Grace for a Purpose Driven Life Chapters 3 & 4

January 17, 2004

“Grace for a Purpose Driven Life” – Week 2

 

Introduction:

1.  We’re continuing our new series today -- one we’re very excited about and looking forward to it!

* Series:  Grace for a Purpose Driven Life

- The study guided by Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life

Note: Recommend each person/couple purchase a book in the MRC and keep up with the reading (2 chps per week) – designed for 40 days, one chapter a day, but we’re laying out the study a bit differently

- The plan is to spend each Sunday covering two chapters of the book – that will take us up through the end of May

-  Let me mention again that the book is not perfect and it has strengths and weakness (like any book except the Bible) – the overall point of the book is important enough that we can wade through any teaching/comments with which we would disagree, and still learn some valuable lessons

2.  We’re wanting to tie our ABF study into the overall church theme:  Enjoying God’s Grace!

  • Grace = God’s unmerited favor – it is God giving to us what we DON’T deserve (e.g. salvation)
  • Mercy = God withholding what we DO deserve (e.g. eternal judgment)

Q: Aren’t you thankful that God is both GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL?

4.  The idea of a purpose driven life is NOT a new concept because it comes directly from the Scriptures – passages like:

  • Romans 11:36 For from Him (where did I come from?) and through Him (why am I here?) and to Him (where am I going?) are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
  • Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created through Him and for Him.

- The argument could be made that man purpose was established in Genesis 1:28”

  • Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

5.  Last week, we studied two very important principles:

 

1.  It All Starts With God

A.  Life isn’t about you – it’s about God and you fulfilling HIS purpose!

- That was true of the life of Christ (Matt. 20>28; John 8:29) – and it ought to be true for us!

-  What is the chief end of man? Answer:  Man's chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31; Rom. 11:36) and to enjoy him forever (Psalms 73:25-28).

Point:  You can make up your own purpose for your life . . . or you can discover God’s purpose for your life (as you search the Word and seeing what God says about that issue!)

2. You Are No Accident

Point:  You exist because God wanted you to exist – and He wants you to fulfill HIS purpose for you life, not YOUR purpose!

6.  Today, we pick up our study in chp. 3 & 4:

- * Let’s consider the question:

1.  What Drives Your Life?

- Is it true that everyone’s life is driven by something – there is a ‘driving force’ behind every person’s thoughts/actions?

- That may a certain desire to attain something, or a desire to AVOID something – it may be a problem from the past, or even wrong theology (misunderstand about the Word of God)

- But we are all driven by something!

A.  Five of The Most Common Motivations:

1.  Many people are driven by guilt.

“They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame.  Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories.  They allow their past to control their future.  They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success.” – p. 27-28

- A good example of that is Adam/Eve in Genesis 3:

Q: What was the first thing they did when they sinned (ate of the tree)?

A: They sewed fig leaves and when they heard the voice of God, they hid in the bushes!

- That’s guilt!

- Proverbs puts it this way:

  • Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.

Point:  We all have a past . . . but we don’t have to be controlled by it – we simply need to LEARN from it and MAKE CHANGES so that we can effectively accomplish God’s purpose for our lives!

- Godly sorrows leads to repentance and a changed life:

  • 2 Corinthians 7:9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

2.  Many people are driven by resentment and anger.

-  They never learn to look beyond the offenses committed against them to the REASON (or purpose) why God allowed the offense to occur in first place

- Instead, most people either ‘blow up’ or ‘clam up’ – both are unbiblical!

Input: Why does God allow ‘bad things’ to happen to ‘good people’?

A:  God wants to use all things to bring glory to Himself and to conform us to the image of His dear Son (i.e. Christlikeness)!

[Teachers: On the tape, I made a statement about God giving my child cancer – I should have used a word like ‘ordained’ or ‘purposed’ – I do believe in God’s absolute control of all events, but yet the natural effects of the curse of sin are allowed to run their course as well.  Rom. 8:28 God didn’t say all things are good, but He ‘causes’ all things to work together for good . . . “

Note:  You could also talk about why God allows ‘good things’ to happen to ‘bad people’

  • Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Input:  Who is the person most affected by your anger/bitterness?

