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Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

To Seek and to Save

March 8th, 2017

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV)

The words of Christ are simple enough, one would think, in virtually any language to clearly teach us the purpose of His coming, the impact of His death and His life, and even the means by which He will accomplish His purpose in this world. We can break it down into simple and digestible bites.

He has come with a purpose. John 3:16 in fact says that He was sent by the Father. Philippians 2:6-10 stresses His willing participation in the Father’s plan. But it means that His very being in our world was part of the divine plan of God. So anyone whose life He impacts can say that he or she were touched by God:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 ESV).

He has come with a mission, to save the lost. To be lost is to be under the wrath of God, according to John 3:16 and 3:36, it to perish or to abide in eternal lostness. The word translated “to be lost” is also translated “to perish.” To be lost also means to be in spiritual darkness, unable to perceive and understand the truth.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor 4:3-4 ESV)

To be saved means to be forgiven, included in the kingdom of God’s rule, illuminated in our souls to know God and to know His truth.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1:13-14 ESV)

He has come with a passion. He is a seeking Savior and the first step of being saved is to be found by Christ. The text above is from His visit to a tax collector named Zacchaeus, seeking him as part of the lost of Israel. While on earth He sought out people with His presence and His message, whether it was private or public the result of the invitation was the same – to turn from sin and turn in faith to trust in Christ and surrender to His authority. His Person and His message were inseparable – as the Word of God (John 1:14) He lived the message He preached and He preached the message He lived.

Today though He searches people through the voice of His church, and the lives and influence of His followers. Paul wrote, “So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach, for we all preach the same message you have already believed” (1 Cor. 15:11 NLT). The principle of Christ seeking is also the principle of the Father seeking – though the difference is slight it seems to indicate Christ seeking through personal means and the Father through providential means. Christ said: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44 ESV), but we should be careful about over analyzing the seeking of Christ or the drawing of the Father, for they work together, with the Spirit, to bring people to Christ.

So He sends us into the world with a purpose – that the world may know Him – and with a mission – that people may be saved and come to the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God – and with a passion – to love and to seek the lost. This is the mission He entrusted to His followers in Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 24:46-49, and Acts 1:8.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8 ESV)

Doctrinal Studies, Missions , , , , ,

Spiritual Maturity: Single Mindedness

July 5th, 2016

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:12-16)

Another trait of spiritual maturity is a single-mindedness in purpose and intention. The goal of the life of a mature Christian is only one: to please Christ by fulfilling God’s purpose in his life.

It is very clear in Paul’s life that this consisted of letting go of the past – its failures and its successes, it misguided attempts at doing something meaningful, its bitter experiences, its pains and disappointments. This does not mean to walk around in a daze and never remember anything, for Paul himself began the epistle to the Philippians by saying, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Phil. 1:3). And elsewhere in Scripture we are taught to respect those who have endured hardship for Christ in their own past (1 Cor. 16:18; Phil. 2:29-30; Heb. 13:7).

What he specifically had in mind as he wrote these words was his past life of strict Judaism, seeking to earn his righteousness through the Law of Moses. We are only acceptable to God through Christ, whom we receive through faith, and not by our own attainments. We must also let go of our sins, trusting that in Christ we are fully forgiven.

But this also applies to those who seek to live by reputation, or by what they have done in the past for Christ. It is one thing to recognize a person’s past sacrifices; it is another thing for him to cease to serve Christ today because of what he has done in the past. None of us may “rest on our laurels,” no matter how glorious or how sacrificial they may be. We must seek every day to serve the Lord as he gives us strength and opportunity to do so.

Straining to what lies ahead: The mature Christian is optimistic about the future because he knows that God will win in the end. No matter what may happen on this earth, Christ will be exalted and what we do for him is the most important things of all. The world will eventually forget all of the dramatic decisions that dominate the news reports these days, but whoever gives a cup of cold water in the name of Christ, his work will be remembered forever (Matt. 10:42).

The purpose for which God has saved us is two-fold: to know him and to serve him, or to know him and to make him known to others. God’s will for us is pleasing to him, and if our hearts are right with him, it will be pleasing to us as well. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do his own good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

The mature Christian understand that he was saved by the grace of God for a purpose, and he gives himself to the fulfillment of this purpose. Earlier in this epistle to the Philippians Paul explained the attitude that mature Christians have. They are not dominated by selfishness but by unselfishness. They are not obsessed with their own reputation or position, rather they are willing to humble themselves to fulfill the will of God in their lives and in this world: “In lowliness of mind let each esteem others as better than himself” (Phil. 2:3).

God has called you for a purpose. Give yourself wholly to the fulfillment of his purpose in your heart – to know him deeply and personally – and through your life and witness – that others may know him too.

Leadership, Spiritual Leadership, Spiritual Maturity , , ,