Summary: God has placed us here for a purpose. Now is the time to know what it is. Now is the time to act on it.
THE PRIORITY OF PURPOSE
INTRO: It was a “business as usual” prayer meeting night in a little suburban church. The church seated 500; 475 voted to stay at home. Twenty-five faithful souls were present. The organ cranked out the hymn with all the gusto she could muster. The little group sputtered heartlessly as thy sang “Day Is Dying in the West.” Sad to say, that’s not all that was dying. Many churches are dead, and the worst part is, they don’t even know it. Why? Many, many reasons. People stay away from the church in droves. Ninety-nine percent of Americans will not be in church on Sunday night, and it’s not much better on Sunday mornings.
While the people will turn out by thousands to see a ball game, hear a concert, or see a movie, few of them will darken the church door. Why? One reason is the absence of vision. Many churches have no life because they have no hope. No hope because....no expectancy. No expectancy ....no vision. No vision because the leadership has not instilled it. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
Vision, like expectancy, always hopes for something better, expects it, and believes it will happen. “Can do” is vision’s theme. “The Impossible Dream” is its theme song. Its motto is, “The difficult we’ll do right now, the impossible may take a little while.”
God has placed us here for a purpose. Now is the time to know what it is. Now is the time to act on it. Now is the time if we expect faith to become sight and dreams to become reality. God’s purpose must be our purpose. Our priority is to fulfill that purpose. Answering three questions will show us how to determine our priorities in fulfilling God’s purpose for us:
I. WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF US?
A. To know His general purpose for the world (Ephesians 3:10-11).
B. To understand His specific purpose for us.
C. To act according to our understanding of His purpose.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than facts, the past, education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past— we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is change our attitude—I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.
II. WHAT IS THE BEST RETURN FOR MY EFFORTS?
A. What I do best. — Paul discovered his best was his ministry for Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:17). “The church that denies its strengths, denies God’s gifts. The church that claims its strengths, claims God’s gifts.”
B. What no one else can do. — No one could be Paul but Paul; no one can be you but you.
C. What counts for eternity.
Newsweek magazine reported on what it called the new wave of mountain men known as "hard men." For them climbing mountains and scaling sheer rock faces is a way of life. In many cases, climbing is a part of their whole commitment to life. And their ultimate experience is called free soloing: climbing with no equipment and no safety ropes.
John Baker is considered by many to be the best of the hard men. He has free-soloed some of the most difficult rock faces in the United States with no safety rope and no climbing equipment of any kind. His skill has not come easily. It has been acquired through commitment, dedication and training. His wife says she can’t believe his dedication. When John isn’t climbing, he’s often to be found in his California home hanging by his fingertips to strengthen his arms and hands.
Where are the hard men and women for Jesus? Where are those who will bring all their energies to bear for the sake of Christ?
III. WHAT GIVES ME THE GREATEST FEELING OF REWARD?
A. What gives me the greatest joy.
B. What keeps me motivated.
C. What brings glory to Jesus.
ILLUS: When Cortez landed at Vera Cruz in 1519 to begin his conquest of Mexico with small force of 700 men, he purposely set fire to his fleet of 11 ships. His men on the shore watched their only means of retreat sinking to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. With no means of retreat, there was only one direction to move, forward into the Mexican interior to meet whatever might come their way. In paying the price for being Christ’s disciple, you too must purposefully destroy all avenues of retreat. Resolve that whatever the price for being His follower, you will have to pay it.