Summary: Christians must understand we are here on earth to do more than just exist. We must live our lives to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.
CSI: CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL IDENTITY
“What’s Your Purpose?”
Intro: We started two weeks ago looking at the identity of the Christian. What does it mean for us to have been brought from death to life in Jesus? It was that God loved us so much he wanted to rescue us from ourselves.
Last week we looked at what it meant that we were seated with Christ in the “heavenly realms.” It is to have an eternal focus and an eternal perspective on life. We should not live for only our day to day struggles, but we should live in light of eternity with God.
Today we are going to look at what it means to have a purpose and a reason for living. One of the greatest things that human beings can understand is the fact that God created us for something. Finding meaning and purpose in our existence is what motivates us to continue struggling through the challenges that life brings.
In the movie “Flight of the Phoenix,” a plane of oil field workers has crashed in the Mongolian desert. They are hundreds or thousands of miles from civilization with no hope of making it out. The workers are inspired to want to build a stripped down version of the airplane to try and fly out. The pilot, doesn’t believe it will work and that they will die trying.
One of the crew decides he has had enough and is walking out into the desert. This scene is where the pilot finds him.
Show video of “Flight of the Phoenix”
Every creature needs a reason to continue to survive. We need a purpose and a meaning that will help us put life into perspective. When we believe there are hope and a purpose, it motivates us not to give up.
For what purpose are you living your life?
Today we are going to continue with our look at Ephesians 2 as it pertains to the Christian Spiritual Identity. Let’s begin and read from verse 1.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:1-10 (New International Version)
Verses 1-5 remind us of what God has done through us in Christ by allowing us to be made alive instead of living spiritually dead and separated from him. Verses 6 and 7 show that because we are in Christ, we should have an eternal perspective. Our focus should be on the things of heaven and not the circumstances of the things on earth.
Today we want to focus on verses 8-10 that show us how we come into relationship with God and why.
I. The Work of Purpose
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
There is a key to this passage that we must understand: we only come to God by grace.
God’s grace gives our lives purpose by helping us live for God.
Grace is “undeserved acceptance and love” received from another.
“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured.”