By Having the Right Goal

Dr. Steve Viars February 10, 2019 2 Corinthians 5
Outline

Acts 2:41 - So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Acts 4:4 - But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Acts 4:17 - But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.

Acts 5:14 - And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number…

Acts 5:28 - …We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

Acts 6:1 - Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number…

Matthew 16:16 - Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:18 - …upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Opening Salvos

1. In theological terms, the doctrine of spiritual growth is known as “progressive sanctification”

2. The word “sanctify” in the Bible means “set apart” or “make holy”

3. Sanctification has three aspects in Scripture

a. Positional sanctification – occurs immediately as an act of God when we place our faith and trust in Christ

1 Corinthians 1:2 - To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours…

b. Progressive sanctification – the process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ over time

John 17:17 - Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth…

John 17:19 - For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

c. Prospective sanctification – occurs in heaven when we become like Christ because we see Him as He is

1 Thessalonians 5:23 - Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18 - …but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

4. Pastors are instructed to give particular attention to soul care for every person in the church family

Hebrews 13:17 - Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

3 principles to help us bring the correct mindset into the growth process

I. Rejoice in the Possibility of Pleasing God

2 Corinthians 5:9 - Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him…

A. In spite of the condition in which we were born

Romans 8:8 - …and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please Him…

B. Because of the power of our union with Christ

1. Predicted in the Old Testament

Matthew 12:17-18 - This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased…”

2. Celebrated at Christ’s baptism

Matthew 3:17 - …and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”   

3. Affirmed at the transfiguration

Matthew 17:5 - While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

4. Summarizes Jesus’ life

John 8:29 - “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

C. Grounded in a gospel-centered approach to living (as opposed to sheer moralism or legalism)

 

 

 

Gospel-centered Change and Growth

Moralism and Legalism

Purpose       

Obedience because of God’s grace

Obedience to gain God’s favor

Power

Humble dependence on Christ’s righteousness

Prideful striving after our own righteousness

Effect

Growth in Christ-likeness

Growth in Pride

Focus

Celebrates Christ’s righteousness on my behalf

Exalts my righteousness

Heart

Delights in God and the Gospel

Delights in being better than others

Future

Asks – “What is the next step?”

Asks – “What is the bare minimum?”

Impact

Freeing and energizing

Enslaving and exhausting

Result

Glorifies Christ

Glorifies self

II. Learn to Make God’s Goal Your Goal in as Many Specific Situations as Possible

A. Is Paul’s ambition your ambition?

B. In the shadow of eternity

2 Corinthians 5:9 - Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

Colossians 3:20 - Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:32-33 - But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife…

Ephesians 5:8-10 - …for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

C. Relying on the power of God

2 Corinthians 5:5 - Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

Romans 8:8-11 - …and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

III. Embrace the Motivation to Please God

A. The pending judgment seat of Christ

2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

1 Timothy 3:13 - For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

B. Because the gospel frees us from self-centered living

2 Corinthians 5:15 - …and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 

- would you agree with me this morning that your goal in a given situation will have a dramatic impact on how you respond to whatever is occurring around you?...

- in other words – your mindset, or the condition of your heart – the inner person that you cultivate and take into your day is far more important than the nature of your circumstances?...

- so let’s test that theory…and since we’re only one minute into this message – let’s not talk about you – let’s talk about your neighbors…

- and by the way – if you brought your neighbor with you to church this morning – let me assure everyone – the neighbor we’re talking about is not you…it’s those other people down the street…

- so let’s say the guys who live on your right and on your left are similar in many ways…

- for example – they are both named Fred…so to keep them straight, let’s call the one on your right Fred #1, and the one on your left…[let’s keep this simple]…Fred #2

- they also drive identical cars…2016 dark gray Toyota Camrys with 40,000 miles each…

- at 7 am the other day…their garage doors went up at precisely the same second, and you saw them back down their driveways almost like they were synchronized swimmers…

