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Faithlife

Point of View

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Point of View

Last week in discussing relationships we brought up the possibility that maybe some of us are putting the cart before the horse.  We suggested that it might be possible that some of us are not ready for a relationship yet. 

And the reason your prayers and your desire in your heart aren’t being answered is not that God thinks you should be alone, but rather he is trying to keep your from disaster.  We suggested that some of you are baby Christians and what makes a baby a baby is not only that it is completely dependent upon his father, but also that babies have an inability to discern what’s right or wrong.  When we have no sense of being centered in the Lord we tend not to rely on scripture or prayer, but rather begin to interpret or not interpret the word of God based on our own desires.  In other word we take God along for the ride.  In this sense we only know what is pleasing to ourselves and therefore show we have a lack of knowledge concerning his word.  So how do we begin to take step in our lives to please God?  I believe pleasing God starts from being centered, having a perspective, or a divine point of view.  Having a point of view simply means to have purpose with a range of vision.  When we have a standpoint from which we come from it becomes more than something from which we just “believe,” rather it becomes a foundation in which we see the world, how we base our decisions, it guides our steps because it guides our heart and mind.   

A point of view maybe to some an opinion, but I am not talking about just an opinion I am talking about the type of perspective that is life changing and life altering,  Perspective that changes the course of ones life by changing its destination. My uncle owned a boat and before he would set course for sea he would examine the boat to make sure it was ready for the sea.  He new that if we spent enough time in the sea that the wind, the weather, the storms, and the waves would beat on the ship and unless the everything was perfect on the ship it would never make it to it’s destination.   So one clear day we set sail and for a few hours the sun was out and you could see for miles ahead.  Everything seemed fine and we just coasted along until the weather changed, the storms set in and the waves began to beat on the boat.  All the sudden we had to really use the equipment of the boat.  As all these things came against us it began to try to change our direction, to throw us off course so immediately we took the wheel of the boat and tried to maintain our course. 

 However, as the storm and waves beat against the boat and we tried to fight it, our rudder broke and put us at the mercy of the conditions of the sea.  Hours and hours passed until the storm finally calmed down and when we sort of came to we realized we were thousands of miles off course and had no hope of ever reaching our destination.  Unfortunately there is a large segment of our churches and supposed Christians just like this analogy sort of lost at sea.  When I talk about perspective or point of view I compare it to the rudder on this boat.  Without out the proper perspective you may sail along all cozy for a while and everything may look alright but when the storm hits you will not be able to keep your destination. 

 The fact is that although our lives might seem in perfect condition like the boat in this story, the truth is our hearts are broke.  Our rudder doesn’t have the proper perspective, and if our hearts have the wrong point of view then ultimately our destinations will be off course.  Moreover, we will be at the mercy of the conditions of the sea.  So we have to ask ourselves how we gain proper perspective or the correct point of view in order to reach the proper destination.

 Now I love our definition of point of view.  Remember, we said it is purpose with a range of vision.  The word “range” insinuates distance which is perfect for our definition.  We are saying that the vision or perspective God has for our lives is not focused on right here and now, but is focused on eternity which in turn will be the rudder for here and now.  So we see that our point of view, our center if you will, and our perspective is key to learning how we please God.

2 Cor 4:1-2

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, and we do not distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

I want everyone to consider for one second on how you came to the Lord.  Just as Paul states in this passage we all have come to God by God’s mercy and a statement or profession of faith.  Paul states that it was because of this mercy that God gave him his ministry.  In other words, the mercy of God set Paul on a different path, it changed his course, and it gave him a new purpose, a new destination, and a new point of view.  This is what is called the fruit of repentance.  Remember John the Baptist when he was screaming at the Pharisee’s early in his ministry.

Matthew 3:8

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

The term fruit here in this scripture is not talking about a apple or banana, the term fruit here in the Greek is καρπός (karpos), which means result or profit.  So when John the Baptist screams produce fruit in keeping with repentance he is saying in essence show the profit of your salvation, show me the results of being saved.  John the Baptist spoke of it this way, but James chose to say it this way.

James 2:14

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

When you go to school the fruit of your learning is the result of your diploma.  How we know you have had an education is by that diploma, it is the fruit of all the work you put into school.  In the same way Jesus expects us to bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  I can not emphasize the importance of how all of us need to understand this concept of bearing fruit with repentance and its importance, because it is how we honor and bring glory to God in our lives.  

 If we were to look at tree and see fruit we would have to concede the idea that there was a source from which the tree itself received its power to bear fruit.  In the same way there had to be a source in Paul’s life that changed him from being a zealot that wished to kill Christians for the sake of the law to becoming an apostle of Jesus himself. 

