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Stopping Short of God’s Plan - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
November 29, 2022 12:00 am

Stopping Short of God’s Plan - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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November 29, 2022 12:00 am

It's key that we don't stop short in allowing God to fulfill His plan for each of our lives.


Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, November 29th. Ephesians chapter 2 explains that every believer is created to do good works. Discover what this means so you can avoid stopping short of God's plan.

I've heard people say I was an accident or my parents didn't want me. And I guess I have no real purpose in life because if I did, that probably would not have happened. There is no such thing for a child of God as an accident. And my friend, if you're alive, if you've been born and you're alive, God has a plan for your life no matter what happened.

And so many people feel so unworthy and so unacceptable before God, so full of guilt and worthlessness. I want to tell you, God loves you no matter what's going on in your life. God does have a plan for you whether you understand it or not, whether you're walking in it or not, whether you're rebelling against Him or not. That's never His plan. God does have a plan for your life. And probably this passage of Scripture more likely than most of us would in a very composite sort of way give us God's plan for all of us. Now, the real details of that plan for each one of us individually won't be in the Scripture. But one thing for certain, there are three aspects of God's plan for your life and my life that are very clearly given in this passage. So no matter where you're coming from and who you are, God's plan for your life is very clearly given to us in this passage. So I want us to see what it is as we think about under the theme stopping short of God's plan. Notice, if you will, what He says beginning in verse 2. He says in verse 1, verse 2, and verse 3, what He's given to us here is simply this. And that is that God's plan for your life and my life involves His patience for us.

Now, think about this. God's plan for your life and my life involves His patience for us. He says in this passage, we were dead. That is our condition. Our life was characterized by rebellion and resistance to the Spirit of God. And He says the condemnation that rested upon us was wrath. But God was very patient. Part of His plan is patiently loving us through our disobedience and rebellion toward Him. All of us who are saved ought to drop on our knees in thanksgiving to God that He didn't call us home while we were still living in rebellion toward Him.

We'd have been eternally separated from Him forever and ever and ever. And that's why we sing amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found. Hallelujah. Thank God He saved us while we were still in sin.

Patiently loving us, wooing us, convicting us, sending to us the preaching and the teaching of the gospel and the loving concern of other people. Listen, part of His plan is not only His patience toward us, but part of His plan is His pardon of our sinful condition. He says that you and I are new creations in Christ Jesus. Well, we'd have to be.

Look at this. He says when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Christ. By grace, you've been saved. And raised us up, seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Now, He says He did it for two reasons. First of all, we are demonstrations of the grace of God. And God is going to bless us in the process by taking us to heaven. But also, all of us are the trophies of the Lord Jesus Christ of His death at Calvary.

And so God's plan for your life and my life not only included patiently waiting for us until we responded. Secondly, it includes His pardon for us and that pardon involves not only the forgiveness of my sin, but a brand new position. We don't get into a new position with God by our works.

Not by works, He says, lest any person should ever boast of that. Our works as believers have absolutely nothing to do with our position. You and I were created in Christ Jesus. We were made the sons and daughters of God by the grace of God had absolutely nothing to do with W-O-R-K-S. It had to do with W-O-R-K. One time, one brief moment in history, one man's work atoned for your sin and mine and made us children of God.

In one brief moment of time, Christ died for your sin and mine. Our works have nothing to do with our position in Christ. Our works will not get us into that position. Our works do not keep us in that position.

Our works have nothing to do with that position. But once we are in that position, once we become the children of God in His patience, in the extension of His grace and love and mercy, now He says, I want you to remember this, that my plan involves more than being patient with you when you are rebellious toward me. My plan involves more than just forgiving you of your sin and pardon you and writing your name in the Lamb's Book of Life and making you a part of the family of God. My plan for you involves work prepared beforehand, before you were ever born. God says, I have a plan for your life. And in that plan for your life, I have a work for you to do. I have a work for every single believer, not of works lest any man should boast to get into that, to get into that position. But once we're in that position, He says, we are His workmanship.