- but although you didn’t know it – that’s where the similarities end…

- because Fred #1 is heading down to the airport to go on a golfing vacation with his buddies…they’ve been planning this for months and they even have a tee time at a great course in Florida later this afternoon…and he’s leaving a bit later than he wanted so he’s cutting it a bit close…but what could go wrong in a simple drive to airport…

- Fred #2, on the other hand – is heading to what looks like a very difficult meeting at work…because his boss surprised him late yesterday afternoon by demanding a project update first thing in the morning…and Fred #2 is way behind on that one and he’s been hoping his boss wouldn’t notice…

- so all night he’s been trying to dream up an excuse to delay the meeting…he prayed that the Lord would give him the stomach flu overnight but sure enough, this morning he feels fine…

- so now our two Fred’s are driving down the same interstate – one to the airport and one to work…when low and behold, a delivery truck from Lowes -- spills a crate of nails all over the road -- and of course both Fred’s get flat tires and they end up on the side of the interstate – one right behind the other…

- so, they have the same car, they left at the same time, they have the same name, in fact, surprise, surprise – in both cases it’s the right front tire that went flat…

- however – is there response the same?....

- not even close – golf trip Fred is stomping around, cursing his bad luck, down on his hands and knees trying to give the tire mouth to mouth resuscitation…

- while bad meeting at work Fred is having a mini worship service on the side of the road…

- there’s no question that your goal in a given situation is going to have a dramatic impact on how you respond to whatever is occurring around you…and there’s also no question that recognizing and responding to this truth will have a dramatic impact on How People Grow

- with that in mind – please open your Bible this morning to 2 Corinthians chapter 5…page ____ of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- our church’s theme this year in Growing What God Has Given

- we’re thinking about these five different ministry platforms the Lord has entrusted to us…and the dozens of different ministries carried out at each of those places…and then asking what faithful stewardship looks like in light of what the Lord has chosen to provide…

- we started in the book of Acts…studying The Exciting Growth of Christ’s Church

- and we had to acknowledge that the Lord spoke about numbers…

- on the day of Pentecost, the day the church was born…Acts 2:41 - So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

- so before we get too quick to say – we don’t care about numbers – we have to acknowledge that the Lord does…not to draw attention to self or organizations…but to draw attention to our precious Redeemer who is in the process of drawing men and women to Himself through His shed blood…the numbers represent souls…people who will spend their eternity somewhere…

- then in Acts 4:4 - But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

- it’s growing so rapidly that now they’re just counting households…

- and the religious leaders tried to stop it, so the Council decides -- Acts 4:17 - But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.

- see the gospel is spreading at an amazing rate…and even after the need for purification of the church through the terrible lesson of Ananias and Sapphira – what does Luke tell us?...Acts 5:14 - And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,

- more evidence of the exciting growth of Christ’s church…

- then the opposition steps in again – with what they intended as a criticism but truly was a badge of honor -- Acts 5:28 - saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

- that didn’t take long, huh?...and so Acts 6 begins with these great words…Acts 6:1 - Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number

- and this is when the office of deacon was instituted in the church to address some of the challenges that come with rapid growth…

- but there’s no question about this – the confession that Peter had made back in Matthew 16:16 - Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” … and Jesus’ corresponding promise…Matthew 16:18 - …upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. …is being fulfilled at an exciting and incredible rate

- all of that is coming true as we witness the exciting growth of Christ’s church…and at Faith this year -- we joyfully and enthusiastically want to be part of that…with whatever ministry platforms the Lord has entrusted to us…we too want to grow what God has given…

- now, we equally want to emphasize the growth of our own souls…the great commission is to…Matthew 28:19–20 - “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

- so you could say that the first five weeks of the year were focused on the first two aspects of the Great Commission…now we’re pivoting to the third aspect…[teaching them to observe…]

- so we’re starting a new series today…How People Grow

- now, before we read this great passage in 2 Corinthians 5…let’s set the stage by making a couple of introductory points [Opening Salvos] about spiritual growth…

1. In theological terms, the doctrine of spiritual growth is known as “progressive sanctification.”

2. The word “sanctify” in the Bible means “set apart” or “make holy.”

- that’s what God is doing in and through us through the power of Christ’s transforming blood…taking people who are cursed by sin and making us holy…

