Goal 16: Glorification with God

Glorification with God

Jesus Christ died and rose again from the dead so that His people would be with Him in glory forever. This is the ultimate purpose of the gospel and why we evangelize. Jesus didn’t come to save people only for this life. He didn’t come into the world to give us salvation only for the here and now. He did not come to take us through this life on a bed of roses. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered (See Romans 8:36); we must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God (Read Acts 14:22). The disciples are not above their Master. If Jesus was persecuted, so shall his followers be persecuted (Read John 15:20). We should not expect an easy path to heaven. The road to heaven is full of obstacles, hindrances, difficulties, temptations and obstructions! Jesus came to save us to be with Him forever. Listen to the apostle: 

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-13, 16-22 ESV)

Jesus came to conquer death. When He rose from the dead, He received a resurrected body, a spiritual body, that cannot die, that cannot sin, that cannot get sick and that cannot be destroyed. This is the purpose of God in salvation: that those who believe in Christ receive a glorified body and will be where Jesus is. As Jesus is, so shall we be (1 John 3:1). One day believers will see him face to face. They will be glorified, because they have been justified by the blood and righteousness of Christ. Those who have been justified will be glorified (Romans 8:30). But those who do not believe will also be resurrected in spiritual bodies at the last trumpet. all will be changed, but some are destined to everlasting condemnation: those who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ will be consigned to the lake of fire (Read Rev 20:11-15). And there they will be in torment forever. The wrath of God will abide on them that do not obey and believe the gospel (See John 3:36).

What is the purpose of the making God known? It is to know Christ more fully. It is to see His glory and it is to enjoy His presence forever and ever in the new heavens and the new earth! God is going to make all things new! The old earth will be rolled back as a scroll, the elements of this earth will be dissolved by fire (See 2 Peter 3:10-14). The goal of making God known is that there would be an innumerable amount of people (Revelation 7:9) singing and worshipping God and serving Him in holiness. We will not be as glorious as Christ is, just as a flower is not as glorious as the sun which gives it light. We will be sustained and upheld by His glory. Even though believers will be glorious it will be different from God’s glory. Some people teach that we will be like gods in heaven, reigning over whatever God will give us. Yes, we will reign with Christ, but we won’t be Christ. There is only One God: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we exist through Him. God saved us for Himself and by Himself and for His glory. We must become less, and He must become more in our estimation. 

Believers will be rewarded in heaven according to what they have done (1 Cor 3:9-12). Some will lose their reward and they will be saved as through fire. Others’ work will stand the test of God’s judgment. Nevertheless, none of the elect will miss out on heaven: each individual that God has chosen before the foundation of world to belong to Christ will be glorified. Each one that has been effectually called by Christ and has been justified, will be glorified (See Romans 8:30). There will be no “dropouts”. And those who will be rewarded for their work will not be proud and look down on others in heaven. Those who will not be rewarded for their work will not be jealous of those who built with gold and silver. For heaven is a world of love and there is no sin in the coming dispensation.

The purpose of evangelism and making God known is the sanctification and the glorification of the church. If this were not so, we as believers are of all men the most miserable. This is our hope and our joy: to be with Christ, to see and glorify Him; to be in glory with Christ, to be with God where He is all in all! 

Christ died to sanctify His Bride and to present his bride, spotless and without sin, to God, (Read Eph. 5:21-26). 

Will you be in glory with God? 

Are you longing to be satisfied with Christ’s presence?

Are you waiting for Christ? 

The reason why we evangelize is for the consummation of our salvation!  Only God has the power to raise the spiritually dead and give them life. Only He has the power to change our corruptible bodies and give us spiritual bodies that cannot die. No eye has seen, and no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him! (See 1 Cor 2:9). 

Christ is coming again! He is preparing a place for his children (See John 14:2). He will come and take His people to Himself.  No one and nothing can thwart his purposes, His power, and His plans.  Glory be to God! 

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Goal 15: The Coming of the Kingdom

The coming of Christ’s kingdom

When Jesus started His ministry on earth 2,000 years ago, he said, “repent and believe the gospel, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mark 1:15). Jesus spoke much about the kingdom of God. In Old Testament times we see glimpses of the kingdom of heaven shining through, when God spoke through prophets, when the Spirit anointed prophets and people repented of their sins, and when great miracles occurred and people were healed through the ministry of Elijah and Elisha. The Holy Spirit was undoubtedly at work throughout the history of the world, but at a lower ebb than before Jesus came. When Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit the kingdom broke through as never before. People were healed, demons cast out, the blind received their sight, the deaf were healed and the dead raised to life! As Jesus said, “but if it is by the Spirit of God, that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28 ESV). 

Jesus said, unless a man is born again, born from above, born of the Holy Spirit, he cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God (Read John 3:3-7). The kingdom of God does not come with outward appearance, but it starts within the heart (See Luke 17:21). The kingdom of God does not come through military might, nor as a result of economic empowerment and technological advancement. All these things may be outward manifestations of God’s providence and his provision, but the kingdom of God, is a spiritual thing in its embryo form. Jesus said the Spirit moves where it wills, and one cannot observe this: he is like the wind. The Spirit’s work is immeasurable, as is the advance of the kingdom of God.   His is an eternal kingdom, a kingdom that cannot be destroyed, because God cannot be destroyed! Of the increase of the government of the Prince of peace there will be no end (See Isaiah 9:6-8). 

