What is Your Ambition in Life Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on What is Your Ambition in Life Part 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 5:9-10.

Our ambition for God is not altered by our state of being. It is not altered by our circumstances. It is not altered by what we are experiencing or not experiencing in our life. We are all in absent or present.

We are all in for Jesus Christ. Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders and we are delighted that you have tuned into our program today, Hope Worth Having, and we’re looking forward to what God has for us to learn today as we study the Scriptures.

We’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and we’re starting a new sermon series entitled What is your Ambition in Life? There are many things that we can pursue in life but nothing is more important than pleasing God and making Him our ambition.

So many people are living for the wrong things and that’s why their life feels so insignificant and they have a sense of no purpose but God has a plan and He has a purpose and when He becomes our ambition that becomes the great blessing of our life.

So let’s get into the Scriptures and let’s learn more about what is your ambition in life. Well the Bible teaches us that we’re to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Ambition for personal glory, for personal fame always leads to our demise. You remember in the Scriptures that Jesus was one time ministering and the people wanted to make Him a king. They wanted to pronounce Him as a political king but Jesus had no political ambitions when He walked on this earth.

His only desire was to complete the mission that the father had sent him. And that mission was not to be popular, it was not to be famous, but it was to seek and to save the lost. That was the mission of Christ.

When we come to our text this morning, the apostle Paul again reminds us what his ambition was for life. And reminding each and every one of us what should be our ambition. And the question that I proposed to us for us to reflect upon, to consider this morning is what is your ambition in life?

What is your ambition in life? And you know, we think and certainly want to have the noblest of ambitions. We want to have the greatest desires. But this morning I challenge you to let God’s Word evaluate your life and to see if your ambitions are aligning with what the Scriptures teach us.

Let’s go to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and just look at these two verses in verse 9 and 10. The Bible says, therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Now when the Apostle uses that word there at the outset in verse 9, that we make it our aim, it is the idea of loving what is honorable. So really what he is saying for us as believers, that as we strive for excellence, as we have goals in life, all of us should strive for what is honorable before God.

This was the ambition of the Apostle. This was the passion, the focus of his life. And so I want us to learn this morning three things that should be our ambition in life. Number one is to be pleasing to Christ.

Did you see that in the text? Verse 9, therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. Underscore that in your Bible, to be well pleasing to Him. The Scriptures teach us in Ephesians 5 and 10 that we are to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

This should be something every day that we should strive for, not to please man, not to please others, but to please God. that every day in our life that no matter how we complete the day that we would be able to lay our head on that pillow and be able to say that today I did everything that I could to please God.

It’s important for us to orient our lives to please God in every way that we live. Colossians 1 10 says that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

You say what are the things that really please God? Well the Scriptures tell us that as we are walking worthy of God, pleasing God, that one other thing is to be fruitful in every good work. It is to be fruitful in our life.

Now I know that we’re in this time, this uniqueness of this time that we live in and maybe there is a temptation on all of us to retreat, to step back. But God is calling us as believers to move forward and to move forward in hope and to move forward being fruitful for God, to not quit, to not give up, to not say, well, look, all this, we’re just gonna kick back and relax.

But no, God is calling all of us to recognize that what is it that brings great joy and pleasure to God is when his people are serving him every day, pleasing him by being fruitful in every good work, whatever your work is, whatever it is that God has called you to do.

We all have unique abilities and talents and we have different callings and different paths that we are taking as we are serving God. But all of us, no matter what our task is, can always strive to be fruitful in every good work to increase in the knowledge of God.

What pleases God? Have you ever taken time to just, in your devotion time, to do a study on who God is? Have you ever just said, look, I wanna just study the attributes and the characteristics of God?

I want to learn more about who he is. We sang about the goodness of God. We sang about the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, the love of God. These are great attributes of God that all of us should take time to study and learn and grow, why?

Because it not only blesses us, but it pleases God. The more that you know him and increase in your knowledge of him, it is pleasing unto God. Our top ambition should be to please the Lord. The scripture says in 1 Thessalonians 4 .1, finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more just as you recede from us how you ought to walk and to please God.