3. Sanctification has three aspects in Scripture [Heather – please try to keep all three on the same slide]

a. Positional sanctification – occurs immediately as an act of God when we place our faith and trust in Christ

- 1 Corinthians 1:2 - To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

- well, that verse certainly wasn’t talking about their behavior…based upon everything else we know about the Corinthian church…so our stand before God is based on his grace, and mercy, and forgiveness, and power – and praise the Lord for that…but then there’s…

b. Progressive sanctification – the process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ over time

- so Jesus prayed for that before he went to the cross…John 17:17 - Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth…and then a few verses later…John 17:19 - For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

- that’s talking about a lifelong process and please note the central role the Word of God plays in what God wants to do in us…

c. Prospective sanctification – occurs in heaven when we become like Christ because we see Him as He is.

- 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

- all three aspects are very precious – but this series is especially focused on the middle principle…how you and I can change and grow in the here and now…

- and the fact that’s possible ought to give us tremendous hope…

- we can say with the apostle Peter -- 2 Peter 3:18 - but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

- I hope you would say this morning – I want in on that…

- one last idea is that…

4. Pastors are instructed to give particular attention to soul care for every person in the church family.

- Hebrews 13:17 - Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

- so when we talk about growing what God has given this year…ultimately it’s a lot more than numbers…it’s having an environment where as many people as possible know how to grow, and are actively engaged in this exciting process…which often starts – thinking back to our 2 Fred’s for a moment…with Having the Right Goal

- with that in mind, let’s read our passage…read 2 Cor. 5:1-21 [or 1-15]- this morning we’re talking about Having the Right Goal – and with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 principles to help us bring the correct mindset into the growth process.

I. Rejoice in the Possibility of Pleasing God

- one of our responses to the core verse in our passage this am - 2 Corinthians 5:9 - Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him…should be something like a theological “are you kidding me?”…

- that for even one second, the Creator, Holy, all-knowing God of heaven and earth could actually be pleased with a person like me?...how is that possible?...

- is it because of the condition in which you were born?...not if Scripture is going to be our guide…

A. In spite of the condition in which we were born.

- please consider these verses…

  • Romans 8:8 - and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please Him

- the Scripture is very clear on that point…not that it will be tough…or that it will take a lot of effort…it’s what?...it’s impossible to please God…

- that’s why there are such strong metaphors in God’s Word to describe our relationship with God apart from Christ…and “pleasing Him” isn’t even close to what the Bible says – we’re enemies, alienated, living in the kingdom of darkness, vessels of wrath fit for destruction…

- that tells us something about…

B. Because of the power of our union with Christ

- we need to borrow some pleasing…

- we need to meet and establish a relationship with someone who escaped the curse of sin and was therefore well pleasing to the heavenly father…

- and what would that person’s name be?...do some places in Scripture especially stand out on that point?...

1. Predicted in the Old Testament

Matthew 12:17–18 - This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased…

- what does God the Father think of His Son?...The Father’s soul is well pleased with Him…(wouldn’t it be great to get in on that?)

2. Celebrated at Christ’s baptism

Matthew 3:17 - and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

- can you imagine standing by a river – and hearing a voice from heaven speak…would that get your attention?...

- and then the voice speaks about a man who had just been baptized, and says – this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased…

- would you not say – I want to get to know Him…because whatever He has, I want, and I need…because I know that voice would not have said that about me…

3. Affirmed at the transfiguration

Matthew 17:5 - While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

- which is really good advice for any of us who ever want to learn to please Him

- you could even say…

4. Summarizes Jesus’ life

John 8:29 - “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

- including dying on the cross for our sin…

- and the two questions for each of us is…

1. Has there been a definite time in your life when you admitted you sin…where you agreed with the Scriptures analysis that in your flesh alone – you could never please God…

- and then you placed your faith in trust in Christ as Savior and Lord so He could…

- 2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

- if not, we would urge you to make that decision today…but if you have…

2. Are you still amazed that the shed blood of Jesus makes it even possible that you could ever please our Holy God?...

- I remember teaching this to our oldest daughter Bethany and he had just taken a step of spiritual growth and said something like – “daddy…that puts a smile on Jesus’ face”…

- and it was that childlike amazement that to some degree should characterize us each and every day…

- that achieving the goal Paul is offering us here – the ambition of pleasing God…is even possible for people like us…

- now, we need to push the pause button here…because we’re actually standing in a theological minefield…you say, what do you mean?...