The Spirit of God cannot be contained, controlled, counseled or directed: one must simply submit to Him! And the Spirit of God is the One who encourages us to evangelize and preach the gospel! It is when there is a revival of preaching and praying that the kingdom of God breaks through! The kingdom of God is near when the word is preached, “faith comes by hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We evangelize and pray and make it our aim to share the gospel so that God’s kingdom advances. He will always call people to evangelize and preach the gospel across the world because it is the means by which his kingdom grows.

The kingdom of God refers to the reign of God in the human heart and mind. It refers to the spaces and places where people submit to the Lordship and rule of Christ. The kingdom of God breaks through where there is humility and confession of sins and where the peace of God comes into a human soul! In short, it arrives and breaks through when Christ is honored and believed in and where people pursue righteousness. If you want to see what the kingdom of God looks like, look at Jesus. Look at his life. Consider his attitudes and affections. Take note of his work and look at the cross. Look at his perfect obedience to the law. Look at His mercy on sinners such as you and me. The great Samuel Rutherford said of our Lord: “Christ is a well of life, but who knoweth how deep it is to the bottom?” This is the Lord whose kingdom we speak of, and we are blessed to belong to it:

 ““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3, 10 ESV)

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

(Romans 14:17 ESV)

The kingdom of God started to break through significantly in this world at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit broke through in power. The kingdom of God advanced extraordinarily during that time; and throughout the twenty intervening centuries, it has been advancing more and more across the world. We hear of revivals in history and we know that God is working in many places at the same time. But there is more to come of the kingdom. There is more to experience of God! The curse still has its devastating effects in the world. Flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50-58). Death has not finally been destroyed. We are waiting for more; we are waiting for the kingdom to be consummated and for Christ to hand over the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor 15:22-28). We can hardly wait as believers for God’s glory to destroy all sinfulness in the saints. We are living at the beginning of spring. The buds are showing, new life is emerging, but there is more to come. 

We evangelize because without the regeneration of unbelievers no-one is going to experience the kingdom of God! Without faith in Christ, repentance of sins, or gospel proclamation going on in thousands of different ways, the kingdom will not advance. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”, we must put on the shoes of readiness of the gospel of peace. Praying is not enough. One’s good deeds are not enough. Living a holy life to adorn the gospel is not enough. Open your mouth and speak the words! Confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is Savior; that He is the only Savior! We don’t share the gospel by doing good deeds. The only way the kingdom will advance is when the Holy Spirit uses our words and convicts and converts sinners! 

Oh, may God grant us boldness and love to give out gospel literature, to pray and to evangelize the lost! There is no other hope for them but in the gospel! Go and find an unbeliever and tell them the old, old story of Jesus and His love! Go and find many, go and find crowds; go and tell it on the mountain; on the beachfront; in the inner city, in the schools and prisons and hospitals. 

Go! Go! Go! 

Cross borders, cross the sea, cross your culture and ethnic group. Forget your level of education, your gender and age group; go and tell people, tell them of the love of the Savior who died for sinners! Go and cross language barriers! Tell those who have never heard! The kingdom of Christ will advance through the obedience of those who lay down their lives for Christ and the gospel! 

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’” (Matthew 22:8-9 ESV)

Goal 14: The Growth and Edification of the Church

  • The growth and edification of the church

Why do we want to proclaim the gospel? What is the purpose thereof?

  • To make Christ known. Yes! 
  • Because we are commanded to do so by God. Definitely! 
  • So that people can be born again by the seed of the word. Absolutely! 
  • So that unbelievers may hear and receive faith and be justified and adopted into God’s family. We answer in the affirmative, amen! 

But there is more to evangelism than this! We evangelize the lost, and we evangelize the saved! The saved you say? Why the saved? Isn’t the gospel only for those who don’t know God? Not at all! The gospel is for the saved and the lost! For those who know Christ and for those who don’t know Christ. Why do I say this? 

Listen to the apostle Paul speaking to the church in Corinth: 

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ESV)

Paul is saying to the church that they have received something. That is the gospel. He goes further. He says that the gospel that they have received is something that they stand in, present tense. It is something which makes them strong. It is their foundation. It makes them sturdy and firm. But he goes further: he says, “…and by which you are being saved”. This is remarkable! The gospel is not only there for one’s justification. It is not only there for one’s forgiveness. We are saved and we are being saved by the gospel and we will be saved by the gospel. By the gospel we are justified and strengthened and sanctified! We need the gospel all the time: every day. Why do we need it as believers? Every time you sin, you need the gospel! Because it is only through the grace of God and by the blood being applied to your heart, the blood of Jesus, that you have any hope of being cleansed and forgiven of your sins. The cross is the basis, the cross of Christ, the atonement of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ, is the only basis of assurance that our sins will be forgiven. 

