A Free Template From Joomlashack

Who's Online

We have 7 guests online

••• Related Articles •••

≈Guest Book≈

scroll If you like the site please leave some feedback by signing the Guest Book!

BAR News

Being A People of "One Thing" PDF Print E-mail


*An audio sermon of this teaching available here.


Holiness Series – Lesson 1

By Joshua Nielsen

     The Bible exhorts us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and strength (Deut. 6:5), and to follow after Him and walk in his statutes (Ezek. 11:20, 20:19, 36:27). However sometimes we allow the things of this world to distract us, and it can choke and inhibit our fruitfulness, causing us to stray from God (Matt. 13:22). This struggle is ever-present in the life of believers and the Bible tells us that though we have died to our sin nature called the flesh, and that it no longer is master over us (Romans 7:5-6, 8:9; Gal. 5:24), that the flesh still lusts against God’s Spirit which he has put in us (Galatians 5:17). Thus the Bible commands us, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh(Gal. 5:16)
     What steps can we take then to walk according to the Spirit? Walking by the Spirit requires continual submission to God and asking him to fill you with the Holy Spirit constantly. There are many things which God wishes us to learn and obey along the way of our Spirit-filled life, and wishes that we would display the virtues and fruit of a redeemed spirit in Christ such as love, peace, patience, and a gentle spirit, but at the center of it all, where it all starts, is a focus on God and seeking after Him. The Bible says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you(Matt. 6:33). This is why we are told to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven(Matt. 6:10)
     We must desire God above all and “press toward the mark” (Phil. 3:14) towards God, meaning that God is the finish line mark in this race of life and we must endure to the end with our eye on the prize. If we ever take our eye off of the goal line we are going to stray off path in this life. Peter’s faith allowed him to walk on water by looking toward Jesus and trusting in him, but once he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at his surroundings and circumstances he sank. Since we must stay true to our one and true God (1 John 5:20), we need to be a people of “one thing”.
     When Jesus went to the town of Bethany, as is recorded in Luke 10:38-42, he entered the house of two women named Martha and Mary, who were sisters. They were both more than glad to welcome and accept Jesus into their home and Jesus came in to teach them and perhaps rest as well. We are told that as Jesus was teaching that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening intently to his words. Martha though felt like she was obligated to serve Jesus in some way by possibly preparing a meal or something else to please her guest. The Bible says that she was distracted, just as we get in this life sometimes from what really matters. After her much stressing and anxiety because of the things she was trying to do, she became annoyed that Mary was listening to Jesus and not helping her. She finally approached Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” But Jesus looked at her and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her(Luke 10:41-42)
     Jesus said that only one thing was needed or necessary when it comes to obeying and pleasing God. He was referring to how Mary chose to act to his presence and teachings: with reverent listening and an open heart to his words. This is because she loved the Lord. And from a Biblical perspective someone who truly hears God’s words will obey them. This is the essence of faith and belief in God. We do not need to seek, as Martha did, to attempt to please God of our own accord, trying as it would seem to perform deeds of our own that would please God and put us on good terms with him. Rather he wants obedience, fostered by listening, first and foremost. Works and good deeds will be the natural fruit of our obedience. Works are the evidence of genuine faith, because faith manifests itself in trust and obedience.
     This “one thing” becomes a desire to those who love and revere God. It is a passion to come closer to God by obeying him. David says in the psalms, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple(Psalm 27:4). David desired to be in God’s presence, and his desire led him on a path of obedience to God. He set his eyes on the mark and would settle for nothing less. Yes David struggled as we all do, and David even sinned more extraordinarily than most, yet God called him a man after his own heart (Acts 13:22) because God knew David’s heart and accepted him. This can be a comfort to us knowing that God does indeed love us, but that he will mold us and change us amidst our struggles, and will ultimately accept us into his presence for enduring.
     When we do not set our eyes on God and instead exalt another thing which is of more value or importance to us, in God’s stead, this is a form of idolatry. In this case the one thing that we are lacking is focusing on God. This is true of the rich man whom Jesus invited to follow him. Jesus said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me” (Mark 10:21). Here the rich man had only one thing that was in the way of the only true one thing that mattered in life: God. The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also(Matt. 6:21). This is why we are to seek the kingdom of God first, for our inheritance is not of this earth and this world has nothing lasting that it can give us (Col. 1:12, 3:24). Our inheritance in heaven is imperishable (1 Peter 1:4), and we owe it all to the Giver of our inheritance. To set our heart elsewhere would be idolatry. The majority of what I have said about idolatry and inheritance here can be summed up as is stated in Ephesians 5:5 which says, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” If idolaters have no inheritance in the kingdom of God, then believers who have an eternal inheritance should not act as idolaters and put their eyes on other things which will lead them astray. If we do then we become a hypocrite, which is the Greek term for an actor, one who acts contrary to one’s own proclaimed standards or nature. Let us strive to not work against our heritage in Christ and instead press towards the mark in obedience to God, knowing that God will be glorified and that we will gain our eternal inheritance.
     More than just seeking after our inheritance we should desire to please God through obedience. Paul did not want to disappoint God when it came to the reason why God saved him in the first place. Paul thus said, “I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus(Phil. 3:12). Paul says that he does not consider himself to have reached that finish mark, that he has not attained perfection, but that he did have a singular purpose (“one thing”) toward obeying God’s call to reach the finish mark: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus(Phil. 3:13)
     Paul sought the kingdom of God first, as should all believers. Paul in fact encouraged other believers to follow his example, and to have a similar purpose towards reaching the mark (Phil. 3:15-17). Because the believer’s life should be oriented toward God, and since we are part of the body of believers (Romans 12:4-5) Paul exhorted all believers to be of the same mind (Phil. 1:27, 2:2; 1 Cor. 1:10; compare Acts 4:32). Finding friends or family who are fellow believers, with whom you can share a common passion in seeking after God, is an enormous blessing to the Christian, and the whole Church should be that way.
If only all these things were emphasized more in our modern day society and in our Churches! Can you say revival and passion for God? That’s what would happen if people realized that they could walk in victory, with an almighty God enabling them to press towards the mark, and that all the other participants in the race of endurance are there to help them along.
     Overall though what does it mean to be a person of “one thing”? It means to seek after God first and foremost, making him our single goal above anything else that would inhibit us from reaching the finish mark, where God will usher us into the kingdom which we have so diligently sought after and give us our promised inheritance. David longed for this “one thing” which would allow him to be in God’s presence continually, because God was everything to David and he was captivated by God’s beauty and holiness. Paul wanted nothing else but to reach that mark so that he could please God and know him more intimately as he experienced God’s awesome power (Phil 3:10). Mary demonstrates the very “one thing” necessary, by her devotion to listening to Jesus whole-heartedly, and the inheritance that she is promised because of her choice cannot be taken away. 
     So we are to follow after these examples, along with our fellow believers, being of one mind toward God, and being in obedience to his calling to seek after him. Beyond a doubt God has called all believers for this great lifestyle of obedience and pursuit after himself. So let me leave you off with this passage from Romans 8:28-31 which should be a great encouragement to all those who believe: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?



Next: Sanctification Unto God

 
 
Joomla Templates: by JoomlaShack