* God’s purpose, plan, will, etc., is mysterious, but important
- God has a purpose for each person, a plan for every person’s life
- God has a specific desire in what he wants to accomplish in your life
* The question is not if God has a plan for our lives, but (1) do I know the purpose God has for my life and (2) am I allowing God to accomplish his purpose in my life?
* The “broad” purpose of God for every person: to know him and to make him known
- God doesn’t force us to fulfill this purpose; he invites us to allow him to do so
* Man must submit himself to the purpose-driven God because God’s plans are sometimes different from ours (see Isa. 55:8-9)
* The purpose and plan of God is designed to bring us into a right relationship with him so that we can make him known to others (see Jer. 29:11-13)
* Acts 28: God has had a purpose for Paul’s life (to know him so that Paul could make him known); the specific purpose was for Paul to make God known in Rome, before Caesar
* Paul’s experience reminds us of several aspects of God’s purposes...
1. God’s purposes are unstoppable (v. 1-6)
* Text: another failed attempt by Satan to stop the plan and purpose of God from being accomplished in Paul’s life
* Not a new attempt: Satan has continually tried to keep Paul from fulfilling his God-given purpose (he used internal opposition, external persecution, difficult circumstances, shipwrecks, snakes, trials before kings and governors, slander/misunderstand, and even good intentions)
* Satan attempted to keep the church in Acts from fulfilling their God-given purpose (via persecution, sin from within, adversity, division, etc.)
* Satan attempted to keep God himself from putting into motion his plan and person for Jesus Christ:
- The promise of Christ in Genesis 3:15, followed by...
- Cain killing Abel (an attempt to remove pure worshipers from the earth)
- the drowning of Hebrew children in bondage (if no children, no chance for Messiah to be born)
- David before Goliath (if David is killed, the Messiah cannot arrive and fulfill the prophecies)
- the disintegration of the nation of Israel (if there is no nation, there cannot be a King of kings)
- Herod’s decree to kill the male children (a direct attempt to take Jesus’ life as a child)
- the temptation of Jesus (Satan’s goal: to cause Christ to sin, thus disqualifying him from being the sinless Savior)
* Satan’s goal remains the same today for YOUR life: his goal is to keep you from (1) knowing God’s will/plan/purpose for your life and to keep you from (2) following it
* Because we know his goal and what he will attempt to do, we need to cling to the truth that God’s purpose is unstoppable
* God has spoken to Paul about the purposes God had for him, and Paul knew that somehow he would survive. Otherwise, he would not have been able to fulfill his purpose.
* There’s great comfort and assurance in knowing that nothing can stop God’s purpose and plan for our lives!
- Philippians 1:6 (“...will carry it on to completion...”)
- Isaiah 46:10-11
- Isaiah 54:17
2. God’s purposes accomplish good and give God glory (v. 7-10)
* All that God does is for his glory
* Paul’s reaction to his situation: all focus is taken off of self and put on God and what God could do
* God’s purpose for Paul was to do good to those God sent to him so that God would receive glory for who he is and what he does
* This is the purpose of God for our lives as well (1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11)
3. God’s purposes bring encouragement (v. 11-15)
* Background of these verses:
- Paul had previously written to the believers in Rome, trying to promote peace among the church
- Jews had started the church: some went to Jerusalem from Rome for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2), and after receiving Christ took the gospel back with them to Rome
- Sometimes in the 40s, Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome
- When Claudius died in 54, the Jewish followers of Christ returned to a church was not very Jewish anymore
- Jewish and Gentile believers had a lot to work out, and Paul encouraged them to make it work in his letter to the Romans
- Many of these believers from Rome traveled about 40 miles to give Paul a hero’s welcome, thus encouraging him
* God knows that we will face discouragement in our journey to follow him: part of his plan is to encourage us along the way - to send someone into our lives who can prod us along
* God is the source of that encouragement: why the family of faith is important (Heb. 10:24-25)
4. God’s purposes bring ministry opportunities (v. 16-28)
* God always gives us the opportunity to be his hands and feet on the earth as he fulfills his purpose in our lives
* Paul viewed his situation as an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ
* NOTE: Some believed, but not everyone believed; Paul’s concern was to make the most of the opportunity God gave him
* Paul was always ready to make Christ known; he practiced what Peter encouraged us to do (1 Peter 3:15)
* Are we sensitive to the opportunities God gives us? Are we good stewards of the ministry opportunities God sends our way?
5. God’s purposes include all who will come to him (v. 30-31)
* Paul welcomed all who would come because that’s what Jesus would do
* God’s desire is for all to know him (2 Peter 3:9)
* How Acts started and ended: God’s people being witnesses to all
* We must be committed to knowing him (and his purpose) and making him known (his purpose)
* God is a purpose-driven God; Christ is a purpose-driven Savior (see Luke 19:10; Mark 10:45)
* Do we know him? When we know him, do we make him known?