Many times, we think we outgrow the gospel; that the gospel is for elementary level Christianity. We assume we are in secondary school Christianity, or at College or Masters level! We suppose we have graduated from the gospel; now it is the healing ministry that we seek after; now it is about us becoming a success. Now it is about becoming important and a great person in the kingdom – someone of status! If this is the way you think, you have completely “lost the plot” concerning Christianity! The gospel and evangelism are never about you! It never was, nor will be. The gospel is not about our achieving our potential: it is rather about one beggar showing other beggars where to find food; about one sin-sick- soul showing another where to find medicine and healing. It is about searching for righteousness and finding it in Christ. The gospel is about finding the treasure that is worth more than all the gold and diamonds in the world and being ecstatic with joy about it – and then telling people about it. We are not the treasure, Christ is. We have not accomplished salvation, Christ has. He is dispensing salvation, not us. You and I are not raising the dead, Christ is!

The purpose of evangelism is the growth of the church and the strengthening thereof. This happens when we turn again to the glory of the gospel and adore Christ for forgiving our sins, by grace and through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9)! Remember, we did not have the strength to believe: we still don’t. We don’t have the intelligence or wisdom or wit to save or improve ourselves. The gospel is in any case not about improving oneself; it is about resting in God’s resources and Spirit to do what you cannot do. We are sanctified by the gospel, we grow thereby. We grow by grace and we get strong by grace! The power is not in us, but in God (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). 

Take the medicine every day. Receive the grace. Feed on Christ. Drink from the Fountain of Salvation. Eat the Bread of Life. It is your sustenance, your life and hope. Christ has become to us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31). Let us boast then in him and not in our own resources or abilities! 

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7 ESV)

We evangelize and make God known to help people get power and strength from God, so that they can become like Christ. The purpose of evangelism and the gospel is that Christ be magnified and exalted; it is that we come to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God; it is that we grow into the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ (See Ephesians 4:13). 

The purpose of making God known is to be conformed to the image of Christ and no one else. We do not want to be conformed to political figures, nor to any kind of artistic, sport, or scientific genius. We evangelize to become holy and kind like Christ; righteous and generous like Christ and loving and humble like Him. We evangelize so that others can become like Christ: he is the means and the goal of evangelism. We grow together as the church. We want to evangelize so that we all come to the unity of the faith. We teach the gospel and proclaim it so that people can know the power of the resurrection of Christ! (Phil 3:10,11). 

May God help us to have no lesser goal and no higher ideal than Christ. He is our strength, our song, and He has become our salvation (Psalm 118). Let us praise and boast in Him!

Goal 13: The Purification and sanctification of the Church

The purification and sanctification of the church

When we become Christians, we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift and then the process of sanctification starts. We are positionally set apart by God for holy purposes (Romans 1:1), but our natures still need to change. We need to be purified. To belong to God means you belong to the Holy One, the One without any moral corruption, without fault or sin or unrighteousness. We, on the other hand, are not holy in ourselves, we are defiled in our thinking, and we have corrupted ourselves. We need constant cleansing and purification to have communion with God and maintain fellowship with God. 

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 ESV)

Everyone who is born again of the Spirit has a desire to be holy as God is holy. However, we see unholiness and sin in ourselves daily. If a person does not desire holiness in his or her life and has no desire to be clean and pure, we can ask: has such a person really received the Holy Spirit as a gift? How can a person receive the Holy Spirit and not desire holiness? It does not make sense. How can a person who has received a stomach not want to eat? How can a person who has been given eyes not want to see beauty? How can a person who has received a talent to play the piano, not develop it? God created us for Himself and if we want to spend time with God, we must desire to have His mind, His desires, dreams, purposes, righteousness and His holiness. Therefore, the Bible tells us, everyone who hopes for glory in heaven, purifies himself as God is pure. The church needs to be purified, it needs more holiness, and it needs sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us, “This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality.” Hebrews 12:14 tells us that without holiness no one will see God. God called us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). 

So, what does it mean to be pure and holy? Biblically, it means to be separated from the world. It doesn’t mean one lives separated from the world in the sense that you live alone on a mountain or an island or in the woods for the rest of your life.  Rather, it means that you live and think and behave differently from unbelievers and people that belong to the world. Jesus prayed for the church, asking not that God would take them out of the world, but rather that He would keep them from the evil one and that He would sanctify them through His word (John 17:15-19). God wants us to live in the world and make a difference in the world without being contaminated by the world. We are like doctors living in a hospital. There are many sick people in a hospital, and they have many kinds of diseases. Some diseases are more serious than others; some are in the intensive wards. Some are on the brink of dying and the doctors and nurses are there to treat and diagnose and heal the patients with whatever knowledge and medicine and equipment they have. In the same way, Christians are in this sick world of sin. The people of the world are dying; they have spiritual diseases, diseases such as pride, anxiety, greed, lust, selfishness, vanity, hatred, jealousy, drunkenness, addiction to substances, being lovers of self, etc. Some are on the brink of destroying themselves. And we, the Christians, have received the cure for our spiritual diseases; they are the blood of Jesus and the word of God. We have the medicine; we have different treatments for these diseases. We find them all in the word of God and in the Person of Christ. The art of life is to maintain our spiritual health within this sin-sick world! 

