It’s About God
1. “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or evne your happiness.” Rick Warren
2. Yet, at the same time, there is no life more fulfilling or deeper than a God-centered life.
3. Life with purpose is a rich life; purposeless life is just marking time.
4. Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nations, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day."
Morning Glory, May 29, 1993.
Main idea: The answer to life’s meaning is not within us; it can be found only in a relationship with God
I. God’s Plan for Us: To GLORIFY HIM
1. He is SOVEREIGN over all
Job 12:10 “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
2. We exist for HIS glory
Colossians 1:16-18 passim, "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
3. ALL creation exists to glorify God
Revelation 4:11, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
4. Living life itself can GLORIFY God
I Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
• I define my terms differently than Rick Warren for the sake of clarity: worship is a sub-category of glorifying God, which is a broader category
• By enjoying the wholesome pleasures and blessings of life and appreciating their source, I can glorify God, whether that be eating, drinking, giving my wife a kiss, or laughing at clean comedy…
• Therefore, the balanced life, if lived to God’s glory, glorifies God in many ways
The answer to life’s meaning is not within us; it can be found only in a relationship with God
II. Our Plan: To Find Meaning Apart from God
1. In EDEN, we chose our own way
2. We are born SIN and SELF driven
(1) sin DISTRACTS and consoles us
(2) we are out to glorify OURSELVES
3. This is the human DEFAULT setting
How strong is that default setting?
In 1979, a study was done among teenagers in Sweden, who were asked to respond to the statement, "I think the following could give my life more meaning..." Of those surveyed, eighty-seven percent thought that meaning could be found in a good job, eighty-five percent thought it could be found in a marriage partner, and eighty-four percent thought it could be found in sports and recreation. Only fifteen percent thought that reading the Bible and prayer could help, and another fifteen percent indicated that they thought alcohol could help.
About eight percent considered the question of the meaning of life important, yet eighty percent considered it unimportant whether Jesus existed as a man on earth or not. Also, eighty-five percent considered it unimportant whether Jesus is the Son of God or not. A full seventy-five percent concluded that the question of God’s existence is unimportant.
Jim Peterson, Living Proof, NavPress, 1989, pp. 35.
4. Until this “default setting” is overcome by God’s power, we will continue to wallow in distraction and meaninglessness…
5. So we try to find meaning by comparing ourselves to others:
Mrs. Moskowitz was trying to describe to the interior decorator exactly how
she wanted her house done.
She said, "I leave the art and design entirely to you. I ask only that whatever you do, it be spectacular. I want it done in such a way that when my dear best friend, Mrs. Finkelstein, should come in for the first time, she should instantly have a stroke with jealousy and drop dead."
6. We buy expensive things that make statements or in some other way try to assert our worth; but it’s all a silly game because we will all die and be forgotten.
III. Life’s MEANING Through the Eternal God
1. GOD transcends time
• Paul tells us that if there is no resurrection from the dead, we are of all men most miserable….
• The older one gets, the more one appreciates this reality
• If life is to have significant meaning, 70 years is not enough…nor is 170
• Eccl. 3:11, “He has made everything [appropriate in its time He has also set eternity in their heart…”
2. He brings us MEANINGFUL life
Romans 8:6 “The mind of sinful man[a] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…”
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
"I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them a single shilling, they would have been rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed."
Patrick Henry. (www.sermonillustrations.com)
3. He can give us ETERNAL life
I John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
IV. Your BEHAVIOR Exposes Your Purpose
1. The DEFAULT setting defines most lives
2. But God wants to CHANGE your setting
• There is a difference between finding purpose in glorifying God and finding comfort during time of need from God
• There’s little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. There’s as much pilferage and dishonesty among the churched as the unchurched. And I’m afraid that applies pretty much across the board: Religion, per se, is not really life changing. People cite it as important, for instance, in overcoming depression--but it doesn’t have primacy in determining behavior.
George H. Gallup, Leadership, Fall 1987, p. 17. (www.sermonillustraions.com)
3. Our FRUIT is what flows from who we ARE
Galatians 5:19-25, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
4. Change your purpose and change your LIFE
1. Are we ready to stop bumping around in life? Are we ready to evaluate our lives in light of a purpose?
One of golf’s immortal moments came when a Scotchman demonstrated the new game to President Ulysses Grant. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, he took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf and scattered dirt all over the President’s beard and surrounding vicinity, while the ball placidly waited on the tee. Again the Scotchman swung, and again he missed. Our President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, "There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in the game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball.
2. That purpose is to glorify God. It is the standard by which we are to measure everything else. Otherwise, we are getting exercise but accomplishing nothing.
3. It is also freeing. Once we have our purpose in our hearts, we now have PERMISSION to put God’s will first, no matter what others think. We are free from vacillating, free from being people-pleasers; we are now God pleasers. And it is easier to please God than people who cannot even agree among themselves!