Every Christian has a calling in their life, and that calling is to please God. Again, the scripture says, but as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak not as pleasing men, but God who tests our heart.

Now, here’s a tough one. The apostle is reminding us that even when he speaks, it is his goal to please God. And you know, we live in times where, man, if you say the wrong thing, certain people get offended and have meltdowns, and it’s like, you know, the end of the world.

But listen to me, friends, don’t worry about people’s reaction to you. You keep telling the truth. You keep speaking the truth into people’s life. God has raised you up to be in people’s life, to speak the truth to them, to tell them what is right.

Certainly we do it in love. We don’t speak. to people in a hateful way or to do it in a way that is manipulative or that it is destructive, but rather we speak the truth in people’s life. Why? Because the Bible teaches us the truth will what?

It’ll set you free. And so many people are in the bondage of false thinking, they’re in the bondage of their sin, they’re in the bondage of philosophies that are destroying their lives. And when truth comes into their hearts, and truth is in their mind, it is God using working effectively to His truth to bring about freedom in their lives.

So when you speak, don’t speak as pleasing to men. Don’t speak because, hey, I don’t want to hurt this person’s feelings. It’s not that we want to get up and hurt their feelings, but it’s that we want to honor God.

Here’s what amazes me that sometimes as Christians we’re more worried about offending others than we are about offending a holy God. And I wish that in our hearts that we would first say I want to honor Christ and I want to please God in what I say.

I want to be able to stand for what’s right. This culture, this community, this time and season that we are in, it is ordained of God, church. God has allowed this, God has purposed this, God has brought this about, and it’s not something that we should retreat, but rather we need to stand up, speak up, and we need to step up to the opportunity that God is giving us to speak the truth so that we would please the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, when He walked on this earth in John 8 verse 29, He said, I do always those things that please Him. Yes, there were times that had to confront. There were times that Jesus had to speak the truth right to the person in front of him.

There were times that things had to be addressed that were wrong. You remember when Peter who was a great man of God but he struggled and he didn’t want Christ to go to the cross and he didn’t want him to die and Jesus had to interrupt him publicly in front of the other brothers the other apostles and he had to say get thee behind me Satan.

How would you like for Christ to say that to you? You’d probably be offended the average church member would fold up their tent quit and leave that church and say I’m not gonna go to that church. How dare they say that to me in front of everybody else.

But that’s exactly what Jesus did and why did Jesus do it? Because Peter had a wrong mindset and you know how Peter is or was is that he always opened his mouth and enter foot right? And so Jesus, because he publicly was misleading the other disciples, because he was saying something, he was an influencer, he was someone that they all followed and looked up to, and Peter’s telling them, you’re not going to the cross, and yet it was necessary that he go to the cross, and it was necessary for him to die for our sins so you and I can enjoy the grace of God’s forgiveness.

And Jesus didn’t want just Peter to be thinking like this, he didn’t want the other disciples to think like this, so that’s why Jesus confronted Peter publicly, and said, get thee behind me, Satan. And there are times that the truth has to be told, and it has to be said publicly, and it has to be said rightly, and it has to be said in a way that gets the point across.

Jesus always did those things that please the Father. There are times you and I need to be strong in our faith. I want to encourage you to be firm in what you believe, and don’t worry about what others think.

Don’t strive to please people. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth of God. What is your ambition in life? The first thing we learn is to be pleasing to Christ. The second thing we learn is to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.

We come back to our text in verse nine. And again he says, therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent. Now let’s just stop right there. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, if you’ve been with us, we’ve been going through 2 Corinthians together as a church family, and how glorious and encouraging it has been, this letter of encouragement, this message of uplifting truth that is sustaining us even through these unique times that we are living.

living in. We have been feasting on the manna of God as we have sat at the table studying verse by verse, word by word, phrases by phrases, and we have just been enjoying all that God has for us. But the Apostle says right in verse 9, therefore, every time you see therefore you gotta ask, why is therefore, therefore?

