~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Pastor Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, What is our purpose? (part 4), by clicking here.
Only our Maker can Determine Our Purpose
Every inventor makes their inventions with a purpose. Nobody makes something simply to throw it away. Everything that is made is made with a purpose in mind. If someone handed a new invention to you, there would only be two ways to determine what the purpose of that invention was: either to talk to the inventor, or to read the owner’s manual (written by the inventor). God, Himself, is the Chief Creator – more purposeful and successful than any human inventor has ever been – or ever will be. If you simply look at biological ecosystems you can see it – everything has a role to play in the success of the overall ecosystem – God created everything with a purpose! How much more can we be sure that God created His prize creation (us) with a clear purpose! We are the only thing God has ever created in His image and likeness. When God created us, He created us with a purpose.
There is a meaning to life – that we can know! And there is only One Person who can answer that question! We cannot determine our own purpose – because we did not make ourselves. You cannot “look within” to find our purpose! There is only one way to find out our purpose – and that is to read the owner’s manual! We can find out what our purpose is! The Bible spells it out. When we find our purpose, life truly takes on meaning!
In addition to a purpose, God also gave us a freewill. We don’t have to do “God’s thing.” We may be created to be a hammer, but we can choose on our own to be a window washer or a furniture duster . . . if you decide to operate outside of your purpose like that, you will find life to be very hard and that it often will just not seem to work! And, when our life doesn’t go right, we tend to complain to our Creator. “God, why did you make me this way, and why is life so hard?!?” On the other hand, if the hammer was to submit to its creator, it would soon find the joy in driving nails! When we submit to the Lord’s purpose for our life, we soon learn just how perfectly we were made! God is your Creator. That fact cannot changed by whether you like that or not! Not believing something doesn’t change it; truth is truth. The whole world believed for 100’s years that the world was flat, but that did not change the truth that the World is round. God is the Maker and Creator of all things and He therefore is the One we must turn to to find our purpose!
The Owner’s Manual
There is only one way to find out our purpose: to read the owner’s manual! When we base our lives on God’s Word, we get into agreement with our Creator, and His blessings flow when we get into agreement with Him! Getting into agreement with God starts with the acceptance of His Salvation. We may think “God is a God of love – that’s what I believe – and He would never turn anyone away from Heaven. That’s what I believe – and I’m sticking to it!” We can think whatever we want to think, but it doesn’t change His Word. God loves us all the same. God loves all people (God so loved the world that Jesus died for everyone)! That said, John chapter 1 makes it clear: only those who have called on the Name of His Son are given the right to be called Children of God! We are all God’s creation, but we are not all His children. Being His child requires receiving Jesus!
When we actually get to know God and His Word, we exclaim like David: “Oh Taste and See that the Lord is good!” A lot of times people can be offended at God / have issues in their heart with Him because of things that have happened in their life, et cetera. The problem in that scenario is that we don’t really understand God. If we think He is bad, we don’t understand Him. Everything He does is good, and right, and perfect. When we stand before Him, every mouth will be stopped, every tongue will be silent before Him – knowing that He is right! We may not understand everything now, but regardless of the circumstances of our lives, we can be sure that God is not the problem! When we see all things we will declare “you were right!” We don’t have to wait until then to be convinced of the goodness of God – we can learn it now!
God’s Purposes are Good!
Our first purpose is to know and enjoy God. The next 3 purposes could be subsumed into this first purpose! Our second purpose is to glorify Him. Our third purpose is to be glorified by Him! God created you as the object of His love! God’s way of loving you is blessing upon blessing! Parents love to bless their children! God does not have love . . . He IS love! He can’t help Himself from loving you. He has no choice! He IS love! God is pure love! God has never had an ill-conceived thought about you! When we know that God only has goodness for us, it keeps us from allowing the enemy from driving a wedge between us and our Father! His thoughts towards you and His thoughts towards me are perfect! Sometimes we are messing up His plans in our lives. Sometimes someone else is. Sometimes the enemy may be working against us. We can intercede about all of that, but the problem is never God! God is never the problem! He is always the answer!
When God tells us to step into His purposes – we need to understand that His purposes are divine! Sometimes when we look upon the outlay of our lives, we are only seeing the backside of the tapestry of our lives. Later we will see the divine order of God when we see the tapestry of our lives from His perspective. If you only stare at the dark spots on the backside of the tapestry, you will get discouraged. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose! We are called according to His Purpose! God can work with any of our circumstances (and even your own bad decisions)! Now, bad decisions create bad consequences! The ways of the transgressor are hard! That said, even in those self-inflicted bad circumstances, God is wanting to break in with His goodness! He stands at the door of our heart (even if it is being a rebellious heart), knocking!
Even when we have been faithless, He is still faithful! When we repent (change our minds) and turn back to God, He will draw near to us! God’s willingness is never lacking! Often, the very thing we are needing God to work in for us is the very area we have not been inviting Him in to! We may want Him to move in our lives as it relates to finances, but we may not want to hear any teaching about tithing! We’re crazy sometimes! But God is ready! Ready to talk to us, ready to speak to us, ready to make a difference for us! His breakthrough is waiting for you and all you have to do is invite Him into you and your life. Into your heart for salvation. Into your finances for prosperity. Into your marriage for peace and joy. Into your parenting for wisdom, perseverance, and joy. Into your career for steadiness. Every area, every need, every desire – they all find their answer in Him! God is the solution to your problem, the answer to your question. The provider for your need. The dreamer for your desire. God is a Father to the Fatherless. A protector to the persecuted. A friend to you and me. God is Good! His purposes are good!
When we are doing our own thing, life can be hard! When we start doing God’s thing – walking with God – deciding to know and enjoy Him, we will start to glorify Him! To glorify God is to fear Him, trust Him, and obey Him. Some people are afraid of “fearing God,” but there is no torment in the fear of the Lord! He could squash us – because of His greatness, but He won’t – because of His love! He is awesome! If we don’t have a fear for God, it is because we are clueless about who He is! Throughout the Old Covenant, even angels (God’s own creation) caused men to fall on their faces and worship them . . . to the point that the angels needed to correct people and “no, do not worship me!” Look at the Heavens – they are declaring the glory of God! Night and day both speak to us of His greatness! (Ps 19)
Fear God, Trust Him, and Obey Him! “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord!” (Ps 128) “Blessed is the man who trusts the Lord!” (Jer. 17:7) When we trust God, the blessings of God flow in our lives! When we decide to fear God, trust God, and obey God, His blessings begin to flow . . . He begins to glorify us! God loves to glorify His children because He loves us and He wants us to reflect Him! The purpose of man is to reflect God in the Earth! Our lives are supposed to be a living example of God’s goodness! When we are disobeying God, we are not serving our purpose because we are not reflecting God in the earth!
Our fourth purpose is to love people – to love others! Another way to say it is to take care of / care for His Creation! We should appreciate and take care of God’s handiwork – what He created. Anything sort of loving a person is not a reflection of God! We should be getting more and more like God! We glorify God with our whole lives! As we look into the mirror of His Word, we will look more and more like God – from glory to glory!