 Now it’s simple to state that Jesus is that source, but the source itself insinuates power and that what makes Paul and the disciples different from everyone else.  Though Paul and disciples claimed to know God it was more then a claim, and though they professed Jesus Christ as God it was more then a profession.  So what was this salvation they carried with them and what was this new point of view.

 What they received in salvation was a touch of heaven of a piece of eternity so much so in fact that it not only stayed with them, it changed there point of view, but it not only changed there point of view, it became there point of view. 

 Take Peter who was a fisherman.  I emphasis was because when he truly met the lord he no longer became associated with fishing, but being a disciple and an apostle of Jesus.  Something changed inside of him, a new perspective, a new point of view and a new purpose.  Peter had a new source of power and strength. 

 Notice that in these two examples, both Peter and Paul went from chasing the cares of this world to forsaking everything in this world for the sake of the kingdom.  Again there perspective changed in such a way that what ever was happening here and now was not effected because they had a sense of eternity in there hearts they carried with them. 

 Looking back to our scripture in 2 Cor 4:

2 Cor 4

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, and we do not distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

You can see that Paul says we don’t lose heart, we renounced secret and shameful ways, we don’t use deception, we don’t distort the word of God.  We have to ask ourselves why not.  If lying, stealing, sexual immorality, homosexuality, gossiping, drunkenness and debauchery were ok then why is it condemned in the writings of the apostles and the apostolic fathers.  There is nowhere in any ligitetmently accepted writing where such things are accepted by the church. While these are the extremes of this world how many do we know carried away by these extremes, who live and work every week for the weekend.  How many in this room are just tied to the mundane things in this world so much so it becomes our focus.   The point I am making is the emphasis we put on our desires and needs of this world not realizing that if you have been born again and saved you carry eternity within you.  And the piece of eternity should be the center of our focus.

 This eternity should be our point of view. Paul states: 

2 Corinthians 3:1

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Paul tells them that they are the fruits of his ministry that they are not bound by that which is from the world, in this case the law, but that which is in their hearts is the Spirit of the Living God.   Meaning eternity!  Moreover, in this passage of scripture Paul looks to them as evidence of him producing fruit for the kingdom.  He is bearing fruit in keeping with repentance.   Do you begin to see the eternal perspective Paul is carrying with him.  Nothing of this world has life in it unless God himself breathes life into it.  Even the Law though it was given in a glorious way, could not bring glory to God and man.  The laws did no more than condemn man and could not save him.  The law itself contained the Spirit of God, but that Spirit could not be placed in the heart of man because the law itself was written on stone.  The stone is a substance that had no body, mind or soul, and though the spirit of it was alive the work of it brought death showing us our sin and leaving us condemned in that sin before God.  However, the work of Christ reconciles us to the principle of the Law and to the Father in light of our sin.  Because Christ became what killed us and put the Spirit of God not in a stone but in our hearts so that we live not for ourselves or the desires of this world but for God!

2 Corinthians 5:1

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Therefore our perspective doesn’t come from something dying every day like this earthly tent and its desires, but from something eternal and everlasting.  Jesus took that which was stone and turned into a temple for God.  He took something that was lifeless and breathed life into it.  God has made our hearts his temple and our rewards are stored eternally.   Ask yourself now the importance of the things of this world.  We now know that the world around us is wasting away along with its worries so why then do we trouble with the things of the world.  Everything that will bring life to our “here and now” will be from our source our new perspective our new point of view. 

1 John 5:5

Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God!

 The world and all its desires are to be overcome, but we in and of ourselves can not do it from our own action or our own point of views, because our hearts are broken and headed for the wrong destination.  In this life those who seem to have the whole world in their hands are deceived and blinded because though they may be supposedly good people in their own eyes, they may have riches and all the things of this world, but they are driving on a broken rudder.  And no matter what they do good or bad that rudder will not lead them to the right destination.  

2 Cor 4:4

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 Luke 9:25

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own soul?

Are the choices we make as Christian easy. No!  We don’t make choices based on the principles of this world to earn its reward.  We base our decisions and our discernment on that which has revived us and put life into our hearts by renewing our minds.  We work not for the spoils of this world but for treasures in heaven and despite the troubles and heart aches we feel here we endure these hardships in order to share in the suffering with Christ.  For this is what it means to crucify the flesh.   

2 Cor 4:16-18

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 This eternal outlook on things should not only change your point of view but it should become our point of view.  Whatever is of this earth is for this earth, but whatever is eternal is made for God and holds his rewards.  It has to be our goal to be filled up with as much as Gods perspective as we can.  Eternity should be our here and now.

