As an application, there are 3 things I’d like us to keep in mind.
1) We need to remember that Jesus is our standard. He is our measuring stick. We fix our eyes on Him and none other.
2) We need to stop practicing religion and obeying only the things that we are good at and what is comfortable to us. We need to obey all of Scripture.
Apostle Paul, as he is bidding farewell to the elders in Ephesus, he has a clear conscience. Because it says in Acts 20:27 – “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”
He proclaimed the whole will of God. Not simply what was his bread and butter, not what he preferred, but the whole, entire, complete will of God.
And I pray that at this church, we can teach the whole will of God so that we can obey the whole will of God.
We should be careful when we gloss over certain verses and assume, that verse doesn’t apply to me. How do you know that? That’s not my calling. Are you sure? I am not gifted in that. I can’t do that. Isn’t it possible he may gift you if you were willing to obey? If you gloss over certain verses, then you are in danger of becoming a religious person who only sticks to what he or she knows and is familiar with or is good at. Let’s not limit God in this way.
3) We need to try harder to live out our faith in Jesus.
Because our actions matter. Our actions reveal what we really believe.
Many in the church just simply don’t try that hard to live for Christ because Christ doesn’t matter a whole lot to them.
We try hard in school. We try hard to please our parents. We try hard to be good parents and provide for our children. We try hard in our careers so we can get promoted. We try hard to make money so we can buy nicer things. We try hard for these things because they matter to us. But when it comes to Christian life, many simply don’t try that hard. We give God leftovers or we just serve him when it is convenient for us.
These people don’t sacrifice much because it is too costly. They don’t risk much because they are afraid to fail. They like comfort, they never like to be interrupted. And if God fails them, they are fine because they have their contingency plans ready in the wings.
When I was entering freshman year at Cal, I had this misconception that I was in the top 10% academically of all incoming freshman. I was from out-of-state and they accept only about 10% of all out-of-state applicants so my logic was, I must be in the top 10% of the Cal student body.
So when all my peers were stressing out about school and staying up late night in the library to work on papers and problem sets, I was hanging out with my friends in SF, partying, playing ball, playing tetris, going to dance clubs. My schedule was packed.
Looking back, I realize that back then I had a deep down insecurity that I wasn’t in the top 10% of Cal and sure enough after my first round of midterms, I found out that people around me are actually much smarter than I originally thought.
But I didn’t want to admit to myself and others that I was just an average student. So I deliberately didn’t study that hard. And if I didn’t do as well on tests as I would have liked, I would tell others, well, I didn’t get to study that much.
Because if I tried my best and I still didn’t measure up, then I’d have to face up to the truth that I am just average and I didn’t want to face that truth about myself.
And for the believer, I think the same thing happens. The Bible says we are below average, that we are sinners. That we have to abide in Jesus always and apart from him, we can do nothing. That’s what the Bible says about us.
And if we obeyed the entire Scripture, we would come to this same conclusion — I actually do need a Savior. I am a lot more selfish and lot less loving than I think. I am not so pious in my thoughts, I am filled with greed and worries.
But if you don’t try, and you selectively obey only part of the Bible, then you might never reach this conclusion that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. We need Jesus not only because we are sinners who need forgiveness.
Jesus says, I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full. He breaks into our little worlds because he wants us to thrive and live abundantly in Christ.
And when this happens, our concerns gradually become God’s concerns. We are his hands and feet in this world. God wants to give us the ultimate joy of being used by Him for His purposes. It’s a rush to be right in the middle of God’s work — to know that you just gave your measly five loaves and two fish, but you gave it wholeheartedly, and God uses it in amazing ways.
For those who have surrendered our lives to him, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us — not going to lie to you. Many trials and suffering await — that’s what the Bible says. But there is also salvation of others, and the indescribable joy of seeing people growing up in the Lord and God adding to our number, the gospel being preached and His kingdom being advanced in this world.
So let’s give it our all, let’s obey wholeheartedly, let’s obey everything in Scripture without leaving anything out. And let’s continually raise up Jesus as our standard. Then, we will recognize our need for Him every moment of every day.