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leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
If you were to look closely at my thumb you would not see even a hint of green to it (except for maybe the time I hit it with the hammer). If I want something to grow in my garden, I typically go to the nearest gardening supply store and pick up a handy-dandy bottle of stuff to sprinkle on my plants. Voilà—they grow—it’s a miracle!
Why can’t I do that with my spiritual life? It feels like I’m constantly growing the weeds of sin instead of the fruit of righteousness. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just go to church on Sunday, have the pastor sprinkle some Spiritual Miracle-Grow onto our hearts, and voilà, we mature and produce godliness?
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. Welcome to episode #44 as we dive into part 7 of our mini-series on How to live FOR Christ entitled “Formed to Function.”
I have a very simple, very basic, yet extremely critical question for you. Are you a Christian? Are you a born-again believer?
If your answer to the above question is something like this: “Yes, I’ve put my faith and trust in the finished work of Christ on Calvary,” then, according to God’s promise in His word you are saved! You will be in Heaven for eternity—not because of anything good that you have done, but because of all that God has already done on your behalf.
Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” In John 3:36 Jesus says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life!” And in Ephesians 2:8-10 we read: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Please focus your attention upon the words “not a result of works.” “This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works” Paul is telling us that it’s not by our own personal efforts at godliness that we are saved. No matter how many good, great, and grand “Christian” deeds you do in your lifetime, you can never merit Heaven on your own. God expects absolute perfection—something we cannot achieve.
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Listen closely as I repeat the last part of that verse. Jesus says that the only one who will be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven is “he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Now wait a minute. Every one of the verses I just read to you makes it abundantly clear that we are not saved by doing good works. God isn’t impressed with our good deeds. I Samuel 16:7 tells us that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Ok, but in Matthew 7:21 – the verse I just read to you - doesn’t Jesus say right here that to enter the kingdom of Heaven you have to DO the will of God? Isn’t that doing good works to be worthy of Heaven? After all, Jesus Himself said I have to “do” something to enter His kingdom. Right?
Stay with me, here. On the surface it might appear that way, but any time you study God’s Word you must always compare Scripture with other Scripture. Otherwise, you run the high risk of misunderstanding and misinterpreting what God is saying.
A moment ago, I read in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by God’s amazing grace, not by our faulty works and futile efforts. Paul tells us (Romans 3:24) that we “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” He also said that God “has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
OK, so I have two questions for you to consider.
First: When you make salvation all about works—or even partially about works—who is sitting on the throne of your heart? The answer? You are! It’s all about King Me. That’s why Ephesians 2:9 clearly states your salvation, your guaranteed entrance into Heaven someday is “not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” In 1 Timothy 1:9 the apostle Paul declares that God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace.”
Here’s my 2nd question for you to consider: What if Jesus did 98% of the work of salvation for you, but you have to do the remaining 2%? The answer? It would still be about King Me. It would still depend upon your works – upon your ability to complete that remaining 2%. Romans 9:16 says, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” God makes it abundantly clear in Romans 3:20 that “by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight.”
You see, “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our wrongdoings, like the wind, take us away.” That was Isaiah 64:6.
So, why can’t I gain access into Heaven based on how good I am? Let me remind you of the main text of Scripture that is driving this question. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
In the very next verse (Matthew 7:22) Jesus said, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” It sure sounds like the people Jesus is describing here were doing things that fit into the category of God’s will. After all, they prophesied in His name. They drove out the enemy. They performed miracles! Doesn’t God want us to do mighty things in His name?
Yet Jesus goes on to say: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23)
Watch this now. Their eternal destiny didn’t rely on their ability to do good deeds, even if they did them in the name of the Lord. Their hope—your hope and my hope—for eternity rests solely on something else—Someone else.
You see, “The Lord knows those who are his.” (2 Timothy 2:19) Jesus said that God “calls his own sheep by name.” (John 10:3) Listen once again at Matthew 7:23. “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Jesus didn’t know them. They were doing good deeds in His name, but He didn’t know them. In fact, He calls them “evildoers” (literally, breakers of His laws).
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Let me draw your attention to the phrase “does the will of my Father.” Jesus clearly states that the only way to get into Heaven is by doing something—a specific something—that God expects you to do. He has a definite will, and you must do that particular thing in order to get into Heaven. That is the only way He will let you spend an eternity with Him.
