What Is The G.O.A.L. Of Our Faith?

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Please turn with me in your Bibles to James chapter 4 verse 17. As you are turning there, I want to start with this question: “What Is The G.O.A.L. Of Our Faith”? As Christians our faith is often described as a “race”. We are to “Run, that you might obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24). We are commanded “run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). If we are to run, what is the GOAL we are striving toward?

To Even ENTER The Race, You Must Have AGospel Salvation

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

The Christian is called to do good. At the beginning of every day we are to pray, “Father, let me do good so as to please you and honor Jesus today”. At the end of every day we are to look back over the day, and ask ourselves “What good did I do to honor my Lord today?”

I’m not talking about “Social Justice” – though this is the “in thing” today. I’m talking about doing good so as to honor the One Who saved you. We are not to just mark time and march in place, but we are to advance the Gospel Kingdom in any way we can. The Bible commands us to:

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, for the days are evil

You – dear Christian – were given life to bring light into this dark world (see Colossians 4:5). If you are SAVED, you are SAVED by Grace – but with a purpose. We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by Grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.

We are here to celebrate our SALVATION. As you have been told many times, SALVATION is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast. You can neither earn nor deserve SALVATION.

SALVATION is what Jesus Christ purchased for you on Calvary.

A person is saved by “repenting”, turning away from being their own god and turning to the True God found only in Christ. The Scripture declares:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is … long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God wants to save whosoever will. Our favorite and most loved Scripture – John 3:16 – states that God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should NOT PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE. Jesus Christ died for all. We cannot earn nor deserve His salvation. But when we bring our broken lives to Him, Jesus saves us. This is Ephesians 2:8-9. However, in the very next verse we are told:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which GOD HATH BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them.

Word Study: Those SAVED are SANCTIFIED. Those SAVED are SPIRIT INDWELT. God lives in you, and has given you His Word and, through that Word, His Will. What does it mean to be “sanctified”? This is the Greek ἁγιασμός hagiasmós, {pronounced hag-ee-as-mos’}, which means

the process of cleansing, purifying, consecrating a saved person
to make them more like Jesus”.

SANCTIFICATION follows SALVATION. You cannot have one without the other. The Scripture says:

Hebrews 2:10-11 (ESV) … it was fitting that {God}, for Whom and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Source. That is why {Jesus} is not ashamed to call them brothers

Once SAVED, God adopts you into the family of God and begins to make you more like Jesus, the Son of God. The Son of God died and rose again to make MORE SONS AND DAUGHTERS of God. Sanctification is a process that God will not stop until you reach your ultimate destination.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 … this is the will of God, even your sanctification

1 Thessalonians 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel {your body} in sanctification and honor;

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Sanctification is a daily process where God the Holy Spirit takes the willing candidate and, through application of the Scripture and doing of the truth, makes that person more and more like Jesus Christ. You cannot be saved and NOT sanctified.

The Book of James is focused on SANCTIFICATION, on how God makes you more like Jesus.

Only God And His Scripture Sanctifies The Saved

The Christian is in a race to do good, and God is the judge. Naturally we read:

James 4:11-12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

The Christian is called to run his or her race – looking unto Jesus. Always looking unto Jesus, because only Jesus is the Judge.

Illustrate: A lot of you love to sit at home and watch football, baseball, or basketball, or maybe NASCAR on the television. When watching these sports we often yell at the television, calling the referee “blind and stupid”, or adding our two cents worth. My wife and I often watch cooking competitions in a show called “Chopped”, and I’ll often mock contestants for using too little or too much of the basket ingregients. Have you ever noticed when you watch these shows that there’s a phone number at the bottom of the screen where you can call in and register YOUR opinion with the judges? No? You’ve never seen that? Guess what, you never will.

No one cares about your opinion. The judge is the judge.

So it is with the Christian. When God called you to salvation through His Gospel, you became His “workmanship”, created to “do good works”. God began to work on your life. How does God do this? He does it through the Word of God, the Scripture. Jesus prayed for His Church in

John 17:17 Sanctify them (the Church) in the truth; Your Word (O God) is truth.

The Word of God, the Scripture we read every week is the standard of truth. It is absolutely certain that keeping the Law cannot save a person.

The LAW sets the standard by which the Judge works.

The Law does not save, but it does set the standard. God said in …

Romans 3:19-20 (ESV) Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

The Law CANNOT save, but it does set a standard. For instance:

Only God has the right to determine what is right and wrong, good and evil. And God has given us very clear direction insofar as to what is sin – even in the New Testament. For instance,

1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV) … do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

These things that are forbidden are NOT a part of our race. Further, we read:

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) … the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Law cannot save – but it can teach us that we need to be saved (Galatians 3:24-26). But once we are saved, we live in accordance with God’s Law. We do not – as people saved under the New Covenant – have to sacrifice animals nor keep the special feasts that God gave to Israel. We are still to be doers of the Law. Though the Law could not save me, once I was saved I am to be obedient to my God, to my Jesus.

The “Royal Law” of the Family of God is that
we as Christians LOVE.