Why is it there? Because he is connecting to what he has already taught us. He is bringing it together. The Apostle loves to connect the dots. And what he is trying to teach us that as a result of, as a result of, what did we just learn last week?

We learned how to face death confidently. Because he tells us in chapter 5 and he tells us in verse 6, he says, we’re always confident. Verse 8, we are confident about. We’re confident, look at verse six, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.

Verse eight, we are confident, yes, well -pleased rather to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. As the Bible teaches us to live is Christ and to die is what, church? For us, it’s a win -win.

We win both ways. And we are called to live for Christ while we’re here. And if God takes us out and promotes us to heaven, it’s gonna be awesome. It’s gonna be even better. As the apostle taught us, it’s far better.

But the point I want you to get is that the apostle is connecting the dots in that his mindset is that when he is here, he’s all in. And if he is taken out of this body, he is before God and he is all in.

He is a fully devoted follower of Christ. Therefore, we make it our ambition. We make it our aim. We make it our desire to honor God. We do it whether we’re present here on this earth or whether we are absent.

The apostle was not duplicit. He was not one day living for Christ and the next day living for self. He was not one day behaving this way and then another day he was totally a different person. But he was whether he is absent or present, he is all in for God.

He is a fully devoted follower of Jesus. Romans 14, verse eight says, whether we live, we live unto the Lord. Whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord. Jesus.

has bought you. He paid the price for you. The Bible teaches us that we are the Lord’s. We belong to Him. He is our Savior. He is our Master. He is our Lord. He is the one that we love and He is the one that we live for moment by moment and it doesn’t matter to us whether we are here or we are before the Lord.

It doesn’t matter because no matter what our mindset is that we’re all in for God. We’re all in. Too many Christians are riding the fence. Those who are sincere, those who love God, those who are committed to the cause of Jesus Christ, it is self -evident where they’re at.

My friends, we are not throwing caution to the wind. We are respectful and loving of our neighbor. and careful because we do not desire that anyone would be sick or that anyone would have to deal with something that their body is not prepared for but either way all of us should have it as our aim as our ambition to be a fully devoted follower of Christ and our ambition for God is not altered by our state of being it is not altered by our circumstances it is not altered by what we are experiencing or not experiencing in our life we are all in absent or present we are all in for Jesus Christ that’s why I love the great verse Romans 12 one I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present yourself your bodies as a living sacrifice holy acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service now you may be like Mike let’s pray not and that is that every once in a while you find yourself getting off the altar and God has to whack you upside the head and say Mike get back up on the altar surrender to me be all in for me and that’s what I want to challenge us to be is that in this day that we’re living in that our ambition not be for us but it would be to please Christ our ambition would be to be fully devoted followers of Christ the third ambition that I want you to focus on this morning is to be transparent before Christ it is to be transparent before Christ you say what do you how do you get that Mike look at verse 10 we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Now, circle the word appear, because it’s the idea of being revealed or to make manifest or to make clear. In essence, he is saying we shall all be shown for who we are. That’s what he’s saying, we must all appear.

We’re all gonna be seen for who we really are. People wear, I didn’t even catch that, but people wear masks, but not literally, I’m talking about spiritually, okay? Sorry, that just came out. I didn’t intend that to be that way.

But here’s the thing, we have our facades, right? We hide behind them and we may be able to fool people and you could fool the pastor. and you can fool your friends, and you can fool so many people in your life, but let me tell you who really knows your heart, that is Jesus Christ, amen.

He knows our heart fully, and one day we as believers are going to be revealed to God Almighty. We as believers are going to appear before the judgment seat. The scripture says in 1 Corinthians 4 -5, therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the heart, then each one’s praise will come from God.

I love this verse because so many times we misunderstand this verse, and the reason the apostle wrote these words in light and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, was because he was receiving criticism from the church at Corinth.

They were finding fault with his ministry. He was trying to help them to see that he is sincere, and that his heart has always been for their souls to be saved, and to grow, and to be encouraged in the faith.

And so when he says to them in 1 Corinthians 4 -5, judge nothing before the time. Don’t judge me, Paul is saying, until I fully stand before God, and when I stand before God, look at this in 1 Corinthians 4 -5, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the heart, the hidden things of darkness.

