Summary: A sermon intended to help people see that they are not here just to be saved, but to serve. We have a purpose that needs to be fulfilled in this present world.
Broadway play: Spider Man: Green Goblin has Spider Man in his grip as they fight atop the Chrysler Building in NYC. It is hundreds of feet to the ground. The Goblin says to Spider Man, “Look down there Spider Man. What do you see? Look at all those people. They look like ants. And they look exactly the same when you see them up close.”
There are many who would say, “We are all just ants. Life is an accident without meaning or purpose. There is no God of love who made it all. We are all just a mass of organisms with no worth or importance.”
Lakeside and Mayflies - Some feel that is like what we are - coming into existence, eating, breeding, and passing out of existence.
I was listening to the news where Jared Lee Loughner, who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and nine-year-old Christina Green, was described by friends as a Nihilist: “A person who believes human existence has no objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value... Moral nihilists assert that morality does not exist, and that any established moral values are contrived.” - Wikipedia
Friend’s post on Facebook: “There is no right or wrong.” I wanted to write: “Matthew Hoffman will be glad to hear this.”
So when there is no meaning or purpose to life, there are no moral values, no right and wrong.
Not sure how people survive like that.
But that is not the biblical picture. The Bible’s view is the polar opposite. Our lives do have meaning, they are directed by a purpose and have eternal value because the beautiful God who created all things created us and loved us into existence.
1. There is a specific meaning to each of our individual lives.
Isaiah wrote: “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.” - Isaiah 49:1
Notice “Before I was born...” - God knew you before the world came into being. He called you into existence before you took your first breath. This is our story as Christians – a story the world does not know or understand.
Jeremiah: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” - Jeremiah 1:4-5
The Apostle Paul in the scripture today said: “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God...” - 1 Cor. 1:1
And what was true for Isaiah, Jeremiah and Paul is true for you.
C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia — The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Lucy, the youngest of the children stumbles through their uncle’s wardrobe into a frozen world of Narnia — a place where it is always winter and never Christmas. The other children at first disbelieve her, but eventually they follow her through the wardrobe and into Narnia. As they do, the creatures there begin to gasp as they see them and treat them as though they are someone special. At first they are surprised and think there has to be some kind of mistake. Then they are not sure they want this kind of responsibility, in spite of how flattering it is. But then they meet Aslan — a lion who is the Christ-figure in the story. He calls them by new names. They are now known as: King Peter the Magnificent, King Edmund the Just, Queen Lucy the Valiant, Queen Susan the Gentle. He gives them gifts to help them accomplish their calling. And they begin their wonderful journey of fulfilling their calling – a calling that was planned for them before the world began, and as they do, Narnia’s winter begins to break. The snow melts and summer’s warmth begins.
2. We have be respond to God’s call in order to experience his purpose for us.
You say, “Of course God called the prophets before they were born, and of course God called Paul. They were important, spiritual people. I’m a nobody. I’m just a farmer, an office worker, a teacher, a small business owner — I’m just ordinary.” Actually, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Paul were nobodies whom God made somebodies, because they responded to God’s call. All people are called by God, even before birth, but not everyone heeds God’s call, not everyone responds to it and welcomes it. Not everyone comes when God calls. The Bible says, “many are called, but few are chosen.” - Matthew 22:14, KJV
Old joke: One preacher asked another, “What is the spiritual temperature of you congregation? Are they on fire, are they warm or are they cold.” The preacher responded, “Many are thawed, and a few are frozen.”