Pastor Darryl Bentley
Midland SDA Church
February 13, 2010
Homiletical Idea: Existential questions have plagued the human race since nearly the dawn of time. Those questions of origin and purpose are only answered in the Bible. The true purpose of life is ultimately fulfilled only when we accept Christ and accept His mission for our lives.
Why do we exist? For what reason have we been placed on this earth? Are we supposed to simply plow mundanely through life until we can squeak out our average lifespan of however many years, or does the sovereign God of the universe have a deeper plan for us? If God has a plan for us how do we discover it? Will God show us via some great sign what our purpose is? Does He roll back the clouds and write our purpose upon the sky? Will it be found in a hidden code in the Scriptures?
How do we move from simply wondering through life to actually knowing our purpose and calling? There are at least two ways to look at this question of purpose. First, we can view it from the general purpose for all creation. What is the general purpose of all creation?
**Read Psalm 150**
**Read Luke 19:37-40**
**Read Revelation 5:11-13**
I think it becomes very clear that the general purpose for which we were created was to offer praise back to God. We are to live our lives in such a way that they honor God and show His goodness to the universe. Not that they do not know, but because it is our purpose to do so. I am sure that we do not fully recognize just how worthy of our praise God is. In our sinful flesh we cannot comprehend the greatness of our sovereign God. He alone is worthy to be praised.
Narrowing it Down
Now that we have been reminded of our general purpose for existence we need to turn our hearts toward more specific reasons for existing. As worthy as God is of our praise we cannot simply accomplish His will for our lives if all we get done is praising Him. Our praise must motivate us to action. Our love for God and what he has done for us is to motivate us to tell others of His awesome love. Once we understand the sacrifice Christ made for us we should be motivated to sacrifice for Him and His work. Once we realize the depth of our own depravity we should want to serve as agents to rescue others from theirs.
Where to Begin
Some have struggled with where to begin. I often have people ask me about how to discover their individual calling. They want to know how to put their talents and gifts to work for the Lord. I have good news for each of you who have wrestled with this question. Today is where you start. You start at the altar of forgiveness and love. You start by consecrating yourself to the Lord fully, and by letting Him have full access to your heart and life. You start by being cleansed of sin and unrighteousness. You start here today by accepting Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary for you.
Many if not most of you have taken these steps many years ago and that is great, but a commitment to Christ must be renewed daily (Luke 9:23). Much of the world wants us to believe that as long as we made a commitment to Christ some many years ago that we are ok, but the truth of the matter is that we must daily die to self and be renewed by Christ.
That is why I am so thankful for this table spread before us today. Because the symbols represented by these emblems today are the symbols by which we come to eternal life. Without the sacrificed body and blood of Christ what hope would we have in this world? Had not Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins what recourse would we have in being rescued from our sinfulness? Yes, these symbols tell a deep story of a Savior’s love for His creatures. These symbols laid before us today tell the story of how all of heaven is striving to rescue us from a world of sin. Yes, this is where we begin to find our purpose in this life.
Now that we find ourselves at this table readying for service let’s discuss knowing our individual calling. When I think about this topic I think back to my own attempts to figure out God’s will for my life. I have had lots of jobs. No doubt many of you have wondered about how many jobs I have had. It is quite a list because I never felt as if I were doing what I should be doing. I would stay at a job for a while and do well, but after a while I simply felt as if I were wasting my time. Not that I was above or too good to work a certain job, it was more that I felt as if I were supposed to be doing something else.
Eventually I began to see that the Lord was calling me to ministry and as I prayed my way through that God opened doors for me. The key was to keep moving forward as God opened doors. Too many of us want to wait until we see the handwriting clearly on the wall before we will make any moves, but most of the time discovering your calling and purpose in life is more about taking small steps of faith and making directional changes as God leads.
When I was studying at Southern Adventist University I can recall one of my professors making a statement about knowing your calling. He basically said in regards to ministry, “You know you’re called to ministry if you could not be happy or fulfilled doing something else.” That made so much sense to me because I had never really been happy working except when I had been a literature evangelist and doing ministry through spreading gospel literature. From the moment onward I knew God had called me ministry and I never looked back.
