Speaking the Truth in Love
What is Your Goal in Life?
Before we get into our program tonight we would like to make something perfectly clear. David and I and the crew at Speaking the Truth in Love are members of the Oak Ridge church of Christ. We call ourselves Christians (Acts 11:26) and we hold to the Bible as our one and only Truth. Church of Christ is a biblical description of Christians who work together for the cause of Christ (Romans 16:16). We are independent assemblies with no organization beyond our own number as described in Philippians 1:1. There are Christians across the world who work with local congregations of God's people such as described in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Christians are members of Christ body, which is also known as His Church (Acts 2:47, Ephesians 5:23). Our mission is to stand for God's truth and that truth is also known as the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 1:16, 1 Timothy 3:15). We are accountable to our one and only Head Jesus Christ. Hopefully this will help clarify who we are and what we are about.
Tonight we would like to look at the goals the Apostle Paul had in his life and then make application to our lives.
READ PHILIPPIANS 3:1-14
Paul had goals and accomplishments in his life:
He had social status (Acts 9:1-2, 22:4-5)
He was born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-29)
He learned a trade (Acts 18:1-3).
But when Paul became a Christian he realized that no matter what we have accomplished in life, there is a more important goal. He said that he counted these things as "rubbish" (Philippians 3:8).
When he became a Christian, his focus changed. His priorities changed to teaching the lost (Acts 22:16, 18:4, 17:17), enduring hardships and sacrificing for the spreading of the gospel (2 Corinthians 11:22-28), having great concern for the brethren (Philippians 1:3-14, 18), and hoping to get to Heaven (Philippians 3:20-21).
Some of the accomplishments Paul gave up willingly when he became a Christian (Philippians 3:7). Paul could use these accomplishments in his life to serve the Lord. When preaching he used his education (Acts 17:28), he used his citizenship to appeal to Caesar in order to spread the gospel (Acts 23:11, 25:11-12), and when he needed to support himself he used his tent-making trade (Acts 20:34) etc..
Let us ask ourselves a question. Am I really sacrificing and enduring suffering for the Lord like Paul did? So many times we make or hear lame excuses for missing Bible study, for missing worship, for missing opportunities to stand for the Lord, and for missing opportunities to teach those around us. Paul considered what he went through as "light affliction" (2 Corinthians 4:17) and "rejoiced in his sufferings" (Colossians 1:24). He found contentment even when he was suffering (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Philippians 4:11-13). I think we need to be more like Paul and make sacrifices for the Lord, our fellow man, and our brethren.
Maybe you have goals in your life:
Make a Ball Team, Go to College, Go to Medical School, Get Married, Have Children, Get a Real Job, Buy a House, Have Grandchildren
Lately, I have been sharing personal stories and thoughts that I have not shared before. I guess as we get older, we feel closer to our brethren and more comfortable sharing personal things. As with Paul, I have had many goals in my life. I wanted to make a basketball team and after failing in High School I finally got a chance to play as a senior in college. I wanted to get a degree in college and a real job. I was able to do both. I wanted to have a wife and family, and again I was able to obtain more than a man could ever wish for. When my son Daniel was a baby I also had a goal of completing research that I had been working on for many years. Here is the result of that work. I spent a lot of time on each page of this thesis and I would like to read to you what I wrote almost 14 years ago.
God gives all men and women gifts, and I believe He expects us to use them and develop them (1 Peter 4:8-11).
If we seek the glory of men and do not thank God for the opportunities He gives us, we miss the most important part. Look at Solomon and Howard Hughes. Both had many lofty goals and many accomplishments - but what did these profit them?
With God by our side we can accomplish many things in our life. But our focus and overall goal must be to one day be with Him in Heaven (Philippians 3:11, 13-14). When pleasing Him is our goal in life, then we will be like Paul, glorifying God in all the things we do.
Maybe you have many goals in life that you would like to accomplish. I want you all to know that goals and achievements in this life, by themselves, will not bring you true happiness and contentment. If God is not your priority and your life, it does not matter what success you have in life, it will end up being useless and you will lose your soul for eternity (Matthew 16:26-27).
If you are not a Christian, follow the example of Paul. Make it your goal to obey the commandments of Jesus. Repent and be Baptized for the remission of your sins. Why not make your highest goal, the goal of Heaven? When Paul was presented with the truth, he obeyed (Acts 22:16). What is hindering you from being baptized? We hope to see next time on "Speaking the Truth in Love".