Summary: This is the first in a series of 4 messages designed to help create a new focus on Purpose/Vision/Mission. Thanks to the writings of Dr. Gene Mimms, Dr. Rick Warren, & Dr. Thom Rainer for the 'extra' readings to complete this series.
Purpose for a New Year - #4 of 4
(NOTE: I am indebted to Dr. Gene Mimms, Dr. Thom Rainer, & Dr Rick Warren for their writings that assisted greatly with this series of messages)
• We began, what has been for me – a journey – four messages to discover, understand, develop, and live our lives (personally & collectively) according to God’s purpose/mission/vision for us. We’ve talked about how to start it, the myths related to ‘purpose living & church growth’, & the foundation for achieving this; so tonight, let’s conclude our ‘structure’ the idea “my building.” Your building is YOUR LIFE. It is what you are to do, how you are to function, & how you are to live. The Bible teaches us the ‘how-to’ live with, on, & for a purpose. Let’s read our text.
• We have before mentioned ‘confusion.’ A man decided to commit suicide. Saturating his body with gasoline, he put a rope around his neck, tied it to a tree limb that jutted out over a river. He put a pistol to his temple. He then set a match to his body, jumped from the tree and pulled the trigger on the pistol. Missing his temple, the bullet hit the rope and cut it and he fell in the water below which immediately put out the flames. As he climbed back up the bank of the river, gasping, he said, "Wow! If I hadn't have been a good swimmer I'd have drowned!" Clyde Murdock, submitted by Robert Strand, Grand Junction, Colorado.+
• Thomas Carlyle “The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder, a waif, a nothing, a no man”. Whether individually or collectively, it is dangerous to live without a purpose. This type of living can lead to depression (and depression is epidemic today. Solomon suggest that without a purpose, “What’s the use? You’re chasing the wind & reaping the whirlwind.”
• In God’s design of building the church, everyone has a purpose, a part to plan, & a divine design to live. 1 Cor 12 tells us we are in the body which means “we are in this together” in this. We are called to be a part in the building of God’s Kingdom. Let’s Colossians 3 teach us.
• Verse 1 begins with this conditional statement: “If you have been raised with Christ.” How was Christ raise? On the cross, from the grave, & into heaven. This speaks of our salvation.
• This tells us that before you can be or even have a desire to live out & complete God’s divine purpose of reaching, teaching, discipling, telling, sharing & showing – you must KNOW CHRIST. When the Bible speaks of a man KNOWING his wife, it is relating to intimate, personal, spiritual, & even a sexual connection. The most personal & intimate connection known to mankind is the ‘one-flesh’ of the sexual relationship. Knowing Christ is a personal & intimated connection to Christ which transcends even our understanding. It matters not how long you have walked with God, there is always more to learn, understand, see, know, & to grow. Knowing Christ is more than being saved from hell to Heaven, it is communing with God and abiding in Christ.
• Without this relationship – there is little else that could be said to help us (you). However, with this – there is so much more. That is the foundation – so now you’re ready to build. Our texts offers us at least 3 practical & helpful thoughts as to how we should build our lives.
1) SET YOUR HEARTS – We can call this the ‘floor joist’ of our lives. What you do with your heart is your beginning spot. It is true, that ‘with the heart you believe’ which is why we have come to use the term, “Invite Jesus in your heart.” Certainly, that phrase is not in the Bible, but we know that Jesus taking up residence in our heart is a ‘result’ of our believing in Jesus. Once we trust Christ and are saved, we must ‘set our hearts.’ We know about ‘setting things.’ We “set” our clocks, our radio, our TV, & our schedule. When we set our clocks (alarm), we must seek out the time at which we need a reminder or wake-up call & we make sure it happens. Our Bible tells us that “after we are saved, we should ‘seek’ the things which are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.’ The word ‘seek’ means to search out in order to find, to meditate, reason, inquire, aim at, or strive after. It’s the word use when Jesus said, “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God.” Wherever your heart is, your focus is. To give us a ‘handle’ on this truth, consider three thoughts;