- this concept of having the right goal – can either play a helpful role in our growth…or it can actually be very counter-productive…

- because it can easily degenerate into moralism – just be a good person

- or legalism – earn merit before God by being good…and the gospel is nowhere to be found…so how do we avoid that trap?...

C. Grounded in a gospel centered approach to living (as opposed to sheer moralism or legalism)

 

 

Gospel-centered Change and Growth

Moralism and Legalism

Purpose

Response to God’s grace

Attempt to earn God’s favor

Power

Please God through the power of Jesus working in you

Please God through your own strength

Effect

Produces humility

Produces pride

Focus

Celebrates what Jesus is doing in you

Celebrates what you are doing for Christ

Heart

Results in humility

Results in pride

Future

Asks – “What is the next step?”

Asks – “What is the bare minimum?”

Impact

Exciting

Exhausting

Result

Glorifies Christ

Glorifies man

 

- now admittedly – that’s a lot of information – but the platform of what we’re discussing is an amazement that it’s even possible for people like or me to please God…and we recognize it’s only because of the finished work of Christ in the cross…

- we want our growth to be rooted in, and centered on, and flowing out of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ…

II. Learn to Make God’s Goal – Your Goal – In as Many Specific Situations as Possible.

- I’ve been trying to lay as careful a theological basis for all of this as we can…but let’s also try to keep it as simple and practical as possible…

A. Is Paul’s ambition your ambition?

- please think back to as many scenarios you faced last week as possible…how often is the goal of pleasing God at the forefront of your heart and mind?...

- by the way – that would have been very helpful to our two Fred’s…

- which one of the two Fred’s was right, by the way?...at least with the information we have in front of us – neither one…

- because golf trip Fred had as his primary goal pleasing himself…which sets you up for failure and frustration any time a trial comes your way…

- what if he had started his morning thanking God for the opportunity to travel with his friends but then to say – but Lord, if something interrupts these plans – my highest goal is pleasing you, not going on vacation…

- the flat tire doesn’t interrupt that…it just redirects it…maybe the most important person in my life today is the guy down at the tire shop…

- what about bad meeting at work Fred?...

- the goal of pleasing God could have calmed his heart…

- which might have meant asking his boss’ forgiveness for falling behind on the project and not communicating well…

- it might have meant being admonished by his boss but accepting the criticism well…

- it might have meant trusting in God for the outcome instead of worrying about something he couldn’t control…

- this passage also challenges us to live this way…

B. In the shadow of eternity

- what does the middle of the verse…2 Corinthians 5:9 - Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. …mean?

- the answer in this context is – dead or alive…at home in the body or away from it…

- which reminds us that we only have so many opportunities to please God in this life…

- so for example…children growing up with their parents…

- Colossians 3:20 - Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.

- so if you are living under your parents roof or eating at your parents table…if you’re serious about growing in Christ by seeking every day to please God – that starts by learning to obey your parents…but you only have so many opportunities to that…

- and what that means is – there are kinds of wrong goals that you’re going to have to learn to crucify…to put to death…

- not because they are wrong in and of themselves…but because they could become wrong if they become more important than pleasing God…

- so a young person might say – my goal is to spend as much time as I can with my friends?...

- well, what if it was more pleasing to God for you to spend less time with your friends and more time serving your parents?...

- when is the last time you asked yourself – how can I be more pleasing to God in the way I treat my parents, and my siblings…the way I speak to them…the way I keep my room…the way I serve around the house…

- can you say – with the apostle Paul – I make it my goal to please God…

- [and by the way – if the answer to that is no – today would be a great day to repent and change]…

- let me say a word to the singles in our church family….did you know the Bible specifically uses this principle in relationship to people who are not married?...

