Summary: The second purpose of our lives is to love one another.
Note: This topic and some of the ideas come from Rick Warren’s "40 Days of Purpose" campaign.
This morning, we continue our series of messages on "The Purpose Driven Life". So far, we’ve seen that God made us for a reason. He had a purpose in creating us. Life was not an accident; the human race is not the result of random molecules somehow coming together in just the right configuration to produce DNA. Our presence on this planet was not mere happenstance. It was intentional; it was by design. And the name of the designer is God.
"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
One of the implications of this fact is that the meaning of life begins and ends with God. Since He made us, only He can tell us what we were made for. Our purpose in life revolves around Him. Fundamentally, it’s not about us – our needs, our wants, our satisfaction, our success. It’s about God and His plans. Now, as I said last week, that doesn’t mean our welfare is of no importance. On the contrary, we are incredibly precious to God. He wants nothing more than to bless us, and care for us, and provide for us, both now and forever. He loves us more deeply than we can possibly imagine. He paid the ultimate price by giving His Son’s life in exchange for ours; sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross in payment for our sins, so that we could have eternal life, and enjoy fellowship with Him. But here’s the critical point: 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 rather by seeking after God and striving to fulfill his purposes. Listen to what the Bible says:
"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
". . . he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." – Matthew 6:33, 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. And by doing that, we will find the meaning and the purpose and the fulfillment that He intends for us to have.
Last week, we learned that the first purpose for our lives is to give God pleasure through worship. Not just by engaging in "religious" activities, like singing or praying, but by continually offering up to God all that we have and all that we are. Or to put it another way – worship is loving God by giving him our attention, and our affections, and our actions. It’s the first thing we were made for.
Today, we continue with the second purpose for our lives, which is to be a part of God’s family.
"God is the one who made all things, and all things are for His glory. He wanted to have many children share His glory . . ." – Hebrews 2:10a, NCV
"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; one that would bring joy to Himself and His people; one that would never end. You see, God’s purpose in bringing you to faith was not just to bring you into relationship with Himself; but also to bring you into relationship with other believers. And that’s what He’s doing, through the church. He’s building a family, which you and I and everyone who trusts in Christ are a part of. And it’s a great family. First of all, in numbers. The book of Revelation refers to it as "a multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language" (Revelation 7:9, NIV).
Have you ever thought about that first day in heaven? It’s going to be like the best family reunion you can imagine; except that instead of dozens of relatives, there will be millions. And no volleyball. Well, who knows? Maybe there will be volleyball! [Some of you are saying, "Volleyball? That’s not heaven, that’s the other place."]
Second, God’s family is great because it lasts forever. As you know, physical families sometimes break up, for a variety of reasons – divorce, or conflict, or just being separated by distance. Even the strongest family relationships eventually come to an end at death. But our spiritual family will last forever. It will never break apart. It can’t. Because the one holding us all together is God. As Jesus promised: