Motivation of the Elect
Point: Paul defends his position as a messenger of God. Speaking the message of God does not always bring agreement with the receivers of such a message. It may bring opposition, especially spiritiual opposition. It may even bring into question your motivation for saying and doing what you do. But the number one importance is to be faithful to the message given by God, even if it results in questioning, rejection, or even hostility. The Elect always speak the message of God! Just be wise, smart, and loving in the way you speak!
Evenings with Tozer: Daily Devotional Readings (February 27: Test Your Conduct: What are Your Motives?)
The test by which all conduct must finally be judged is motive.
Ever had your motivation questioned? Your integrity? I remember when I first started out in ministry at my first church, I did something that I would not recommend to a new minister, in a new church, in the first few months. I removed a row of chairs, up front, in the sanctuary, and replaced them with two couches. When Sunday morning service came, I invited anybody who wanted to to come and relax in the two couches. Not one person took me up on my offer. A miserable failure! It was an experiment. I wanted to create more of a coffee house atmosphere instead of the feel of regimentation. I thought a coffee house atmosphere would make us relevant and relatable to those who may come and be seeking answers to life and peace. So lets make their search more comfortable as they hear what God has to say and offer.
A second misstep I made was using a snipit of a “Simpson’s” episode as an illustration. Maybe because the episode was called, “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”, would have been a wise warning light. Homer takes his family to the company picnic at his boss’, estate, Mr. Smithers. Homer ends up being embarrased by the way his family acts. On the way out, Homer encounters the “Perfect Family”. The husband expresses his affection for his wife and children, the children open the door for each other to the car, and the wife offers to drive the car because the husband looks tired. Thre drive into the sunset in a ray of light upto heaven. Homer has to drive home with his family through hell.
Long story short, Homer determines they as a family need to be better so he hocks their TV for $150 and buys a session of counciling from a doctor he sees on TV who guarantees results or double your money back. After a round of foam beating, shock therapy, and a citywide blackout, no changes result, Homer walks out the hero to his family having doubled their money and buys a bigger and better TV.
The point I was trying to make was that there was no such thing as a perfect family, a perfect person, nor a perfect church, so why expect it? Why judge others and cast stones when we are not either. He who is without sin, cast the first stone. The only one perfect is Jesus!
What do you think the people remembered? I played the Simpsons in church! The message got lost in translation! I choose questionable characters for illustration, though in my mind, they were highly relevant because everybody was watching the Simpsons and it would connect with the young couples, family and community we were attempting to reach out to. It played out far better in my mind than in real life.
My motivation in both instances was not to hurt, nor offend, nor make jest of God, nor the Gospel, but to send a message of change and make the message of the Gospel relatable in a way relevant. Follow up: I put the chairs back the very next week in the sancturay, removed the couch, and never used the Simpsons as an illustration ever again. About the Bible and the Gospel, we do not need to make it relevant. If the Word of God and the love of Jesus are not the most relevant and relatable thing and person, in the world, I do not know what is. What else can you pick up and have your heart and mind touched and transformed than through a Holy Spirit breathed book!
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
Again, I ask have you ever had your motivation questioned? Have you had your sincerity doubted? Have people had reason to question your motivations and/or your intent? What about we the Church? Have our motivation and sincerity been questioned and doubted? Sometimes deservedly so because we are more concerned about orthodoxy, theology, and being right than being compassionate and loving, while being doctrinally true, theologically sound, and in right standing before God and men. Have we beat our breast and fallen before God giving thanks that we are not like the lost sinners?
Maybe, in our quest to reach the lost, we have been rather casual or lacking of reverence for God and His Body, the Church. Our lack of sensitivity for that which is Holy and to be holy, offends and brings our integrity and character into question, and thus ruins our witness. Would people have grounds to question your motivation and sincerity? Is it justified? Questionable actions, language, and stories reveal the status of our hearts and minds and block the knowing of God’s will.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
When we keep our hearts guarded, from the influences of this world, and this age, we become a giver of life because our hearts will breed life because we know and do the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. A guarded heart towards the world, breeds the life of God into the world. As the Apostle Peter warned those believers of his day, about false teachers who sit amongest the breathern to feast, with eyes full of adultery, always looking to sin, polluting themselves with the desires of the flesh and despising authority (2 Peter 2:13, 14; 10), he so warns us,
2 Peter 2:19 (ESV)
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Whatever one allows to overcome themselves, to that will one become enslaved. We are fools to think that we can play in the world and handle the world, and its influences ,and ignore the word and will of God. We will become a waterless spring and be destroyed if we think we can play with the world and be unsinged.
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.
