Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
We all have goals in life. My goal as a young man was to see the year 2000. Back in the 80’s, it seemed so far away and so futuristic. I would think about how old I would be when that date came along, and I would wonder what my life would look like as a 31 yr. old. That’s been 20 yrs. ago now, and I have stopped dreaming so far into the future.
I’ve realized how quickly time goes by and how things progress as we get older. I’ve learned that unless we live in the present and take care of the issues at hand now, we can go for years and still be in the same spot we were when we were young.
The goals we make now, dictate the path we take for our future.
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
There is an old Chinese proverbs that says something like “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Our goals, if they are to be set on the right course, must have a good starting point.
A ships captain must first get his bearings before he sails off across the seas. If your first position is wrong, it doesn’t take long to be set off course. A deviancy of even 1 degree can result in missing the mark by hundreds of miles.
What are your goals in life?
*To know where your going is to understand where you began.
Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
When we recognize our position before a just and Holy God, a position of weakness, insecurity, and foolishness, we position ourselves in a more reliable place of trust. We don’t even know when our last breath will occur and yet we so often times think we have it all figured out. Humility is an absolute necessity to begin a journey in the presence of God. Wisdom recognizes the fallibility in ourselves and declares, ‘Lord, you are our strength.’
If we don’t place our eyes on Him, our sin eventually will.
Numbers 32:23 “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.”
Sin leads down a path of destruction, the more we follow it, the darker our lives become. If we continue to disregard instruction we will suffer not only from the affects of sin, we will suffer the wrath of God. The Lord has made it very clear that vengeance belongs to Him. This vengeance may either be realized on earth or for eternity in Hell. Sometimes the Lord simply removes His hand of protection and you find out very quickly how rapidly your world descends into chaos.
God has declared that He holds the Universe in order, the world and it’s cycles are maintained by Him—-Do you think that just maybe, your life is balanced because of Him as well? When we choose rebellion against God’s moral law, we choose to remove ourselves from His care and place it on ourselves. I don’t know about you, but for me that is a scary thought. I know my understanding is limited to the knowledge of my immediate surroundings, even that limited capacity is only received by the perception of my senses. How on God’s green earth can we expect to have one ounce of understanding regarding our future? Simply put…we can’t know anything apart from Him.
When Jesus was teaching on those who think they are righteous and those He knows that are His, He gave some insightful perspective into what a follower of Jesus looks like.
Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!”
What was the Goal of those whom Jesus said, “I never knew you”?
They seemed to be very busy doing the ‘work of the Lord’. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t the Lord’s work they were doing, it was THEIR work. It was work that made them feel good, it was something others praised them for, or they received honor for…but God was not in it.
The world would look at people like that and say, “My, what wonderful men and women for God!”. They would eventually become leaders in a congregation that doesn’t have the discernment to distinguish between Spirit led work and work of the flesh.
Do you know how a work is Spirit led? Jesus is glorified in the work…not people.
Acts 5:30-32 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
When God’s people are led by the Spirit, love for others is the focus.
- When we show agape love to others, the Lord softens the hearts of those who receive it and the work is effective.
- When people serve out of responsibility or for praise of men, the focus is predominantly a love for themselves.
- When a love for Jesus and the desire to please Him is our motivation, we leave people with substance. Food and clothing come and go, they are here today and gone tomorrow, but leave them with Jesus and you give them a gift that is more valuable than gold.
How do we know what God’s will is? I will preach this message until the day I die…the Moral Law is the guidelines that should govern the actions of every true believer in Christ.
Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
This is not O.T. theology, this is relevant for us today. It will be relevant into eternity.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”, in John 14:15. Jesus said this, not Moses or Abraham. The New Covenant of the Lamb of God is founded in still keeping His commandments. It is not the measure by which we are justified…Jesus assumed that role. The law is the measure by which we show Love for God, after we have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus our redeemer.
For those who are not believers, the law is the indictment against their lifestyles and rejection of God’s favor. The law makes sin utterly sinful. Unbelievers do not know or understand sin unless we show them by God’s law why that is. Paul used it in evangelism, Jesus used it in evangelism and so did every other believer up until the 20th century. It was at this point, the church began to move away from the moral law in evangelism and towards prosperity preaching. The church at this point, began to die. Not in terms of the power that God supplies, His power has always been there, but in terms of the demonstration of God’s power in evangelism, it began to fade.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been some very faithful people who remained true to the message, O. Chambers, A.W. Tozer, Billy Graham, Luis Palau, to name a few. The break came in the small, hometown churches across the world, that lost the means to impart God’s power and began to preach only God’s love.
We are now seeing large swaths of regions where the church has simply died. We have friends that are missionaries in England, simply because the church got old and died. There was no influx of new believers because their means of evangelism died. Many of the young people who grew up in churches, left their respective churches because the doctrine of happiness just didn’t make them happy. The message gets real old when life starts happening and the emotional high from another Sunday service filled with false promises results in the labor of the valley we must endure through the week.
The signs of a weak church have been evident for many years. Divorce has been as high in the church as it is outside the church. Pornography grips Pastors at a rate of almost 50% of all mainline denominations, up to 65% of men in the church, 40% of women and even more striking 65% of youth pastors. It’s no wonder divorce has been so predominate and the power of the church has simply ebbed away.
What should be our Goal?———Holiness.
Holiness is characterized by ‘apartness or sacredness’. We render ourselves to be in the world but not of it. We look at our position in Christ as one of sacredness, we represent His name. When we live contrary to His moral law, we blaspheme the name of Christ. We blaspheme His glory and His goodness when we allow sin to reign in our lives unchecked.
When Jesus was walking with us, many have attributed the prayer in Matthew 6 as the Lord’s prayer, but in reality, Jesus was just teaching His disciples in what manner to pray, not what to pray. The Lord’s prayer that Jesus prays for His disciples is actually found in John 17. He not only prays for them, this is His heart toward you. This is His goal for you. Read it with yourself in mind and know His love for you and the freedom that He brings.
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus’ goal is that we remain in Him and that He remains in us.
Is that your goal? You will see the end of the road one day and where your goals have led you…I hope at the end you see Jesus.