Faithlife Sermons

Life on Purpose

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We all have a general and specific calling. You can know and pursue your purpose.

Romans 15:15–25 NASB95
But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written, They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.” For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.
If you could only speak about what Christ has accomplished through you, would you have anything to say?
Last week, we discussed disciple-making; its importance and how we can get involved. We acknowledged the weaknesses and deficit in the church (reminder: 7 million people lost!) We also acknowledged our call in general, that is to go and make disciples. In essence, we determined that the church cannot be apathetic or lazy or even unorganized when it comes to the Great Commission. We know that the Lord is willing that none should perish, but that all would come to repentance!
And this command that we hold as our mission is imperative both corporately and individually. We must live life on purpose.
I want to ask you a question this morning: What makes you get out of bed every morning? (Other than your bladder!)
Discuss: What is your “purpose”? What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
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You ever ask what significance these things have in the overall scheme of things?
Many folks ask the question, “Does what I am doing really have meaning? Am I making a difference? Will my actions in this life impact anyone down the road?”
I think of the stories of celebrities who seem to have all this world has to offer- money, fame, power, sex, etc. Yet, so many of them lack true significance- that’s why you see some take up drugs and alcohol and others take up some sort of cause. These causes range from good and noble to… less good and even despicable. Some celebrities have taken up the battle against orphans in 3rd world countries and are funding awareness campaigns to stop the food crisis many of the poor nations face. Some are battling against human trafficking and other humanitarian rights. Still others speak up about animal cruelty, global warming, and politics.
The point is that we are all looking for purpose and meaning in this life. We seem to know that there is more to life than living and dying- more than wealth and self-gratification. The trick seems to be determining our specific purpose. Why am I here on this earth at this time?
Philosophers have long asked the question, “What is the meaning of life?” Friends, as Christians we know that the meaning of life is to glorify God. And, so we must ask the question about our purpose within the context of God’s purpose to redeem the world.
The book of Romans lays out well the Christian life- what we know to be true about the love of God and His desire for us. In this chapter, Paul gives us his purpose statement or vision statement. And what I want us to do this morning is to look at his vision and then develop our own personal vision statement. I’m going to warn you, this is going to require a little homework if you are going to allow God to work through this message.
Let’s look then at Paul’s vision statement- you can find it in Romans 15:20-21
To share the Gospel where it is not already proclaimed; to reach the unreached.
Now, let’s see how Paul’s vision statement is developed and we can use that as a guide to develop and live out our vision.
First, let’s talk about:

Developing our Vision (15-19)

How did Paul develop his vision? I believe that we can see three keys to developing vision.

Through Surrender (15).

Paul states that his whole reason for writing to the Romans and further for ministering to the Gentiles is because of the grace that was given to him by God.
Paul saw God’s act of grace upon him in his salvation that he gladly surrendered his life to God.
I want you to think about Paul’s life- he was warring against God’s people as he persecuted Christians. And though he was God’s enemy, Christ redeemed him. And then, on top of that, gave the opportunity for Paul to use his time, talents, and resources to bring glory to God.
See, typically, when we think about our vision/ purpose, we look to our personal desires… We build visions based on our wants and then wonder why we are frustrated.
As we develop our vision, we must begin with surrender- do you recognize what Christ has done for you? Do you see the grace in knowing that though you were an enemy of God you are given now the blessing to speak of his mercy and to share in His glory? We must surrender to God’s desire for us as we develop our vision

Through Experience (18)

Paul saw what God was doing through his surrender and obedience. He saw fruits and learned his strengths and learned to lean on the Holy Spirit for the power that brings about change in man’s heart. He saw how he was gifted to raise up leaders for the church and God affirmed Paul’s vision through experience.
I have learned that God knows more than me. And through experiences- as I trust God and step outside my comfort zone, I learn how God has shaped me and how He can work through me to bring glory to His name. My experiences in secular employment prior to ministry have helped me see more clearly how God desires to use me. And God has affirmed in me my calling and vision through my experiences- many of them have come here at LRBC.
As you develop your vision, allow God to use your experience and obedience to affirm your call and vision in life.

