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Our foundational motive ought to be “for to me, to live is Christ…” We should desire to please the Lord.


  • Introduction: A motive is that which moves someone to action. It answers the question why a person does something or does not do something. Why do parents teach their children manners, or to read, or to tell the truth? Why do you come to church? Why do you get up and go to work? Why do you give money and time to your local church? Why send missionaries to regions beyond? Why teach in a Bible school in a foreign country? A motive has great power.
    • The founding fathers of the United States were moved by the idea of self government and freedom from European control. They were moved or motivated by self government and freedom. And because they were they accomplished the impossible—they gave birth to the United States of America.
    • The NBA finals begin Thursday evening. San Antonio plays Detroit. What motivates the coach? What motivates the players? Some are motivated by a love of the game and the love of competition. Many are motivated by money and passing fame.
    • The Judeo-Christian faith is the first great movement based on ideas tied to God, eternity, and to history. It has motivated all of history. That very fact—the reality of the ideas within history have made the biblical faith the only lasting and satisfying motive for living. Jesus Christ broke into history when he did he revealed the invisible God to man in such a way as never before. John one indicates this. He also made the supreme sacrifice as the substitute one judged for all the sins of the entire world. He purchased eternal life for whomever would accept him and his gift of salvation. Not only did he give eternal life, he also gave mankind a purpose for living, the mechanics or way to live, and a destiny. And because of him, millions of people down through the ages have changed the course of human history. He motivated them to live for him and to die for him.
    • The Bible speaks much of motivation, and it speaks in different ways and under different conditions.
  • There is an important principle to start with: believers live in God’s favor which Jesus Christ has already secured. Believers do not live a certain way in order to secure God’s favor. Therefore, when we talk of motivation for service, that motivation is not to secure God’s love, God’s grace, or God’s heaven. Paul writes of this in Colossians 1:9-14. Note, especially, verse 10 and 13-14.
  • What motivates us to Christian living and Christian service?
    • Christ’s love for us motivates believers to witness about him to other people (2 Corinthians 5:14-21), to walk in God’s love (Ephesians 5:1-2), and to live the faith life (Hebrews 12:2-3).
    • Knowing that God works behind the scene to provide for a giving believer can motivate one to give money support (2 Corinthians 9:8-10).
    • Suffering with Christ motivates a believer to endure and rejoice while suffering. Christ suffered because of who he is, what he said, and what he did. A believer who suffers because he is identified with Christ should be motivated inner joy by the knowledge that he is participating in Christ’s own suffering; this believer stands in for Christ and so the world attacks him for his faith life (1 Peter 2:19; 4:13-14).
    • The expectation of Christ’s return for us motivates believers to live the faith life (1 John 3:1-3).
    • Anticipation of God’s promised future motivates believers to take actions in the faith life—actions which they do not know all the immediate details and hardships (Hebrews 11:8-16).
    • The hope for rewards from God for service well done is a correct motivation for right spiritual service (Matthew 6:1; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12).
    • The service of others motivates people to serve God (2 Corinthians 9:2).
    • Knowing that others who have lived before us lived the faith life successfully motivates us to live our segment of the faith life (Hebrews 12.1).
  • What is the primary motivation for a believer to live the faith life? Paul wrote from a Roman prison, in Philippians 1:20-24, that his foundational motive was “for to me, to live is Christ…”  He wanted to please the Lord.
    • Jesus pleased his father (John 8:29; Romans 15:13).
    • Paul wanted to please the Lord (Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).
    • Believers ought to please the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:9; Ephesians 5:10; 6:6; Colossians 1:10; 3:20).
  • So What? application.
    • What is my motivation for what I think, what I do, and what I look forward to?
    • Anything short of pleasing the Lord needs some adjustment.

Last Update

Wednesday, June 8, 2005