- 1 Corinthians 7:32–33 - But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

- that is a fascinating passage – and this is an ideal Sunday to mention it – because of the way so many people in our church family will serve during the BCTC…

- and what’s going on – even for someone who might say – you know, I might like to be married someday if that is what the Lord has for me…but in the meantime I’m not going to sit around and brood…nor am I going to take any sinful steps to be married in the wrong way or to the wrong kind of person…

- so I will use this period of singleness as an opportunity to find even additional ways to please God…

- my goal is not to be in a different marital state…it’s to please God…

- we could walk right on down through every phases of life…married persons could ask if this is your goal in marriage…not to get your way, not to have your needs met, not to win the argument…and the hundreds of other wrong goals you could adopt…

- but to say with the apostle Paul – I make it my ambition to be pleasing to God…

- or as he told the Ephesians - Ephesians 5:8–10 - for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

- and part of the beauty of that verse is – it holds out great hope for every one of us who would say – I find myself defaulting to so many wrong goals…take heart that God doesn’t expect perfection…but “trying to learn what is pleasing to God”…

- and if you would say – but PV – it’s just so hard…please don’t forget…

C. Relying on the power of God

- verse 5 is a marvelous encouragement in all of this…

- 2 Corinthians 5:5 - Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

- that’s where the rest of the passage we started with this am from Romans 8 fits in…

- Romans 8:8–11 - and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

- The Holy Spirit of God makes it possible for people like you and me to live in a way that is pleasing to God

- now, this passage also has some string motivation…

III. Embrace the Motivation to Please God.

- did you notice it as we were reading?...

A. The pending judgment seat of Christ

- 2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

- one of our goals as a church is to help every person in our church family be best positioned to give a good account at the judgment seat of Christ…

- by the way – this is how the concepts introduced in Acts 6 fits into our discussion…

- remember as the church grew – the office of deacon was instituted…

- we have 43 deacons here – and they, along with their families serve as excellent resources to help each person in our church family grow…

- that’s what the deacons’ care ministry is all about…to help us with the soul care of each of our members…

- so as soon as someone joins here, you are placed on a deacons care list…

- and I’d like to thank our deacons and their wives for the excellent work they do…

- and I hope when your deacon contacts you – that you take his call, or answer his e-mail or his text…

- we all need as many spiritual friends as we can possibly have…

- now, for a person who might say – well, I don’t know who my deacon is…

- every so often we lose track of someone’s contact information because it changes so often and folks don’t always remember to tell us (which is certainly understandable)…

- but what about the rare person who would say – I don’t know who my deacon is…

- let me ask you something gently as your pastor…humanly speaking, who should be most concerned about your spiritual growth?...who should care most about growing the soul that God has given?...the answer is – you…

- so I would encourage you to contact the church office – find out the name and contact info for your deacon – and send him an e-mail and be sure he has the updated contact info…

- and thank him for his willingness to serve you and our church family this way…

- you know – Paul made an important observation about this to Timothy…1 Timothy 3:13 - For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

- I remember speaking with an elderly deacon a number of years ago who said – you know, serving as a deacon isn’t a very honorable thing anymore…that’s sad that he felt that way – let’s be sure we’re treating our deacons, and benefitting from our deacons – in a way that none of them would ever have reason to say/think that…

- now, I’m skipping much for sake of time…but much of this finds its climax in verse 15…

B. Because the gospel frees us from self-centered living

2 Corinthians 5:15 - and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

- friend, when you leave your house in the morning – are you still in awe with the possibility of living in a way that would…as Bethany said…put a smile on Jesus’ face?...

- are you amazed you’re in that position because of the finished work of Christ…

- are you excited that you have the possibility because of Holy Spirit who lives inside of you?...

- and as you seek to grow progressively in the image of Christ – will you make it your goal – in each and every situation…to be pleasing to God?

 


Dr. Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video