Faithlife Sermons

Meaning of Life

40 Days  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:38
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“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books
INTRO - Last week I spoke to you about faithfulness.
We spent some time considering the sort of commitment Jesus wants.
We noted that Noah spent 120 faithfully working on the ark even when people mocked him and even while the work itself was very difficult.
This week we will turn to the Bible and see:
God made us so we can do everything he asks from us.
EST - Our text will note our creation, recreation, and recreation.
ESS - Our message will focus on God’s reason for creating each of us.
OST - At the end of our time you will know how to find your purpose.
TRANS - Travel with me now to a time in the past when the church in Ephesus listened in to the words of Paul’s letter.

What does it say?

Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Life is worth living.

Now, that might not be the most profound thing you’ve heard come from my mouth, but it is, none the less, true.
Some people take life for granted, but let me tell you a story about a fellow by the name of Kirk Jones.
Jones suffers with depression and once tried to end his life by jumping over Niagara Falls.
Some years back most my entire family visited the Falls.
The power of gravity drives the water coming over the falls deep beneath the surface.
The sound is so great that you suffer to hear a person standing right beside you.
It’s an impressive site and one that I’ll never forget.
Nor will Mr. Jones.
You see, he survived his trip over the falls.
He described it this way:
“[like] being in a giant tunnel, going straight down surrounded by water.”
When coming to bottom he noted that he, “hit hard.”
The water turned him upside down and pushed him far out to where he could climb onto a rock.
In a note he later wrote he remarked how now he recognizes that life has much to offer.
He wrote,
“When you are feeling down, just remember the power of Niagara.”
In an interview with ABC news Jones remarked,
“I can tell you now after hitting the falls I feel that life is worth living.”
An expert on Suicidal behavior, Dr. Richard Seiden, says
“A lot of times, people, when they’ve been spared, get this feeling that somehow it’s been intended, that they have a mission or something.”
He says “[if] Jones had had second thoughts, he would not be the first survivor to experience a change of heart.”
Learning that life is worth living is not restricted to just people who fail at suicide, people who’ve fought a terminal illness often relate the same thing.
Lance Armstrong, in his book Every Second Counts, wrote
“Mortal illness, like most personal catastrophes, comes on suddenly.
There’s no great sense of foreboding, no premonition, you just wake up one morning and somethings wrong in your lungs, or your liver, or your bones. But near-death cleared the decks, and what came after was a sparkling awareness; time is limited, so I better wake up every morning fresh and know that I have just one chance to live this particular day right, and to string my days together into a life of action, and purpose.”
Did you note that Armstrong’s observation that life is worth living well.
His goal is to “string his days together into a life of action, and purpose.”
Beyond the survival instinct, there is something intrinsic in life itself that makes us want to live life well to accomplish some great purpose.
After understanding that life is worth living, the trick is to know what our purposes are, so we can fulfill them.
TRANS - We’ve noted that life is worth living, and living well. Now lets consider the purpose of life.

Life has purpose.

Look again at our text:
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
“His workmanship”
Discovering our purpose begins with knowing our creator says, “we are his workmanship.”
The story of creation in Genesis tells us it was God who created us:
Genesis 2:7 ESV
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
God is our creator.
Knowing that God made us is one thing, but knowing that he knew what he was doing is another.
The Psalmist noted:
Psalm 139:14 ESV
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Lots of folks are critical of how they look or with they were smarter, or more talented.
But, if not careful, self-criticism will become criticism of God.
God knew what he was doing when he created people and he knows his reason for creating each of us.
If you want to know the purpose for your life, do it not make sense to ask God?
When I purchased my electric car, I didn’t know anything about this new technology. So, I didn’t read an owners manual for operating my lawn mower. If Jennifer wants to know how to use her slow cooker, she doesn’t read the manual for her vacuum cleaner.
When my garage door broke, I didn’t call the bug man. And, when our a/c broke I didn’t call the painter.
Because I know who created me, then I know that the best place to discover my purpose is to ask God.
We are his workmanship, the verse says created in Christ Jesus.
God’s workmanship is not just in creation, it is, also, in our salvation.
Consider the context in where our verse appears.
Look at the two verses before it:
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
In its context, God’s workmanship refers to our salvation; the subject of the verses preceeding our text.
Another way to put this is, not only did God create us, be he, also, recreated us.
Consider Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
So God created us in the first place, and remade us after we sinned.
Isaiah noted:
Isaiah 64:8 ESV
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
He compares the work of Creator God to the work of an artist making a pot, acknowledging that we “are the work of His hand.”
Jeremiah takes it a bit further by noting what an artist does with his spoiled work:
Jeremiah 18:4 ESV
And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Did God have a purpose for you when he made you?
Did God have reason for remaking you after you sinned?
Sure he did!
TRANS - So far we’ve noted that life is worth living and that it has purpose.
Let’s move ahead and consider what this looks like in action.

Life has “to do’s.”

The text has more to say and notes we are created “for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

To do, good works

God intends that you make a good impact on the world; you are to do good works.
Your purpose is not to accumulate wealth or become famous; it is to do good works.
But, not random acts of goodness, they are specific because they are the works that God prepared beforehand.
Some of these works apply to everyone.
For example, I don’t have to ask God if he wants me to love Jennifer or Ashley and my son-in-law.
This is already clear in Scripture and pretty clear to most people.
In our 40 day time we are exploring what the Bible says about our purpose for life.
In this time, perhaps you will discover some specific things God wants you to do.
Remember, we’re still just getting started on this journey with one another.

To do, walk in them

Let me say one last thing about our text as it ends with “that we should walk in them.”
God did not create and re make you and prepare good works for you just so you will know what his purpose for you is.
He did all of this so that you would walk in his purpose.
So, I’m asking you, again, to be committed to this 40 day thing we are doing together.
TRANS -Wrapping this up, we’ve noted that life is worth living, that it has purpose, and God has very specific things for each of us to do.

What is God saying?

Walk with me

The Bible stress our need to come together:
Ephesians 4:13 ESV
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
I’m asking you to commit to walk with me through our time up until Friday the 26th of October.
It is important for all of us to be in the same boat and moving together, rowing the same way, going the same direction.
If some of us are busy watching others row or have our eye on the shore evaluating how well the others are doing, we will not reach our potential and fulfill our opportunity.
We need you.
Join us now, let’s do this together.

Have an open heart

As we do this together, be open to the movement of the Spirit in your life as he communicates his will to you.

Commit to do what God says

Commit to do whatever God reveals to you in this time.
Study, pray, commit to walk in the good works that God has prepared for you to walk in.
God know our purpose.
God wants you to know your purpose.
He wants us to fulfill the purpose for which we were created to do.
(end)
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