We have been in a sermon series that we have called the Purposes of God’s People, where we have been asking the question, what are God’s people on Earth for? Or what does the Bible tell us about God’s expectation for His people? Or maybe a more specific question is, what’s the purpose of God’s people? What are you here for? What are you on Earth to do?
And I know some of us have jumped to the next question, which is, what is my job that I should have? And what should I be doing with my nine to five? And should I go to school or not go to school? Should I continue in the profession I’m in or change professions. And I think that sometimes those things become the dominant things when we consider purpose.
But this series has not been about those specifics. This series has been about the larger question, what is the purpose of God’s people when God created mankind? What did he expect for them and from them? And we’ve discussed many answers to many of these questions. And today I like to walk through all that we’ve done, kind of put a bow on some of the loose ends and then leave you with something to literally hold on to.
But first, let me talk about where we’ve been so far. On the very first conversation, we established that the purpose of God’s people is way more vast than we may ever have imagined before. That actually God longs to fulfill His promise to Abraham, to bless all nations, through you and me, through all of Abraham’s descendants who happen to also be disciples of Jesus. That it is wide when we think about the calling and the purpose and the mission of God’s people. We talked about the idea that we are actually redeemed so that we could redeem others in a way that mirrors the compassionateness and the comprehensiveness, I should say of God’s own act of redemption.
We talked about the areas of we talked about several areas that we need to represent God in, that we bear His own image. And so that when we interact in the public circles or when we interact in our workplaces or in our families, that we need to be modeling and showing the image of God Almighty. That God created us to live lives that are attractive, so attractive that people look at us and go, there is something behind that man or woman that I cannot quite grasp. But if I ask them their story, maybe I’ll find the thing that has steered them to the life that they currently have.
We talked about the idea that there is no biblical mission without a biblical ethic, meaning that we are not postmen right whose morality doesn’t really matter as long as we get our mission accomplished. That’s not our role, but instead we are the children of a living God, the children of Him, which means we’re supposed to live like him and act like him and respond like him and love like him and care like him and have joy like him and compassion like him and be faithful like him and patient like him that our morality actually matters.
We talked about the idea that our purpose demands a firm loyalty. Joseph Porter mentioned this idea about being behind enemy lines. That we’re actually serving the King of Kings. And as we celebrate Veterans Day this weekend, there are so many people in here who have served in the military or in our community, have served in the military who understand this idea of allegiance to a singular entity. We have allegiance to the God Almighty, and our purpose is drawn out of that allegiance. However, we also acknowledge that we are not just behind enemy lines, but we are also in the world already.
Our purpose isn’t found just in heaven, but we are supposed to be bringing heaven here on Earth. We aren’t just some like waiting for like John Porter said last week, we’re not waiting to be some spirits that descend or ascend into the clouds. We’re actually supposed to be bringing the purposes of heaven here on Earth. And also we talked about the importance of resurrection and to live a life that worships and glorify God on Earth like we will in heaven one day. All these aspects help us understand the fundamental question of our purpose. In each of these dimensions, they drove us back and forward into the vastness of the biblical text. We saw again and again how the Old Testament is supposed to connect with the New Testament. And we looked at so many verses and we could have looked at so many more. But we looked at so many verses that I thought, Man, I’m going to throw a whole bunch more verses in today, and I decided not even to do it. If you want a whole bunch more Bible, just go listen to the old sermons.
Today, I’m just going to give you a review of a lot of the things that we talked about. One of the major emphasis we had was that we should know the story that you’re a part of because we can’t just pull from our favorite verses to create a comprehensive understanding of why we live. Instead to have real purpose in the Bible. It demands an approach that encompasses all of the Bible. We should look at the text in Genesis or the text in Revelation and think, how do I fit into this marvelous narrative that God has been writing since the beginning of time?
And so we looked at some of these spectacular scenarios in the Scriptures. We talked about Abraham and Moses and the Exodus and Sinai and the Kings and the prophets and the Psalms and the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. We looked at people like John, the Baptist and the Church in Acts and the letters of Paul and of Peter and James and John and the book of Revelation. And we found the richness and the nourishment from this biblical theology on purpose that you can’t just pick one verse and decide this is my new life’s verse.
