Summary: Part 6 in series The Purpose-Driven Life, this message looks at Evangelism, the fifth of God’s five principal purposes for our lives.
Made for a Mission
The Purpose-Driven Life, part 6
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
November 18, 2007
Well, today we come to the fifth of God’s five purposes for our lives. For those of you who are newcomers today, I want to welcome you. We have spent the last few weeks learning, or being reminded, of why God put us on this earth. It’s incredible to me how many people have learned to live in this world every day with no idea why they exist. They act like the careers and automobiles and restaurants and paychecks and promotions actually matter. Do you realize that if you don’t know what your actual purpose is, you will automatically live for some other purpose? Human beings can’t go on without hope, without belief in something, so if we don’t believe in God, or don’t know why God put us here, and we don’t know God’s purposes for our lives, then we will automatically live for some other purpose. I remind people all the time of Bob Dylan’s words, “you gotta serve somebody.” One way or another, you will adopt some kind of purpose in life and the purpose you adopt will determine the kind of person you become. If you decide life is about getting all you can for yourself, that will determine how you treat other people. If you decide life is about making money, that will determine how you use your resources. If you decide life is just about having fun, that will determine what you do with your time.
What I’ve been talking about these last few weeks are the purposes that God created you for. There are lots of ways to live, but I think the best way to live is according to how you were created to live. Can you use an automobile to crack an egg? Yep – but it will be messy and clumsy and probably very frustrating. Can you use a fork to drink milk? Yep – but it’ll be way harder than it needs to be. Can you use a chainsaw to make music? Only if you redefine what music is!
You can live your life however you want. You can live for yourself; you can live for money or power or love or booze or nature – whatever on earth you want – there are tons of things you can live for. But it only makes sense to me that until we find out how we were created to live and actually begin living that way, things will always be a bit out of whack. So my purpose in going through this series over the past few weeks has been to help you make sure you are fully in whack! I don’t mean wacko or whacked out, I mean in whack – the opposite of being out of whack!
Let’s review quickly. God’s first purpose for your life is what? Worship – to know and love God. The second purpose is fellowship, that’s learning to love who? Each other. The third is learning to become like Christ, a word we call what? Discipleship! And the fourth, the one we covered last week, is learning to use our abilities to serve God. Today I want to talk to you about your fifth purpose. See, you were made for a mission. God has a specific mission, or task, that you are to use up your life in completing.
In the book of Acts, Jesus said:
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
(8) …you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Just before Jesus left earth to return to heaven, he gave his disciples (that’s you and me) this task of serving as witnesses to Christ’s life and teachings, other words, just sharing with people who Jesus was and what he taught. And where did he say he wanted that to happen? The short answer is everywhere! First in Jerusalem, in their hometown. Right there in the place where they lived. Second, in Judea and Samaria – in other words in surrounding communities. And third, to the ends of the earth – in other words, all over the world. So Jesus wanted them to share who he was and what he taught in their own world (their hometown, among people they knew), just beyond their world (with strangers), and in the whole world (which would require going to places intentionally). That’s still God’s desire for us today, that we share who Jesus was and what he taught with people in our own communities, with people just outside our own communities, and then with people all over the world.
Now we’re going to look at each one of these individually, but before we do, I want to look at what Jesus did not say. Jesus said “You will be my witnesses,” he did not say, “You will be my lawyers.” God does not need us to defend him. We often think as Christians that it’s our job to defend God. After all, if we are God’s mouth, God’s hands, and God’s feet, should we not speak up and defend God when someone attacks him? Shouldn’t we bravely venture into the dragon’s jaws to defend God from all criticism? In a word, no.