We know that it is only the blood of Jesus Christ that can cleanse us from our sicknesses. Real Christians have experienced this cleansing, this healing, when they confessed their sins and believed in the power of the blood of Christ. They have experienced the healing power of the gospel and it is incumbent on those who have experienced this to prescribe this medicine to the spiritually sick and to apply the word of God to the cancer of sin. 

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9 ESV)

The purpose of the gospel and of evangelism is to be thoroughly cleansed of our sins, and thoroughly purified from our unrighteousness so that we can have communion with God from day to day. Without sanctification taking place and the blood of Christ being applied to our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we lose our communion with God. We evangelize and make God known so people can experience the satisfaction of sanctification, of being set apart for God, of becoming purified, and more and more like Christ. Jesus said to His disciples, “you are clean through the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). When we meditate on the word of God day and night, when we read, and believe, and ponder, and obey the word of God, we are washed, and purified. This then, is why we evangelize, so that others can become pure and experience God, and see God. 

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God (Matthew 5:8)

At the cross of Golgotha, the blood of Christ was shed for us, not only to justify us (Romans 5:8), and to forgive us our sin; not only to reconcile us to God, but to cleanse (1 John 1:7) and purify and sanctify us (Hebrews 13:18): so that we maintain fellowship with Christ! Let us draw near to God in humility and He will draw near to us (James 4:5-8).

Goal 12: Fellowship with Christians

Fellowship with Christians

God calls and saves His elect people across the globe from every ethnic people group, not only to worship and enjoy Him forever, but so that we have fellowship with each other in the church. God has a people, and His people will worship and commune with Him forever. There are many people that belong to the church. Revelation 7:9 tells us that at the end of history there will be a great multitude that no person can number, ten thousands of ten thousands that will stand before God and praise “the Lamb who was slain. “

There will be many in heaven. And there are now many Christians on   earth. Millions of them are scattered among the nations. Before the 19th century most of the Christians in the world were located in Europe and in North America, although there were Christians in Asia and in North Africa centuries before. But Christianity in the latter two was largely wiped out through persecution. It was only after the missionaries in the 19th century realized their calling to go out, in obedience to their Master, and make disciples and languages were transcribed and written down, Bibles were translated and the gospel was preached all over the globe, that Christianity became a world-wide phenomenon. In God’s sovereignty many came into the church from many different ethnic groups. 

When a person comes to Christ and is born again and receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that person needs care and assistance. If a baby is born into this world, it needs assistance, constant care, a mother, and a family. Likewise, the church is the mother of new believers. The church is supposed to be a family. New believers need to work through their past sinful lives. They need direction, correction, care, and love. They need intensive healing. Some need more care than others. The devil, the world and the flesh are too strong to cope with in our newborn states. Therefore, God so arranged that each believer belong to a family of believers who will nurture, guide and show them the narrow road to heaven. New believers and older believers need counseling. Sins need to be confessed. Restitution needs to be made. Things need to be put right. For these things to happen the church is necessary. Each member in the church needs brothers and sisters. 

We are the body of Christ. In a body there are many members, and each has a different function. But all are indispensable. Each member is dependent on the other. We are a global church and as such we need each other. But also, God has put us in smaller units, namely, in local churches. We are members of one another. The Bible tells us if one member suffers all suffer. If one member is honored all the rest rejoice (1 Cor 12:20-28). Paul was speaking to the Corinthian church. He was reminding them that they are a family and that they need one another. People are not saved to become independent “lone-ranger” Christians. We are saved to serve one another and to fulfill our function in the body of Christ. It is therefore essential that each Christian belongs to a local fellowship, a local church. Every Christian needs to be baptized and to partake of the Lord’s Supper. These visible signs, or sacraments, strengthen our faith and are testimonies that we identify with Christ, in his suffering, death, and life. We not only share in His suffering but also in his power (Rom 6:3-8). And we don’t only suffer with Christ but also with one another. 

The Bible states emphatically that we should not forsake fellowship meetings but encourage each other daily:

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

(Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

The world has a power and an attraction that constantly draws us towards it. For Christians to overcome the world and its lusts, we need brothers and sisters to carry our burdens. When we carry each other’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). 

The goal of evangelism and making God known is that people who have never experienced the love of Christ should experience it in the church. We were saved for the eternal family of God. We were saved to enjoy one another’s company, to sharpen and encourage one another, and to rejoice in our mutual salvation.We were also saved to suffer with one another! Certainly, we are not perfect: we sin often as Christians. But we learn in the body to forgive, rebuke, comfort and encourage one another. There are so many battles to be fought, so much opposition to face, so many disappointments in life, and so many tribulations to endure, that we need each other to keep on the straight and narrow path to heaven. 

The goal of evangelism is to come into the fellowship of the saints and to stay there until you die (1 John 2:23-26). There are today many different churches and many different denominations, but not all understand the Bible in the same way. Many unfortunately fight with one another over many peripheral things in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to know what the central and nonnegotiable truths are. We must believe them and defend them as Christians; and we must know where we may “agree to disagree”. Our unity with Christians in our love for the church and across denominational lines must be based upon what the Bible affirms to be true and right and good. Our unity as Christians is based on the truth (John 17:17-23). All who are truly born of the Spirit and have received Christ as their God, Savior and Lord, are irrevocably united with Christ as his eternal body, his church, throughout all ages. 

