We spent most of the last lesson establishing the Biblical fact that internal-motive, will, and attitude determine the outward actions of a human. We will spend most of this lesson applying the truths established in the last lesson. By so doing, we will gain personal value as well as reinforcing this truth in our minds by using it.

The fact that internal motive determines outward actions is also true of God. 
God will never be untrue to Himself, and God never changes.

Because humanity is unfamiliar with God's essence and actions, but quite familiar with human motives and actions, we have a tendency to judge God's actions by the same standard we would judge our own... "If I were God".

When doctrines or teachings are developed on the basis of human actions, those human based doctrines are more readily accepted, because they are logical to the human mind. No matter how reasonable that type of doctrine may be, or how good the keeping of such teachings may feel, they have nothing to do with Biblical truth or holy living.

Following such human based doctrines may produce good moral actions, and even a very religious demeanor. However, morality and religion are not the same as imputed righteousness and holiness of life.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.

Engaging in this type of humanism while developing doctrines concerning God and His actions will result in teachings that describe a god figure that is little more than a super moral human, or a phantom type creature without true character, personality or deity.

To aid in properly categorizing the actions of God, we need to know what His will is concerning those actions. It is so easy for human reason to see an action of God and equate it as equal to, or only slightly different than a similar action by a human.

To prevent us from judging God's actions by the standard of human actions, we need to know God's declared purpose or motive, often referred to as the "will of God". Once we know God's motive, we must make sure we apply to God's actions His own motive, as declared in the Word of God.

We must not judge or equate God's actions as the same as, or similar to any action of mankind. We can only judge God's actions by God's actions, and the declared motive of God, recorded in His own Word. That is so important, because God's actions, even though performed in a physical environment and often through physical means, are different than any action or motive of mankind.

Isaiah 55:7-9 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Our Motive: Spiritual or Carnal

As long as we are on this subject, let's apply these truths to a different, but very closely related subject. Just as God's motive determines His actions, in like manner human motives determine the actions of mankind. God's will or motive never changes. Therefore, we can judge every action by His own motive and will. We need to be sure that our judgment and evaluation of any one of God's actions are in harmony with all of His other actions.

Human will and motive are constantly changing. As a matter of fact, the slightest provocation can totally change the motive of a person, in a matter of seconds. When it comes to living the spiritual life and giving service within the local church, we must make sure that our good actions are motivated and powered by the Word of God taught and administered by the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to maintain a consistent motive that does not change with the fluctuations and circumstance of life or the opinions of others.

If we are not motivated by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, the good actions that we produce will be through the energy of the flesh. Those good actions, produced by the energy of the flesh, may look the same as the actions motivated by the Word of God and administered by the Holy Spirit. However, no matter how good those human based actions might be, they will only be morally good, and will not be spiritual.

This is one of many areas where humans are very different from God their maker. God's motive will never change, and His motive determines His actions. Therefore, God's purpose is the same as His will or motive.

Human actions are also determined by motive. However, the motive of a human can easily be changed depending on personal circumstances, the actions of others and the desire to be accepted by others, etc.

That brings us back to a point I mentioned in the last lesson and want to explore a little more. The motive determines the actions, and human motives are on a sliding scale, to say the least. Most human motives are based on personal benefit and comfort tempered by how others act, or what they will think of our actions.

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

In light of this truth, we need to keep in mind and in place several things when it comes to planning the church program and participation in that program. If the purpose and activities of the church are to continue moving us towards the goal:

The first three in the above list are pretty well taken care of here at MBF. We have someone overseeing the program. We have a pastor and his wife with a staff of two other pastors and their wives. Yes, different than some churches, the pastor's wives are a vital and integral part of the staff of MBF.

We have an excellent board of deacons overseeing the six staff members. I can assure you that all of the above are very concerned that the purpose is adhered to in all aspects of the program. When one of us begins to stray from the path that leads to and upholds the purpose, the others are there to pull us back to the straight and narrow. It is a constant task of being alert, because not all who serve in the overall program of MBF have this same compelling desire to see the program stays true to the purpose.

It is very easy to fix our focus on the task of getting the class taught, the Awana sections passed, the song sung, the skit performed, the retreat organized, the sleep-over survived, etc., etc. We should strive to get these things and more completed, and they do need to be accomplished in the best way possible. After all, we are engaged in these activities for the King of kings and God of gods, and He deserves the very best!

However, it is easy to become so task oriented that we forget that the task is only one part of the whole. If we allow the task to destroy the whole, then we would be better off without the task.

When our motive becomes the task, we have failed! Our motive must be the stated purpose, and the task only one step in completing and upholding that purpose.

perform(ance) = (Webster)
to carry out or bring about; accomplish or execute; put on a show

In the truest of meanings, any service within the church is a performance. In one sense, any up-front duty is putting on a show. However, the accomplishment of any task within the church program should not be a showing-off of one's personal charm and/or ability. If we have any, we should use all of our charm, and the very best of our abilities when we give service to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Our purpose should be to worship God and fulfill His purpose. Our personal charm should only be a clear channel for God's will.

