After considering what I would write in this sermon for many months my prayer is that I will stir your hearts toward reflecting on why we serve our Lord.
I believe that this reflection is probably one of the greatest tasks we as professing believers can undertake, so much so that if we do not prayerfully consider this core aspect we are certain to have many areas of our spiritual life abound with confusion regarding God's will for our lives and how we practice our faith. It is so important that our very salvation may eventually be at risk.
If you have read much of what we have written on this site you are aware that we do not find our salvation is based on an event we could easily record from some moment in the past, but rather our salvation is a daily event of being currently grafted in the vine. Paul cautions us about this in Romans 11.
We find that we can rest in the secure knowledge that God will be honorable to his promises as Paul writes in,
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2 Co 1:20)
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Co 7:1)
Yet His promises are fulfilled by being in the vine.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Rom 8:11-17)
Now that we have established that we can rest in the promises of his gift of salvation we then must turn inward and look to see if our hope is based on Him, and him solely. We see that we can trust him to perform that which he has promised in the following passages, so once again, it is our relationship with God, not his with us, that can affect our salvation.
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Rom 4:21)
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Php 1:6)
So why do you trust him? Do you have the same attitude as Job when he says Job 13:15,
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
The gift of salvation is given for only one reason...and that is to to restore us back into a relationship with God our Creator. A relationship with the Father, the Word that took on human form, and the Spirit. We can not have a relationship with just one. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are transformed into the imagine of Christ, the word, and are presented faultless before the throne of the Father.
As a believer do you accept his invitation to be citizen's of the Kingdom because it can benefit you or because he is worthy to be praised. Do you serve Him because you are afraid of hell or because it is financially beneficial to be of good Christian character? Do you serve Him because is satisfies your natural instincts, or gratifies you emotionally? Or do you embrace His gift because He is the essence of Life?
I know for many years my relationship with God was selfish whether I wanted to admit it or not. I finally came to this realization when I admitted to myself that I was willing to do just about anything but carry my cross. I wanted to be in the Kingdom but I didn't like the requirements of citizenship that God had for me. I wanted to worship Him but I was unwilling to do it truly in spirit and in truth. I wanted to apply spiritual principles in my life that made me more respectable with my family and within my community but not if it meant loosing friends or worldly credibility. In essence I wanted salvation just so I could gloss over my sinful carnality, while at the same time keep me out of hell.
It was then that I realized I had thoroughly embraced selfish salvation. My relationship with God was based on it's natural and fleshly benefits and not on becoming Christ like. Did I have a relationship with God? Yes, at various fleeting moments that only ensured that I had an anemic spiritual life at best. Once I revisited the purpose of salvation and repented of my selfish ways God began to open the door to having a relationship with him grounded in his truth.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Co 7:10)
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worker in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputing's That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. (Php 2:12-16)
Selfish salvation leads to more self, dying to self leads to being more Christ like. The choice hasn't been more clear.