Now listen closely as I read to you John 3:14-18. “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:14-18)
A few verses later, in John 3:36, Jesus says “Anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life.” Do you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21? “Only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” will enter the kingdom of Heaven.
In John 6:40 Jesus declared, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.”
Again, I ask: have you done that?
The Apostle Paul asks a very interesting question of the Christians in Galatia. Listen to what he says: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:1-3)
That question is worthy of our consideration. We know from Scripture that it is by God’s grace we are saved, not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
And in Galatians 2:16 we see “that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law.”
As a born-again believer, we understand that our faith in Christ is the key. But when King Me is sitting on the throne of my heart, I begin to make that salvation all about me instead of God. Now why is that such a bad thing? In Ephesians 2:10 we see that we are God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. In other words, God created you with a specific purpose in mind. He designed you with great care and effort. Why? Because He has a perfect plan for your life. You are His workmanship.
Wait. God has a plan for me? Really? What is that plan? What is God’s purpose for your life? Are you saved to just sit, soak, and sour? No way! In short, He saved you “for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Though you are not saved by good works, because you are saved by His grace, He wants you to DO good works.
God expects you to grow in your spiritual life and do “good works” for His glory.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17) “In all your ways acknowledge him.” (Proverbs 3:6)
Jesus commands us to let our “light shine before men, that they may see (our) good deeds and glorify (our) Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) God’s Word instructs us “how to live in order to please God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
In other words, you’ve been formed to function. Designed to declare. Made to magnify. Prepared to perform in a way that brings others to Christ. God wants you to do good works. In short: you are to always “live” in a way that pleases God.
I must give you a very serious warning here, so sit up and take notice. Here it is: As you read God’s Word, you are going to learn God’s truth. However, the truths you will discover from the Bible will do you absolutely no good.
Yes, you heard that right. No, I’m not a heretic. No, I’m not spouting false truths. It’s a fact. The truths in the Bible are worthless to you ... IF they are not put into practice. Living a godly life that consistently glorifies our Heavenly Father happens only when you do the truth. Don’t just read it. Don’t just listen to it. Don’t even talk it. Do it! Build your entire life around it. Walk it out!
Paul charged young Timothy to “correctly handle the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Correct handling of God’s Word begins with reading it, sure. It certainly includes listening to it. But if that’s all you do, you have failed in the charge. You are not “correctly” handling it. In fact, you’re actually mishandling it. Only when you take that truth and apply it to your daily life are you correctly handling it.
Here’s what James 1:22-25 says. “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
I challenge you: NEVER let God’s Word go in one ear and out the other. When you “merely listen” to Scripture, you’re hearing the words—considering what they are saying, for a moment—then promptly dismissing them as irrelevant to you and your situation.
Before we conclude this week’s episode, I’d like to take just a moment and give you a glimpse into our ministry. You see, we do a whole lot more here at The Pure Man Ministry than just producing a weekly podcast. We have a free APP entitled “My Purity Coach.” This app is chocked full of powerful tools to help you in your walk of purity. You’ll find tons of Scripture. Audio and video lessons from the Bible. You can even listen to this podcast from the app. Again, that App is entitled “My Purity Coach.”
We also have designed an online training resource called ChristianGrowthAcademy.com. There you will find a growing library of affordable video courses geared to help you learn how to grow in your Christian walk.
If you’re a subscriber to this podcast, then you’ve heard me talk about our “Point of Purity Program” – a 12 week, 1-on-1, Bible-Centered coaching program taking you into Scripture to teach you how to develop a lifelong strategic plan for sexual purity. And I often talk on this podcast about the various books I have written.
As a faith-based, donor-supported ministry, all of this (and so much more) is only made possible by our team of ministry partners who give financially to this ministry. Without compromise The Purity Coach shows men and women how to have a continuous relationship with Jesus that is real and personal.
To that end we need ongoing financial assistance from partners like you who are committed to providing hope and helping men and women across the globe win their personal battle against the beast of sexual impurity.
If this Point of Purity podcast has been a blessing to you, if it’s ministered to you, encouraged you, challenged your walk with Christ, would you please join our team of Point of Purity Partners as we impact our world by equipping and training men and women how-to live-in purity, godliness, and integrity. Your financial support of any amount to this ministry will go a long way toward helping men and women find the victory and freedom that only Christ can – and will – give!
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.