Charles Stanley - Your Life Matters to God
At a very low time in my life when I'd been in the hospital twice in just a few months, I walked out on my glassed-in porch and sat down and thought I would just take it easy and relax a little bit and maybe read something, and so when I did, I noticed on the chair in front of me there was a blanket, and I had just tossed it over there, but I didn't see this. And when I looked at it a second time, I saw this inscription that some wonderful lady had inscribed in this blanket. It read, "Your messages have helped me realize that my life matters to God". When I read that, I thought, Lord, I don't know what she had in mind, but that's exactly what I needed to hear. My life matters to God.
And that's the title of this message because it is a message that God wants all of us to hear. Our life matters to Him. You may not feel like you matter, you may be able to give lots of evidence that the way you are treated and the things that have happened to you and the misfortune you have experienced, that certainly, your life couldn't matter to God. But I want to tell you, yes, it does. Difficulty, hardship, pain, and suffering does not mean that your life doesn't matter to God. Some of the greatest saints that I've ever met, people who have written the greatest books have been people who've gone through difficulty, hardship, pain, and suffering beyond anything you and I could ever know and never lost their faith, but realized that God still loved them and He cared for 'em.
When I think about that and I think about this passage of Scripture that I want us to look at, it states just that. Our life matters to God. You may be able to look at your life this morning, today, and say, "Well, I've got lots of evidence that my life doesn't matter to God because, if it did, here's what would happen", and we would choose some good things in life. And we would choose maybe more money, maybe a better marriage, something about your children or what you own or where your plans would lead you. You may think of a lot of things, but no matter what the circumstances are, your life matters to God. And "matters" means He's concerned about you. He cares about you. He's thinking about you.
And so, when we think about that, what does it mean that our life matters to God? It means all of that, that He knows us personally and intimately. He knows all of our weaknesses. He knows all of our frailties. He knows all about our sins. He knows everything there is to know about us, and we still matter to God. Imagine that. No matter what you and I face in life, our Heavenly Father loves us, cares for us. We matter to Him. And no matter what happens, what He allows us to go through, the pain we may suffer, we still matter to Him. That means He's still caring, still listening, still loving, and all of His promises are still intact. That is, every promise He's made, still there. And one of those promises, underline it, put it in parentheses and quotation marks, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". What an awesome, awesome promise of All Mighty God.
So, that's what I want us to talk about, that our life matters to God. And I want you to turn, if you will, to First John, chapter three. This is a late time in John's life, in those latter years, he could be anywhere from eighty to ninety, or whatever it might be. And he's written this Epistle to believers, and I'm going to read three verses that I want us to look at for a moment. The third chapter and the first verse. Now, listen to this, "See how great a love", not just love, how great a love, "the Father has bestowed on us", that is, He's gifted us, He's expressed that love, He's shown that love, demonstrated that love. "How great a love the Father has bestowed on us". What makes it great? "That we would be called children of God".
Think about that. In God's mind, that's something great. "That we would be called the children of God, and such we are. For this reason the world doesn't know us, because it didn't know Him". And then he says, "Beloved, now", not one day later, not in the future, "now we are children of God". And, I love this, "And it has not yet appeared what we will be". That is, we know very little about the awesome future that God has provided for us. "We know", how many times he says that, "We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is". Here's an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ speaking with assurance and authority, having listened to the Lord Jesus Christ personally, whether it was on the boat at sea, or was up in a mountain somewhere or just sitting around the fire talking and listening to Jesus, "We know we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure".
That is simply this, when you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you do so because you sense that you've been separated from Him. And you sense also the need to be one with Him. And so, what happens? You trust Him as your Savior because of what He did at the cross. And as a result of that relationship, things change. You can't be a child of God and everything be the same as it used to be. You may act sometimes unlike you ought to be acting, but that relationship, watch this, that relationship is not temporary. It's not conditional. It is absolutely permanent. You are saved once and for all by the grace of God.
