Summary: Why has God called called us? What is His purpose for us?
2 Timothy 1:8–12 (NKJV)
According to Julie Iovine in the New York Times, in the 1990s many owners of small farms in America began to reduce their wholesale farming to a mere sideline and instead started using their property for another purpose: entertainment farming. Other terms for this new way to make a living on the farm are agritainment and agritourism. Entertainment farmers attract paying customers to their property with country bands, hay-bale mazes, petting corrals, and tricycle courses. City-dwelling families eager for a feel of life on the farm can pay $12 for admission, food, and amusements. It can cost a child $1 to frolic in a pile of straw or pick a flower. Some farms have mazes cut into their cornfields that can take a person forty-five minutes to navigate. Iovine reports that one farmer in Arizona makes up to $15,000 on a good weekend. In 1994 Alaska and Oklahoma introduced agritourism as official parts of their state tourism policies.
The catalyst for many of these farmers to take up agritainment was economic pressure. Sometimes a Christian, or a church, can resemble an entertainment farmer. For whatever reason, we are diverted from the central purpose of producing a crop. Fruitfulness is God’s will for every Christian and every church.(1)
Individually we lose our focus on just what our purpose is. We often attend church for all the wrong reasons. We go it’s the thing to do. We go because we want to be entertained for an hour. Worst yet we go out of obligation, we’re in attendance in body but not in mind or spirit. Or we go thinking we’ll throw God a bone and He will be grateful to us, and now would owe us something. We lose our focus. We often focus inward instead of outward. We have become a narcissistic society. It has become all about what I want, meeting my needs, what will make me happy. We forget our calling. Our call to be holy, our call to peace and unity, our call to do the will of God, our calling to be witnesses to the end of the earth. We forget. Rick Warren’s runaway bestseller, "The Purpose-Driven Life," begins with the terse sentence, “It’s not about you.”
2 Timothy 1:9a (NKJV) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling,
It is all about God and His purposes. He called us with a Holy Calling. It is not to be taken lightly, or at our convenience. It is all about the purposes of God. Paul is writing this heart felt letter to Timothy. As far as we know, this is the last thing Paul wrote before his death which was soon in coming. Paul is pouring his heart out to young Timothy telling him what is important. It is not about what we want. One thing is for sure, we certainly have not been called by God to fit in with the world.
2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
It is not about our works, not about what I have done or going to do. The fact is my works will never be good enough for God. My past works does not matter. My purposes does not matter. It is all about God purposes, not ours.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
We know this verse, but the key to understanding this verse is the last phrase, “who are the called according to His purpose.” And just what is the purpose of God? What is the goal we should be aiming for?
1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
It is laying hold of eternal life. And what is the purpose of Eternal life?
1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Eternal life is eternal fellowship with Jesus. And that eternal fellowship begins now. It is all about knowing Jesus.
John 17:3 (NKJV) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Can you begin to see how all this fits together? It is all about knowing Jesus. It is about our fellowship with Him. We have not been called to a religion, we have been called to a relationship.
2 Timothy 1:9b (NKJV) but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,