Summary: Do we live our lives on purpose, by accident? Do Christians have a destiny?


TEXT: Phil. 3:7-14

QUESTION: Do you know what your purpose is? What is it that drives you, what motivates you? (give the audience time to write down what they think their purpose is).

OPEN: One of the most challenging courses at the University of Denver was a business law class in which the professor gave difficult true & false tests. During one of the more exasperating exams, the professor noticed another student flipping a coin. The professor approached him. "Son are you guessing on this test?" he asked.

"No sir," replied the student. "I’m just checking my answers."

APPLY: There are people who seem to live their whole lives that way. They have no direction, no purpose, no goals. They live their lives by flipping coin, drifting along aimlessly in life.

ILLUS: When I worked at a factory near my hometown, we had a term for that type of person: they were fat, dumb & happy.

Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re likely to end up someplace else.”

ILLUS: In preparation for a similar sermon, a large church went out onto the street and asked that question: “What is your purpose is life?” Here were some of the responses:

> One person answered: "I can’t say I know the purpose… I think after I die I’ll find out what the purpose of life is."

> Another: "My purpose? I think my purpose is… I don’t know."

> Some did have a an idea of their purpose in life and their answers indicated their purpose in life centered around themselves:

· to have fun

· be happy

· to have a good time and enjoy my life

· to have as much fun as possible in as short a time as possible

Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life. But if that’s your WHOLE purpose in life, there’s an emptiness to it. It’s like Cotton Candy - all taste, but no substance.

> Others had pretty good answers, ones even Christians might give:

* to live a moral life

* to raise a good family

* to raise up kids to have a good future.

But I suggest to you that all of those “purpose statements” were short sighted. In essence not big enough for the Christian. Ecclesiastes tells us that God put “eternity in our hearts.” A big God calls up on us to have a big purpose in our lives.

I. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon examined the things that commonly motivate us in life…

Pleasure… Accomplishments… Pursuit of wisdom… learning… power… position… riches… security. But he finishes each of his evaluations by declaring that these things are not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s all empty, worthless, dissatisfying.

II. Nearly 1000 years later, Paul writes the words of our text today: Phil. 3:7-14

Paul had had everything. He was a leader, looked up to, an up & comer. He was going places. Yet now he held that it was all rubbish, excess debris, worthless junk.

Paul summed his purpose statement in vs. 13-14:

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

III. Paul realized the things of this world would not last.

> Pleasure wasn’t going to last:

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

ILLUS: Oscar Wilde (Irish born Novelist, Poet, Playwright and Critic of the 1800’s wrote in his book De Profundis I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the housetop. I ceased to be the lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace."

> Possessions weren’t gonna last:

1 Timothy 6:7 says "For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."

Or as a famous t shirt once said: He who dies with the most toys… still dies.

> Prestige won’t last:

Jesus said: "Many who are first will be last and the last will be first"

Or as one version put it: “Many people who seem important now will be the least important in eternity.”

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