We need to look at the story that God has been crafting since day one and figure out where do I fit in?
We talked about the idea of Jack and Jill, right? That if Jack and Jill are supposed to go up a Hill and they don’t go up a Hill, then what are they there to do at all? If you find yourself in the narrative of God’s story to redeem the whole creation and you do nothing to redeem it what are you doing here on Earth?
Think about it. There is an implication for us that we are God’s chosen people, called, redeemed, shaped and then sent into the world to continue on the story of God’s people. So we’ve looked at these ideas for four months, right? And today I want to give you kind of a final reflection. We printed out these cards for you because I realized that this sermon had way too much information.
Normally, I like to preach like one singular point, but instead, I preach 900 points every sermon. So I realized it was going to be difficult to kind of piece together. And so what I wanted to do is give you a reminder. This card is a reminder. If you’re thinking about living purposefully again, this isn’t going to talk about what career you should have.
It’s about being God’s people in the world. If you want to live purposefully. These are eleven things to be reminded of. And after I printed this card, I immediately realized that I forgot one of the major things. So it’s already out of date, even though it’s brand new.
But anyway, this is for you. It’s a handout. Isn’t that awesome? I love this thing. First, here’s a general statement, and then we’re going to walk through each of these steps, even though I already walk through number one, here’s a general statement.
I don’t know if I put it on here. No. Okay. The purpose of God’s people is carried on in and for the whole world. Remember, if you’re thinking about your purpose, realize that it’s carried in meaning.
You exist in the world and also it’s for the whole world. It’s not just for you. If you decide that your purpose in life is to be some sort of, you want to be a musician and serve in your creative arts. And while you’re doing that’s great, as long as it impacts the whole world, it cannot be just for you.
It centers on the whole gospel. The purpose needs to be derived and pulled from the entirety of the gospel narrative. Remember, we find the good news of God from the very first pages of the Bible to the very last pages, and it lays a demanding responsibility on all of God’s people, meaning that what we are called to do is actually harder than we think it is. And also it’s our responsibility. This is the point I missed.
But, man, if you want to figure out your purpose, remember what you’re responsible for. Responsible on all of God’s people. Whatever you do, whatever you do and whatever your life and the paths of your individual life take, you just remember it’s supposed to be carried on in and for the whole world. It should center on the gospel message. And it should lay this demanding responsibility, the things that God has demanded of you from the very beginning. You should be trying to bring that to fruition in every aspect of your life.
We already stated the first one, but the first reminder here we have is know the story that you’re a part of. Know the story that you’re a part of.
I can say that two ways know the story that you’re a part of meaning, know the Bible and know the story that you’re a part of meaning. Know your part in the story, know it, know the Bible, study it out, understand it, because if you don’t, you’re going to miss the calling of your life. What is God trying to do in the world? And then how can I be a part of it? That’s a question to consider.
What is God trying to do in the world? And then how can I be a part of all that he’s trying to do? Another way of asking the same question is, what would Jesus do if he were me? If he had the family I had? I had the career I had, the passions I have, the household I have.
If he was in my stage of life, what would he do if he were me? Know the story you’re part of. We’re going to move quickly because there’s eleven points. Next, treat the planet as a fellow worshiper. A few weeks ago, we laid a foundation for biblical theology on creation and our responsibility within it.
And I would argue that all Christians should have an ecologically responsible behaviors that we should be thinking about what’s right and what’s good for the Earth. And the reason that we should be thinking about those things is because our very first job was to take care of the Earth. Genesis Chapter One Our very first job is to take care of the Earth. And so if your purpose, if you feel like your purpose drives you to destroy the Earth, you’re headed in the wrong direction. Your purpose should be trying to figure out how to take care of the Earth.
And our motivation is bigger than just the world is polluted and politics and all that stuff. The basis for our love for creation is our love for the Creator. What’s the first command? Love the Lord, your God. It’s the first and greatest command.
And we know that in a human experience, to love someone means that you care for what belongs to them. The very antithesis of love is to trash someone else’s property.
