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September 21, 2008 AM

HEB 11:5

INTRO: Recently, I heard among a group of teenagers a discussion of "my purpose on earth". It was an intriguing discussion, and one of the fine young people suggested that the great commission (cited was Mt 28:19,20) is our purpose on earth. I think that the young people, as a whole, had a noble view of purpose. As I listened, though, I began to have the feeling that this question of "purpose on earth" is one in which there may be some considerable struggle ... and misunderstanding. I have had this discussion with numerous people over my preaching years and am not certain I have provided satisfaction in those discussions. So, let me try again. What is my purpose on earth?

    1. Almost always in terms of occupation, relationship, quest
      1. "I am on this earth to be a great engineer, doctor, teacher"
      2. "I am on this earth to be a great father, mother"
      3. "I am on this earth to discover a cure for cancer"
      4. and I would not argue with such ideas
      5. each of these is commendable and to be encouraged
    2. But listen to Heb 11:5 very carefully
      1. what is the one thing which set Enoch apart from others?
      2. was he good at some occupation? family role? life goal?
      3. I believe the assumption would be, "Yes, to all the above"
      4. but what made him "good" at all of these things? what really set him apart from all others?
      5. he pleased God!
    1. 2 Cor 5:9,10
      1. the overarching purpose in his life? to be approved of God
      2. the great realization? there is a coming judgment day
      3. Mt 7:21 speaks to the issue of purpose in view of judgment
    2. Col 1:10
      1. his prayer? that they live lives pleasing to God
      2. does he negate the need for practice things as jobs, roles?
      3. of course not, and he will address these ... but he sees the great overarching purpose in life is to please God
    3. Gal 1:10
      1. this man had been in a world of pleasing men - world view of purpose
      2. he came to realize, however, that the world view is not really what ones purpose on earth really is
      3. another powerful text to this end is Col 3:1-3
    1. Isa 56:4,5 - "...and choose the things that please me..."
      1. here, in very simple language, is how one fulfills his purpose!
      2. in life he chooses to do that which pleases God
      3. but there is that second part of what is said here ... "and take hold of my covenant" - "covenant" speaks of agreement with "stipulations"
    2. 1 Thes 4:1-3a - " ye ought to walk and to please God..."
      1. this begins to take us into the practical application of our great purpose
      2. pleasing God apparently has much to do with revealed commandments
      3. "for this is the will of God"
      4. are reminded of Lk 22:42?
    3. 1 Jno 3:22 - "...and do those things that are pleasing in his sight"
      1. what set these people apart from people with the world's view?
      2. they kept God's commandments!
      3. in doing so, they pleased Him - they fulfilled their real purpose on earth
      4. throughout history this has been the manner in which people have fulfilled their purpose on earth
    4. Now, does this reflect into our roles, relationships, hopes, dreams, goals?
      1. of course it does - 1 Cor 10:31
      2. there is "specificity" within the commandments of God
      3. and we must deal with that specificity - in roles, in relationships, in life goals and desires
      4. where God specifies, because our purpose is to please Him, we conform to His specifications! it's just that simple

CLOSE: Was Enoch good at an occupation, his relationships, his life goals? Undoubtedly so! Why? Because he understood life's great purpose, and that purpose reflected into all he did. We just have one great God given purpose, dear friends. And that is to please God!

Cecil A. Hutson

14 September 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)