Summary: The third purpose of our lives is to become like Christ.
Note: This message draws heavily on the outline and ideas in Rick Warren’s sermon of the same name, in the Purpose Driven Life series.
This morning, we continue our series of messages on "The Purpose Driven Life". We began by establishing that God made us for a reason, every one of us. No one here this morning was a mistake or an accident. Now, other people might think of you in that way. One of the most painful and emotionally devastating experiences we can have is to be rejected as worthless by someone close to us – a parent, a son or a daughter, a husband or wife. Perhaps you know what that’s like. And perhaps there have even been times in your life when you’ve been tempted to believe that lie, times when you’ve wondered if your life really was meaningless and valueless. But it’s not. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. You have great worth in God’s sight. He made you, and He made you for a purpose. He has a good, and wise, and loving plan for your life.
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." – Colossians 1:16, NIV
Now, because God made us, the meaning of life begins and ends with Him. Since God made us, only He can tell us what we were made for. Our purpose in life revolves around Him. It’s not about us. It’s not about our needs, our wants, our satisfaction, our success. It’s about God. Now, that doesn’t mean our welfare has no importance to God. On the contrary, we are incredibly precious to Him. He loves us more deeply than we can possibly imagine. He paid the greatest price for us that could ever be paid; giving His Son’s life in exchange for ours; sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross in payment for our sins. But it’s crucial that we understand one thing: the way in which we come to enjoy all the good things God has for us is not by putting ourselves and our needs first, but instead by seeking to follow God and fulfill His purposes. As Jesus promised us:
"If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." – Matthew 16:25, NLT
Our goal, then, during this series is to understand why God brought us into existence; to uncover His purposes for our lives so that we can embrace them and live them out. Then we will find the meaning, and the purpose, and the fulfillment that He intends for us to have.
Two weeks ago, we learned that the first purpose for our lives is to give God pleasure through worship, continually offering up to Him all that we have and all that we are. We were made to love God by giving him our attention, and our affections, and our actions.
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering." – Romans 12:1, Msg
That’s what worship is. Taking our lives and presenting them to God, daily, as an offering.
Last week, we saw that the second purpose for our lives is fellowship, learning to love God’s family.
"His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure." – Ephesians 1:5, NLT
God’s purpose from the very beginning has been to create a family. God’s reason for bringing you to faith was not only to bring you into relationship with Himself; but also to bring you into relationship with other believers. That’s what He’s doing now, through the church. He’s building a family, which you and I and everyone who trusts in Christ is a part of. And the way in which we cooperate in this process is to make a commitment to a local church body, and then begin to share our lives with one another – share our resources, share our homes, share our struggles and our burdens, our joys and our sorrows. We have to take the initiative in reaching out to one another; we have to take risks in opening up to one another, and we have to take pleasure in serving one another. That’s what it means to be members of a body.
Today, we examine the third purpose for which God made us, and that is to become like Christ. The word for this process is "discipleship."