Now, watch this, why has God made salvation the result of a fixed relationship? A decision? Simply because you and I matter to Him. And when you trusted Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit came into your life to do what? To absolutely assure you that for all eternity, you will belong to God. You say, "Suppose I sin"? He's prepared for that. He has a very strong hand of discipline, not to destroy, not to hurt, not to harm, but to bring us back into the fold. When God allows us to go through difficulties and trials and heartaches and burdens, what is He doing? He's doing it for one of several reasons, one of which is, what? To remind us that we belong to Him. We're not acting out who we are. And to turn our mind and heart toward Him to change our thinking about a godly life. "Everyone who has this hope fixed of Him purifies himself, just as He is pure".
That is, if I'm a child of God, I'm going to be sensitive to the way I'm living. I'm going to be sensitive to my relationship to Him. I'm going to be sensitive to the Word of God. I want to read the Word of God. I want to pray. I want to be obedient to God. I want to find out what God will do in my life because I know my life matters to God. Think about this, watch this, you listening? Say Amen. You may not matter to anybody else in the billions of people in this world, but you matter to God. And if you'll think about it, what difference does it make that nobody cares for you if you know that you matter to God. That means He knows you. He's concerned about you. He loves you. He's going to provide for you, protect you, watch over you, care for you. He's going to ultimately fulfill His will for your life. Why? Because you matter to God.
Now, with that in mind, I want us to look at this passage and think of terms of the evidence of how God has so worked in our life that we matter to Him. And the first evidence is the great love He has bestowed upon us. Think about this, why did you get saved? You said, "Well, I went and I heard this powerful preacher one day preaching so that it made me get saved". No, that's not it. You got saved because you heard the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God reached down into your life through His Word, spoke to your mind and your heart, your emotions, your whole being and made you realize that you were living a life far less, far less, way down lower than what He had in mind for you. And you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior as a result of hearing His Word, the conviction of the Holy Spirit to help you to understand that God loved you and forgives you, He transformed your life.
So, it was your salvation. The second thing that resolved in all of this is that your sanctification. That is, the life, the godly life that God has provided for every single one of us, once you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Spirit of God sealed you as a child of God, came to indwell us while God sits upon His throne in the heavens. His Holy Spirit sits upon the throne of our heart, guiding us, leading us, empowering us, endeavoring to work in our life the life that represented and looked something like Jesus. And so, that's what He's provided. That is, we matter so much that, first of all, He saved us. You think about this, He didn't have to save you. You could've just lived your life without Him, many people do. And you could've just sort of managed, but there would come a time when the Bible says it's appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgment. But by His grace and love and mercy, He sanctified you, set you apart as unto Him to live His life in and through you.
The third thing He did was what? He began to meet your needs. As a result of being a child of God, He said He will supply all of our needs, watch this, according to His riches in glory. Not according to our talents, ability, and skill and all the rest. He's promised to meet every need that we have. Why? Watch this, because every single point in this message is because we matter to Him. You may not matter to anybody else. And over the years, I've heard wives say, "I don't matter to my husband anymore. He used to love me, provide for me, bring me beautiful things, he used to do all these things, but I don't matter anymore". Nothing any woman wants to feel could be worse than if she loves her husband to feel she no longer matters. And the same thing is true not only of parents and children. I don't matter anymore.
I've heard kids say that, I don't matter to my dad or I don't matter to my mom. You know, I might as well be living with somebody else. Think about this, the fact that you matter means there's a relationship. There's a love, there's a caring. There's a giving. And that's what God means. He's saying, listen, He saves us, He sanctifies us, and then what does He do? He meets our needs. "My God shall supply all your needs", watch this, "according to His riches in glory". Would you ever be able to exhaust the riches of God? No. The only thing that blocks God's blessings to you is the fact you've become careless in your life, indifferent to God, living in sin, or whatever it might be. And then I think about the most important thing here, our salvation, our sanctification our needs, and watch what He did, watch at how awesome God is, it was not enough for Him to save us, that is, to have an experience whereby we confess our sin, repent of our sins, surrender our life to Him.
