Summary: Pastor Rick presents his Annual Purposes of the Church Message to remind his church why we do what we do. He looks at God’s five purposes for our lives and how the church helps us to fulfill those purposes.
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WHY YOU NEED A CHURCH FAMILY
Annual Purposes Of The Church Message
Oct. 18-19, 2003
Each week over 110 million people go to church somewhere in America. Let me put that into perspective. If you take all the people who have ever gone to a basketball game, ever gone to a football game, ever gone to a baseball game, tennis match, or any public sporting event and you added them all up in a single year, that would not equal the number of people who go to church on a single weekend. More people will be in church this weekend than will go to all the sporting events combined in America in an entire year.
For many of those people they have no idea why they attend church. Some of them go out of tradition. Some of them go out of guilt. Some of them go out of habit. So once a year here at Saddleback Church we pause and I do what I call the Annual Purposes of the Church Message. Just kind of like in our constitution it requires our president to do an annual state of the union message, I do an annual message that says let’s just remind ourselves why we do what we do. Why would we all get out of bed this morning and come to church? Why do we pave all these acres of parking? Why do we build these buildings? What purpose do we do this for?
If you’re a visitor here today you’re going to get an inside look at Saddleback Church. The Bible says that God created the church to help people fulfill His five purposes for their lives. So this morning we’re going to review God’s five purposes for your life and how the church is meant to help you fulfill those. And I always like to do a little what’s the next step of where we’re going as a church family for the next year.
1. You need a church family to help you center your life around God through worship.
Worship is simply building your life around God, centering your life around God. God didn’t put you on earth to live a self-centered life. He didn’t put you here for your benefit. He put you here for His benefit. You exist for God not vice versa. And God wants to be the hub of your heart, the axis of your existence, the core of your being, the focus of your attention. He wants to be the center of your life. The Bible calls that worship. Anytime God is the center of your life you are worshipping God.
How do you know if God is really at the center of your life? It’s real simple. You stop worrying. Worry is the symptom, the warning light that God’s not the center of your life. You will always in life either be worshipping or worrying. Those are the alternatives. When God is not the center of your life -- when anything else, your career becomes the center of your life, your family becomes the center of your life, your money becomes the center, any time anything except God takes the center place in your life you’re going to be prone to anxiety. Prone to fear. Prone to worry. So every time you start worrying, it’s just a little sign that at that particular moment God is not the center of your life.
Notice what the Bible says. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Circle "first and greatest." God says the most important thing you can do with your life, the most important thing you can do is know and love God. Why? Because that’s the first purpose of your life. God put you on earth, number one, so you could have a relationship to Him. Unfortunately many people go all through life and never get that relationship to God and they miss the first purpose of life. You were made to know God. Not to have a religion but to have a relationship with Him. That’s why He says that’s the most important thing you can do.
Whenever you focus on God, whenever you put Him at the center of your life that’s called worship. So what’s the best way to worship? Do I light a little incense? Do I have to say certain chants? Do I have to wear certain robes or clothes to worship... like socks? What do I have to do to worship?
In the Bible there’s only one requirement for genuine worship. Jesus said, "True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks." Circle "in spirit and in truth." That means that God wants you to worship Him authentically and accurately. Authentically means in spirit. That means don’t just give God lip service. You say, "I love You, God," but you’re really not thinking about Him. You’re thinking about the baseball game, the football game, the roast that’s burning in the oven. You’re thinking about all kinds of different kinds of things. God says don’t be a hypocrite when you worship Me. You’ve got to really mean it. You’ve got to do it from your heart. It’s got to be in spirit. It must be authentic. It must be genuine. You’ve got to really mean it when you say, "God, I love You." Otherwise don’t bother. Don’t just give Me lip service. It must be in spirit and it must be in truth. That means it must be accurate. You can’t just make up your idea of God and worship that. Every once in a while I’ll hear people say, "I like to think of God as..." Who made you the expert? The truth is you’re just making it up. And when you make up an idea of God there’s a word for that in the Bible. It’s called an idol. God says "Don’t make Me into your image. I want to make you into My image." It doesn’t really matter what you think God is like. It doesn’t really matter what I think God is like. What matters is what is He really like. We must worship Him in truth. You can’t just make up a God and worships that. We must worship the true God.