert
		1.  I enjoy Christian concerts.  Good wholesome music
		2.  When people cheer, many will point up.  Why?  
		3.  Give the Glory to God!
		4.  They are not doing this for themselves, but at service to God  
	D.  So, when someone notices, point up.  
		1.  Give the glory to God.
		2.  We want God to shine
		3.  This is what it means to have a "subdued" identity

III.  Purpose
	A.  Heroes have a clear sense of a greater purpose
		1.  If no purpose, what do you have?  A super villain
		2.  Tell me if you haven't heard this line - "With much power comes 
		      much responsibility."
		3.  Has God given you much power?  You better believe it!
	B.  (Col 1:28-29) Paul affirms the responsibility that comes with power
		1.  What purpose?  Every man complete in Christ
			a.  God is not converts, but growing, transforming lives
			b.  Involves proclaiming him, admonishing with wisdom
		2.  Without a clear sense of purpose, you wander
			a.  May wind up doing things to build up your own ego
			b.  May wind up doing nothing at all
		3.  God has defined our purpose
			a.  We are the light of the world, pillar and support of truth,
			b.  Salt of the earth, Ambassadors for Christ
		4.  If we are ambassadors, it means the church is God's embassy
			a.  We have a clearly laid out purpose as an embassy
			b.  We represent God's interests to the world
	C.  ILL:  Reminds me of a young girl names Rachel Scott
		1.  First girl killed in the Columbine massacre
			a.  Shooters asked her with a gun to her head - Do you 
			     believe in God?"
			b.  Her answer, "You know I do!"
			c.  Then they shot her
		2.  Found out remarkable things about Rachel through her writings
			a.  Journals
				-  She had one of her journals in her backpack
				-  Returned by the police, had a bullet hole through it
				- She wrote her prayers, thoughts, and personal 
				   struggles to God in her journal
				- Didn't want superficial faith, passionate about it, 
				   struggled with it every day
			b.  Wrote an Essay for 5th period, Dad found it in her room
				- Title:  My Ethics, My Code of Life, by Rachel Scott
				- Her core virtues compassion, honesty, trust, integrity
				- Those who knew her agreed
		3.  She had an intense desire to please God and put him first
			a.  Went out of her way to show the love of God to others
			b.  The new girl from California with no friends.  Sat by self at 
			      lunch.  She made friends with her and introduced her to 
			c.  The handicapped boy, others made fun of.  She made 
			      friends with him, asked him if he would take her to the 
				- The boy later said he decided to take his life
				- Rachel becoming his friend changed his mind
			d.  And there are many, many more stories like this
				- Had a sense of justice, stood up for people
				- It was no secret that she was a devoted Christian
				- Sometimes people made fun of her for this
		4.  Rachel's Faith becomes Rachel's Challenge
			a.  After she died, they found a tracing of Rachel's hands on 
			     the back of a dresser (she had a habit of writing in 
			     unusual places), with these words:  "These hands belong 
			     to Rachel Joy Scott and will some day touch millions of 
			     people's hearts."
			b.  Her family began "Rachel's Challenge"  Designed for 
			     High Schools and Middle Schools
				- Been done all over the country and out of the 
				- Changes the culture of schools to be kind and 
				   compassionate places
			c.   Amazing transformation of students 
				- Big burly jocks hugging teachers & telling them they 
				  appreciate them
				- Compassion became a staple in schols
			d. School administrators are very pleased
				- Grades are up, attendance is up, incidents are down
				- All started with a Christian girl with a sense of 
	D.  This is what a real hero looks like
		1.  Devoted Christian that lives as Christ did
		2.  Compassion, kindness, love
		3.  Sharing the Good News of God in word and action

1.  Now do you see heroism as God defines it?
2.  We have power, subdued identity, and purpose
3.  With much power, comes much responsibility
	a.  What is the power of salvation to everyone who believes?  
	b.  The GOSPEL  (inv)
4.  If you have already obeyed, then you are part of God's "Gospel League,"  his team of heroes
	a.  You may not be able to fly, but you can walk
	b.  You may not be able to read minds, but you can empathize
	c.  You may not be able to left a bus, but you can lift a heart
	d.  You may not be able to save the world, but you can bring a lost person 
	     to Christ

Small Group Questions:  Heroes in the Kingdom

Summary:  The greatest heroes are ones who follow God, understanding the power God grants to 
them for the purpose of not only bringing glory to God, but also for the purpose of transforming
lives from the inside out through the compassionate sharing of the Gospel.  God desires us to be 
that kind of hero.

Open:  (choose one)
- Who is your favorite super hero and why?
- Who has been a hero in your life?


1.  Describe the power of God according to these passages (2 Cor 4:7-10; 10:4-5; 12:7-10; 13:4)

2.  In what ways is this power different than power according to the flesh?

3.  (Rom 1:16; 6:1-7) - What power is in the Gospel according to these passages?

4.  Is there any relationship between the power Paul describes in the 2 Corinthians passages above 
and the power of the Gospel?  If so, what?  (How is the Gospel powerful not only for salvation, but for daily life, ministry, etc.?)

5.  (Col 1:28-29) - What is/are the goals of the power of God that resides in Christians?


6.  What "power" do you have to carry out God's purposes?  List them as specifically as you can. 

7.  What are some specific things/ways you can use these "powers?"

8.  What are some of the temptations and challenges you face in carrying out God's purposes?

9.  How is God calling you to be a "hero?"