Now, think about that for a moment. I think about in my own life, if that's all I had, that I trusted Him as my Savior, then to live the Christian life in this world till one day I die and go to heaven, I couldn't do it. Neither can you, neither can you, whoever you are. That's why He said to His Disciples, "Sit down, tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until I send my spirit who will indwell you and be upon you and empower you to live out the Christian life". As a result of God caring for us and meeting our needs, He, upon our salvation, sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us. Do you realize how blessed you are? You're indwelt by, listen, you're indwelt by Holy God. The Holy Spirit of God who said to His Disciples, "You're not ready to go preach. You are not ready to missionize this world. You won't be ready till My Spirit baptizes you, anoints you and enables you and equips you to be the person I've created you to be".
So, do we matter to God? Look at this, why? Because I, we look at it, salvation, our sanctification, meets our needs, and the Holy Spirit. God had demonstrated His awesome caring for us, that we do matter. Now, think about this, God, who's the Sovereign of the universe, could have said, "Okay, I'm going to save those who will trust Me and just see what they do". Well, He knew what we'd do, we'd just mess up. We would fail time after time after time. That's why He knew, watch this, He not only had to reach down and forgive our sins, He had to come down Himself and indwell us and enable us to live out the live He'd provided for us. Are we blessed of God or are we not? And so, think about this, our life matters because He's an awesome God who loves us with all of His heart.
The first evidence that our life matters is all these things He's done for us. Secondly, the second evidence is that we're called the children of God. Now, do I matter? Sure, I do. Think about how you feel about your children. You say to your friends, "This is my son. This is my daughter". You're proud of them. They matter to you. Listen, when someone matters to you, it's going to affect your relationship to them, the way you speak of 'em, what you do for 'em, how you relate to them. When you really are involved in that person's life, that they matter to you, you're going to treat 'em a certain way. And truth of that, for example, you work somewhere and you see the boss working in one person's life one way and somebody else the other way.
And how many times have I heard people say, "Well, I feel like in my job, I don't matter". And when somebody says, "I don't care", you will never hear God say to you, watch this, you'll never hear God say to you, "I don't care". That's not in His terminology. So, the fact that we matter to God, we're called His children, all these promises and blessings that we've talked about, our name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We belong to Him no matter what happens. It still matters to God what goes on in our life. The third evidence that our life matters to God is, listen, it has not yet appeared as what it will be. Look at our present society, for example. In my lifetime, it's worse than it has ever been. And think about this for a moment, how did we get this way? I'll tell you, see this Book?
I want you think about how much time you spend in this Book in any given day. See this iPhone? How much do we spend in that versus the Word of God? What a difference. And so, what's happened? Our attention has been drawn away from God. And the more little inventions we find ourselves inventing is just another way to draw us away from God. Am I saying the phone's not important? No. Are computers important? Yes. But when you talk to anybody, very few people will tell you, I spend as much time reading the Word of God for myself as I do talking to my friends on the phone about things that don't matter at all. And then, look at all the rest, think in terms of all the drunkenness, sports, drugs, immorality, ungodly counsel, depression, suicides, shootings.
What's happened to our society? I'll tell you what's happened, we own it, but we don't read it. We own it, but we don't live by it. We are living in a society that is totally unaware of who God is and His Word is becoming less and less important. And the world's providing more and more things that we can involve ourselves with that bring us supposedly pleasure. I don't have to tell you about our society, you know about it. You know what's happening, but you will have to admit, it's drifting further and further and further away from God when, and we're excusing it by saying we are so busy. There's so much to do, so many places to go, and so many things I need. It matters to God how much time we spend with Him. It matters to God how we relate to Him. It matters to God how we treat other people. It matters to God how we think about other people. It matters to God what we give Him. It matters to God every aspect of our life, God is involved in every area of our life.
And He's not trying to cheat us out of anything. He wants the best for us. But look at this, God knows that the best for us is to follow the teachings of His precious Word. "Ask, and it shall be given to you, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be open to you". "My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory". He gives us His strength. He helps us to be wise enough to follow His laws and to follow His will and purpose and plan for our life. And the Bible's full of Scriptures of promises of God. Where have we gone wrong? Little by little, the world fills our minds with things that we used to fill it with the Word of God.