I watched an interesting interview the other day concerning prosperity televangelist Kenneth Copeland. Inside Edition was doing interviews on televangelists and their modes of transportation for doing ministry. Copeland, who has a networth of $850 million dollars, a $7 million dollar, 18000 feet mansion on 24 acres of lakefront property in Fort Worth, TX for a mere $3000 in property tax/year, runs Kenneth Copeland Ministries. The ministry owns three planes including an estimated $20 million dollar 2005 Cessna 750 Citation X, a 1998 Cessna 550 Citation Bravo, and a 1962 Beech H-18 Twin.
Copeland was asked by interviewer Lisa Guerrero why he said he would not travel commercially refering to planes being “tubes filled with demons”.
What do you think Mr. Copeland’s motivation is? Is he possibly enslaved to anything other than Jesus Christ? Do you believe that he is a true preacher of Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul speaking to Timothy about the last days says this,
2 Timothy 3:1–3 (HCSB)
But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,
2 Timothy 3:4–5 (HCSB)
traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!
Do you see any reason to doubt Mr. Copeland’s motivation when you take Matthew 6:24 into account?
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Plain and simple, Mr. Copeland is a false teacher and a false preacher, a waterless spring. These are the kind of wolves that give the true Church of God a bad witness in the view of the world. Mr. Copeland is not one of the elect of God. His motivation, character, and integrity is highly questionable and should be questioned. He is one of the false teachers that Jesus, the Apostles Peter, Paul, and James warned us about to come in our day.
What is to be the Motivation of the Elect?
The Apostle Paul says that our motivation in living is to walk in a manner worthy of God because we have been approved and entrusted with the Gospel, to share with the lost, who are loved and chosen by God to be His elect. Will we please God with this entrusted Gospel message, or man, by not sharing the Gospel message of Christ love and choosing?
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of speaking and sharing a different narrative from the one that Jesus has entrusted us with. What is the Gospel narrative? That God so loved His lost creation, that He gave Himself, Jesus, to men and women, lost in the deception and sin of Satan, that we can be gods, that He layed down His own divne self, on the cross, to be sacrificed for our redemption. Being buried, after 3 days, Jesus rose again, having conquered death and Hades, to be witnessed and testify to eternal life found only in Him. Ascending to the right hand of God the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to live in us, so we would be empowered to live and follow Him, Jesus reserves a place for God’s elect, those who believe and receive Jesus and His gift of life, into the eternal coming Kingdom of God. This be the Word, the Work, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ given and entrusted to us. Do you believe, receive, and give this Gospel? What other motivation do we need other than to receive the pleasure of our heavenly Father and hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You have been faithfull… Enter into your Master’s joy” (Mt. 25:23). Do we not wish to enter into our Master’s joy? Do we not desire to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant”? Do we not look forward to the day of Jesus’ return? Where is our focus? What are we desiring? What is our motivation?
What is the manner worthy of God? The Apostle Paul says that
1. One’s conduct should be holy, righteous, and blameless (1 Thess 2:10). Just as Paul imitates Christ, we should imitate him (1 Cor 11:1).
You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
2 Accept God’s Word as the Word of God, not as the word of men (v.13). We spoke about this last week, so we will not cover it again.
3. Exhort and Encourage others to walk in a manner worthy of God (v.12). For the same Spirit that dwelt in Jesus, dwelt in the Apostles, dwells in all believers, dwells in you and is at work in you. The Holy Spirit works in, through, and in conjunction with the Word of God.
Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
To exhort and encourage others to walk in a manner worthy of God is not an easy job…just ask any pastor. This is what the prophet Jeremiah was tasked with. His ministry was not easy. As a matter of fact, I would say it was probably one of the toughest we read about in the Bible. He was tasked with calling the Israelites back to God and they openly refused and tried to kill him. God even said to Jeremiah, they will try to kill you, but I will preserve you. Trust me.
Am I willing to trust God with the Gospel He has entrusted me with? I am know 52 years old. I have served Jesus as a pastor now for 20 years. Twenty years of being entrusted with the Gospel to encourage, exhort, and challange the loved, and the chosen, the elect, to believe, receive, trust, and love Christ. I would have it no other way. He has been faithful and trustworthy, even in the darkest of times. My motivation? To please God. To please Christ. To hear the words “well done my good and faithful servant… enter your Father’s joy”.
What is your motivation for living today and tomorrow? What has your motivation been for living yesterday? Does it need to change? Does it need an adjustment? It is not too late to make the adjustment. God loves you, and God has choosen you, to be His elect, and serve as His elect. Will you accept? Will you follow? Will you believe? What is your motivation for life?
The test by which all conduct must finally be judged is motive. -A.W. Tozer