Matthew 22:37-40 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Those who are sons and daughters of God are to love God supremely, to love God with our ALL. But we are also called to love my neighbor AS I love myself. In fact, Jesus took this even farther by saying:

John 13:34 (ESV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Word Study: We are to love our fellow Christians with the same sacrificial love that our Lord Jesus showed us. We are to (as James 4:11 says) Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law. Every Christian is a work in progress. I am not to Speak evilto my fellow Christian. The phrase Speak evil is the Greek καταλαλέω katalaléō, {pronounced kat-al-al-eh’-o}, which actually means to speak in opposition to, to slander, to speak against”.

If a brother or sister violates the “rule” of the Kingdom as set forth in the Scripture, we should tell them about it. But our OPINION is not warranted nor needed – God is the sole Judge.

James 4:12 There is one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

All Truths Come From The Written Word Of God

James just told us not to judge. And yet, just a few verses away, we see these harsh words:

James 5:1-6 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

James is speaking very harshly to the rich. Why? Because the ones he is addressing have hired laborers and yet not paid them, holding back a fair wage. They have enjoyed the very best life that God in Grace has allowed them, have earned billions of dollars in their lifetimes, but have never used what they have to love others. On the contrary, they robbed their own workers, and built their riches on the tombs of the laborer. James tells these unloving people:

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you

The rich people that James is indicting has violated the three Laws that the Christian lives by. The rich are not loving God with ALL their heart, mind, soul, and strength. These rich people are in love with their riches, not their God. Further, they are not treating their workers the way that they themselves would like to be treated. And as for following Jesus’ command to “love one another, as I have loved you” – it is absolutely non-existent!

James tells these people that they will weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. What does this mean? Jesus often spoke of those who refused to love their neighbor being …

Matthew 8:12 … thrown into outer darkness. In that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Hell is where those with misplaced love go. If YOU are the center of your universe, and YOU live your life just to please YOU, our Lord Jesus has a place already set for you in eternity. It is NOT a mansion (John 14:2), nor a pleasure palace. Jesus described it as:

Matthew 13:50 … the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). Those who go to that place called HELL shall see a certain rich man there “crying out for a drop of water, saying ‘for I am in anguish in this flame’ (Luke 16:34). There is a hell, and this is where the selfish go. The abusers, the racists, the hateful, the greedy, those who would make their riches on the bones of their neighbor – they shall be in that place.

But not so the Christian. The Christian is saved by the Blood of Christ to be like Christ. Our destination is Heaven. Our calling is to bring the Light of God to this present darkness.

We who are saved are to …

1 John 1:7 (ESV) … walk in the light, as {God} is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We are not to be JUDGES (for we are unworthy to judge), but as lovers of God to be DOERS of the Law of God.

Saved People Are To Live So As To Glorify God

James 4:13-16 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: [14] Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. [15] For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. [16] But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

There is nothing wrong with making plans for your life. The Bible tells us to:

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Jesus recognized that planning ahead is a good thing. Jesus tied planning ahead to salvation in:

Luke 14:28-33 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

It is not a bad thing to plan. BUT it is a bad thing

Those that James is speaking of say To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Notice what’s missing. IT IS THE LORD. God is no where in their plans for the future. The Bible is very clear that:

Proverbs 16:3 (ESV) Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Your SALVATION is a gift from God, and YOU now belong to the Lord. You are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). If you are a Christian, you are God’s Workmanship. You are God’s Property. You are God’s Son or Daughter. God is with you. God the Holy Spirit INDWELLS you. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Ezekiel 36:27 (ESV) I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules..

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

If the Scripture is true – and it is – then every Christian should make their plans with God in mind. We are not to live our lives like the rich farmer who never thought of God. You remember him? Jesus said:

Luke 12:16-21 The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: [17] And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? [18] And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. [19] And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. [20] But God said unto him, THOU FOOL, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? [21] So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

How foolish it is for anyone to live without the Presence of God in their lives. In this parable, God called the man THOU FOOL. The word FOOL is a word reserved in the Bible for those who live their lives without God. The Scripture says:

Psalms 14:1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

What does God say about our present lives?

James 4:14 … For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away

Our lives are like a vapor. We do not know when the Lord will call us home. Every day we live is a gift from God. We should honor God in our lives – honor Him by striving to be more like Jesus. We should remember the words of Scripture:

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God.

Let us, as God’s children, magnify the life of Christ in our lives. The Scripture says:

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, not on things on the earth. [3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Let us therefore (Romans 13:12) “.. cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light”.

Let us therefore (Romans 14:19) “… follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

Let us therefore (Hebrews 4:16) “… come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Love demands that we do good, reflecting the light of Christ from our lives into the world we serve. Let us live for Jesus daily, knowing that at any time I can be carried out of this life and into glory. We who belong to Jesus are to do good. We are to plan our lives with the glory of God in mind. We are to live each day knowing that tomorrow on this earth is not promised. We will ONE DAY stand before Jesus. Let’s stand with Jesus NOW.

May God use this message to grow His Church, and glorify His Kingdom. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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