Summary: This is a "Great Commission" message that I have preached in the USA this year to congregations ranging from 700 to 2500 in Attendance. It has a bit of a post-modern twist to it.
The Three “D’s” of Purpose
Of course some people here might we wondering, “WHY did pastor have a MISSIONARY come and speak here this MORNING/EVENING?”
Illus: My Dad had a schoolmate from Bible College and he was known as the missionary who always preached the RIGHT length of time. It was truly an amazing thing in the history of missions! A missionary that never preached too long or too short.
I remember one time, when I was in High School, I invited some of my friends to come to church a hear my Dad’s friend preach. I promised them that they guy was interesting and never preached too long...or, too short, for that matter.
That night he preached for three hours! It was a disaster!
Later, my dad asked him, “What happened?” And the guy explained that every time he preaches just at the start he pops a lifesaver into his mouth. When the lifesaver is completely dissolved he knows it is time to stop.
“What happened tonight?” My dad inquired.
“Tonight” the missionary explained, “When I reached into my pocket and popped the lifesaver into my mouth...it turned out to be a collar button instead.”
PURPOSE OF THE SERMON: Many people...maybe even YOU...live meaningless lives...pursuing things that they think will give them fulfillment...but, those things never do. They lack PURPOSE...for their lives. Let me share with you three important things about PURPOSE that I found in a book by Miles Munroe as a way of bringing definition to the concept of purpose:
EVERYONE and EVERYTHING on this planet was made WITH and FOR a PURPOSE ... INCLUDING YOU. Your BIRTH is evidence that your life contains something which this generation needs.
Until you discover your PURPOSE your EXISTENCE will have no meaning ... because PURPOSE is the source of FULFILLMENT.
Success is NOT PURPOSE ... because SUCCESS without PURPOSE is LIFE without MEANING.
So, MY PURPOSE today is to lead you to DISCOVER and to be STIMULATED INTO ACTION towards a GREAT PURPOSE for your life that is contained in the Holy Bible.
This purpose is contained in THREE IMPORTANT “D” words.
Let’s look at Matthew 28:18-19 and try to discover the first “D” of PURPOSE contained there.
Matthew 28:18-19 (New Living Translation)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Have you discovered the first “D”? (DISCIPLES)
NOW, some of you older ... more experienced Christians are going to settle back and say, “AHA! A DISCIPLESHIP sermon in disguise! Lucky me! I already know about DISCIPLESHIP.”
BUT STAY WITH ME HERE!
You see Jesus was talking here about PURPOSE ... the PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH. The church does not exist for:
The Church exists--solely--to be in cooperation with the plans and purposes of GOD in the redemption of the World. That is a SPIRITUAL purpose...because GOD is a SPIRIT with SPIRITUAL PURPOSES!
This leads us naturally to the REASON for DISCIPLESHIP and that is contained in a word: SPIRITUALITY.
How does SPIRITUALITY get involved here?
Open you Holy Bible to 1 Thessalonians 5:23
23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
What we learn here is that we humans are made SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY.
The concept of Body we are very clear on.
Soul we are rather clear on as well. Soul is our MIND our WILL and our EMOTIONS. Actually, we are rather clear on that as well.
When we talk of PSYCHOLOGY ... we are using a greek word: PSYCHE ... SOUL ... which is the word from which PSYCHOLOGY comes to us into the English language. So, in a way, we talk about our SOUL quite often in conversation.
BUT, SPIRIT is a different matter.
There is a SPIRITUALITY of our present world...and, an interest and HUNGER in the spiritual world as well. That is because we are MADE spirit-soul-body.
The NEW AGE movement...which draws its ideas from Eastern philosophies and religions, has become an intricate part of our current cultural landscape. We--as a society--are literally preoccupied with the supernatural in movies, books, and in life in general.
Of course African culture is also preoccupied with spirituality as well. And, I am always amazed at how we westerners can give our smug, all knowing smirk, when observing this. As though it is all too unsophisticated and primitive for us...when in fact the New Age movement is nothing more than ancient European shamanism with an added patina of modernity and technology!