Summary: The Life that Matters is: I. The life that God has designed for you to live. II. The life that produces enduring reward. III. The life of Christ expressed through you.
The Life That Matters
The title of my message this morning is “The Life That Matters.” Soon you will see signs on this building that not only communicate the name of our church but also our passion.
That passion is expressed in the brief statement “Pursuing the Life That Matters.”
The phrase is designed to raise curiosity. No doubt, somebody is going to ask, “So, what is the life that matters? What are you pursuing at Gateway?” That’s the question we want them to ask; for the Bible is full of answers to that question. I want to share three answers this morning.
What is the life that matters? The life that matters is:
I. The life that God has designed for you to live.
Did you know that your Heavenly Father has a plan for your life? The steps of a good man or women are ordered of the Lord. God has thought about you a lot. In fact, He thought about you long before the world was ever formed—long before you were ever conceived in the womb. God said to Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jer 1:5). And God says to every person in this room today, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.....” Long ago God revealed His love toward me. I know that God loves me not because of anything I have done or will do; He loves me because it’s His nature to love. The struggle I have had is this, “Does God really like me?” I really hope He likes me more than I like myself. Can you identify with what I’m saying? I’ve got good new for everybody here. God not only loves you; He likes you. Are there things in all of us that need changing? Yes, we are work in process. But when God created mankind, He looked upon Adam and all of us who would proceed from Adam and He saw what? Gen 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Now listen closely to Gen 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” I want people (saved and unsaved) to get a glimpse of God’s attitude toward them. I want people to know a God who not only loves them but also likes them—a God so interested in them that He personally planned their lives.
Eph 1:4 says this about our Heavenly Father, “just as He chose us in Him (speaking of Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” The Amplified Bible brings out a precious thought in that verse. It says that He “actually picked us out for Himself as His own.” You’re hand picked by the Lord—every one of you. God’s got good intentions toward you. God’s got the best of intentions toward you. My favorite verse in the Bible, Jer 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
So here’s the key to a successful life. Find out what your Heavenly Father has in mind for you and do it. Don’t devise your own plan. You’re not as smart as Him. In fact, you don’t love yourself as much as He loves you. The devil will offer you an alternative course of life. He will entice you with promises that he will never keep and never intends to keep. We at Gateway want to point people to God who will never do them wrong—to God whose thoughts toward them are good—to God who will give them a future and a hope.
Look with me at Eph 5:15-18. I’m reading from the NIV. “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Here is the call to wisdom in that passage—verse 17, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Let the discovery of God’s will for your life be the greatest adventure you ever experience. I feel sorry for people who do not know the Lord. No wonder they get drunk. I would be bored to death with their life. I would hate to think that I was in control of my life and there were no surprises around the corner. Serving God is the greatest adventure I have ever known. There is a thrill in jumping out of an airplane and skydiving toward the earth at 130 mph. I’m sure the Philadelphia Eagles were on a high at the end of the Super Bowl when they won during the last minutes of the game. But in my opinion none of that compares to stepping out in obedience to God and watching God come through. We’ve seen it during this building program. I don’t want to ever get so old and comfortable that I won’t give God a chance to show Himself strong in my life. I’m like James Taylor. “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.” I’ve been in hot water and I’ve seen God intervene. I’ve walked in the middle of gangs and seen God do miracles. I’ve preached to drug dealers in Peru. I’ve led people to the Lord in Porto Rico and Honduras. I’ve planted church in Texas and Missouri. Young people, sell out to God and just see how exciting and satisfying He can make your life. Poor old sinners who sit on bar stools and drink themselves into a stupor, there’s a life for you in Christ. The thrill is gone in all that sin. But the thrill never goes out of doing exploits in God.