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— (Ephesians 4:4-6 ESV)

Concerning preserving the unity in the global church of God, the following maxim should be remembered: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things charity. 

Goal 11: Worshipping and Delighting in God

Worshipping and delighting in God

In the history of the Christian church some believers (those who drafted the Westminster Catechism) said the goal of life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! I believe that this is what the Bible teaches. To glorify God and worship Him is why God has made us. And we glorify God by enjoying Him and His presence. We glorify and worship Him by being satisfied with Him in all that Christ is for us, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, as we meditate on the accurate revelation of God in the Holy Scriptures and in general revelation. We see God for who He is in the Holy Scriptures contained in the Old and New Testaments. We can know Him partially in general revelation but intimately and redemptively in the Holy Bible. We cannot worship God without knowing God, can we? So, before we can worship God and enjoy Him, we have to know Him! Therefore, we first must receive revelation of God before we can worship Him (Matthew 11:27-29).

Jesus said in the gospel of John that God seeks worshippers that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). We cannot worship God unless we are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit and know the truth about Him. And we cannot be in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit unless we have received Him, and we cannot receive Him until God regenerates us (John 3:3-6); regeneration happens when God calls us to faith and repentance by the preaching of the gospel! So, the goal of evangelism (namely, to worship God) is achieved by the means of grace: the proclamation of the gospel! In heaven no one will evangelize to win lost people! There will be no need for it. Evangelism is not an end in itself: It is a means to the glorious end of glorifying God and enjoying him forever! The Bible makes this emphatically clear throughout both Testaments.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days (Psalms 90:14 ESV).

“Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!” (Psalms 99:9 ESV).

““And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped” (Revelation 5:13-14 ESV).

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35 ESV).

So, what is worship essentially? Theologian John Piper answers: “God is most glorified is us when we are most satisfied in Him.” I believe this statement is true. Glorifying God means to be happy in Him; it means to enjoy Him and to have joy in Him and to be fulfilled in Him. When Jesus said believing in God means never to thirst or hunger anymore, He was referring to spiritual satisfaction and fulfillment. Saving faith entails being satisfied with Christ. Worshipping God means more than just praising Him and singing songs to Him to set tunes and lyrics. Glorifying God means your affections and emotions are involved! In a sense it means to be ecstatic about God, but with understanding. If I love my wife it means I have good and wonderful feelings about her. If I praise her for her beauty and joy I do so with affection and warmth. And so, it is in our relationship with God. If I love and worship Him I do so with affection and amazement, not just with words. But words are important because words complete our worship. Not saying to my wife “I love you” but just showing her that I love her is not sufficient in a healthy relationship. With God it is the same, we should say that we love God and that we praise Him: the words complete our worship. But this is not all there is in worship, there is more. 

While expression of affection and words are both essential to worship so is correct knowledge of whom we worship. But if our actions don’t authenticate our worship then it is not real. Worship must move from the cognitive to the affective level; and from the affective to the verbal level and ultimately to the volitional (or behavioral) level. For faith without works is dead (James 2:14-17):

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1 ESV).

It is clear from this text that Paul says worship is a continual presentation of our bodies and its members to what is good and righteous (see also Romans 6:13). What we say, what we do with our hands and feet, and so on, are all acts of worship. That is why Paul said to the Corinthian church: “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 9:31). We worship when we chat about the weather and politics, fix a doorknob, drive a motor vehicle or work on the computer… Everything we do involves worship, not only what we do on Sunday mornings! We worship by showing what we value and prize. 

We therefore worship God by showing our love for Him by loving each other. Jesus made this truly clear in Matthew 25:31-46. What we do for the least in the family of God we do for Christ. Therefore, service to the church is service to Christ. Visiting the sick and those who suffer and giving food to the hungry are acts of worship to Christ, when we do it in union with Christ. We worship God and we show that we value Him above all when we love and care and pray for one another, even if we have to suffer. Glorifying God also means that we obey God and follow Him even when there is no happy emotion. Jesus didn’t feel wonderful and happy on the cross when he bore the wrath of God for His people. It is impossible to glorify God without the love of God in your life, and that love comes from the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). True worship of God involves our affections but acts of worship also often involve acts of sacrifice and suffering. 

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

(Galatians 5:6 ESV)

Christians will worship God forever and ever in the new heavens and the new earth. This worship will not only include praise and thanksgiving, it will involve service and work in a body and soul that can never sin! It will be the most pure and ecstatic worship, together with greater understanding and knowledge of who God is.

“For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV).

This is the goal of evangelism and making God known: to worship God in Spirit and in truth, and to reach out to people across all ethnic groups to join those who are worshippinghim, in order to maximize the number of worshippers.

Will you join us in worshipping and enjoying the One who is most valuable and precious? 