What About You?
So what about you today? Do you know what your calling or purpose is? Have you found the work that gives you joy and fulfillment? We may find ourselves doing work that we would not classify as our calling or deepest joy, but does that mean that we cannot be happy or do God’s work? No, not at all. It may mean that we have to work a job to provide income for our family, but we find our joy in working for the Lord while we do that job.
That is the main point I wish to make today through this message. I want each of us to realize that no matter where we are we can work for the Lord. I never clearly saw this before coming into the ministry. I thought you had to work for the Lord full-time in order to effectively spread the gospel and that is not true. If we will choose to work for God while we do whatever work our hands find to do then we can be content and have joy in our lives.
And sometimes it is as simple as working alongside someone in our job and looking for opportunities to share our faith. I promise you that if you are looking for those moments to share then you will see them. And when you step out in faith and share your love for Christ with others you will be amazed at what happens. Sure some will scoff and ridicule you, but there will be others who want to know more about your Jesus. There will be those that all you have to do is invite and they will come.
When we look in the Bible at the story of Andrew we see a very simple approach to soul-winning. Turn with me to the gospel of John chapter one; it is here that we see the story of a simple invitation that led to a tremendous conversion.
**Read John 1:35-40**
When you look at the life of Andrew as we see it in the Bible Andrew was not greatest preacher, he was not known for evangelizing the multitudes. Andrew was known for bringing people to Christ by way of invitation. He began by bringing his own brother to Jesus. He said, “We have found the Messiah.” Later when Jesus desired to feed the multitude who had followed Him it was Andrew who brought the young boy with the fish and loaves to Jesus (John 6:8). When certain Greeks came to the feast to worship and they wanted to see Jesus it was Philip and Andrew that brought word to Jesus (John12:22). Andrew did not do anything that seems to wow us, but what he did was tremendous. He was willing to take people to Jesus because he believed Jesus was the Messiah. He brought them to Jesus and Christ did the rest.
You and I can do that same thing. Yes, we cannot bring people to Jesus physically, but we can bring them through invitation to church or to a Bible study. We can bring them through a book. We can bring them through a small tract. We can bring them through offering to pray for them and their family when we know there is a trial. You and I if we have our eyes open can bring people to Jesus by many ways if we allow Him to use us.
Wrap-up and Appeal
It really all comes back to our general purpose does it not? It really all comes back to the fact that we were made to worship God and our goal should be to call others to worship. Whether you are a doctor or a mechanic, a janitor or a professor your goal should be to bring others to Jesus. Chris Tomlin has a song called “Made to Worship”. The lyrics are pretty simple but pretty profound. Here is what the song says:
day, before the light
Before the world revolved around the sun
God on high, Stepped down into time
And wrote the story of His love for everyone
filled our hearts with wonder
So that we always remember
You and I were
made to worship
You and I are called to love
You and I are forgiven and free
When you and I embrace surrender
When you and I choose to believe
You and I will see who we were meant to be.
All we are,
And all we have
Is all a gift from God that we receive
Brought to life, We open up our eyes
To see the majesty and glory of the King
the rocks cry out, And even the Heavens shout at the sound of His holy name
So let every voice sing out, And let every knee bow down; He is worthy of all our praise!
Today God is calling you to worship Him. Today He is calling you to fulfill your created purpose both in surrendering yourself to Him and in calling others to do likewise. As we wrap up our message and transition to our communion service I want to challenge you to fulfill your purpose in life. No matter what job you work or career path you choose, as a Christian you must take Christ with you. You must be willing to share Jesus anywhere you go. Today, I challenge you to become an Andrew. Today I challenge you to bring people to Jesus.
Make a list of people you want to win to Christ this year then begin to pray for ways to get them to Jesus. As you pray for them every day pray for ways to share the gospel that fits your armor. Your approach may differ from mine. That’s OK. As long as you are seeking God’s will and moving as he directs you then you will be fine. Who here today would be willing to accept my challenge to be an Andrew for Jesus and fulfill your purpose? Let’s pray.