Summary: This is the first sermon in a series that examines some of the overlooked gifts that God gave us that first Christmas. This message looks at the gift of purpose.
We all have the desire to find that unexpected gift for those in our lives. We want to give a gift that causes their eyes to light up and causes them to say, “Wow!” It’s a quest that so many embark on each year at this time. We know that by giving joy to another, we will in turn receive joy. This series will highlight some of the unexpected gifts that God gave through Christ. In fact, we will discover that there is a gift for everyone regardless of their needs. In April of 2007 a ninety minute documentary opened in select theaters. The film was entitled “The Human Experience.” This film detailed mankind’s constant search for purpose. The movie centers around a group of people who travel to various places in the world searching for the answers to three simple questions. “Who am I?” “Who is man?” “Why do we search for meaning?” What you learn from this film is that people everywhere are searching and asking, “What is life all about?” I believe that Christmas highlights this quest for purpose that mankind is on. In our text today we find that there are three men who are on a quest. Their quest will ultimately lead them to a little child in Bethlehem. The gift we are going to look at today is the gift for those who are searching for meaning and purpose. Christmas tells us that life has meaning and that we are here for a purpose. However, the bottom line is that it our boils down to having a relationship with the Savior of the world.
I. Why is the meaning and purpose of life so difficult for us to find?
A. At some point in their lives the majority of people have struggled with the same question.
1. “Why am I here?” Or you could phrase it this way, “What is the purpose of life?”
2. We by nature want to be a part of something bigger than we are. We want to know that our lives count for something.
3. Have you ever wondered why the quest to discover purpose is so elusive? It seems as though regardless of how hard we try a lasting answer cannot be found.
4. We continue the search because without a purpose we have no foundation on which to base our lives.
B. The search for meaning and purpose has puzzled mankind for centuries.
1. God’s chosen people struggled with the same questions that we do today.
2. It seemed as though that God had either turned His back on the Jewish people or forgotten about them.
3. God had promised a great deliverer but they had not heard a word from God for more than four centuries.
4. Those who were still holding to thin strands of faith believed that when the Messiah finally came, meaning would be given to all their suffering.
C. Understanding why we are constantly on a quest to find purpose.
1. Purpose is what drives our lives. Without purpose our existence has absolutely no meaning.
2. Purpose is what builds the foundation under our lives that influences our decisions and how we use our time and resources.
3. The Jewish people illustrate a powerful truth. When life has purpose you can bear almost any burden but when there is no sense of purpose it is hard to stand up under the pressure of this world.
4. We have all probably reached the point where the burdens of life seemed almost too much to bear.
II. Christmas seems to bring with it a sense of purpose that can satisfy the longing for purpose and meaning.
A. Many in our culture try to search for meaning and purpose in places that cannot provide any lasting answers.
1. Today Americans give gifts for a variety of reasons.
b. To show that they value others.
c. To show off.
d. To feel better about themselves.
2. The average American spends around $935 on Christmas gifts each year.
3. When we are able to give the right gift at Christmas it seems to have the ability to make us feel a little bit better about ourselves.
4. When we go shopping at Christmas we have a purpose. We have made a list of people to get gifts for and our goal is to find the right gift for each one on our list.
5. The truth that needs to be told is that lasting meaning and purpose cannot be found apart from God.
B. Christmas changed everything for three magi who lived in the far east.
1. The magi were obviously into astronomy because they recognized a star in the sky that was out of the ordinary. They immediately interpreted this as a supernatural sign.