He’s not talking about sin, but he’s talking about the things we don’t see. The motivation that Paul’s heart is gonna be revealed, that his desire was never to hurt the church, it was always to help.

the church. They had misinterpreted his motivations, the things of darkness, the things that Paul did behind the scenes that never were lauded, never praised, the things that the Apostle did to help the church to flourish for God, the things behind the scenes that were done so that the kingdom of God could move forward.

The hidden things of darkness reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then, here’s the how you interpret the verse. Then, each one’s praise will come from God. Now, if he’s talking about unbelievers or he’s talking about sin, God’s not going to be praising that, right?

You see, when God reveals what has been done for him in darkness, what has been done for him behind the scenes, then each one’s praise will come from God. All that you and I have done. and are doing for God, and we may not get that certificate, and we may not get that clap, and we may not get that praise from men, but note that God is keeping score of everything that you are doing for his kingdom, every prayer that is lifted up for him, every little piece of paper on his property that is picked up and thrown into the trash, every act of kindness that is made for him as you are helping the hurting and the hopeless in this season that we are living in.

All of this will one day be fully revealed, and you, my friend, will receive praise from God. Now, can we all be honest? We love praise, amen. Oh, we do, because we’re human. It’s okay. We love it when people brag on us.

We love it when people say encouraging words to us. But how much more will you love when Jesus Christ is lavishing praise upon you because of your good work behind the scene? You are gonna be so full.

You are gonna be so filled with joy and encouragement and love for Jesus Christ because each one’s praise will come from God. And what Paul has in view in our text this morning in 2 Corinthians 5 is the same thing.

He has the believer’s life and the believer’s service in view and seen in light of the judgment seat of Christ. Now, this is a different judgment, church. It’s not the judgment of whether you are saved or unsaved.

It’s not the judgment where God is hammering down on those who have rejected him and have lived lives that are selfish and immoral, but rather this is the judgment. judgment seat of God that is literally translated as the Bema seat of God.

It is in the Greek language an elevated platform where the athletes who were victorious were recognized and they were praised and they received their crowns for what they accomplished in the Olympics.

So when I come to chapter 5 and verse 10, God is not hammering down on me but He is reminding me. He is reminding me to be transparent before Him. He is saying one day I am gonna reveal all that you have done for the cause of Christ.

I am going to reward you before all. for all that you have given for the Lord, all you have done for the Lord, all you have sacrificed for Christ, all that you have tirelessly accomplished for Jesus Christ.

Matthew 16, 27, Jesus said the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Reward, listen church, you have a reward that is waiting for you as a believer.

God knows us and he knows us thoroughly. There are some people who do not know us. They mischaracterize us. They misjudge us. They misunderstand us. But there is one who knows your heart and he knows your motives and he knows your plans and he knows your ambition.

Let your ambition be transparent before God and know that one day though others may not notice it nor recognize it, there is a savior in heaven who is standing up from his throne and he is applauding everything you are doing for Jesus Christ.

Well I hope that as we are studying the scriptures and you’re learning about your ambitions in life that you’re evaluating your life. The Bible always calls us to examine, calls us to evaluate, to reflect on our own life and it’s easy for us to just kind of think that the scriptures are for somebody else but really they’re for us and what is our ambition?

And you say well my ambition is the Lord but let me ask you, is your life showing that? Are you reflecting that? Is he your pursuit? Is he number one in your life? If that’s not true, then you take this moment right now to surrender your heart to Christ and submit to Him whatever His will is and make Him number one.

The Bible tells us that Christ is preeminent, which means He’s number one. And whether I make Him number one or not, He’s still number one. But the key is I need to surrender my heart to Him and make Him first place in my heart.

So I hope you’ll do that. And go to our website, hopeworthhaving .com. Let us know how God is working in your life. Let us know what station you heard us on. And we’d love to hear the good work that God is doing in your life and how He is calling you closer to Him.

So that’s hopeworthhaving.com. Check us out, so much good stuff there. I know you’ll be blessed. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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