Summary: Success! It is something that everyone would want, but what really is success? Can you be successful at something without really having “success”? What is real success and how can we experience real success both in life and eternity?
Success in life and eternity
Living successfully means living as a Servant
Living successfully means living by the Spirit
Living successfully requires knowing God’s Word
Living successfully means being Like Jesus
If you asked someone if they wanted to be successful, I am sure the answer would be yes.
But what really is success?
The definition of success is
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose;
the attainment of popularity or profit.
Under that definition I would argue that you can be successful by definition, without finding real success.
For instance, if your purpose is to make a lot of money, which I think many people equate with success, you can achieve that and be “successful” at it, but while you have accomplished that, I would argue that many do not feel successful.
Listen to what Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and TBN, and who is one of the wealthiest men in the world with a net worth of about $2.2 Billion, said about success in an interview with Barbara Walters.
“Well, I think it’s kind of an empty bag, to tell you the truth. To a large degree it is. But you have to get there to really know that. I mean, money doesn’t buy happiness and neither does honor or position and awards or trophies.”
Purposeful Prosperity by w. Bradford Swift, Session 2, pg. 2 accessed on 2/26/2015 at http://www.lifeonpurpose.com/wp-content/uploads/PurposefulProsperityProg.pdf
Our society leads us down the path of an empty success. Unfortunately for many, it is only when you get there that you realize it is a dead end, and not really the success you hoped for.
Well, if it is not found in those things, where can we find this elusive thing called success?
And how can we live a life of Success?
Today we are jumping back into our series called Acts – The church unleashed and I want to take a look at a person today whom, you may not think of when you think of the word success, but I think the problem is not so much in this person not being successful, but in how success is defined in our minds.
That is the thing we need to begin with.
Success is elusive because we believe it to be one thing but have to change our definition when we attain that thing and discover that that is not what we desire.
However, if we define success correctly, then, I believe, we can not only be successful right now, but throughout time and eternity as well.
So what is the definition of success that leads to success in life and eternity?
Success is found in fulfilling your purpose.
When we have defined success correctly, it allows all of us to experience our own success. Because while each of our ultimate purposes are the same – to Glorify God – we do that differently because God has created us differently and given us different gifts to use.
Once we have defined success correctly, we can begin to pursue real success that lasts for life and eternity as we live our life for the glory of God.
So let’s see what successful living looks like so that our success doesn’t end in life but extends to eternity.
Turn with me to Acts 6:8
and we are going to look at the life of Stephen a man who achieved true success. Now I would really ask you to open your Bibles and turn there, because we are going to read a lengthy section of Scripture and it will be helpful to follow along.
Let’s take a look at Stephen’s life and see if we can
see what successful living looks like in real life and
learn how we can live successfully in life and for eternity.
Now before we jump into Acts 6, remember from 2 weeks ago that we saw that as the church was growing the delegated some of the serving responsibilities to other men, one of those being Stephen.
Now it continues in Acts 6:8
6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)-Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."