CPRC Men’s B.S.
- Can we profess to follow Christ for the wrong motives? Yes! Tripp gives the example of a man who was bitter with God as things went wrong in his life and a woman whose husband did not love her. Had these people counted the cost? Were they not like those who Christ warned only followed him for the food he provided and for the possibility of an earthly kingdom free of the Romans? Jesus says his people will go through tribulation (John 16:33). The “followers” in John 6 left him when confronted with their own inability, the sovereignty of God in salvation and the exhortation to seek their only satisfaction in the true bread of life, himself. If we say we follow him and have selfish reasons or complain of providence we lie and if we backslide by seeking to satisfy other ambitions other than Christ and his kingdom we will become bitter and discontented. The pure motives of Job and Habakkuk (Job 1:20-21, Hab.3:17-19) are outstanding compared with the mercenary motives of Judas Iscariot and Simon Magus and the pride of King Saul. Trials should not cause us to doubt the love of the King but rather convince us of it! Godly responses to trial and affliction glorify God because there is nothing selfish or of self-interest in them. Indeed we are humbled, hurt and held up to contempt in them.
2. So why do we follow Christ? Because he is the only Saviour, is worthy and we are thankful, love him and want to glorify him. This is the Christ-centred life.
3. Can we be side-tracked? Yes! The desire for glory (fame or position), money /possessions (lust of the eyes), self-gratification (greed, sexual sin) or just elevating family, marriage or friendship with people above love for Christ will all choke our spiritual lives like weeds and kill the good plant if not rooted out (parable of sower). All these are self-centred. See Luke 12:15, Matthew 10:37.
4. What are we to seek first? His Kingdom and righteousness-loving him by obeying all the commandments, doing good works which will bring reward, being good stewards of all we have (for increased responsibility in glory), laying up treasure in heaven (qualities of faith, purity and spiritual fruit produced in others by our witness/teaching). I Cor.3, I Peter 1:3-9.
5. What glorifies God? Loving God with heartfelt praise and thanks (Psalm 50:23), suffering patiently (I Peter 2:19 and Peter told of his death John 21:19), true conversions (Gal.1:24), genuinely loving others.
6. What really satisfies us is oneness with Christ and the fruit of the Spirit (the bread and water of life) and humble submission to his sovereign will.
7. Since our words and actions are shaped by our purposes and motives it is vital to get them right. For this we pray (Psalm 50:10, 139:23-24). Selfishness rather than Christ-centredness will, if thwarted, bring out rebellion, complaining, anger, hurting others, using others and feigned spirituality. Contrariwise godliness with contentment is great gain (Psalm 75:23, 17:15, Phil.3:10, I Tim.6:6). This will affect what we say, write about on FB, blogs, e-mails or snail mail.