If your main motive, for singing, teaching or whatever is Because you like to, then please don't! We certainly trust that you enjoy what your are doing, but the motive for any church ministry should be first of all to glorify Christ.

Next, your motive should be so the purpose of MBF can is accomplished. If you want to sing, teach or perform any spiritual service for your own enjoyment or so others will be impresses, you will have failed in both areas of glorifying Christ and promoting the purpose of MBF.

Having all who serve in the church motivated by glorifying Christ and promoting the purpose of the church, is one aspect of the Biblical command to be of one mind. The program of MBF does not need people to sing, teach or sweep the floor simply because they are good at what they do. Being good at what you do is nice! If those who perform have a different motive than the purpose of MBF, then the performance or the service does more harm than good, no matter how great the quality.

I realize that is a different standard than the world holds, but God and His work are quite a bit (a big bit) different from the World, and any service for God or the work of the church must reflect that difference!

Proverbs 13:10 By pride comes only contention, but with the well-advised is wisdom.

Servant to All

If your service, whatever it might be, is from self-pride, it can only produce contentions, not worship or glorification of God. Is it any wonder, that the church of Jesus Christ is torn apart by dissension and personal opinion? One of the reasons the church of Jesus Christ is in constant turmoil is quite clear when we see how much of the service in the church is done through and for self-pride.

Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

If you will look at this passage carefully, you will find the reason there are so few really great men and women of God in Christendom today. The reason? There are very few who will become a servant to all, for the sake of Christ. Therefore, there are very few who can become great men and women of God. We find many who want to take over, and be the first or the Big Cheese by telling others what to do and how to do it. Many want such a position without receiving the appointed authority, or accepting the responsibility of the total program of the church. God's orientation program for becoming a proper Big Cheese is to become a Great Servant. You can't start too soon! If you're not willing to become a Great Servant don't expect to serve a Great God, for that is His requirement, not mine. We have way too many want-a-be-chiefs and not enough will-be-Indiansin the church, today. For instance, ask yourself and give yourself an honest answer. Which are you striving for, to be a servant, or to be in charge? Well, there's your answer as to why there are so few great men and women of God in the church. I praise God for those at MBF who are truly servants! May your tribe increase!

James 4:6-8 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Look again! The Holy Spirit in James 4 is presenting the same thing as was presented in Matthew 20. We are seeing a different perspective or view of this same experience. An experience that few have enjoyed, because too few are willing to submit to God, resist the devil, draw near to God and cleanse their hands. That whole process starts with receiving this more grace from God, but you will never get the more grace until you willingly bring yourself to the place of spiritual humility. You see, God gives grace and more grace to the humble, but God resists the proud.

resists [James 4:6] = (Greek)
to arrange in an orderly manner a spectrum of opposition in order to defeat

Now let me tell you, when God arranges, in an orderly manner, a whole spectrum of opposition in order to defeat you, if you are living by self-pride, then you will be defeated! This defeat will not happen on your self appointed schedule, but according to God's appointed time.

What a shame to have someone sing, teach, etc. in church and give that type of service from self-pride. In that case, God has arranged in an orderly manner a spectrum of opposition against this one serving in self-pride. A church service should not be a confrontation of God with the performer. The Church service should be an elevation of God and a glorification of God by the performer.

The world says a person is a role model or hero, if they can do something well, like: run, jump, throw, hit, dance, or be more vulgar than anyone else. That last one takes in most of the late night TV programs. As a matter of fact, it takes in most of the TV programming.

God's standard for greatness is not doing great things, but being someone of great holiness. 

I would rather have a hand full of church workers who are concerned about, and endeavoring to be holy in their conduct, than to have a church full of the best talented workers that the business world or Hollywood can offer, who are not concerned or striving to be holy in their conduct.

Galatians 5:19-26 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

I've tried to highlight some the more respectable sins in this passage. You know, the sins that are Ok for a Christian leader to emulate, yet still be considered a great leader of the church. However, God's standard says, adultery, fornication, idolatry, etc. are works of the flesh. God also says that hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies and envy are equally the works of the flesh.

Of what value is it to have someone, with the best voice in the world, sing to the church the words "Oh! How I love Jesus", then go out the door and use His precious name loosely as a term of profanity or vulgarity? Why would any church want a person leading others who has a heart attitude of bitterness, vindictiveness, self-pride, etc.? A leader can only lead in the direction that they, themselves are going. These attitudes give evidence of values that are opposite of the Person and work of Christ. Performances of that nature are literally from the pit of hell, not the portals of heaven, and should not be in the place of worship.

We are to serve God with holy hands and clean hearts. When we use unholy vessels in the worship of God, we blaspheme His holy name. It makes no difference how popular, how good the performance, or how many people they will attract to the church building. It is not worship! It makes God sick.