A:  It’s you and your relationship with God that is most affected, not the other person – they tend to forgot about what they did to you, and life goes on . . . while you are eaten up with bitterness

  • (NIV) Job 5:2 Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.

3.  Many people are driven by fear.

- Fear of ___________ (all sorts of things – failure being one of the them!)

Examples of things of which people are afraid:  dark, airplane, mice, cats, etc

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.” – p. 29

- God has the answer for fear:

  • 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

4.  Many people are driven by materialism.

- Life is all about things – possessions – what I own or what I can own if I borrow the money!

- Those driven by materialism think that ‘a little bit more’ will satisfy me!

Input: Do you agree or disagree with that thinking – why or why not?

- Jesus addressed this issue of materialism in a couple of different ways:

  • Luke 12:15 . . . for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
  • Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."

‘Real security can only be found in that which can never be taken away from you – your relationship with God.’ – p. 29

Point:  Don’t give your life to things that pass away with time – they are temporal and will never satisfy.

>  God made us relational beings (i.e. in God’s image) and things will never satisfy – so why pursue them?

A: Deception – thinking they will satisfy – just like the serpent convinced Eve, “if you get this (fruity), you will be as gods, knowing good and evil’ or ‘you will not surely die’

5.  Many people are driven by the need for approval.

- It’s so easy to be a ‘man-pleaser’ – doing things based on what others may think

- This can exist in a marriage and one spouse being consumed with what his/her parents think or what the ‘in-laws’ think – or being consumed with what my spouse/kids think!

- Paul specifically addressed this issue:

  • Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

- Teens and young people face this – as well as adults in the workplace >> just find out what the majority wants and go with the crowds!

- That will NOT result in a life pleasing to God

- Proverbs warns about keeping company with the fools:

  • Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

B.  The Benefits of Purpose-Driven Living

- We’ll mention these quickly

1.  Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life.

- Basically, knowing your purpose in life gives value or significance to what you do

- Life makes more sense to you and you understand or better comprehend what life is all about if you have a specific purpose for living!

  • Ephesians 5:17 . . . do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Note:  I’m not sure I agree with the author’s statement:  “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose” – p. 30

> The result of the curse of sin was not primarily a lost purpose; instead, God said to man, “The day you eat . . . you will surely die (Gen. 2:16-17) and ‘death entered into the world, and death by sin’ (Romans 5:12)

> The ‘death’ applied to the loss of the purpose for which man was created – i.e. to bring glory to God, the One in Whose image man was created!

Point:  Knowing your purpose in life helps life to makes sense!

2.  Knowing your purpose simplifies and focuses your life.

- Your purpose helps you decide what you do and what you don’t do on a daily basis

 “Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t. You simply ask, “Does this activity help me fulfill one of god’s purposes for my life?” – p. 31

Input: Is it realistic to think that we are going to get done everything we want to do?

A:  NO – “It’s impossible to do everything people want you to do.”

- Knowing your purpose allows you to live a more focused and simple life

- Paul understood his central goal/purpose:

  • Philippians 3:13 . . . but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

3.  Knowing your purpose motivates your life.

- Your purpose gives you a cause to life for – to fight for – to die for if need be!

- Knowing that you are doing the will of God from the heart, is a powerful motivation to not quit, to excel at what you’re doing, and to enjoy what God has allowed you to be a part of!

ILLUSTRATION: As a pastor, my motivation is HIGH because I understand that this is what God wants me to do!

Input:  Do you agree with the statement:  “Purpose always produces passion.”

>  I would agree – it’s the “drwell principle” (a little salvia coming out of the mouth because you understand your purpose and it’s exhilarating to be involved in it!)

- When you recognize that purpose and realize the driving force it is in your life, you are motivated to make it happen!

4.  Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity.

- Life is not about leaving a name for yourself when you’re dead and gone

“You weren’t put on this earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.’

- Life is about what God is going to say at the Judgment Seat of Christ

  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

II.  Man Was Made to Last Forever

-  Because we are made in the image of God, man is an eternal being – life is not about TODAY – life is about using today to prepare for eternity!

  • James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Input: What evidence is there that most people live only for today rather than for eternity?

Input: What does a person look like who is living his/her life in light of eternity? [Apply this to marriage, parenting, finances, etc.)