Summary: The 3rd of a series of sermons delivered by the pastors of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church during its participation in the 40 Days of Purpose
Everybody needs a purpose and that’s why we’re spending 40 Days of Purpose, looking at God’s purposes for your life.
The last time I preached we focused on one of the purposes of life – “You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure.” Your first purpose is to get to know and love God. That’s called what?
I’ll give you a hint – the answer is right over on the side of our Sanctuary, right there on the banner!
And last week, Will Dietrich preached about a second purpose of life, talking about how “You Were Formed for God’s Family.”
God wants you to learn to love other people and get along in His family, and the Bible calls that what?
If you need a hint, it’s on the other banner.
Today we look at the third purpose that God put you on this planet for, and we find it in Romans 8:29 and many other verses. We read it for our New Testament Lesson, and we find that it teaches us that God has called us to “be conformed to the likeness of his Son”.
II Corinthians 3:18 teaches us that Christians are called to be “transformed into the likeness” of Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:6 tells us to “become imitators of the Lord.”
God’s plan has always been, to make you like Jesus Christ.
His plan from the very beginning has been to make human beings like Himself.
Now, don’t get me wrong, let me be clear, He’s not saying you’re going to be a god.
You will never be a god.
I mean your wife may think you’re a god, but you’ll never be a god.
In fact, I’m sure she doesn’t think you’re a god.
Maybe in your own mind you think you’re a god, but you’re not. But God doesn’t want you to become a god; He wants you to become godly. He wants you to develop His character, the way He thinks, the way He acts, the way He feels, His values, His moral character.
God wants to make you like Himself, and that’s God’s third plan for putting you on this planet, to make you like Jesus.
Let’s take a look at Ephesians 4:15.
“God wants us to grow up…like Christ in everything”.
Growing up is a process.
This doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s not like one day all of a sudden – ZAP – you’re an adult.
And in the same way, spiritually, growing up to become Christ-like is a process.
This is the third purpose of life – to grow to be like Christ.
We call this process is called “discipleship”, and it takes an entire lifetime. And hey – that word is on the newest banner we’ve put up in our sanctuary!
It’s going to take the rest of your life for God to build character in you, the character qualities of Jesus Christ.
Today we’re going to look at, “How does God do it? How does God help me grow spiritually? How does God make me like Jesus Christ?”
There are a couple of ways we know right off the bat.
One obvious way is – the Bible.
It takes truth to transform us. If you really want to grow up spiritually, you’ve got to get into this Book.
The more you get into it, the more you’re going to grow.
Another thing God uses is -- His people, and that’s why last week we talked about fellowship.
When we learn from each other, we grow and we develop. And the more you get with other people, other Christians, the more spiritually mature you’re going to become as you grow because you’re spending time with them.
Last week we heard a stirring testimony from Nancy Hulteen about how the Fellowship of this church sustained her and her family during her daughter’s illness.
God uses people in your life to help you grow.
That’s why you’ve got to have a lot of contact, and that’s why you need fellowship.
You’re never going to be a lone ranger Christian. But, God uses more than just those two things. He uses more than the Bible and He uses more than fellowship.
These are obvious – but today I want us to look at those things that are just as important in helping us to grow, but less obvious.
God also uses trouble! Trouble helps us to grow.
We all go through difficulties in our lives. And it doesn’t matter if these difficulties are ordained by God, created as temptations in our lives by Satan, or due to our own stupidity – God uses the troubles in our lives in helping us to grow.
Let’s take another look at one of the verses from our New Testament lesson. “In all things God works for the good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes.”