Summary: If you are in this building today and call yourself a Christian, you have a vitally important purpose. We all live with purpose, the question is what is our purpose?
If you are in this building today and call yourself a Christian, you have a vitally important purpose. We all live with purpose, the question is what is our purpose? Well if we look at a person’s life it’s pretty easy to tell what their primary purpose is.
Maybe it’s financial success, maybe to get sympathy from the world, maybe to be healthy & live a long life, be a good parent or spouse. Maybe it’s to avoid suffering, help the needy, have fun while we can, fight for social justice. Or maybe we’re just trying to get though it all waiting to achieve our final destination of either heaven or nothingness depending on what we believe.
Maybe you have or are achieving your purpose, maybe you’re far from it and discouraged. Whatever you have made your purpose in life, you have the right to pursue it, but I have come to learn through experience that there is only one true purpose that every person can achieve, and is inline with our Creator’s vision for us. It is simply to have a growing relationship with Him, the living God.
Paul probably summed it up best in Philippians 3:4-14. Let me pull a couple highlights out of that passage. He says he lived a perfectly righteous life according to the Law, but whatever gain he had from that, he counted as loss for the sake of Christ. He says everything is counted as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
“My goal, my purpose is to gain Christ and be found in him not with my own righteousness from following rules, but with the righteousness that comes from faith (which is a surrendering trust) so that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead.
I press on forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God.” Paul has joined the team, and his entire purpose is to win the game, and in this game the prize is being with Christ for eternity.
Now I am going to be bold and say that there are probably very few Christians who have this at the top of their list of life purposes. Because if we compare ourselves to people throughout history who did, we see such a dramatic difference between them and us, that clearly our main passion and purpose is somewhere else. Whether or not we claim that a relationship with Christ is our main purpose, the truth shows up in our lives.
Is it not true that Jesus describes North American Christians when he speaks to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3, “I know your works: you are neither hot or cold. Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
He also says to the church in Sardis, “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”
Now there are positive things about the church, the people of the church today, but Jesus is very accurately describing the general state of the church in the west today. It is lukewarm, it’s dying, and we are nowhere near completing the work that Jesus gave us to do. Why is this? Well the three things he tells these churches to do are wake up (see things as I see them, see yourself as you truly are), repent (admit I am right and change your ways) , and be zealous.
The other night we had a very important baseball game, we were fighting for a playoff spot and a chance to avoid the Baldur powerhouse in the first round of the playoffs. Well we have a group of young guys on the team who don’t play regularly, but have joined the team. They all left half way through the game to go play shinny hockey somewhere. The game ended up going into extra innings and we could have used some of them, but they weren’t there, and it really bothered the guys who were working hard to win this game.
The first thing I thought about was the church. How many people have signed up to be on Jesus’ team, but when he tells us to get in there and play, we refuse, or we’re not there? I’m not talking about serving in the church, volunteering to help with stuff, but really zealously pursuing Christ and the purpose of His church.