Summary: This is the fourth sermon in a series of messages entitled, "The Basic Questions of Life."
We are nearing the end of a series of messages called, "The Basic Questions of Life." This series has examined some of the basic questions most folks ask at some point in their lives. Questions such as: "Is there a God?" "Is the Bible reliable and true?" "How did we get here?"
And the question for today is, "Why are we here?" This is another important question because it’s answer will define our purpose in life. Theologians, Philosophers, and lay people have asked this question for thousands of years.
But what does the most reliable book ever written say? There are several passages we could begin with, but the passage I want to begin with is Acts 17:27.
The 17th chapter of Acts contains a record of Paul’s visit to Athens, Greece (tell the story and share his sermon - up to verse 27).
This is the purpose of life and this is why we are here. God put us on this earth so we could enjoy a personal relationship with Him! The purpose of life is to know God on a personal basis.
I. Is a Personal Relationship with God Possible?
That’s a good question because there is a barrier standing between humanity and the Lord. This barrier is greater than the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China, or any other barrier man has built. This barrier isn’t made of wood, concrete, or stone. It is made out of sin: our sin. Isaiah 59:2 says, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (NIV).
The God who created everything loves us but He hates our sin. He is offended by everything that is wrong, evil, and sinful. He is offended by sin because it is a violation of his rights.
You see, God is the most honest and trustworthy person in the universe and He deserves our faith. He is also our creator, and the wisest person in the universe, therefore He deserves our obedience. And when we refuse to give Him our faith and obedience, when we doubt and disobey, we have sinned against Him! We have violated HIS RIGHTS.
Let me put it like this. How would you feel if somebody broke into your house, vandalized your property, and stole your possessions? You’d be deeply offended because somebody violated your rights. Mark that feeling well, because that is how God feels when we sin.
Isaiah 59:2 makes it clear that we have a barrier of sin standing between us and God. But thankfully Jesus Christ breached that barrier and He can help us through it. Col. 1:21-23 says, "(21) Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. (22) But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- (23) if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel" (NIV).
The Bible tells us that God is loving, holy, and just. That last word means "He must punish sin." And death is the only suitable punishment. But God has decreed that either the offending party must die, or an innocent substitute can take his or her place. And Jesus said, "I’ll be that substitute . . . ."
So it IS POSSIBLE to have a personal relationship with God because of what Jesus did on the cross. As Col. 1:22 says, "He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation . . ." (NIV).
II. How Do I Begin a Personal Relationship with God?
One of the most intimate relationships that two people can enjoy is a parent/child relationship. And that’s how the Bible describes the relationship that a person can have with God.
John 1:12 says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). If you want to have a personal relationship with God then you’ve got to trust Jesus Christ alone for salvation. You’ve got to come to the place in your life where you can honestly say, "I know that my sins are forgiven, my life is being changed for the better, and I’m going to Heaven when I die, solely because Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead in order to pay for my sins and purchase for me a home in heaven."
But don’t stop there. If you want to enjoy all the benefits of a personal relationship with God, then you’ve got to maintain it. Col. 1:23 says that you need to "Continue in your faith." How do I do that?