It’s incompatible right to say you love somebody and then also to destroy their stuff. And what do we learn about the Earth and God from the Scriptures? Well, we learned that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the whole world and all who live in it. And we see emphatically the Bible affirms that the Earth is God’s property and more specifically, it belongs to Christ in Colossians chapter one right.
He made it, he redeemed it and he’s the heir to it. So caring for the Earth for Christ’s sake is a fundamental dimension of the calling of God’s people, and it’s the calling of God’s people to love Him. It seems inexplicable to me that any of us would claim to love or worship God or be disciples of Jesus and have no concern for His property. If you’re going to do something in life, make sure you take care of the world. The first commandment again is to take care of the world.
And being a Christian doesn’t release us from the first command of humanity. I believe God will hold us accountable as much for our humanity as for our Christianity. So it’s no surprising that throughout the Old Testament we not only see that the righteous take care of the poor, but also the verse that I have just been, it’s been tattooed in my mind the righteous cars to the needs of their animals.
What this means, I don’t even exactly understand. But what it tells me is that this goes beyond my own human recollection or my own human understanding. Take care of the world because they are fellow worshippers. Number three, be of benefit to those around you. We have seen strong biblical evidence for God’s interest in human society at every single level. We looked at passages that talked about His care for our political connections and our economic connections and legally and God cares familially, I should say, and the like.
And in one sermon we talked about the concept of being a blessing to the nations. Do you remember that sermon? We talked about how broad that idea was blessing the nations, but we tried to break it down because that word is so difficult to even describe as being of benefit. Blessing the nation’s being a benefit to the nation. And we find our purpose in this idea that we are supposed to benefit the whole world, that we should be thinking about how our lives are impacting the lives of the people around us.
Am I adding value to the lives of the people around me? If you’re not, you may be not finding a good biblical purpose. Remember Jesus, remember God’s promise and Covenant with Abraham. I’m going to bless you and make you a blessing. I’ll curse those who curse you and bless those who bless you and everyone on Earth will be blessed through you.
That is the calling of God’s. People. People on Earth should be blessed through you. They should feel like they’re benefiting from being around you. Be of benefit.
Make sure everyone around you is better because you exist. And if you do that, you’re fulfilling the calling of Abraham. Think about your purpose and think about man is my purpose, benefiting anybody around me. And if it’s not, then I’ve really missed the Mark. Next live prophetically.
We talked about John the Baptist a couple of weeks ago and his disciples, right. We talked about living a life of impact, how John’s disciples came from John in prison and went over to Jesus and said, hey, are you the one or should we be expecting someone else? And Jesus said, hey, tell John the Baptist I am healing the blind and healing the sick and raising the dead and preaching the good news to the poor that I am having a life of impact. John’s disciples went away and then Jesus looked to the crowd and talked about John and said, he is a Prophet, a strong, courageous, brave man.
We talked about the importance of being strong people, brave people, people who stand up.
Remember in Matthew chapter 14, the reason, I guess in Matthew chapter eleven, the reason John is in prison is because he stood up to power and eventually a couple of chapters later he will have his head cut off because he was willing to do what was right even when the rest of the world wasn’t. He was a Prophet or calling. If we looked at the Old Testament passages as we looked at the New Testament passage is to live courageously, live with some boldness. You know, there’s a difference between a chaplain and a Prophet.
I learned this this week, but a chaplain is someone who basically in a time of distress, tries to smooth over all the difficulty.
A Prophet is someone who time of distress continues to hack away.
I love this idea. Certainly we need chaplains. We need some people to smooth over some issues, but there also needs to be a sense where we’re willing to chop some things away. We need to be bold. The Christian purpose.
And this is my point here. The Christian purpose is not simply to put a veneer or to be uncritical on whatever society is doing. We’re not just supposed to be uncritical about politics or uncritical economics or uncritical about the military or uncritical about any of those things. This is actually one of the massive disorientations that Christiandom has generated. But our call is actually to be critical because we’re speaking on behalf of the one true God.