2 Cor 5

4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

As this point of view sinks into our hearts and shapes our mind understand that eternity was given to each one of us in order to fulfill the will of God’s ministry of reconciliation.  So whatever it is you do in this world you must do it by our definition of point of view from an eternal perspective.  I truly believed your salvation is defined by the fruits of your repentance and not just the profession of faith.  So while your immediate concern might be relationships, career, finances, and these are legitimate concerns they all need to be approached from an eternal point of view.  God has given each and everyone in this room the ability to know him, to experience this piece of eternity so as Paul says in verse 9 we must “make it our goal to please him.”   When regarding relationships or any other decisions in our life we must ask the question how this decision in my life will affect the eternal goal for my life, which is to produce fruit for the kingdom.  It is a necessity for us to continue in this Spiritual mindset and as Paul states to be unclothed by the burdens of this world and clothed with our heavenly dwelling.  Now what is so cool is that this piece eternity placed in our hearts is truly our source for life.  It is what we need to survive, to guide, and to discern.  In fact the Bible states our entire purpose is to be his glory, that this world would be swallowed up by this new point of view, and the power from the source who overcomes the world in us.  For this reason God deposited his Spirit within in us.  True salvation produces fruit!   

Judgment

2 Cor 5:10
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

There is a misconception among not only non-Christians but within the Christian community concerning the Judgment before Christ.  To many Christians think they are exempt from standing before Jesus.  They think this because they made a profession of there faith in him and that because of this they have a one way ticket straight into heaven.  But as Paul States here all off us will appear before the Lord to give an account for the things we have done.  

Now in Jesus’ ministry he talked about hell and judgment more then anything else. This wasn’t just to scare everyone into the kingdom, but rather to show you the point of view from which he came from.  Jesus was always not only kingdom minded but eternal minded.  The reason the Jews did not accept him was they wanted a king to sit on the throne in the natural right now, they wanted nothing to do with reconciliation of there sins.  They only were concerned for the here and now, while Jesus was concerned for there eternal reconciliation and gave all of us an avenue which to experience the eternal Father!  Condemnation is found in unbelief while for us the cross is the power of our lives that power is only a source for our lives when it becomes activated by producing fruit.  However, along with the cross being the source of our power for those who do not believe, it becomes the source of there condemnation.

          John 3:17-18

7 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son

 We must understand the importance of having eternity within is us.  It is the source by which we heed the call and that is to share in the burden of Christ by reconciling a dying creation back to its creator.  Those who have a lost perspective a point of view molded by a dying world stand condemned by the cross.

          John 12:23-35

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

 Jesus brought with him eternity, his father, and he offered it unto the world, not only that but he put forth a pattern to help us understand.

1.      How was Jesus going to be glorified

a.      v24. by dying to this world

b.      by dying it produces many seeds

2.      Then he tells us how to be glorified

a.      v25. by hating this life in this world you keep it for eternity

                                                                 i.      understanding that we are not to love the things of the world

3.      Now see this in verse 24 it talks about a separation in our hearts between this world an filling it with God.  But this is just the beginning, the first step it is not the completion of our salvation

a.      v26. whoever serves me must follow me

                                                                 i.      the word serve means be of use

                                                               ii.      to work as a servant

b.      the father will the honor the one who serves

The eternity that God has placed in our hearts should led us by dying to this world and its desires, but more then that it should lead you to glorify the name of god.  You should be bearing fruit from this continual dying to the world.  Christianity is the only thing in the universe that grows by dying.  Our repentance means never looking back to that from which we have forsaken to that which gives life.  It means our point of view becomes eternal and not bound by the here and now.  It means when we stand before Jesus Christ on judgment day we don’t walk in empty handed.  I believe if we stand before God and say to him Lord I truly believed he will say I gave you a piece of myself and put it in your heart what did you do with it, where is your fruit, if you believed wouldn’t the source of your life that you believed in so much from which you viewed the world, from which molded your life have something to show for it.

          2 Cor 5:14

          For Christ’s love compels us…

As we talk about relationships let me ask you what has you relationship with Christ compelled you to do for his sake.  What has his love, his death and his resurrection compelled you to do.  Fear is no excuse because the eternity placed within you is a Spirit that overcomes and is never overcome.  He gave us the ability to overcome even when we endure hardship here and now.  Because our source and our point of view isn’t worried about here and now but rather the eternal things of God.

John 12:27

27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

 Today I hope you will have a new perspective about what we have been entrusted with, this eternal Spirit placed in our hearts.  How will you glorify God?

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