Scripture: (Ephesians 3:7-12 KJV) Whereof I was made a minister,
according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working
of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace
given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of
Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which
from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by
Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in
heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In
whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Trust me, I know how to complicate things. You would not believe the amount of time I have spent researching and developing this weeks message. Then, as I was tucking in my seven year old daughter she summed it all up for me and made something that I had drawn out into 50 different Hebrew and Greek words, comparing translations and commentaries, illustrations and word pictures. Caylie simply asked me if God loved us even if we didn't learn more about Him. I of course told her that His loves us no matter what. You see, she missed Kids World this morning. (Kids World is the Saturday morning children's ministry put on by Calvary Baptist Church) We wanted to go to her big sister's piano recital and then she had to pick up her new glasses. Her fear was like a lot of ours. Is God still going to love me when I fail Him?
I know that we as spiritual giants of the faith never stumble or fall. Yaah right!!! The real question I have for us today is where are we going? What goals do you have? What desires do you have? What are you looking forward to? What are you afraid of that might be coming in the near future? We all have some kind of goal, even if it is to just get out of bed. Or, like me, to stay in bed for a little longer. Too many of us have given up on our dreams. Too many of us don't even believe in dreams anymore. Too many of us have given up. And far too many of us have lost our purpose in life. Then there are those of us who have great dreams. Dreams of financial prosperity. Dreams of love and romance. Dreams of a promotion at work, or a new career. Dreams of being, well, that person that we know we could be if only things were different. And then again some of us seem to have it all together. You have a great job, a loving family, the bills are paid and there is money in the bank. The future looks like nothing blue skies and smooth sailing. So why is it the desires of our heart do not fulfill our desire?
Changing the path we are going just a little bit, look at the purposes that I have set up for this ministry. It is five fold. Well, here, read the mission statement and see if you can pick out the five purposes:
The Mission of this international ministry is first and foremost to bring honor to God. It is our hearts desire to reach out to the entire world with the love of God through Christ Jesus the Lord. Diligently teaching the relevant truth found in God's word to bring hope and encouragement to all people. Working together we will meet the physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs of everyone we can, however we can. In it all enjoying the fellowship of one another. Doing it all by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God.
Here they are in plain English:
For years now I have been looking at these five purposes and trying to work one or more of them into every area of my life. Now, do not get me wrong, I still know that these are great things to work towards and keep focused on, but in reality they should simply be like the side effect of our ultimate purpose. Well, let's go ahead and dig into the Word of God and discover the simple truth of our ultimate purpose and how we can get closer to it.
Just to add a little urgency to our quest but not to use scare tactics to motivate you towards anything. I hope you are aware of how close we are to the end of things as we know it. Some of you just said Amen and some others said give me a break. Well, I will let you look to the sky and see the day of harvest coming for yourself. Either way if I was you I would start thinking about the things that really matter to me and work at getting them right. For the time is at hand.
(Eccl 3:1 KJV) To every thing there is a season, and a time to
every purpose under the heaven:
I found so many different words that were translated purpose. This one in the verse above has the meaning of pleasure or desire. So then what the teacher is telling us is that there is a time for every pleasure or desire under heaven. Let's not even believe the lie that being a Christian means not enjoying life. On the contrary we should be really enjoying the great things of life as God intended, or purposed us to. Go back to our original scripture verse and look at verse 11: (Eph 3:11 KJV) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
I want to just come out and reveal to you the answer that I have found. OH, If I could only take the scales from your eyes and reach in and heal the hardness of your heart which has been broken so many times that the scars are the only thing that seem to be hold it all together. God loves you and His purpose for your life is for you to enjoy it to its fullest. OH, that sounds great but lets get your head out of the clouds Bob and face the reality of everyday life. Look, I, more then any one can relate to that. I work everyday of the week in one form or another just trying to make ends meet. But, even though in the eyes of everyone else I might have the lowest job in the company, I really do have the best job in the company. And do you know what? I would have the best job in the company no matter what job I had. 12 years ago I was on the streets. 10 years ago I met and married the most wonderful woman I ever met. 1 year later we had one of the best stage shows touring the country. 8 years ago I got off the road and took a job as a telemarketer. 6 years ago I had climbed the ladder of success and was the corporate sales manager of the fastest growing bottled water company in the southeast. 5 years ago I became a licensed minister, the company was sold, I took a sales job with Crystal Springs and failed miserably at it when Rocco moved me into the filtration department and I have been there ever since. Living on the edge of poverty God has richly blessed us beyond our wildest dreams, and continues to. It all came down to purpose. You see, I asked my wife what her dream was and eight years ago she told me she wanted to have another child and raise a family in the American dream. Me, well I wanted to make it to the David Letterman Show, but that's a different story. Sometimes, no, all the time, we have to give up our own selfish purposes in order to find and follow God's divine purpose for us.
OK, back to Ephesians 3:11, the Greek word translated purpose here is prothesis. It comes from two words the first meaning in front of, or before. The second means to lay down. Listen now, God is laying before you today the opportunity to fulfill His purpose for your life.
And that is really what a purpose is to us. It is something we see in front of us in life that we continue to work towards. Here is what it comes down to: your own selfish purpose, which you have to admit has not been all that fulfilling, or you discover the truth of God's purpose for your life and experience the river of life flowing through you like never before. You see, what I learned tonight while tucking in my daughter was that it is ultimately not the Bible studies, or the works of service, or the singing of praise and worship or fellowship or even seeking and saving the lost. It is all about Jesus. OH, PLEASE DO NOT MISS THIS. It is all about having that intimate, close, real relationship with the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. It is all about love and God is love. the rest is just what happens when you get close to Him. You start acting like Him. It's like a married couples, how they even start looking like each other after so long together. And the two shall become one flesh. they are not automatically one flesh they become one. It is the purpose laid before them.
On that Palm Sunday so many years ago the people knew that the purpose of the messiah was their salvation, they just did not the way that their true salvation was going to come. Let's right now go ahead and continue to read here in the 3rd chapter of Ephesians and look closely at the prayer Paul prays for us and discover the true purpose behind the multi-purposes of our lives: (Eph 3:14-19 KJV) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
It all starts with Christ dwelling in your heart. Ask Him to wash you clean of all your sins. He has already paid that price for you, now accept it and let the promise of the Father be carried out in your life. Be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit. EXPERIENCE THE TRUE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW AND FOREVER. Let God work within you a miracle. Let God not only give you the will to fulfill your destiny but let Him also be your strength. He has even already begun to change your desires. But do not worry He is able to complete in you the good work that He has begun. You, well, you just purpose in your heart to be loved by Him and let His love flow through you.
(Eph 3:20&21 KJV) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh
in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages,
world without end. Amen.