The prophets of the Old Testament were not liked by the people around them because they had an audience of one, an audience of one. They had an independent divine authority, an independent divine authority. That’s the way we’re supposed to live. We’re not of this world. Be a Prophet. Live for impact. Speak the truth.
Be a voice of evaluation, critique or approve, but based only not on our own opinions, but based only on what the words of God say. We need to recover the idea that in our purpose there needs to be a biblical authority. We have to be okay with being strong people again. If you want to find purpose and you just go with the flow, you’re going to find yourself down a river you never intended to be down.
You need to be a man or a woman of courage. Be a Prophet. Stand up, stand up. Don’t do whatever Instagram or the news says to do who cares what they say? Be a Prophet.
Be a man or woman of impact. Last weekend, we had the honor of participating in Nina Burrows Memorial funeral service.
If you know, Nina, she was a long time member of the Church here, and she died suddenly. Nina, I didn’t even realize how much of a hero Nina was. Sometimes you go to funerals and you listen and you go, that person was a Christian Times 100. That person deserves a special place. It’s like God Jesus, maybe one of the Apostles, Paul, I would say.
And then Nina, there was a woman who walked up who I’d never met and she’d been in a Church, I guess, for some time. And she walked up and explained that Nina had met her while she was homeless and had two children. And Nina invited her, this woman to live with her. Nina said, you can come and live in my house, and she was only supposed to be for a couple of months.
It ended up being, I think, for a year or something like that. And the kid stood up and said, you know what? This woman is the only woman that my mom would allow to also call her mom. She never looked down on me. I never felt like I was less than, I was in their family.
I’m thinking to myself, who would have ever known this story? Because Nina didn’t come up here and show a video about how awesome her life was. She was just living prophetically, living for impact. Live for impact. Live prophetically.
Because if you do that man, there’s going to be some amazing things that are not only said at your funeral, but also you’re going to have a very special place in heaven with our God and Creator. Next, consider the attractiveness of your life. Second Corinthians chapter five, verse 20. We are therefore Christ ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. Think about that idea.
God saying, I’m going to appeal to the world through my people, which means you better live with the beauty and the grandeur and the glory and the patience and the love that God himself has. Consider the attractiveness of your life. Think about it. Would anyone want a life that looks like mine? I’m not talking about how wealthy you are.
I’m not talking about any of that stuff or how good-looking you are. No one actually cares about any of those things. What they care about is how much you look like Jesus, how much you love, how much you care. Consider the attractiveness of your life. Number six, do not separate what God has joined together.
This seems like a marriage point, but it’s not. This is the idea about recovering the wholeness of the gospel. I hope that one of the effects of this series has been to lift up our eyes to see that the glorious riches of the gospel of God is way bigger than we think. God wants to restore all of creation. God wants us to get to heaven, but he also wants us to bring heaven here on Earth.
God wants us to live prophetically, but also live in such a way that attracts others to the gospel. God wants us to be evangelistic, but he also wants us to disciple. God wants us to live a life that’s worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ, but also have a belief system that honors the New Testament teachings. It’s a both/and in so many things, the gospel is nuanced. Heaven is far away, but it’s also here. Spiritual is like something for the Church, but it’s also for everything.
Christianity is not supposed to stop at the door. It’s supposed to go all over the place.
Here’s the idea, and I think what we’ve done sometimes is often we have separated things that God has never wanted to be divided. And the trouble is that we tend to concentrate on one area or aspect and think that that’s biblical living. And we say that that’s really biblical living and this other thing is not biblical living. Taking care of the Earth doesn’t matter as long as you make disciples. I’m not sure why we separated those things to begin with.
So my response to you is do not separate what God has joined together. Otherwise we will look back and we will struggle to figure out how they relate. We will look back and go. I don’t know how mission and taking care of the poor relate. The reason we don’t understand it is because we were never supposed to separate them to begin with.
You can’t be a Christian. You can’t be a Christian and only have one siloed version of Christianity. You have to look at the entirety of the gospel. So here’s my point in this for you, practically. If you’re going to do business. My law stepfatherinlaw used to say business is business and Ministry is Ministry.