Goal 10: Living the Crucified life with Christ

Living the crucified life with Christ

One of the goals in evangelism and making God known is that people see the worth of Jesus Christ as their supreme treasure and consequently commit their lives to Him as their Lord and King. When people know how valuable Christ is and come to know His supreme authority over all of life, and that His kingdom will never end (Isaiah 9:6-9), it becomes evident that they should follow His instructions, no matter the cost involved! Following Jesus Christ and receiving Him as one’s Master and Lord involves a cost. Salvation is by free sovereign grace but having Christ in one’s life involves sacrifice: we have to endure hardship and suffering in following Jesus. 

All people who live on this planet undergo suffering and hardship of some kind, whether it be physical, emotional, psychological or otherwise. Unbeliever and believer alike undergo suffering. Because we live in a fallen world, because sin entered the world and because God has subjected the world to futility (Romans 8:21-23), all people undergo suffering. But that is not the kind of suffering Jesus was speaking about when he said the following to his disciples:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 ESV).

He said that if we want to be his disciples, we will have to undergo suffering. To take up one’s cross in ancient times meant one was going to one’s death. Criminals who took up their crosses for their crimes were crucified because of their transgressions against the Roman Empire. So, when Jesus said you will have to take up your cross, it meant that we must be willing to die for him. In other words, if we are Christians our allegiance to God should come before our allegiance towards anything else. 

Being a Christian and the goal of evangelism have a yet deeper significance. If we are united with Christ, we have been intimately identified with Him. We have died with Christ and we live with Him (Romans 6:1-11). This means we have to put to death the deeds of the body and our own sinful desires. The apostle Paul said: “if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body you shall live” (Romans 8:13) and:

“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Galatians 2:19-20 ESV)

We should die daily with Christ. We are crucified with him. The world and its lusts are crucified to us and we to them! (Galatians 6:16,17). We are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:19). We are pilgrims and strangers in this world. Our home is in heaven! We are passing through this world and battling against evil. This is because we still live in this body which tempts us; we must put to death the deeds of the body every day! And the world does not love righteousness; it loves evil and sin. So, when we stand for righteousness and love it, we stand up and speak out for truth and the gospel. The world will oppose, insult, and hate us. Members of one’s own family could do this. People in your workplace will oppose and insult you. It will become hard to follow Jesus. For example, many Christians lose their jobs because of unwillingness to compromise for their employers. Christians are being sued because they refuse to follow the evils of this world, e.g., because they refuse to condone homosexuality, blasphemy, transgenderism, evolutionism and ancestral worship.

The goal of evangelism is to share in the suffering of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:10-12). 

It is the goal because there is no other way to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ! 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12 ESV)

Why did Jesus say we are blessed when people insult us and revile us for righteousness sake and on his account? We are blessed because in suffering for Christ we become more acquainted with the death and life of Christ and therefore with Christ Himself. When we suffer for him, we experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit more, we are more encouraged, and the Spirit of glory rests on us to a greater degree! (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, 1 Peter 4:14). Paul said, “Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10 NKJV).  I have experienced many times when I evangelize that people oppose, insult, and even curse me. In 2011 when I spoke to a Rastafarian in Bloemfontein a man cursed me and Christ for about 5 minutes. I eventually just had to walk away because a huge crowd was forming around us! Another time after sharing the gospel, a Muslim woman threatened to kill me! On another occasion, when a friend and I shared the gospel with a group of Somalians in Johannesburg, one man pulled out a huge knife to stab my friend. By God’s grace I saw it in time and his life was spared. These reactions shouldn’t surprise us because Jesus warned that the world would hate us, Him, and the gospel! Living for Christ means to die daily to one’s own ideas, ambitions, and interests. It means dying to one’s selfish desires and pressing into the kingdom of God with force. To live for Christ means we are willing to make Him known and to know Him no matter the cost! It means we must be willing to forsake the approval of the world to know we are approved by Him. 

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33 ESV).

Goal 9: Obedience to God

Obedience to God

What is the goal of evangelism? It is to make God known and to multiply the number of Christians in the world, i.e. people who will worship and obey God. The goal of the Christian life is to please God:   when we evangelize and proclaim the gospel, we have this in mind. We want people across the world, in every nation, in every tribe, among young and old, rich and poor, to live lives that please God. We want this because people who please God truly bring him glory: He is glorified when people obey and please Him. We have seen in the preceding chapters that without being a son or daughter of God, without being born of the Spirit, we cannot please God! In fact, the carnal mind is hostile towards God (Romans 8:7). 

Jesus said the following in the gospel of John: 

“If you love Me you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15 ESV). 

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:10 ESV)

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about keeping his commandments, he was not merely saying to them that they should think about them or meditate on them or memorize them. All these things are important, and I believe they involve keeping his commandments, but when Jesus commanded his disciples to keep his commandments, he was primarily commanding them to love and obey them! 

The litmus test Jesus sets forth for loving Him, is obedience to His commandments! If we do not obey them, we do not love Him. And if we do not love Him, we are not His children. In the words of the apostle Paul, we are accursed, damned! (1 Corinthians 16:22). If obeying God is the litmus test for loving Him, we have to make sure what these commandments are! If the critical thing before us as Christians is to glorify God and obey Him, we need to know how we should do so! Jesus said: “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments!” 

