Let me first ask four simple questions and try to offer four simple answers.
1. What should be the greatest and highest goal that we parents should encourage our children and teenagers to live by or strive for throughout the early years of their lives?
My simple answer is good schooling, strong and solid educational foundation with a clear focus to aspire on a good future career. The Great King, Poet and Preacher Solomon advises us as parents in the Book of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he/she should go: and when he/she is old, he/she will not depart from it”.
2. What is the greatest and highest goal parents should aim for in their adult life?
It is providing a good and decent home with steady income for the family and promote healthy lifestyle for all in the home.
Titus 2:1-8 offers the following instructions: “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things. That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you”.
3. What should be the greatest and highest goal that all Bible believers aim for in their walk with the God and author of the Bible, Jesus Christ?
It is ensuring true soul salvation that the Bible clearly offers in the One True God and Savior Jesus Christ – the only way, truth and life, without whom no-one shall ever see God.
The Gospel of John 5:39 firmly assures: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me (Jesus Christ)”. And the Book of Acts of the Apostles 4:12 goes on to confirm, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”.
4. What should be the greatest and highest goal that any person should persevere to obtain before they die?
It is obtaining salvation in Jesus Christ, living a holy and sanctified life each and every day till we see and meet Him face-to-face.
The Book of Hebrews 9:27 warns: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. This is a fixed appointment that no one can escape nor dodge, it shall be for all who die without salvation in Jesus Christ. They will all stand to be judged except for those who die in Jesus Christ who have escaped through being raptured and will not face this Great White Throne Judgment as mentioned in Revelation 20: 11-15.
The Lord Jesus Christ personally challenged and assured a Jewish ruler by the name of Nicodemus in John’s Gospel 3: 3 and 5 saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.
This new birth experience is clearly stipulated in the Book of Acts 2:38 at the very birthday of Christianity, when the Apostle Peter to whom Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven when he stated at verse 38 in response to the multitude’s question: “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call”.
This declaration goes out to every soul that is alive throughout the whole world who choose Jesus as their personal Savior, Lord and God. Jesus Christ alone has shed his own blood, upon the Cross on Calvary for the remission of all mankind’s sins. Mankind is always welcomed to choose or return to Christ to be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 assures us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. Repentance points us to water baptism (identifying in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ), baptism leads us on to receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is the seal and power of God that makes us true witnesses unto Jesus Christ, the spirit that shall quicken our mortal body and soul to be raptured, taken into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air as stated in 1st Thessalonians 4:17.
We now come back to our text above and ask the question: what then is the most holy faith that we should build ourselves upon?
It is holiness, that is NUMBER ONE! Hebrews 12:14 - 22 says, “Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord”.
We have always thought that holiness is to do with our relationship with our God, yet if we follow the scripture very closely, we find that it still continues right through with our relationship with our fellow men. “Follow peace with all men and holiness – it still continues – with all men….”.
There is no way we can ever see the face of a Holy God when we are unholy unto one another. How can we be able to try to live or walk holy unto our Holy God whom we cannot see and unholy towards our fellow men whom we see and meet every day?
Jesus says, “If we say that we love God yet hate our brothers or sisters, then we are liars and lying to our own selves”.
Leviticus 11: 44 states. “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy”.
Being holy means being set aside, separated for and unto God. Ancient Judaism was a religion or church for Jews only. Until Jesus Christ came, he tore from top to bottom the veil that for so long separated mankind, one from the other and united all together as one in Christ Jesus.
As Ephesians 2: 12 – 14 declares, “But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith. And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Jesus Christ as God Almighty is no respect of persons. He died shedding his blood for all mankind and rose from the dead for all people.
There is no church of Jesus Christ for all whites or all blacks only, nor for all men or all women only, nor for all Cook Islanders, Samoans, Tongans or Fijians only. All are to learn how to live and integrate with other races or colours of people; and all whatever status of life they have.
This is precisely what the scripture in Hebrews 12: 14 means: “Follow peace with all men”. We must learn to get along with everybody else there is upon this whole planet called Earth for whom Christ shed His blood. He commissioned his disciples in the Gospels of Mathew and Mark, saying: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature…” (Mark 16:15); “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in My Name” (according to the original Hebrew/Greek Bible)…(“in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, was a later insertion and the result of tampering by the Roman Catholic Church).
Our greatest and highest goal overall in life is, loving and living in peace with all mankind and living holy unto our holy God, who came in Jesus Christ in whom no lies was found neither was there any guile in His mouth. Without establishing a peaceful relationship with all men, failing to live holy unto a holy God, no man shall ever see the Lord.
God bless and preserve our paradise Cook Islands. May we live our lives reaching out to as best and as far as we can preaching the Gospel of peace and salvation in Jesus Christ to all creatures, to all nations and unto the ends of the earth.
Have a safe and peaceful weekend.
Bishop Tutai Pere