Summary: People search and search for significance and it seems always out of reach. Jesus came not only to give life but to enable us to actually, truly live with purpose and joyful hope.
The Meaning of Life
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/29/09
Text: John 11:20-25 (1-44)
Key verse: John 11:25 - Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Premise: People search and search for significance and it seems always out of reach. Jesus came not only to give life but to enable us to actually, truly live with purpose and joyful hope.
Years ago on a TV show, a guest appeared that was a body builder. As he entered the stage with his huge muscular body the crowd went crazy as the body builder began to flex his muscles and show his power. The first question asked of him was this: “What do you use all those muscles for?” Without answering, the body builder again stood up and began flexing his muscles while the crowd cheered wildly.
A second time, the question was asked, “What do you do with those muscles?” Again, the body builder flexed his muscles and the crowd became almost ecstatic. After asking three times, “What do you do with all those muscles?” the body builder just sat in silence. He had no answers. The man was all power but his power had no purpose other than to show off and bring attention to himself.
For something to have meaning, it must have purpose
Before there is a resurrection there needs to be a crucifixion
Before there is life, there needs to be death
That is the simple message of the text and of Christ in general.
People today are always asking about the meaning of life
They search for it in religion and try to find it in earthly pleasures
All of those pursuits are like trying to fill a bottomless pail; they don’t hold much.
Most Christians start off having that sense of purpose when they are born again:
• Along the way, we get our lives to cluttered up with things that are meaningless
• We pursue other distractions that have their place but overpower our priorities
• The meaning of our life gets lost in the rest of the mix
What is the meaning of life to you? To give life real meaning, what conditions have to be in place?
1. For Life to Have Meaning, There Must Be A Death
A. Some nine year old children were asked what they thought of death and dying. Jim said, “When you die, they bury you in the ground and your souls goes to heaven, but your body can’t go to heaven because it’s too crowded up there already.” Judy said, “Only the good people go to heaven. The other people go where it’s hot all the time like in Florida.” John said, “Maybe I’ll die someday, but I hope I don’t die on my birthday because it’s no fun to celebrate your birthday if you’re dead.” Marsha commented, “When you die, you don’t have to do homework in heaven, unless your teacher is there too.” (1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking. Michael Hodgin, p. 100)
B. This fact of the necessity of death was lost on Jesus’ unsuspecting followers:
i. The disciples – 11:12-13
ii. Martha – 11:21
iii. Mary – 11:32
iv. The other Jews – 11:33-38
C. Life has its very meaning in death:
i. John 12:24 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
ii. Death to sin
a. Salvation – John 3:7, 16 - 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
b. Sanctification (‘making holy’ or ‘consecrating’ a place, thing, or person to God) – Ephesians 5:25-27 - 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
iii. Death to self
a. Flesh (lust of the flesh) – Romans 8:4-5 - 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
b. Desires (lust of the eyes) – James 4:1-3 - 1From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.