And my mother in law used to say business is Ministry.
That’s the truth. Your work is not your work in Church is your Church. Your work is the place where God is trying to bring the Church. Your house is not just your house, and then your community group is your community group. Your house is the place you’re supposed to bring the community of Jesus to.
Do You get what I’m saying? If you are different at work, you have missed the gospel.
If you’re different while you’re driving, you have missed the gospel.
If you’re a Christian, you’re a Christian all the time, in every dimension, in every fabric of life. Don’t separate the things that God has joined together. Don’t say taking care of the poor is more important than evangelism. Do both things. Don’t say that taking care of creation that’s actually my role. I’m going to do that and I don’t care how my marriage turns out. That would be a miss for the gospel. Be someone that brings together. Don’t separate the things that God has joined together.
Okay, I’m moving quickly. Number seven champion the message of the gospel, not your own message. I hope that this series has portrayed to you again and again and again and again and again the importance of elevating the gospel and then minimizing your own opinions. Elevate the gospel and minimize your own opinions. As gospel people, we should be defined by our humility towards the gospel.
The gospel is a great and glorious message. We are humble servants. The gospel is what we are to obey. Our own opinions are something that should be put in a place where we kind of silo them in order to make sure that the gospel is preeminent in our lives. The truth of the gospel and the passion of the gospel and everything in the gospel needs to be number one and lifted up and everything else needs to be second. To use the biblical terms, we are stewards of the gospel, meaning you don’t own the message because if you own the message, you could change the message. You don’t own the message. You’re just stewards of it. Another biblical word, you are a witness of the gospel, meaning you didn’t invent it, meaning you have no claim to create what the gospel is or isn’t. The Bible is where the gospel is.
Learn it, understand it and elevate that above your own opinion. I like the way Paul says it, but we have these treasures that’s the gospel treasure in jars of clay. I like jars of clay because jars of clay or clay pots were the commonest form of carrying things around. Today they would be like a supermarket bag.
What is the Apostle Paul saying? As witnesses? As people said the gospel, our role is basically to be a plastic bag. You don’t think a plastic bag is something to be high and lifted up. They are lowly, humble creatures.
They’re not even really creatures. You are a plastic bag carrying around the message of the gospel. Elevate the gospel. Minimize your own opinions. If you’re a Christian, make sure you champion the gospel in your purpose.
Whatever you do, make sure your wisdom is not prompted or is not puffed up. But the gospel is. Be a humble plastic bag. You don’t know anything. I don’t know anything.
We find real truth in the message of Jesus Christ. Next, be convinced that the gospel is truth. Over and over again, we’ve talked in this sermon or in this sermon series just about how important it is to make sure that the Bible, the gospel itself is the thing that we can use to guide our lives. As Jesus said, if we build our lives on His Word, we build it on a firm foundation.
We build it on anything else, it’s sinking sand. However, there will always be a battle in the world for competing truth claims and even more in the postmodern world that we’re living in now that rejects truth altogether. In the scriptures, you have a north star.
You have truth. It’s universal. It covers everything. The story, the story, the narrative are truth. It’s something you can build your life on.
It’s something that won’t fragment into 1000 pieces. It’s truth no matter what CNN says or Fox News says, no matter what your favorite YouTuber says, it is a north star. It doesn’t matter. It’s a north star. It’s a GPS.
It’s going to guide you in your life. So be convinced. All right. Am I going to go to this job or this job? There was a brother in our Church that was deciding whether or not to take a job at Netflix and the job at Netflix,
He was going to do film for the job in Netflix was going to pay him like some exorbitant amount of money. I’m going to make up a number a million dollars an episode. It was probably 10 million. I don’t know. But while he was doing it, he realized that a lot of the scenes were going to be a just ungodly in many forms and fashions.
So he said to himself, he was trying to rationalize. God would want me to make the money to take care of my family. And after walking through it, he realized that the gospel truth is that, man, sin is sin and promoting sin is evil and wrong. And so God is going to take care of me if I choose to reject this job and be unemployed. That was the alternative, unemployment.
