Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: You were made with a life purpose. The prophet Jeremiah put it this way, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” You were born with a purpose and plan in mind

The Call to Follow

Mark 8:31-35

USA Today did a survey asking people, “If you could ask God any question, what would it be?” The number one response was “What is my life’s purpose?'” All of us in the church were blown away by Rick Warren’s book, “A Purpose Driven Life.” It sold more books than The South Beach Diet, President Bill Clinton’s book, My Life, and The Da Vinci Code combined, showing that there is a deep need in people to know why they were created.

You were made with a life purpose. The prophet Jeremiah put it this way, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” You were born with a purpose and plan in mind and you’re wired to seek out that purpose and fulfill it. The late Pastor Bill Hinson writes, “There are two great days in a person’s life. The first is the day you were born, and the second is the day you discover what you were born for.” I remember the night in the Spring of my freshman year reading the Gospel of Matthew and asking God what He wanted to do with my life and hearing the call to become a minister. And my life has never been the same. I then knew the reason God created me. What about you? How many of you right now are sure of your life purpose? Some of you are still trying to clarify your life purpose. Our prayer is that this series will help you do that.

What do we learn about discovering God’s purpose for our life? First, you have to begin to see things from God’s perspective. In our Scripture today, Jesus tells the disciples of his coming crucifixion and resurrection. That was so shocking to the disciples to think that Jesus would die the humiliating death of the worst criminals of his day that I’m sure they didn’t even hear the part about the resurrection. Peter is so distraught that he took Jesus aside and told him he shouldn’t say things like that. Jesus then said to Peter very sternly, 'Get away from me Satan!'” Now there is nothing worse you can call a person than Satan. In that moment, Peter was looking at what Jesus was saying through the world’s eyes. If you’re ever going to discover God’s purpose for your life, you have to begin to see things from God’s perspective, not your point of view. That includes with how you look at yourself. You are a child of God. You are precious in God’s eyes. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve said or done, it will never change God’s view of you. Too often we live our life through the guilt and shame of our past. The world teaches us that we’re not worthy because of our past. But nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus died on the cross so that you might be freed from that. But more than that, God’s grace is so incredible that He can actually redeem the sins of your past and use them for His purpose. God created you with a divine purpose in mind and nothing can change that. You’re an integral part of his plan of redemption and salvation for the world. So stop looking at yourself through the world’s eyes and start looking at yourself through God’s eyes.

Second, you have to have the right motives. To discover God’s purpose, pray to God to reveal what He made you for because you want to live it. That’s a dangerous prayer! Not only can it can radically change your life but that’s when you begin to become a world changer. But you must have the right motives. Peter disagreed with Jesus dying on the cross because he didn’t want to lose Jesus. And who could blame him? But when Jesus’ reprimanded Peter, he was saying to him you keep approaching your life from the motive of self-interest, rather than looking at your life from the motives of God. As long as your life is focused on your wants, your ambitions, your goals, your security and your comfort, you will never discover God’s purpose for your life or the joy in living it. Jesus said you will find your life by losing it in the work of God. The only way you are going to find your life and the abundant life purpose God has created you for is not to use God for your purpose or fulfillment, but to lose your life in the work of God.

Jesus on multiple occasions pointed out that he was here to do one thing: to do the work of the Father who sent him. There was no other reason. He put it this way, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.” That’s where we find abundant life…when our very sustenance is to every day live out the will of God who created us and to finish his work in the years we have here on earth. Again and again he said through the Gospel of John, “For the works that the Father has given me to finish, these are the works that I’m doing.” Every day Jesus was aligning his life purpose to what God was doing in the world - not asking God to put his blessing on what Jesus wanted to do in the world. We’ve got it backwards. We often think God is there to promote, provide and protect our self-interests, when we are there to promote the interest and work of God in the world. That is why Jesus said, “Lord, if at all possible, let this cup pass me by…but not my will but your will be done.” It’s got to be about God and not us.

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