The following post is based on last Sunday's preaching livestreamed across C3 Sydney’s 11 Locations.
"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!"
Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
An ideal church member is one who is moving. In order to get the best that God has to offer us, we do not need to do all things, just the next thing. We need to keep progressing on the journey that God has for us but if we can’t see correctly, then we can’t do the right thing. In the Message, Proverbs 29:18 reads:
"If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed."
When we lack clarity, there is a mess. The mess isn’t necessarily the problem - not being able to see is the problem. Our ultimate aim is to make a difference, to be significant - Jesus said that it is God’s will for us to bear much fruit (John 15:8).
The four important steps on our way to our ultimate goal in God are:
Starting with the fourth step: Make a Difference
Our ultimate goal in God is to make a difference, to be significant -Jesus said that it is God’s will for us to bear much fruit (John 15:8). You will never be truly happy as a Christian until you are feeding into other people’s lives.
Discover Your Purpose
God had a purpose for you before He made you. Purpose came first so it is important to discover it. Purpose makes us say “I was born for this”. For example a member of the congregation believed she was only good at quilting, so at the pastor's urging she started a group to teach church members quilting and the ministry presented itself. Over this shared activity, lives were shared, relationships formed and people grew. Use what you are good at to find your purpose and if you just can’t see what that is, talk to the people around you at church and try some things.
Second step: Find Freedom
When we are saved, our spirits are set free but it can take some time for our bodies and minds to catch up. It is important to deal with our past hurts, addictions, habits and issues. If all you do is attend a Sunday service, more is needed to leave these things behind once and for all. Ask for help and be prepared to be honest and transparent about what you are working through.
First step: Know God
The first step empowers all of the other steps, it is the most important and that's why it is the last. When Jesus began teaching, to ‘know God’ meant religion. There was no other way, no relationship. When Jesus told people that they could have a relationship with God, He used the word for the intimacy between a man and his wife. It was shocking! Yet we are called to be that close and personal with God.
It is possible to spend your whole life in church and never meet God? You can know how to be a good Christian and not know God. When Chris Hodges (Highlands church. Alabama) encountered a church full of people in love with God instead of ‘being good Christians’, he sat down to read exactly what Jesus said about going to Heaven. What he read in Matthew 7 was deeply troubling. Verse 21 says calling Jesus Lord was not enough. Verse 22 says “many” will not enter because in verse 23, it says they “never knew” Him.
When we meet Jesus, He will ask us why we should be allowed into Heaven. If we reply that we prayed, believed and read His book every day, these are all good things but the wrong answer. In Revelation the churches are warned that God ‘sees what they are doing’ but they have let go of their relationship with Him. Can you say with Paul that you want to know Christ (Philippians 3:10) in an intimate, personal relationship or do you have a list of things you do things for Him? Easter is not celebrated but experienced. At Easter God says “I love you. Do you love me?” This is a very important question - it will change your life.
Something to talk about:
- Where on the journey do you feel you are at the moment? (Know God, Find Freedom/Community, Discover Purpose and Make a Difference.)
- Share any stories you may have about God revealing the “next step” to encourage the group.
- Have you ever had a moment that made you say, “I was born for this”? Share about the talents you see in each other.