Purpose Series, Part 1
Last service we began the Purpose Series and briefly discussed the purpose of The Word, The Christ, The Church, and The Christian. We discovered everything God has ever designed, whether an object, a person, or an event, each has a unique purpose.
Just as when a man creates something with purpose, that man gives instructions on how to use it and what it was made for… God too, when He creates something, gives instructions on how to use it and what it’s purpose is. God gives all things purpose.
In the coming weeks, as we take a closer look at these 4 major creations of God, we will discover discover what their purpose is. What you will find amazing is, although they each have their own various roles, they are unified in purpose. They all share a common goal.
So this week we will dive deeper into the first topic of this series; The Word. Have you ever wondered, what God’s reason for this big thick book, The Bible, is? What is the purpose of The Word of God?
Ask group: Why did God give it to us?
- The Word
First we must ask, where did the Bible come from? Did it actually come from God?
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:20-21
“Human Will” Ficition – Selfish
– Muhammad, Quran, Angel Gabriel, Hero
– Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, Angel, Hero
Divinely Inspired History – Selfless
– Example, Peter’s many weaknesses.
– Uneducated fisherman
– Famously denies Jesus as Lord 3 times
– Speaks on behalf of Satan, rebuked
– Tries to kill a man when Jesus is being arrested, rebuked
– Only disciple to initially deny Jesus opportunity to wash feet
– Briefly, miraculously walks on water, sinks, rebuked for having little faith.
Jesus, the Hero of the Bible
People all throughout Bible record their many sins and failures meanwhile seeking to make someone else, rather than themselves, the special hero… They selflessly portray God the Father and the Lord Jesus as faultless and wonderful and their total admiration for Him often results in their own infamy and death during their time. This alone lends a huge amount of credence to the belief that the Bible is a 100% true, factual, historical record of events.
So let’s say the Bible IS true, what is it’s purpose? What is the message of the Bible?
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4
Hope for what? That we will be saved.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” – Romans 8:22-25
So we see here that The Word of God gives us the hope of salvation, and how do we know we have received it? What is the evidence that confirms our hope?
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created… Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” – James 1:17, 21-25
The confirmation of our hope of salvation, is that we have not only heard the teachings of Jesus and intellectually agreed with them… that is not faith. The evidence of our salvation is that we have not only heard, but we do… if we are not doing what Jesus Word says, we are “deceiving ourselves” as James says.
Jesus calls this “doing”, or “action”… “fruit”
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
In order to inform us of the importance of our “fruit” or “actions” or “doing”, Jesus follows up with this statement…
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Notice it is not the ones merely claiming Jesus is Lord that are saved… it is those who DO what Jesus says because He is their Lord! The fruit, or the DOING, is the evidence that someone is truly connected to the vine.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matt 7:16-27
Why is the one who doesn’t put Jesus teachings into practice a foolish man? He will believe that by saying Jesus is Lord, and agreeing with His teachings… that He is saved! A LORD is one to be obeyed, if we’re not obeying them, they are not our Lord!
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” – Luke 6:46-49
We discover in these stories, the foolish man believes Jesus commands are now optional because of grace! Yet grace has not come to the one who’s faith leads them to believe Jesus teachings are optional, that is not faith at all!
“If you love me, keep my commands… Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them… Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” – John 14:15, 21, 23-24
Jesus is making a serious point. A believer who confesses that Jesus is their Lord will obey Jesus teachings, and although it is not their obedience or performance that saves them (they will not have a perfect record), the obedience does serve as the evidence of their hope of salvation being confirmed.
The believer will produce fruit, they will DO what Jesus teaches. If they do not, if they believe obedience is optional, they are on the most deceptive and dangerous path to eternal destruction; On this path they believe they are saved, and go throughout life carefree, not realizing they are not actually saved.
Jude warned of this kind of false-faith.
“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” – Jude 1:4
This is why Scripture also states…
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” – Heb 5:8-9
St Paul, given the revelation of God’s amazing grace, also taught this principal…
“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” – Rom 2:13-16
But how could salvation be for those who OBEY Him? I thought salvation came to people by their faith and not by the Law as Paul taught?
Yes, but the point Jesus, Paul, and all of scripture makes is that true saving faith will produce OBEDIENCE of Jesus’ law. This is why Paul states…
“For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law… Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” – Romans 3:28, 31
James explains this further.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,] and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” James 2:14-24”
So we’ve learned that The Word gives us the Hope of Salvation, it teaches us that our Hope is confirmed by our DOING what Jesus taught. So wouldn’t you say, it’s pretty important to know what Jesus taught amen?
The Law of Love
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” – Rom 13:8-10
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Gal 5:14
ASK GROUP: Because of God’s grace, is love optional?
Jesus doesn’t think so…
“”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
John also teaches that one MUST love if they expect to be saved…
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sisterb is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sisterc lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” – 1 John 2:3-11
“If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” – 1 John 2:29
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” – 1 John 4:15-21
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:7-8
Love is the evidence, and as earlier in James, love is displayed by doing good deeds.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18
This proves our faith is genuine, that love lives in us, that we love Jesus, that He is our Lord, that we love our neighbor, and that we are indeed saved! Love is the evidence, the confirmation of our hope!
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” – Heb 6:10-12
Lastly, the purpose of scripture, of The Word, is to prepare us for judgement day. Here is what Jesus said will be important on that day…
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46
Everything written has been written to prepare us for this day, and if we believe in Jesus, we ought not test Him and His grace, we ought to obey His words and get busy demonstrating our love through good works!
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Tim 3:16-17
ALL SCRIPTURE’S PURPOSE IS TO EQUIP US FOR LOVE & GOOD WORKS!