By David J. Riggs

   A. If one were to start a business, he would need to set goals so 
      that his business might succeed.
      1. Goal oriented people accomplish more than those who set no
   B. As a church of the Lord, we will succeed to the extent we are
      able to set worthy goals and follow them.
   C. We need to make a distinction between "worthy" and "worldly"
      1. Some only desire a nice building, large Sunday morning
         attendance, or a prominent name in the brotherhood.
      2. Such goals, by themselves, indicate carnality.
   D. Here are some worthy spiritual goals for us to attain.

   A. First of all, we need a genuine, whole-hearted, sincere love   
      for God. Mark 12:30
      1. We need to love the Lord, Jesus Christ who died for us.
         a. The Jews looked for a lion, but Jesus came as a lamb,
            and they missed Him.
         b. They looked for a warrior, but Jesus came as a
            peacemaker, and they missed Him.
         c. They looked for a military king, but Jesus came as a
            servant, and they missed Him.
         d. They looked for liberation from Rome, but Jesus
            submitted to the Roman stake, and they missed Him.
         e. They were looking for their temporal needs to be met,
            but He came to meet their spiritual needs, and they
            missed Him.
      2. For what are we looking, a lion, warrior, military king,
         liberator, physical provider?
         a. He came as a lamb to be sacrificed for our sins, will we
            miss Him?
         b. He came to make peace between God and man, will we
            miss Him?
         c. He came that we might have true liberty, will we miss
         d. He came to model service for others, we will miss it?
         e. He came go give eternal life, will we miss it?
   B. We need love for the truth. Prov. 23:23; Eph. 4:14-15
      1. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim.    
         a. Let us continue to defend, uphold, and proclaim the
   C. We need love for one another. 1 Pet. 1:22
      1. It would be terrible to have no one who cared for our soul.
         Psalm 142:4
      2. Love is a means of identifying the true disciples. John     
      3. If we love one another, God dwells in us. 1 John 4:12
      4. The one who does not love his brother abides in death. 1
         John 3:14,16

   A. We need to be loyal in attitude.
      1. We must avoid the attitude of indifference. Rev. 3:15-16
      2. We must avoid the attitude of self-righteousness. Luke 18:9-
      3. We must avoid the attitude of constant censureship. Matt.
         7:1-5; Mark 7:2
         a. An old proverb: "He who is looking for faults in his
            brethren shall surely find them."
   B. We need to be loyal in attendance.
      1. Disciples of Christ assemble together. Acts 11:26
      2. Forsaking the assemblies carries serious consequences. Heb.
   C. We need to be loyal in stewardship.
      1. Every member has a function, a place, and a part. 1 Cor.
         12:20-22; Eph. 4:16
      2. The obligation of the whole is met by the parts.
      3. Let us do our part so that the whole can function properly.
   D. This is an old Aesop fable: "One day it occurred to some of the
      members of the body that they were doing all the work and that
      the belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting and  
      after a long discussion decided to strike work until the belly 
      consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or
      two the hands refused to take the food, the mouth refused to   
      receive it, and the teeth had no work to do. But after a day or
      two, members began to find that they themselves were not in a  
      very active condition. The hands could hardly move, the mouth  
      was all parched and dry, while the legs were unable to support 
      the rest. Thus, they found that even the belly, in its dull    
      quiet way, was doing necessary work for the body, and that all 
      must work together or the body would go to pieces."

   A. By works, our faith is made perfect. James 2:22
   B. We need to labor in the interest of saving souls.
      1. The Lord Jesus came to save souls, and we need to diligently
         follow Him in His work. 1 Cor. 15:58
         a. This is an area where we definitely need improvement.
         b. It is an area where we need to put emphasis.
         c. Let's look for new and greater opportunities to render
            service to the Lord.
         d. A high school in Virginia offered a course called "Home
            Economics for Boys." Needless to say, it got very little
            attention. The following year it was renamed "Bachelor
            Living." The effect was overwhelming -- 120 boys
            promptly signed up. The curriculum had not changed. It
            still offered traditional instruction in cooking, sewing,
            laundry, and money management; but it needed the right
            image before the students would give the class a second
         e. As we present Christ to the world, let's not forget that
            the message must never change; but our methods of
            delivery may vary. Jesus said, "...Be wise as serpents
            and harmless as doves." Matt. 10:16
   C. The people's responsibility in Nehemiah's day was to rebuild   
      the wall.
      1. They had enemies who opposed them. Neh. 4:1-3
      2. They worked under great stress. Neh. 4:7-9,17
      3. The wall was finished because the people had a mind to
         work. Neh. 4:6; 6:15-16
   D. Let us be loyal and faithful to the Lord in all things even    
      when we do not fully understand His purpose and intent.
      1. Let us be faithful in the work even when we can't see any
         visible results.
      2. An ancient story tells about a king who needed a faithful
         servant and had to choose between two candidates for the
         office. He took both at fixed wages and told them to carry
         buckets of water from a nearby cistern and dump them into a
         large basket which he had placed a short distance away. He
         said that he would come in the evening to inspect their     
         work. After dumping a few buckets of water into the basket, 
         one of the men said, "What is the good of doing this useless
         work? As soon as we pour the water in, it runs out the      

         The other answered, "But we have our wages, don't we?
         The reason for the work is the master's business, not ours."
         The complainer replied, "I'm not going to do such fool's
         work," and throwing down his bucket, he went away.

         The other man continued until he drained the cistern.
         Looking down into it, he saw something shining at the
         bottom. It proved to be a very valuable gold ring that had
         been lost in the cistern. The servant thought: "Now I see   
         the reason for pouring water into the basket! If the bucket 
         had brought up the ring before the cistern was dry, it would
         have been found in the basket. Our work was not useless."   
         (From 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, by Michael 
         P. Green, p. 144)
      3. Let us never give up, give in, or give out in the Lord's    
         work even when we don't fully understand God's purpose, and
         even when we can't see any visible results.

   A. Thus, we have suggested a few worthy goals: to be a loving
      church, a loyal church, and a laboring church.
      1. They center around the very purpose for the church to exist.
      2. They involve the purpose for us being in the church.
   B. Let us not lose sight of them, but let us press toward them.