How many people do you know that read the Bible every day? I wonder how many people who go to church on Sunday morning or whenever they go who read the Bible sometime during the week? How much time do we spend talking to our Heavenly Father about our needs or the people we love rather than complaining about what they don't have and what we don't have? Think about this, when Almighty God says, "You matter to Me", that's God. When God says, "You matter to Me", what more powerful word of encouragement could we hear than that? You matter to Me. I care about you. I'm concerned about you. I know all about you. I want the best for you. I love you. My love for you is not conditioned. My love for you is absolutely unconditional. I'm looking forward to seeing you when I call you home. I'm looking for you being in all that I have provided for you in Heaven. Where is God in this mixed up, confused, frustrated, very affluent world that has lost its sense of direction?
And then I want you to notice something else. And that is the fourth evidence that our life matters to God is that we'll be like Him. In other words, think about this for a moment. He says in First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, you know how long that chapter is and how much God says about our life and how much He says about our future life and our resurrection and all the rest. Think about it. The Scripture says, "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep". And then he starts talking about how God is going to work in our life in the resurrection. So, think about this. You matter to God so much that He not only has provided for your life now, He's provided for your life hereafter, forever and ever and ever. We don't have to worry about life after death if we've trusted Christ as our Savior. Our life matters to Him.
In fact, if you'll think about it, there's not a single aspect of your life in which God has not involved Himself for your past, present, and future. And the future is that we'll have a resurrection day. One of these days, we're going to be with God forever and ever and ever. Because He cares for us. Because it does matter to Him. And when we look at the Word of God, we talk about the heavenly family. We talk about the Word of God. We talk about Heaven. We talk about how Heaven's going to be. We don't know what Heaven is going to be like. We know what the Bible says as best you could describe something that is indescribable in human words. How do you describe what Heaven's going to be like? We can't describe it. But we know that God's given us enough to give us hope in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Listen to this, evidence that our life matters to God is we'll be like Him. And when I think about that, that's hard to understand. Hard to comprehend that we're going to be like Him, not look like Him, but like Him in our very being. We will be eternally with Him. We will think like Him, we will love like Him. In many ways, we'll be like Him that we can't even describe. And then, I think about in this light: the fifth reason that our life matters is that He desires that you and I live a pure, holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing Him glory for all eternity. What's His desire for us? That we live a holy life.
How can I live a holy life? Simply obey the Holy Spirit with whom He indwelt you. Think about this, God does not require anything of us He's not provided. He wants us to live a holy life, so what does He do? He indwells us with the Holy Spirit, that we would know what the truth is. We'd realize He loves us. He forgives us. He cleanses us. He wants the very best for us. And He's willing to provide the best if we're willing to trust Him. So, I'd simply ask you this: has there ever been a time in your life when you faced the reality that you are worth something to God? That He cares about you? That He loves you? That He wants you to know what is true, what is right, what is best? That you would understand that one of these days, you're going to die and give an account for Him? Has it ever dawned on you that if you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, He will?
If you ask Him to give you assurance that when you die, you'll go to Heaven, He will. Has it ever occurred to you that God is so involved in your life in every aspect, He hasn't forgotten anything? Every aspect of your life, He's concerned about, willing to forgive your sins, willing to call you home one day, absent from the body, not floundering in the darkness everywhere, absent from the body, present with the Lord, that's the promise of God. The next most important decision you'll ever make if you're not a Christian is the one you can make right now, and that is to surrender your life to Christ.
You say, "What does that mean"? That means you confess that you're a sinner before Him, that you cannot change yourself, that when Jesus went to the cross, He went to the cross to pay your sin debt, and it is a debt, your sin debt in full. And if you ask Him to forgive you on the basis of what He did at the cross, paying your sin debt, if you ask Him to forgive you, He will forgive you. He will write your name in the Lamb's Book of Life, never to be erased. And from this moment on, you can rest assured, He will be living within you to guide you, help you, strengthen you, and give you life at its very best. Your life matters to God.
Father, how grateful we are. We don't have to come up with a new idea. We simply need to respond to this awesome truth of the Gospel, that You came into this world, laid down Your life on the cross, shed Your blood for our sins, accepted us as your children, written our name in the Lamb's Book of Life, and now we have security, real security, the security to forever be with You once this life is over. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God, for such blessed assurance, in Jesus's name, amen.