Pastor Joe Miller IV
I was a rebel without a cause. Close to 40 years ago, as I was driving down the road, something up ahead caught my attention. The closer I got, the more intrigued I became. When I pulled up alongside her, I rolled my window down, and we talked briefly. I asked for her phone number, and my life has never been the same. Before that day, my life on earth, in general, revolved around me. After that day, my purpose and goals changed from an attitude of being served to an attitude of ‘serve her’ and then ‘serve her and our children’ (including their spouses). And now an attitude of ‘serve her, our children, and grandchildren.’ My life had a new cause, by definition - a person or thing that gives rise to an action, doing, thinking, with deep commitment. God has given me this group of people to love and to be a husband and father to. I have been blessed beyond measure, and my family is my greatest enjoyment, but it came at a cost.
Since then, I’ve worked hard removing trees and stumps, sweating, bleeding, and covered in sawdust every day to feed, clothe, and shelter my family. Taking them on vacations, fishing, playing ball, instructing, correcting, laughing, and wiping the tears from their eyes. The dashboard of my work truck was decorated with pictures of my wife and kids as motivation to not quit, but to work hard. Just like many other families, the disagreements are great, but the love for one another is greater and all of this ‘for the cause.’ I believe that the family is the first and greatest institution that God has created, and as important as family is in this world - there is a bigger more important cause that only God the Creator could take on.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
We see in John 18, just before Jesus was sentenced to die, He revealed His cause in a conversation with Pilate. Pilate did not understand the kingdom of Jesus was a spiritual kingdom, not an earthly one. Jesus revealed His cause, purpose, and motivation in verse 37. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into this world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Verse 17 reveals the product, purpose, and motivation. The cause, the salvation to mankind, the spiritual and eternal salvation granted immediately by God to those who believe in Christ. Just like my cause to my family, the cause that Jesus took on came at a cost.
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
So what is the application you ask? Back in John 18:37, Jesus bears witness unto the truth. He was a living testimony to the sacrificial love and grace of God. Back in John 1:15, John bears witness of Jesus being the first ambassador for Him. The challenge in keeping with this pattern of being a living, sacrificial testimony.
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Verse 2. It is not ‘being perfect’ that keeps my family together or Harvest Baptist Church united, but the intentions and motivation to love one another. We don’t have to agree on everything but this one thing we must - that we love one another.
Verse 3. Considering others before myself. Being humble myself.
Verse 4. Fix your attention on the needs and desires preferring others above yourself. I spent the last two weeks at the beach with my family and friends, not because I like the beach (most of you know how I feel), but because I love my family. I put their wants and desires above my own for the cause, and it ended up being the best two weeks of my life. So let us all put on the mind of Christ, and watch what God can do at Harvest Baptist Church.