Intro: After my sins have been forgiven and I am saved then what? I wonder if this was a question that came to your mind after you received Christ as Lord and Savior. When one has truly been saved there is something that takes place in the heart that one may not yet fully understand. I had this amazing experience of peace that is incomprehensible of the weight of sin and guilt that has been lifted up. So what is next after one is saved? Since this is a spiritual birth, this new life should grow. If there is no one who helps in the nurturing of this new birth it is possible that the growth would be stunted. Although there is now the desire and hunger for spiritual food there is a danger of being lured into the marketplace of spiritual buffet. Christ warned us that there will be many false prophets and false Christ. As a body of Christ we must be involved in building up the body especially to those who just got saved. We do this by discipleship and Bible study as commanded by Christ. Then as we grow in knowing Christ through the Word we will come to know this purpose.
“God’s Purpose in Saving You and Me”
“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the South, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6-7
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Rom. 8:29
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10
The first reason God saves everyone is for Christ’s glory. What does this mean? It simply means that the ones who have truly experienced salvation will attribute everything to Christ who saves. Last Sunday we saw how the Triune God worked together to save every single soul. Because salvation is all by the grace of God, God gets all the credit. The same is true in creation, God the Father gave the command and God the Son, whose name is also the Word carried out His command and the Holy Spirit approved the work and saw it was good.
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:3
This makes God the Son the creator of everything and glory has been attributed to Him by David in the Psalms without having mentioned His name.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Ps. 19:1
But what do some unbelievers say even the educated ones? The world came as the result of the “Big Bang” and all life evolved from the amoeba. By believing in evolution they deny the existence of God and specially the creator and rob Him of His glory. As prophesied by Isaiah, glory is already attributed to Christ as our Redeemer in our identification with Him because we bear His name as Christians. By virtue of His life when He left heaven and became flesh, lived a sinless life and gave up His life as a sacrificial offering to God His Father to pay for our sins, God glorified Him by raising Him from the dead and exalted Him to the highest place. He received back His glory He had after He accomplished what He came for and received from His Father the glory that He shared with Him before the creation of the world. After He finished His work God gave Him alone this authority.
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” John 17:1-2
And God the Father did this because of His obedience to His will in finishing the work that He came to do for our redemption.
“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world begun.” John 17:4-5
If God His Father glorified Him, how should those whom He has redeemed live while still living on earth? Shouldn’t we live for the glory of Christ? How do we do that? Just as He lived His life in total dependence and submission to the will of His Father by His obedience, everyone who is called by His name ought to do the same. And we can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit who have been given to every born again Christian to live in us forever. In the Old Testament the prophet Isaiah warned the Israelites concerning whom they give glory to.
“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Isa. 42:8
God is a jealous God as described in the second commandment. Peter in his first sermon after receiving the Holy Spirit declared this about Jesus Christ.
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36
How then do we glorify the Lord Jesus Christ? When the disciples saw Jesus in all His glory after His resurrection they worshiped Him. How about us today who have not seen with our eyes the resurrected Christ? Paul gave us this warning.
“Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, who put no confidence in the flesh, though I myself have reason to put confidence in the flesh.” Phil. 3:2-4
Paul was referring to the religious Jews who have not believed in the promised Messiah, who are still holding on to the old covenant and the works of the flesh without the Holy Spirit in them and make circumcision a must to be saved.
After one is saved this is now the continuing work of God to accomplish the purpose He saved us, “conforming us to the likeness of His Son.” When God created Adam, he was created in God’s likeness. But he did not remain pure because he sinned against God and so sin entered the world. Spiritually Adam died.
“If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” 1 Cor. 15:44b-49
That is why there is this need to be born again. Sin brought death to our spirit because we all sinned. Only after we are saved that our spirit becomes alive.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:17-18
The apostle Peter affirmed this new nature that is from God this way.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Pet. 1:3-4
This is one of the promises that God will accomplish the purpose for saving us.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6
And who will work this out in the life of the redeemed?
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Phil. 2:12-13
And as we are growing in the likeness of His Son, this is the work that is already prepared in advance for us to do, “For we are God’s workmanship.” Because we are now in Christ, created in Christ what is the main work that Christ came to do? To seek and to save the lost. Shouldn’t this be the same work that we ought to be doing so that we bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ aside from the other works we do in church? This is what the disciples gave him and will give Him after Jesus returned to heaven. Glory to the Son.
“All I have is yours and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” John 17:10
Christ’s disciples obeyed Him except the one who betrayed Him. And after Christ went back to heaven they carried out the work that Jesus came to do. They all preached the Word and spread the gospel wherever the Lord sent them. Every sinner that God the Father gives to Jesus Christ and saves brings glory to God through Christ. When Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son, and when they were found here’s what Jesus said happened in heaven.
“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. I tell you that in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents…In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:6b-7, 10
What caused these sinners to repent? It’s the message of the gospel, the truth to what they needed most to hear that brought them to repentance. The Holy Spirit does the convicting of sins and the conviction comes through the word of God. This is the work Jesus did but who will continue the work of seeking the lost? Every born again believer and follower of Christ is given this task of telling the good news. This is what Jesus said to those whom He has saved,
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:14
Who is going to preach this gospel? Everyone who has been called by his name, saved and created as a new creation. This is the ultimate work for every believer and having grown in the likeness of Christ for God’s use. Again, if Jesus brought glory to God in the thirty three years of his life on earth by doing the work of seeking His Fathers elect to give to Him, shouldn’t we also be doing the same work Jesus did that will bring glory to Him and the Father glorified through Him? Here’s what Jesus said He will give His disciples to do the work He did.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Notice what it says about the Holy Spirit that “comes on you.” Earlier Jesus said to His disciples that the Spirit is with them but will be in them after He is resurrected. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit comes immediately after one receives Christ. The Spirit’s coming “on you” is the power for witnessing. Jesus needed also the Holy Spirit to empower Him to do ministry. Jesus started His ministry at His baptism and the “Spirit of God” descending like a dove and lighting on him. Jesus did not need the Holy Spirit to be in Him, He was pure, sinless and God natured but He needed the Holy Spirit to empower Him for ministry. To us, the Holy Spirit has to come in us in order to give life to our spirit and give us God’s divine nature to escape the corruption of the world. The Holy Spirit lives in us to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Empowering us for the work of witnessing and proclaiming the good news comes from the Holy Spirit as we grow into the likeness of the Son of God. Until we exhibit godliness, our testimony will only turn away people instead of drawing them to Christ. The change in our inner being will be the witness to the lost world of the power of God through the gospel. Jesus gave the disciples this promise and command,
“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27
And here’s what the Holy Spirit does for Christ,
“He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16:14-15
Every soul that is saved by Christ brings glory to Him. Every saved one who does the work of Christ in seeking His lost ones to save brings glory to Him. And the glory He receives, God the Father is glorified.
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:10-11
This is the purpose God saved you and me. Are we living for His purpose?