There has been a lot of confusion in many Christian circles as to what these commandments refer to! Some say they refer only to the commandments of Jesus Christ in the gospels! Other say they refer only to the commandments of Jesus in the gospels and the commandments of his apostles in the New Testament.   What about the commandments in the Old Testament given to the people of God? Have they all been fulfilled in the New Testament? Are they all redundant? What about the Ten Commandments given to Moses and the people of God at Mount Sinai? Are they irrelevant? 

First of all, we have to distinguish between the ceremonial law, the civil law and the moral law of God in the Old Testament. Jesus came to fulfill the whole law, all three aspects of the law in the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17,18). The ceremonial law, which included the animal sacrifices and the temple service and the washings and observance of the temple laws, has been fulfilled in Christ and has been abrogated. No more temple service is necessary, no further animal sacrifices for the atonement of sins are required. Jesus was the final sacrifice that took away all the sins of the world, i.e., his people across all the nations (Hebrews 10:10-14; John 1:29). The temple is no longer needed! Christians are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16,17) and that is so because Jesus destroyed the temple and was raised from the dead after three days (John 2:18-22).

The civil law is a term referring to the laws that regulated the affairs and government of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. They are valuable in that they show how God implemented his moral law in ancient days. However, God’s people (the church) are now scattered across the nations and live at a time when the nation of Israel is no longer an entity in the plan of God’s redemptive history (the Messiah has already come). These laws cannot therefore be implemented in any nation consistently. We can nevertheless under God apply principles from these laws to govern our societies and nations: they are useful in showing us the holy and just character of God. The civil law has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ; we are now under his law. And by that we mean we are still subject to the moral law of God, to obey God. We do not have a license to do what we want. We cannot invent our own Christianity. Jesus fulfilled the moral law of God by his perfect life in obedience to every aspect of the law and especially to the Ten Commandments. Jesus obtained for us a perfect righteousness whereby we can be justified in God’s sight! But God has not destroyed the moral law, he has not set it aside or abrogated it! 

Why do I say so? 

If you read the New Testament carefully you will see that the apostles and Jesus Christ affirmed and upheld every commandment of the ten and the moral law, in a consistent fashion. They rephrased them (Matthew 5:18-48; Ephesians 4-6; 1 John 3:15) and gave us their true meaning; they illustrated them. They also applied them consistently. Jesus will also, at the end of the age, judge the living and the dead according to the moral law. Our consciences will accuse or excuse us (Romans 2:14-16) according to God’s moral law. The moral law cannot be destroyed because it is an expression of his just and holy character and it is based on God’s unchanging nature. (James 1:17). 

So, when Jesus told His disciples to keep his commandments, He was talking about the moral law found in the Old and New Testaments. We also must remember that Jesus Christ was the One who gave the moral law at Mount Sinai. Is He not God? Is HE not the Great “I Am”? The commands He gave us while he was on earth were thus not the only commandments He gave! He existed before time began. He also gave commands through the Holy Spirit, by using the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles. 

Goal 8: Reading, Meditating and Delighting in Scripture

Reading, meditating, studying and delighting in the Scriptures

In a very real sense, God has saved us to His word, that we should meditate on it. God saves His people for Himself and for communication and communion. He communicates with His people primarily through His word. He communicates with all people through what we see and experience through general revelation, his creation, ecosystems, the stars, thunderstorms and through the flow of circumstances and events (what we call providence). But all these communications are non-verbal. However, God has inspired a Book, or a collection of 66 books, called the Bible, and in no other place or book has He spoken verbally and authoritatively as in this Book, the Bible. He has spoken through the prophets and apostles (Eph. 2:20) of old, and these words have such a bearing on human existence that it is said that they give life to the dead (1 Peter 1:23-25). It is through the word of God that:

  • the universe was created (Hebrews 11:3)
  • the universe does not cease (Hebrews 1:3)
  • we are guided into the path of light and life (Psalm 119:105; John 6:63)
  • we gain wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-6)
  • we distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • we are born again (1 Peter 1:23-25)
  • we grow as Christians (1 Peter 2:3)
  • we are strengthened (Acts 20:32)
  • we are sanctified (John 17:17)
  • judgment will be given (John 5:26,27)
  • we gain hope (Romans 15:4-6)
  • we gain eternal life (John 6:68)
  • we get comfort in our affliction (Psalm 119:50)
  • Heaven and earth will pass away but God’s word will never pass away (Matthew 24:36)
  • God’s word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89)
  • God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12)

God has magnified His word above His Name (Psalm 138:2). If God has given such a high priority to His word, it is incumbent on us, who are saved, to meditate on his word day and night and to find joy in it! 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Psalms 1:1-4 ESV)

Great will be your joy, and fruitful your walk, if you read, study and meditate on the word of God daily. You will be blessed when you study the word of God. It is not enough just to read the word of God. That we must do! I have had the custom of reading the whole Bible through every year for more than 17 years. But reading is not enough. Reading must give way to pondering and fixing your mind on the glory of God revealed in the Scriptures. In other words, you must strive to understand the word and love the God of the Scriptures. Meditate and delight in the word of God, because in it you encounter God and His attributes, and His will. You will be blessed when you delight in the word of God and in the God of the word, when you depend on every word for your daily bread and strength. 