Through Growth (19)

As Paul surrendered and served obediently, the power of God through the Holy Spirit allowed Paul to establish a Gospel witness everywhere he had been. (This doesn’t mean everyone was a Christian, but that there were Christian witnesses & churches present to continue the Great Commission Work in these areas)
Thus, Paul’s vision statement changed a bit. He still had the same purpose, but now he was convinced that he must take the Gospel further- to places where it had never been preached. Paul knew that God had called him for this- Paul was gifted in teaching and raising up leaders, planting churches.
So, as we grow, as God uses us, we must be flexible enough to allow God to move us. I am grateful for the pastors who were faithful to use their gifts in LRBC before God called me here. They were gifted in unique ways and led this church to the point that God had designed. And as we move forward together, God will use me and you to advance the Gospel here and beyond. I’ve laid out some of these plans, and we will adjust them as God grows us.
Now, unfortunately, many people get no further than to develop a broad vision- whether it’s personal, professional, or ministerial. But we cannot just think about it once and move on. No, we must move from developing our vision to
Discuss: How has my vision been developed? What step do I need to take to ensure I am living on purpose?

Living Out the Vision (20-25)

Living out the vision means taking the steps to turn a purpose into an executable plan. There are 3 steps involved.

Verbalize the Vision (20-21)

It’s not enough to know a general direction. Paul didn’t just say, “I am just going to follow Jesus.” We often say things like that and intend to do them, but we are so vague that we just kind of get hung up on what it means.
Ill- Imagine starting a job with no idea what they job was. You go in, sit at a desk with a phone and computer, but all you really know is that you agreed to work for some guy… Some of us live our Christian lives just like that.
Paul said, I am going to preach the gospel where it has not been preached! I am going to take the hope of Jesus to people who are desperately lost, but have no idea that they need Jesus. Paul put it into words and he knew what he was supposed to be doing.
I am a firm believer that if we aim for nothing, we will hit it every time.
Ravi Zacharias, who recently went on to be with the Lord, had a verbalized vision for RZIM ministries. “Helping the thinker believe and the believer think”
AT LRBC, we say that we exist to “Go and make disciples”
BTW, this helps to keep us on track and gives us some way of accountability.
When we put into words what we are trying to accomplish, we find it much easier to stay on task

Specify the Vision (20, 24)

This is similar to verbalizing the vision. Paul set forth his goal to reach the unreached (20), but then he went on to say, “I am going to Spain”
So Paul isn’t just preaching to people, he isn’t just preaching to lost people, He’s going to preach to lost people in Spain.
ILL: I wonder how many of you have ever been through a remodel of their home… maybe your kitchen? Would you not be specific in your choice of cabinetry, layout, lighting, colors, etc? Why would we treat our life purpose with less intentionality than our kitchen?
So, as you are developing your vision and purpose, put down as much detail as you can. At LRBC, how do we go and make disciples? Well, we provide equipping through the teaching of God’s Word on Sunday mornings, we help lead you in worship through music and fellowship, we give opportunities to learn and serve within the body and we are launching small groups this fall that will help provide an atmosphere for living life together, teaching, encouraging, and edifying one another.
We must be specific in our vision so we know whether or not we are living it out.

Prioritize the Vision (22)

Paul knew that his vision would require sacrifice. He had to put more emphasis on his purpose and vision thatn his personal desire to go and visit the church in Rome (and he probable sacrificed a lot of other ‘wants’ too!)
This does not mean that you never get to do fun things or things that you want. It simply means that you must live in congruence to the vision- maybe, like Paul, you delay a trip or a purchase.
I like to think of it this way: Don’t let good things keep us from the best things.
I know of many folks who have given up on the vision that God impressed upon them- maybe becoming a missionary, or teaching a class, or entering into ministry… don’t let that be you.
We must prioritize the vision if we expect to live it out.
Discuss: What do I need to do right now in order to live out the vision for my life?
So where do we go from here? Here’s my heart for us as a church today: I desire for each of us to be developing and living out God’s purpose for our lives.
Let me ask you, when you look back on this life from eternity, what will make it worthwhile?
Will you say, I lived out my purpose and vision that God designed me for?
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