Think about this. God will continually work on your life and my life till He calls us home. And God has foreordained and prepared beforehand that you and I live out a life of good works.

Now let me ask you a question. What are you doing as a child of God? What are you doing as a good work in the kingdom of God? He says you and I were created in Christ Jesus. Listen to this. Four good works.

Good works doesn't get you there. But now that you and I are there, prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, which means this. Now let's go back to verse one. Before you and I were saved, He says we were dead in trespasses and sin. And He said, look now, verse two, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world. That's before you were saved. Now that you and I are saved, He says, for the purpose of good works which God prepared beforehand that we should do what?

Walk in them. Every day of our life should be a life of expressing, listen, expressing the grace and the goodness and the love and the mercy of God out of a heart of gratitude in good works to the glory of God and extended toward each other. The idea of living a day and not serving God and doing something in His name is totally unscriptural. Listen, He says before we walked in the ways of the world, now that we're saved by the grace of God, we're to walk in good works. That should be just normal and natural for us.

Listen to this. God says He ordained it beforehand. Before you and I were ever born, God knew we were going to be saved.

He didn't choose us because of it. But He knew we were going to be saved and He chose to use every single one of us. And He chose that your life and my life would be characterized by good works. Now, what's good works?

Good works are those works that have eternal value to them. I want to ask you, what are you doing in the name of the Son of God whom you follow? If you are not serving Him, if your life is not characterized by good works, then you need to come back to verse 10.

And He says we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. And if that's what God's plan for my life is and that's not what I'm doing, I'm out of the will of God. I'm resisting the will of God. I'm living in rebellion to the will of God.

I'm sinning against God. My friend, do you realize that every single thing God gives you and me and every single thing He teaches you and me, He teaches us in order to give away to someone else? He says let your light shine before men.

Let your light shine before men that they may see what? They may see your good works and not praise you, see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Good works should characterize the believer. Now, you see, the problem is that you and I oftentimes do not recognize and don't acknowledge God's viewpoint. Listen to what He says in Titus chapter 2. Listen to this verse. He says Christ Jesus gave Himself for us.

Look at this now. Jesus Christ gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed, every single act of disobedience. And do what? And purify for Himself a people for His own possession.

Look at this. A people for His own possession who are zealous for good deeds. You know what God says? He says in His plan, His plan is that you and I would be what? We'd be excited to serve God.

We'd be excited to, listen, we'd be excited over good works. We'd be right up in the morning, listen, looking for opportunities to serve God. It is totally unscriptural for a person to refuse to serve God. A non-serving Christian is a non-biblical Christian.

One who is resisting to serve God, who's so caught up in themselves, whose life is me, myself and I and my problems and my heartaches and my troubles and my this and my that, the best way to get out of the my problem and the my trouble is serving the living God and give yourself away for somebody else and you'll forget some of your troubles. It's part of the healing process to give yourself away to someone else. He didn't say I had a choice. He said that's part of the plan. Now look, we love those first two parts of the plan. Love, thank God for His patience, praise the Lord. Thank God for His grace, He saved me, amen, praise the Lord.

What about part number three? And do you realize, my friend, that when you and I stand before God one of these days, which we are, our works will be evaluated. Now it's one thing to say, well, you know, one of these days, but my friend, remember this, one of these days is coming home. And the Bible says that you and I are going to stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and listen to what He says about all of these works we would rather not get involved in. First Corinthians chapter three, look at this. He says there's going to come a day when God's plan is coming to a conclusion and there's going to be an evaluation. Paul says in verse twelve, Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious, stone, wood, hay, and stubble.

Here's what he means, but I'm going to come back and explain that in a second. Each man's work will become evident, but the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he's built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so is through fire.

Now when he says, look at this. If any man builds upon the foundation, that is when you and I become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, from that very moment, our actions and our deeds, our works, are like building this house upon the foundation of Christ. He says, now we'll build it out of two different kinds of substance. One of them, gold, silver, and precious stones, things that fire and troubles and trials purify and make more brilliant and more radiant.

