Sermon from October 23rd, 2016

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“God is on the Move #7 - The Primary Purpose of Life”

Psalm 145:1-13; Luke 12:1-12


By Pastor John Bent



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Sermon Text
Good morning!  Have you heard the bad news? No, it has nothing to do with politics. Life on earth will continue even in the contemptibility of our present politics – at least for a while. But in less than 4 billion years our galaxy the Milky Way is going to collide with the Andromeda Galaxy!  Fasten your seat belts!

All this begs the question, “What’s the primary purpose of life?”  I read this week that the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed more than 10x as many galaxies in the universe than we previously thought – over 500 billion.  This calculates to a billion trillion stars in the universe. That’s not a guess, it’s a measurement. Some have used this to say God could never have created such a vast universe, it’s too big. I say, maybe their concept of God is too small.
 
The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-3

So “What is the primary purpose of life?  Why are we here?”  David’s song, written 3,000 years ago gives us a clue.  If the purpose of a billion trillion stars is to declare the glory of God, then what do you suppose our purpose is?  Like them, it’s to glorify our Creator.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way. “What is the chief end of man?  It is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”  We were created by God for his pleasure. Our joy, meaning, fulfillment can only be found in glorifying him and enjoying him forever.

Over the last seven weeks we’ve been in a sermon series contrasting the contemporary secular world view with the Biblical world view. We’ve seen how even this secular view has its roots in Biblical truth. But Satan has taken this truth and twisted it into an appealing lie. Today we look at the question, “What is the primary purpose of life.”

The Biblical world view says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”   Westminster Shorter Catechism

Let’s jump over to the “Secular Humanist Principle”. This is a loose creed of beliefs that most modern secular humanists hold in common.  Listen carefully.  These principles originate in God but they have been twisted to remove any accountability to God. The people who hold these beliefs are not evil. They are not our enemy. But they have been deceived.  Our job is to love them, listen to them, and share God’s truth with them.
 
The first secular principle is that there is no god, no soul, no spirit, there is only the material world. The second is that there is no design, no plan, only randomness and chance. Third, there is no right and wrong, no sin, no evil. Fourth, science tells us how things work, evolution which tells us how we got here, and happiness directs how we should live.

In this modern secular world view, the purpose of life is the pursuit of happiness.  Every person is free to pursue their own happiness as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s pursuit of happiness. Eternal life is not found in any spiritual existence after death, but in passing our legacy of happiness on to those who come after us.

Success in life is found in doing the best we can, graciously accepting whatever fate may hand us, enjoying each moment as we are able, and facing death with dignity and peace.

There’s some appealing stuff here - but is it true? The secular world view points to science as the only foundation of all truth. So is there any scientific evidence is there to support this world view? Or have they created it out of their own wishes, feelings and intuition?

The Biblical world view points to revelation as the source of truth.  “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:19-21 NLT

What does the Bible say about the primary purpose of life?  Are you listening?

God is into fellowship. He reveals himself as Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit existing together, working together, enjoying being together in a dynamic relationship of love. God created us in that image. He created us for fellowship with himself and with each other.

The secular world view is characterized by radical autonomy. We came from nowhere, we are going nowhere and in between it’s up to us to fashion our own meaning. We may move in and out of relationships but ultimately we are alone, independent, and that is our glory.

The Bible says we were created for relationship with our Creator and with each other. God created us for a purpose beyond trying to fill our days with some kind of individual personal happiness in this world.  So what is it? Listen closely…

God invites us to work with him for the care and redemption of the world. The critical words are with him.  He didn’t create us to be slaves working for him.  Neither did he create us to be spectators simply watching him do his thing and then applauding our appreciation. We are his sons and daughters and his purpose, his joy is for us to work with him.

So how do we do that? First, we inform ourselves about who he is and what he is doing. The best place to do that is in his Word. Peter wrote that the Bible is like a light shining in a dark place.  It reveals truth, shows why we are here, what we are to do, where we are to go.

If you want to discover God’s will for your life, if you need direction, encouragement, counsel, the place to start is by reading the Bible. You also need to know that Satan will use every weapon in his arsenal to keep you out of that book.
 
You’ll begin reading and find him whispering in your ear, “This is so boring.  This has nothing to do with you.”  Think about Bible reading as spiritual calisthenics. It’s a real struggle to get started, but if you hang in there, if you work the program so to speak, you’ll begin to see results. The Word of God is living and active. It will help you discern what comes from the world and what comes from God.

Remember, God’s purpose is for you to learn to work with him. He isn’t interested in you being a spectator while he does all the work. Nor is he interested in you trying to do it all in your own strength. He wants to work with you, in you, through you.

So the first step in becoming a team player with the Lord is getting into the playbook. Spend time in his Word, reading, meditating. God’s Word is the Bread of Life.

The second difference between the secular world view and the Biblical world view is prayer. You can’t become a partner with God unless you pray. You can be a spectator to God’s work without prayer. You can try to do it yourself without prayer.

But you will never tap into the power of God until you pray. Prayer is also spiritual calisthenics. Almost anybody can do one pushup, but it takes some serious persistence and discipline to build up to point where you can do 100 at a time. Same is true with prayer.

The secular world view is built on the premise that “I can do it myself, I don’t need any help.” The Lord’s response to that is “Have at it!”  But the Bible tells us “Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain.”  Psalm 127:1  And Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Jesus modeled prayer and commanded us to pray. Why? Let me say it again. God isn’t interested in us doing it for him. He isn’t interested in us simply watching and waiting for him to do his thing. He wants us to work with him. To do that, we must pray.

I have found the Lord to be a great coach and teacher. The Bible says he disciplines those he loves. That doesn’t mean he nags and condemns us. What it means is that he brings us into situations we can’t accomplish on our own so we must drop to our knees and become partners with him - like raising kids …  and like building our new sanctuary.

I believe the Lord has called us to build it. I believe he’s called us to build it without any long term debt. I don’t believe he’s called us to do it for him while he watches. Nor do I believe he wants us to be spectators waiting for him to do his thing. I believe he wants us to work with him.  That means he’s calling us to pray - maybe like we’ve never prayed before.

Here’s what he’s laid on my heart. I believe the Lord has called me to set aside every Wednesday noon to fast and pray for the completion of our building without a long term mortgage. What will that look like? I don’t know. How will that happen? I don’t know. We need him to show us and we need to stay unified with each other and with the Lord.

To do that we need to pray! So, if you want to join me (I realize the Lord may not be calling everyone to do this) write Wednesday noon in your calendar, every week, fast and pray, spiritual calisthenics, working with him until the job is done.  Partners with the Lord, we will finish this project with no long term debt and everyone from the bankers to the builders, to the community around us will know - the glory belongs to the Lord alone!

Amen.

Christ Lutheran Church • 5150 River Lakes Parkway, Whitefish, MT 59937 • 406-862-2615

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