Summary: Pupose is one of the most precious gifts that God gives us. Purpose can be an "normal" experience in the Christian life as we live in the reality of living for Jesus
2 Corinthians 5:15-21 “Discover Purpose”
It is the month of November the month of Thanksgiving. For four consecutive Sundays we will be focusing on some important things in life for which we can be thankful. Last week, we lifted up God’s great gift of love—steadfast love that endures forever. In future Sundays we will look at peace and eternity. Today we are going to talk about God’s gift of purpose.
The main character is “LA Story,” musses about the life and it’s meaning. Trying to put his thoughts about life into words, he paraphrases Shakespeare and says, “Hey, life is pretty stupid, with lots of hubbub to keep you busy, but not amounting to much.” Most of us didn’t learn those words in that form in our high school English classes. In stead we learned the words, “Life is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Shakespeare was a pretty astute observer of life and love. Is he correct in this case, that life is “Much Ado About Nothing”?
Jean-Paul Sarte maintained that people exist as utterly isolated individuals in a purposeless universe. Jacques Monod the French molecular biologist believed that humankind’s existence is due to the chance collision of miniscule particles of nucleic acid and proteins in a vast prebiotic soup.” These great minds are not the only ones who believe that life is merely chance.
Purpose seems to be in question in modern society. Living life with intention and direction escapes the masses. Popular beliefs perceive life as having no direction, and is only occasionally influenced by the ancient Greet gods of Luck and Fate, e.g. “She was lucky to have won the lottery,” or “He made a fateful decision.”
The apostle Paul certainly takes issue with the likes of Shakespeare, Sarte and Monod, as do all of the Biblical authors. The Bible and the Christian gospel is diametrically opposed to the popular, common view of society that life is chance and has no purpose other than self. God’s will is a thread that runs through all of life, and each of us is intimately and dynamically connected to God’s will. It is in God’s will that we find our purpose.
Paul boldly writes in his letter to the Corinthian Christians that in God’s scheme of things, our purpose is not seen in what we do in life, but rather in what God has done and in who we are. He highlights the very center of the Christian gospel that God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself and saving us.
Oftentimes we hear the question, “Are you saved?” When the question is directed at us, we say, “Yes,” and rejoice that Jesus has saved us from hell and damnation. Paul has a different slant on salvation. He writes to the Corinthians that Jesus died so that we no longer need to live for ourselves.
We are saved from ourselves. We are saved from the bondage of self-centeredness and selfishness. We are saved to live for Jesus. The validity of our salvation is not in the fact that we were baptized, or that we know the time and date when we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It demonstrated in how we live with our attention focused not on ourselves but on serving God and serving others.
Salvation gives us a new purpose in life, and that new purpose transforms our lives.
The transforming power of a new purpose in life can be seen in the lives of the disciples. Peter, James and John were transformed from fishermen to leaders of Christ’s church. Matthew turned from a tax collector to a follower of Jesus. Their lives were never the same because the discovered their real purpose in life.
Paul tells his readers that they are a new creation—the old has past away and the new has come. The future has become the present. The Christian hope is that one-day Jesus will come again and when he does he will bring a new heaven and a new earth. We have a foretaste of that new creation that Jesus will bring in our lives today.
The Holy Spirit is constantly moving in our lives to mold us into the image of God and to make us new. Growth, maturity, spiritual transformation should be a common, normal part of our lives. Only God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. We are always to be changing and growing—Allowing our new purpose in life to have its full effect on us.
Jesus died so that we might be reconciled with God. That means to be returned to a right relationship with God.
Paul writes that we are called to carry on the ministry of Christ. We reconcile others to Christ through our witness. Our witness flows from who we are and it affects what we do. We don’t plan special times for witnessing. Our style is not to set aside an afternoon each week to knock on doors and ask people if they have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, or if they knew where they would go if they died one night. Our witness and our ministry as reconcilers is in our relationships. We are reconcilers and witnesses in our vocation—whatever our vocation may be. We are reconcilers and witnesses as parents, children, family and friends, and co-workers and team mates.