Summary: Why are we here? What’s the point? All of our striving and searching for meaning ultimately lead to dead ends that don’t satisfy us. God provides the remedy by transforming our lives to be like His Son.
The Remedy for Meaninglessness
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee..”
Saint Augustine, 420 A.D.
Key Scripture: Romans 12:1-2
Icebreaker: "What have you done that you believe in and you are proud of?"
That’s the question an old man used to begin conversations he had with the people he met. “What have you done that you believe in and you are proud of?”
He never asked conventional questions such as "What do you do for a living?" It was always, "What have you done that you believe in and are proud of?"
It was an unsettling question for people who had built their self-esteem on their wealth or their family name or their exalted job title.
Not that the old man was a fierce interrogator. He was delighted by a woman who answered, "I’m doing a good job raising three children;" and by a cabinetmaker who said, "I believe in good workmanship and practice it;" and by a woman who said, "I started a bookstore and it’s the best bookstore for miles around."
"I don’t really care how they answer," said the old man. "I just want to put the thought into their minds.
"They should live their lives in such a way that they can have a good answer. Not a good answer for me, but for themselves. That’s what’ s important."
Dr. Dale E. Turner, MSC Health Action News, July, 1993, p. 7.
Intro: So, I ask you that same question this morning: What have you done in your life that you believe in and are proud of? Here’s a better question: What are you doing right now that you believe in and are proud of?
-I think deep down, we’d all like to be able to answer the question that old man asked. We’d all love to be able to just recite our life’s purpose off of the top of our heads. But let’s be honest. Most of us can’t. If you can’t, I want you to listen to 2 verses from Romans chapter 12. And I really pray that by the time you leave here this morning, you’ll have a better answer for that old man’s question than when you came in today.
Scripture: Romans 12:1-2
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
-Now, we’ve been moving pretty quickly through the book of Romans up to this point. But now we get to chapter 12, and we’re going to just park here for the next 3 Sundays. Because a shift happens at this point of Paul’s letter. Chapter 12 of Romans marks a major shift in Paul’s letter from understanding right belief to practicing right action. And your faith isn’t just something to believed, but something to be lived out in your daily life.
-And I’ll just tell you this, this morning: I truly believe, in the deepest parts of my heart, that we can never truly fulfill our life’s purpose until we give ourselves to God’s purpose. So, Paul starts this section by reminding us that before we can live for God, we have to be close to God. We have to yield to His purpose in our lives. So today, I want to talk to you about how to get closer to God.