Summary: Adapted from welcome to the planet 40 Days of Purpose Series. Sermon #7
40 Days of Purpose - Part 7 – Self Centred or Other’s Centred
Gladstone Baptist Church - 30/5/04
We’ve reached the end of our Journey, but it is worth taking some time to examine the road we’ve trod. I want tonight for us to think about the purpose driven life and distill it down to its essentials.
What are these essentials? Well, for starters, we were made for a purpose. We are no accident. We were created for a specific reason and that includes having a relationship with God, having relationships with others, learning to live like Jesus, serving in a ministry and being part of God’s worldwide mission. If we are not participating in each of these five purposes, then we are not living according to our design purpose. We are wasting our life.
Another essential, is that through these five purposes, we grow closer to God. When we worship, we acknowledge God’s greatness – we learn to appreciate Him and what He’s done. When we enter into fellowship with God and with the rest of his family, we enter into relation with Him. You can’t learn to love his family without God’s love flowing out through you. Discipleship is about becoming like Christ. Service is serving God and his people. Evangelism is understanding his mission and his desire that all be saved. So to live these five purposes we need to grow closer to God.
But there is another essential that struck me this last week and I want to pause to examine it in more detail tonight. It is the fact that to do these five purposes, we need to move from being self centred people to being other centred. You can not do these five purposes by focusing on yourself. Have you realized this as you were reading the daily readings? You can not live according to these 5 purposes and be self centred at the same time.
What is self-centredness. It comes under many guises
Read Phil 2:1-11
Paul is writing his letter to the Philippians and is talking all about living in unity in the face of opposition. But he goes on, to relate to them how they can live a life of unity. And at the centre of this is the idea of being other centred. Paul says, you can’t live in unity unless you live unselfishly. Let’s briefly look at each of these 5 purposes and you’ll see what I mean …
The first purpose in life we learnt about was worship. The fact that we need to respond to God’s love for us. He loved us so much that he died for us. Paul starts out this chapter in Philippians by making some logical statements. He says “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion.” Paul says… do you have anything to praise God about because you are one with Him? Are you reassured by the wonder of his love? Do you have fellowship with his Holy Spirit? Do you care at all?
The answer was obviously Yes. These Philippian Christians, like us. owed so much to God. He had accepted them, forgiven them, adopted them into His family. He showed love and compassion to them. He led them by His spirit.
The response to this is worship. Paul writes … If you do appreciate all of these things, then make me happy by being united with each other. Paul longed for the Philippian church to live in harmony because he planted the church. He saw himself as their spiritual father in many ways. If Paul felt this way about a group of people that he served and worked with. How much more do you think that God desires the same thing for those he died for and created?
I don’t think we would be too far off the mark by slipping in God’s name into these verses … Listen as I read it again …
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make God’s joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
There is no question that God desires that we live in unity with each other and Paul urges these Christians to do this in response to what God’s has done for us.
So we learnt that worship is our response to God’s love. Some people respond by praying, some people sing songs, some people write poems or love letters, some people take photos, some people worship by their joyful attitude in life and others worship God by serving others. But all these responses have one thing in common. They are all other centred. In actual fact – they are all GOD-centred to be more specific.