OF WHAT BENEFIT AM I TO THE LORD?
by Cooper Abrams
INTRODUCTION: Since 1996, I have had an Internet web site titled Bible Truth. It receives each month over 70,000 visits by people (December 2010). The site has six hundred plus articles mostly which I have written addressing everything from Salvation to articles on tongues, the polity of a local church, deacons, and several commentaries on Books of the Bible, Baptist history. On feature is that I offer a Bible questions and answer service in which people send me their questions. I recently corresponded for a time with a man who claimed to be an atheist. How do you witness to a person who does not believe there is a God let alone that the Bible is God's word. Others will say they believe there is a God, but He is some distance force or being they cannot relate too. Some believe there is a God, but deny that the Bible is His inerrant infallible word and refuse to accept what it says.
Without question it is a tragic thing to be God's creation and not know Him and be separated from His love and grace. Further, how pitiful to live one's life and have no purpose to life, but to live until we die and no matter how successful or how much a failure....to end the same way.....to die and leave it all. That is the life lived by those that have not believed, repented of their sins and received Jesus Christ as their savior. One could have an empire greater than Bill Gates of Microsoft....devote one's life to making money and producing products....but in reality...there is no real lasting purpose to a life lived that way. The derelict sleeping in the street in a card board box or the billionaire who are lost are thus separated God have no purpose for their lives.
God did not create us in vain. He has a purpose for each one here in this room....and it is an eternal purpose on which death has no effect. Death for the Christian is only a door that begins eternally.
Many people today, deep down inside, who do not live their lives for the Lord, and know that their lives have no purpose....
In John 17, which is the Lord's prayer we see many incites into God's mind about His plan for us. It has a message for the lost as well as for those who are saved.
1. It is possible to be quite selfish about salvation and to think of it only in terms of the blessing it is and the benefits one receives from Christ.
2. However, there is another side of salvation that is equally important and vital for one to understand.
The other side of salvation is of what benefit we are to the Lord Jesus?
a. At first this truth may seem hard to understand, however the Bible teaches us that in truth the believer is actually a present from God to the Lord Jesus.
"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word " (John 17:6).
This gives us a small incite into God's purpose for saving us.
Note Verse 11, ". . .keep-- through thine own name-- those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."
b. Although, God is completely sovereign and has all power and all things and that we have nothing to offer and that salvation is totally a gift of God...we are of value because God has made us such.
c. John 17 is the "real" Lord's prayer, and the one in Matthew is the model prayer to pattern our prayers after.
This prayer is the prayer Jesus prayed to the Father just before He was betrayed and crucified.
3. Most times we think of salvation from the human point of view... yet God has not left us ignorant concerning His point of view in the matter.
We see salvation in light of its benefit to us....I have never heard a message which showed our benefit to the Lord.
Do not be mislead or misunderstand. We have nothing to offer no value or worth within ourselves. Yet, God had imparted unto the believer, salvation, membership in God's own family, and has given us a purpose for life itself.
To study, meditate and understand these truths will greatly help us to understand what salvation is.
Salvation is much more than (1) forgiveness of sin,(2) cleansing of the heart, (3)the impartation of the new nature and (4) the blessed hope of the future. It is all of that, but it is also being a vital part of God's plan and purpose...and that gives us value to the Lord.
This is not self-esteem that we here so much about today. Self-esteem is based in pride. Norman Vincent Peale, Guide Post Magazine was the great guru of self-esteem. He proclaimed that man by nature has good in him and all man must to is to fan the flames of a man's self pride and he will do good. Robert Schuller has taken his place. Schuller says the worse thing you can do to a man is to tell him he is a sinner.
God says in Isa. 64:6, that man's righteousness is a but filthy rages. Man as a sinner has no righteousness and is lost in sin separated from God.
However, God marvelously takes the sinner who is of no value (Romans 3) and changes him into something that is valuable and precious to the Lord. That only occurs when a man will submit himself to the Lord in faith and receive Him as his Lord and Savior. But it happens every time a many is truly saved.
Note John 17:23, ". . .thou hast loved them, as Thou hast loved me." We are loved in the same way and degree as God the Father loves the Lord Jesus Christ.
This shows how much the Lord thinks of us and of what value we are to Him.
THE LORD'S PRAYER SHOWS US "WHAT" THE BELIEVER MEANS TO THE SAVIOR!
4. Lets us look at several facts found in the Lord's prayer which will help us to understand that there is something infinitely more purpose to the Christians life!
I. FIRST: THE BELIEVER IS GIVEN TO CHRIST OUT OF THE WORLD. JOHN 17:6
A. Jesus says that the believer has been given to Him from out of the world.
1. It is a most difficult thing to understand how that God loves the sinner and suffered for us who are so undeserving. We are dismayed when we look around us at this lost world and all its horrible sins. The world is made of individual people. What of the doctor who murders the unborn child in its mothers womb, or the mother who has it done or the person who votes for politicians who make it legal. What a terrible sin this is and it shows us what man is capable of.
ILLUS: In 1961-62 I was in the Army and stationed in Munich, Germany. Nearby, was the infamous city of Dachau, where the Nazi (Germans) murdered millions of Jews. I was there only 16 years after it was liberated. It was a horrible place. My wife and I road bicycles to Dachua and after leaving concentration camp we were riding through the small town. The thought hit me like a cold chill, as I looked at the people who lived there that these nice looking, smiling people could have been those who worked in the camp who did these atrocities. I realized that this same thing could happen anywhere and in the right circumstances....even my American neighbors would do the same thing. If a Hitler was to come to power in America....there would be Nazis to support him and do his evil bidding. It forever changed my thinking about people and what sinful things we are. The sinfulness of man as Romans 3 states is so vitally illustrated in what happened at Dachau and many other places during WWII. Yet, after I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I further realized what a wonderful miracle was salvation in that God forgives us. Being the sinners we are....why would He want too!?
