What is Your Ambition? (June 2, 2019)

Sermon Text:  Romans 15:20

Pastor Daniel Schmidt 

Last week we spent some time talking about the fact that we have an awesome God.  You may remember that we defined awesome as someone “having the power to inspire respect and wonder.”  This week we would like to focus on our response to the fact that our God is an awesome God.  As we do, we will spend some time talking about our ambitions.  Look up the word “ambition” and you will find this definition: “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.”

What is your ambition? Maybe it is to be the best parent or grandparent that you are able to be.  Maybe as a student it is to study hard so that you are able to get the best possible grades.  Maybe your ambition is to use your time and talents to get a better job.  If you just graduated, maybe your ambition is to find a career that will use the talents that the Lord has given to you.

What is your ambition? Today, God’s Word helps you and me answer this question.  Listen to how the Apostle Paul, led by God the Holy Spirit, answers that question. We read verse 20 from Romans chapter 15:

 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Did you notice what Paul says his ambition is?  It is not to become a world famous tent-maker. It is not to become the most famous apostle.  Paul’s ambition has nothing to do with personal achievement or glory.  As a messenger of God’s Word, the Apostle Paul’s ambition was to share the Good News of the Gospel; especially “to preach the gospel where Christ was not known.”  Paul wanted to be the one to share the Good News about Jesus with those who did not yet know Jesus as their one and only Savior.

What is your ambition?  Before we answer that question, let’s answer another question first: “What was Jesus’ ambition while he was here on this earth?  It was not to become the most famous carpenter in Nazareth. It was not to set up a kingdom here on this earth, as many had hoped he would.  No, Jesus’ ambition in life was to die.  Our loving Savior had a strong desire to save you and me.  And that ambition led him to work hard in our place. He lived a perfect life that you and I are not able to live.  Jesus was determined to offer up his perfect life as the full payment price for your sins and mine, and so he willingly went to the cross where he suffered and died. The ambition that Jesus had to save you and me caused him to rise from the dead, assuring you and me of our forgiveness and that you and I will live forever with him in heaven.  And, as we heard in our Gospel lesson for today, it is our loving Lord’s ambition that many more come to know him as their one and only Savior.

What is your ambition?  Because of who you and I are by nature, there are far too many times when your ambitions and mine are tainted with sin.  Having sinful ambitions then leads to sinful actions which make you and me guilty and deserving only of God’s eternal punishment in hell.  When this happens, you and I come before the gracious throne of our God, pleading for forgiveness through our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. And the Good News of the Gospel is that because of the ambition of Jesus you and I do enjoy the forgiveness of all of our sins.

What is your ambition?  In response to our Savior’s ambition that saved you and me, in response to his great love for you and me, our ambition is to serve him.  Your ambition and mine is to give our Savior the praise and glory he alone deserves in everything that we say and in everything we do.  As we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Certainly it is my prayer that your ambition would include saying along with the Apostle Paul, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known.”

What is your ambition?  In thankfulness for all that our Savior-God has done for us, you and I have strong desire to use the time and talents that Lord has graciously given to us in a God-pleasing way.  With a determination given to us by God the Holy Spirit through powerful Word of God, you and I will work hard to find those opportunities “to preach the gospel where Christ [is] not known.”  Amen.