Matthew 15:7-9 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 'And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "

It is way past time for the church to realize who we are serving and worshipping. We need to come to grips with God's directions for service and worship. God will only accept worship and service from those who participate according to Divine rules, not what is acceptable to the world or a carnal Believer. We have so corrupted our worship that we equate worship with a good performance or an emotional feeling. Therefore, we have reached out to the world for our method of worship.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Folks, I didn't write it, but I am supposed to teach it, and enforce its principles within area of the ministry entrusted to me by God and the people of this church. Motive and inner attitude are far more important than physical talent. This does not mean that physical talent is of no value in the service of God. It does mean, if the physical talent is not motivated by adhering to the Word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit it is not acceptable in the service to God! Hear what God had to say again.

Matthew 15:7-9 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 'And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "

Remember the last class you taught, song you sang, service you performed, etc? Was it lip service or was it truly from a heart drawn near to God? Please be sure you answer that one honestly, because you're answering to Someone (God) who looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance. You might give a religiously proper answer to that question, thereby, fooling me and the other folks here, but it will not fool God.

Isaiah 1:11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" says the Lord. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. 12 "When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies-- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. 16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 "Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

God ask the Israelites, a question that also applies to us. God asks, To what purpose (motive) is all this religious service? As we will see, the Israelites had the wrong purpose for their service. I wonder if our purpose would be considered, by God, the right purpose for spiritual service? Because the Israelites purpose for this service was wrong, notice the response of God to their service.

In the Isaiah passage, I've marked four responses of God in regards to this improper purpose for serving.

What agony we cause God when performing acts of so called service with the wrong motive, even when that form of service is prescribed by God? If I were God, and my subjects caused me that much anguish I would squash them like a bug.

Thank God, I'm not God.

However, that does not lessen the wrong, the awful wrong we produce by trying to serve God with the wrong motive. We take this matter of improper service to God so lightly, yet it is so important! Look at the Divine commentary for the reason this service was so wrong.

Isaiah 29:13 Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

If there is not proper inner attitude and motive, there can not be any service for a holy God. As a matter of fact, if leaders, workers or performers are not personally growing in and striving for holiness in their conduct, MBF does not need them as participants in the program, no matter their station in life, their abilities or their availability.

Certainly, no human can meet the standard of God for holiness, by human effort. However, if it is evident by actions and attitude that a person is not willing to have their motive controlled by the Holy Spirit or to be in conformity to the Word of God, that person needs to change their motive, or abstain from public service in the presence of the God of all holiness. If the heart attitude is wrong, God does not accept even the best performance as a spiritual service. Therefore, we must conclude that such service is at best for self, and at worst for Satan.

This truth is seen in illustrative form in the political arena of our nation. When we look at our history, not the modern re-write of history but the real thing, we see a nation founded on the principles of the Word of God. Even though our constitution was not a declaration of Biblical doctrine, that document reflects the moral standard of the Word of God.

When the leaders of our nation had moral character and were motivated to see that the outward actions of those whom they governed were morally sound, our nation lived as, and was known as a Christian nation. Crime was low. Murder was an exception. Immoral acts and speech were publicly punished. There were no adult theaters or book stores. Even the pubs and taverns were off limits to decent people.

As our national leaders changed their motive and resolve of personally living a life of morality and leading this country in real morality, the purpose of our nation changed, and the actions of its citizen have continually slid lower and lower on the moral scale. The immorality we see on TV today, and accept as normal would have been considered by our founding fathers as crimes deserving flogging or death. Oh, for such leadership today!

Yes, the motives of the leaders of any organization or organism determines its actions. I have to keep that reality in mind, and act accordingly when choosing leadership for the church and assigning up-front roles of services. This should also be a determining factor in our choice of those who will lead the nation in the days to come. It must be a factor that is always considered in the administration of our homes.

Since God is not like mankind, and He never changes, we can judge His actions by His motive and will. We will examine some of the particulars of God's will in a more detailed manner in the next lessons. In closing, let's simply take a peek at the major aspect of God's will.

It is God's will that He receive glory from all. 

It was from God's will that He created, so He would be glorified. God created material things so He would be glorified.

Psalms 19:1-2 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.

God used some of that created material, to fashion and create humans who would be like Him. Mankind sinned and destroyed any likeness of God and the glory that resulted from that likeness. Progressively from the time of Adam's sin, God has been working or doing things to once again establish His glory through and in His creation.

That progressive work of God can be summed up in four statements:

God promised His Son to Adam through the Seed of the Woman. God predicted His Son by promise after promise throughout time, as recorded in the Scriptures. Christ came as the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and God proclaimed His Son. We see that proclamation in the Gospels and elsewhere, and we are to personally continue that proclamation until His Son comes again. When Christ comes again, God will promote His Son, and all will give glory to God.

Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.