And then there are those things that are called wood, hay, and stubble, corn shucks. And he says, when you and I stand before him, God will evaluate your work and my work as a believer. And listen to me carefully. He's going to evaluate how little it is, brother, and how much it is and the quality of it. The problem with too many believers is we are real short-sighted about the judgment.

That's way out young in the future somewhere, but it may not be quite nearly as far in the future as you think it is. And he says that every one of us shall give an account of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, and Romans Paul says it, and in this passage he says, in that day our works are going to be tried by fire. Somebody says, well, just so I get that that's all that matters. You won't think that when you stand in the judgment. This is a very sobering passage.

Listen to this. Verse 13, each person's work will become evident. It is the reality of the way we've lived will be exposed. For the day, the day of judgment will show it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each person's work. You say, well, what's that going to be like? The only thing I can do is tell you what I personally believe about that. Let me tell you what's not going to happen. God isn't going to stand you before the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Lord Jesus Christ flick on some movie, and up on this screen is your whole life.

I've heard people say that. That isn't even scriptural. When you and I stand in the presence of Jesus Christ, he doesn't have to have a movie.

Friend, he knows all about it. He doesn't have to be reminded of anything. When you and I stand in the presence of holiness, listen to this. When we stand in the presence of omnipotence, and holiness, and righteousness, in his presence, in his all-encompassing divine wisdom and knowledge, one look of the holiness of Christ, and we will be in absolute agreement with him that all of those works we did for ourselves, all of that we should have done we did not do, all the excuses we gave God, all the things we failed to do that we could have done for his glory, so much of what we did out of pride, so much of what we did out of selfishness, so much of what we did out of personal gain, so much of what we did with the wrong attitudes, in a brief moment, it will all evaporate. And only what's left will we be rewarded for.

Now you think about this. The person who says, well, just so I get in, so they wait till they're about 60, and God and his patience saves them at the age of 60, and they die at 62. Do you think that heaven's going to be the same for them as it is for us? Then you better read the Bible. Because the Bible speaks a great deal about rewards. And a person who wastes 60 years and gives God the remainder, the last two, and here's a person who in their teenage years gives their life to Christ, serves him the best they know how all the days of their life, when they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and all the rich rewards of their life, you think God's going to put this 60-year-old man, 62-year-old man who wasted 60 years of his life, and the person who's been living for Christ all of their life, I didn't say one's going to get into heaven easier or better.

I didn't say that. All going in with the grace of God. I'm simply saying there are some people who get saved late in life, and I mean they give it all they've got. And God will certainly reward them.

It's quality, but it is also the length of time. Here's what I want to ask you. Knowing that one day you'll stand in the judgment seat of Christ and give an account to your life, that is absolutely an appointment that is unavoidable and you will not be late. And you can't escape it. It's coming. It's more certain than tomorrow's sunrise. It's more certain than yesterday's sunrise. It will happen. Unavoidable.

Inescapable. You and I will stand and give an account for the works of our life. And He said when He saved you and me, He saved us. He saved us unto good works. Those things that will glorify God that have eternal value.

So we're that excuse. And the question is, what will you and I have to offer? You see, you can't carry it with you, but you can send it on ahead, brother.

You can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. And all of our good works and all of our giving and all of our witnessing and all of our sharing and all of our teaching and singing and preaching and studying of the Word of God and all the good things that God allows in our lives, we're sending them on ahead. So God's plan for your life and mine involves His wonderful patience till we said yes. God's plan for your life and mine involve His wonderful grace for which we are undeserving. God's plan for your life and my life is a life of work. Listen, not in order to receive, but out of gratitude for His wonderful patience and grace toward us. What are you doing that could be characterized as a good work for Jesus Christ? Thank you for listening to Part 2 of Stopping Short of God's Plan. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-29 15:05:14 / 2022-11-29 15:12:52 / 8

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