And he did exactly that. God blessed him with a great job. Now that’s different and not saying that God will bless people with a great job. But the fact is that he was guided in his purpose by the truth of the gospel. The truth of the gospel.
Next number nine, you are redeemed for redemptive living. I love Chase’s sermon, but something I want to highlight about it is that you have been saved so that you can save others. You are redeemed so that you could redeem others. There’s a quote I really love it says we should not treat the Great Commission as a ticking clock, just waiting for the last people groups to hear the gospel before the Lord is as it were permitted to return. That kind of thinking has transformed it into a job to complete an unfinished task.
But with its command to disciple, with its command to disciple, to disciple, to make disciples. I think it should be for disciples to make disciples. It is a self-replicating mandate that we will never complete. You are redeemed to redeem, and then you are redeemed to redeem some more. And then you are impacted to redeem some more and to impact people’s lives and to change their lives.
Everything that you’ve been given should be given to other people. If you have been saved, you should live to save other people. All right. There’s a second part of that quote. I’m not going to read. Reach to the ends of the Earth.
The purpose of God’s people is to impact the whole world. Every nook and cranny of it. The end of the Earth is not an end. You know, the end of the Earth isn’t like a catchphrase. Oh, we made it.
It’s your trajectory. It’s this feeling like the Earth is a globe. We just keep reaching. Keep striving, keep trying to help. Whatever you do, make sure that you’re impacting not just the people around you, but you have a mind and a thought to reach to the very end of the Earth.
I don’t have time to talk about that. Next one. Live for the glory of God. This is obvious. But first Corinthians chapter Ten Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Whatever you do, whatever you do, whatever you do, I’m a teacher. Whatever you do, I’m a tax attorney. Whatever you do, I’m a lawyer. Whatever you do, I work in sanitation. Whatever you do, I’m a parent.
Whatever you do, I’m a husband. Whatever you do, I’m single and I’m looking for a husband. Whatever you do, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do it all for the glory of God. I’m going to close with a song.
I’m not going to sing it. I’m just going to read the words and just a little last charge for you. The song is called Church of God Electing Glorious. It’s an old time song by James Sedan. I think that’s how you pronounce his name.
But I want to read the words to you and then I’m going to pray for Communion. This is a charge to leave you with Church of God elect and glorious Holy nation and chosen race called as God’s own special people. You’re a Royal priesthood. Heirs of Grace know the purpose of your calling. Show to all his mighty deeds.
Tell of love which knows no limits. Grace which meets no human needs, which meets all human needs. God has called you out of darkness into his most marvelous light, brought his truth to life within you turned your blindness into sight. Now let your light so shine around you that God’s name is Glorified and all find fresh hope and purpose in Christ Jesus crucified once you were an alien people, strangers to God’s own heart of love. But he brought you home in mercy.
Citizens of heaven above. Let His love flow out from you to others. Let them feel your father’s care that they too may know His welcome and in his countless blessings share how do you know what your purpose is? Make sure you know the story you’re in. Make sure you treat the Earth as a fellow worshiper.
Make sure you’re living a life that benefits others and live prophetically. Consider how attractive that life is. And while you’re doing it, don’t separate the things that God has joined together. Instead champion the message of the gospel and know it’s truth because you’re redeemed for redemptive living so reach to the ends of the world and in all things, in all things, live for the glory of God. Let’s pray, Father.
We love you and we thank you that we get a chance to lift our voices in prayer. I thank you for the Scriptures, Father. How I wish we could just live in a place where we could just sort through all the different passages that I’ve studied during this series and talk about it and have hours of conversation and deep points of meditation and prayer. And how I long for us to just understand your words so deeply so that when we live our life, we can live it in a way that would give you honor and glory.
God, I thank you ultimately, that we have actually been given the calling of living as your people.
God, I pray that we make you proud in doing that. God, let this time of Communion as we take the bread that represents your body and the juice that was spilled for us. That represents the blood. I pray, Lord, that you will allow us to remember that we have been called for something greater than just this moment that we live for a purpose beyond that. Father, I love you.
I cherish this time. I have with my Church family. It’s in Christ and we pray. Amen.