2. More difficult to understand is that Christ considers every believer as God's gift of love to Him!
3. I Marvel at the Grace that gave Jesus to be my own personal Savior....I marvel more that Grace also makes me a gift of God to the Savior.
B. Without doubt we are undeserving of God's Grace.
Yet, God's Grace is the transforming power that makes the believer so precious in the sight of the Lord Jesus..
His eyes are too pure to behold iniquity and He cannot delight in man's sin. He sees in the penitent and trusting sinner what Grace can do and what Grace has made the believer.
This is truly the, "the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints".
ILLUS: Judges 6:12, Christ appeared to Gideon and proclaimed "The Lord is with you...you mighty man of valor!!" Gibeon at the moment was hiding from the Midianites, threshing a little grain so they would not starve. He surely did not appear to be a mighty man of valor and in fact he was not. God however, did not see him as he was, but saw him as what God could make him to be.
Gideon brought honor to the Lord in his faithfulness. As he obeyed, and Lord God's will was done. The hordes of the Midianites that were plaguing Israel were destroyed.
C. Note John 17:6, 8. Jesus says, "They have kept they word." (V6) ". . .they have received them . . .they have believed that thou didst send me..." V8).
This is true of those who are truly saved. It is not true of those who have not.
D. Jesus makes the marvelous statement in verse 10 ". . .I am glorified in them."
Everything a person does he does because of some motivation. We have to have a reason for all we do. People do not do things they feel does not benefit them or that they have no good reason to do.
A parent takes care of their child because they love them and they love them because they are their own flesh and blood. That is their motivation. They might help someone else's child, but their motivation would be from pity and charity.
Many times, professing believers do not understand their importance to God and to His plan.
Note the verse says Jesus is glorified in believers. Today, think for a moment....what glorifies Jesus Christ before the world? Can you think of any way the Lord Jesus is glorified before the lost and dying world apart from seeing Christ in a believer?!
Our purpose is to bring Glory to the Lord Jesus.
I want to see the Lord Jesus Christ honored before the world. All true believers should desire the same thing. One reason God saved us was to bring Christ the glory He deserves.
You see it may be that some who profess Christ do not understand this vital part of their salvation! This brings us to a question: "If a person truly understands and accepts this truth...don't you think he would want to live a godly life before the Lord?" I think many do not live godly lives and it may be because they do not understand this simple truth. They are precious to the Lord and He has a plan for their lives.
II. HOW COULD THE BELIEVER BE SO VALUABLE TO THE LORD?
A. The value of anything is most times determined the price one pays for it.
What may be of little value to one person may be of great value to someone else.
B. What are you Worth?
1. In chemical components it is estimated the human body is worth something more than a dollar.
2. Some might say the more one knows or produces the more valuable that person is.
3. According the World Almanac, the highest paid occupations are, lawyers, airplane pilots, aerospace engineers, physicians, financial managers, chemical engineers, personnel managers, stock brokers, education administrator, college professors, electrical engineers, computer specialists, pharmacist and economists.
Consider what you skill have. What by the world standards are you worth? In time people age and their skills diminish making them less valuable. Sometimes skills are superseded. Firemen on trains, linotype operators, keypunch operators, stage coach drivers, livery stables operators, blacksmiths, etc.
C. How valuable are you to the Lord? What was the price paid for you?
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
Gal. 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
1. He thought you were worth his dying for.
2. He thought you were worth, his suffering for your sin.
3. Why would He do that if you were not important to the Lord?! Clearly the price is paid testifies to the value He places on us.
The Bible says that God is Love. The very nature of God is love....and that love is demonstrated in the love for the sinner. Who..... if he trusts in Christ..... becomes a great treasure to God.
Christ paid the penalty for all....yet, only those who believe are be saved. The fact is most people on earth will die in their sins and spend eternity in hell. The fact is only a few will received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That too, I believe, weights heavily on our value to the Lord. You see, so few believe and are saved to bring Him glory.
No matter who you are...you are God's creation.
No matter what you think of yourself or have done...you are a sinner either small or great.
No matter what.....Christ suffered every mans's sin on earth...that you might have eternal life.
You are most precious and valuable to Him...you see the worth of anything is determine by what someone is willing to pay for it.
To the unsaved this message should be clear....God is offering you salvation. He is offering a place in heaven, most of all....He is offering to change you into something totally incomprehensible....some of great value to the Lord. He has a purpose for you, but He will not force Himself or His will on you. You must believe and in repentance receive Him as your Lord and Savoir.
To the professing believer....Is there a great motivation to live and totally commit one's life to the Lord than to understand the great love of God for the sinner. Of the Love of God that will take the worthless sinner we are and make of us something wonderful and of great value to the Lord.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a gift of God to the Lord Jesus Christ....for the purpose to bring honor to Him.
We have a choice...we can bring honor to the Lord or dishonor. We can be of great value or worth nothing....What will it be?
Would you receive Christ Jesus, now by faith.
Would you become a great treasure to him...or waste and throw away the great thing He did for you?