Jesus said, when tempted, ‘man lives not on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matt 4:4 ESV). Remember that the words of God are more precious than silver and much gold (Ps 19:9-11)! Let me ask you a question: Do you regard it as such? 

Do you begin and end your day in the word of God? If not, why not? 

Do you think something else is more important than God and His word? What?

The word of God is your life, your sustenance, your salvation, your bread, your treasure. There you find Christ, the wisdom of God and the power of God (1 Cor. 1:25). 

Listen to this sound advice from Apostle Paul, to his disciple Timothy:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

In this passage we see that the sacred writings, the Scriptures, are able to make us wise for salvation in Christ Jesus. That is the purpose why the Bible has been given, namely so that every reader may gain salvation in Christ, and that every believer may grow in salvation in Christ. The sacred writings have been given to us by God, they were inspired, they were breathed out by Him, they originated from Him. The Bible did not originate from man. The sacred writings came from God, through human writers, but God is the primary author. They came from the Holy Spirit. And because they come from Him, they are authoritative and without error in what they affirm and assert concerning salvation, righteousness, good, evil, truth, sin, and in every other area of life they touch upon. The Scriptures are trustworthy. They are clear. They convey things that can be understood. They are also sufficient to make the man or woman of God thoroughly equipped for every good work. They are there to equip the believer, to guide him, to sanctify him and to make him an instrument that God can use for His glory. 

We have no other infallible guide like the Bible. No other book or so-called “revelation” in a dream or vision can overthrow or alter or suspend the Bible. We evangelize and make God known so that people can be satisfied with God in Christ, in the Scriptures, by the Holy Spirit. 

Goal 7: Living by Faith in Future Grace

Living by faith in future grace

You might ask me where I got this title of living “by faith in future grace”? A few years ago, I read a book by John Piper called “Future Grace”. In this book he speaks of the fact that we as believers in Christ don’t only live from the supplies of grace that we have received from God in the past: we are energized and enthused by the promises of God in his Word of future grace that will be supplied to the believer. Piper argues in his book that to make our faith strong we should lay hold of the promises of God in his Word. In doing so we shall also be able to    fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), and unbelief in our lives. I agree with Piper because I have experienced in my own life how the promises of God have helped me to live a life pleasing to God. God has given us thousands of promises in His Word.  All of these promises, which God made to the Israelites in the Old Testament and to His disciples and His church in New Testament times, find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ! This means they have spiritual significance for us here and now and we can apply them to our lives in the 21st century!

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:19-20 ESV)

Since God is the God of truth who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), we can be assured that we shall escape the corruption in the world and be made partakers of the divine nature through his promises (2 Peter 1:3-4).  The fact that God gave so many promises in the Bible to his people, and that He is omnipotent, means that our faith gets stronger as we meditate on the promises of God. As we do so and thus take hold of them, meeting the conditions of these promises, we experience firsthand how God fulfills them time and time again in our lives! I know from experience how God has used his promises in my own life to save me from sinful habits (Hebrews 7:25); to cast away anxiety (Philippians 4:5-7); to overcome temptation (1Corinthians 10:13); and to fill me with hope (Ecclesiastes 9:4) for the future as He leads and directs my paths (Proverbs 3;5,6)! As we see God answering our prayers and rewarding our faith (Hebrews 11:6) we grow stronger in faith and have more joy in the Holy Spirit. Our faith in the Word of God, and in the God of the Word, will become unshakable when we trust in His promises, because we will know firsthand how He walks with us, directs us, and provides in our needs. 

God has not only acted in history through Jesus Christ to accomplish salvation: He is acting in our lives now, from day to day, and He has promised that there will be new supplies of grace in the future through His Son Jesus Christ. And we know this because he has promised so in his Word! 

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 ESV)

God has promised that He will be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). He has promised that he will never leave or forsake his children (Hebrews 13:5); that no one will be able to pluck us out of the hand of the Father; and that we will never perish (John 10:27-30). Furthermore, since He is for us, no one will be against us to destroy us ultimately (Romans 8:31). God accomplishes all of this through the intercessory work of Jesus Christ in heaven:  

“Consequently, he (Christ) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25 ESV).

God will supply more grace towards us because Jesus is constantly praying for us in heaven, for those who come to God through Him. Our knowledge of God, his power and his promises are our weapons against the assaults on our faith. With these weapons we will conquer the attacks on our faith; we will escape the corruption that is in the world working through sinful desire:

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV).

The goal of evangelism and making God known is that we as believers grow in our faith as a result of what He has in store for us. The goal of evangelism and the purpose of our existence are to stand on the promises of God at all times: in prosperity and in adversity, in certainty and in confusion, in weakness and in strength. The world may burn; it may turn and go after Satan and evil: as children of God however, we have a promise of a new city where righteousness will dwell. We live by faith and not by sight: faith in having new supplies of grace through Jesus Christ until he comes again. And Christ has promised that He will. God’s word is forever settled in heaven! It is indestructible! (Psalm 119:89). Hallelujah!