Grace for a Purpose Driven Life Chapters 5 & 6

January 24, 2004

“Grace for a Purpose Driven Life” – Week 3

 

Introduction:

1.  We’re beginning the 3rdweek of our ABF series:  Grace for a Purpose Driven Life

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

2.  This study fits into the overall church theme, which is . . . ??  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)

3.  God wants our lives to be driven by a purpose – a REASON to do what you do or a CAUSE to live for everyday of your life!

  • 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.

Input:  For those who have been here for the past two weeks, what have you learned?  What have we been talking about the past 2 weeks?

* Brief Review of the last two weeks (4 chapters)

1.  It All Starts With God

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

> as you search the Word and see what God says about that issue!

2. You Are No Accident – God has you here on earth for a purpose (His purpose!)

>  You exist because God wanted you to exist – He is the Creator and Ordainer of life, therefore, life is about fulfilling HIS purpose!

3.  What Drives Your Life?

- We are all driven by something -- Many people are driven by guilt / resentment and anger / fear / materialism / approval!

-  We’ve talked about the benefits of purpose-driven living

>  Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life – it simplifies and focuses your life – it provides a motivation your life . . .

> And one of the most important benefits in knowing your purpose in life is that it can prepare you for eternity!

- Both in the sense of salvation (heaven/hell) and sanctification (the account you give at the Judgment Seat of Christ)

4.  Man Was Made to Last Forever

-  Man is an eternal being – a man/woman is going to live somewhere . . . forever!

-  Today, we’re moving into chps. 5 & 6 – the title of our study:  Seeing Life From God’s View

-  Begin our time with a question . . .

Input: What metaphors does the Bible use to describe the Christian life?

  • 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.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
  • Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
  • Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you.

  I.  Life on Earth Is a TEST.

- Let me ask you a question:  Does God ‘test’ people?

- Answer is YES – in the sense of proving the genuiness of their faith, but not to the point of tempting them to sin

  • James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

-  God is NOT trying to get people to sin – he’s not ‘baiting their hook’

- You could put it this way:  Satan tempts us – God tests us!

A.  God tests people for a purpose!

- We know that because of the following verses:

  • 1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Input:  Examples of people that God put to the test (not in the sense of tempting them to sin, but proving the genuiness of their faith.

  • Abraham – offering his son Isaac
  • Jacob – working 7 extra years to get Rachael his wife
  • Joseph – ended up in prison due to the lies of Potiphar’s wife
  • Ester – entered in to the kingdom for such a time as this (save the Jews from death)
  • Daniel – in the lion’s den (one man referred to this as “the lions in Daniel’s den!”)

“Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather!  He even watches the simplest actions . . . “ – p. 43

Input: What tests are we certain to face during our Christian lives?

> Major changes, job complications, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, physical illness, people you respect fail you!

“When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant I your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development.  Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God.  Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don’t even notice.  But all of them have eternal implications.” – p. 43

B.  God provides HOPE and GRACE to achieve His purpose.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 (1) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and (2)God is faithful, (3)who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, (4)but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, (5)so that you will be able to endure it.

Input: How does 1 Corinthians 10:13 give us hope during trials/testings?

* 5 key principles from the verse:

#1:  Common problems, common solutions

#2:  God is faithful – He will is always there to help; never forsakes you

#3:  Won’t give you more than you can bear – may seem like it, but it’s not

#4:  “with the temptation” not apart from it, He will provide a way of escape

#5:  Endurance – a military term, to stand behind when all have fled – not to quit!

  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Input:  Paul ‘bragged’ about his weaknesses (“thorn in the flesh” – possibly an eyesight problem or other problems) for what purpose?

“that the power of Christ may dwell in me” – that the power of God could be seen in his life, that the strength of his faith would be a testimony to others about the greatness of His God!

- Secondly, another metaphor the Bible uses to describe the Christian life is that . . .

II.  Life on Earth Is a TRUST.

A.  We are stewards of what God has given to us.

Input: What are the first two principles of stewardship?

#1:  God owns everything; we own nothing.

  • Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.

#2:  God entrusts us with everything we have

  • 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Point:  Because God owns everything, and entrusts us with what we have – we should take good care of it!

ILL:  Looking for a new car (Honda died) – using Ken Sherwin’s mom’s van (It’s not mine, so I want to take good care of it!

B.  Because of that trust, we should fulfill His purpose for giving it to us!

- We should be trustworthy people!

  • 1 Corinthians 4:2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

C.  God will reward us for being good stewards of that trust.

- Parable of the steward – Matthew 25

  • Matthew 25:21 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”

*  3 rewards are promised:

1.  You will be given God’s approval – “well done, good and faithful slave.”

2.  You will be given a promotion – “I will put you in charge of many things.”

3.  You will be honored with a celebration – “enter into the joy of your master.’

Point:  God entrusts us with material possessions to teach us to trust Him and reveal our true character.

Input:  What is the ‘connection’ between what we do with our ‘treasures’ and what is going on in our heart?

  • Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Luke 16:11 "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”

[TAKE SOME TIME AND DISCUSS THIS NEXT Q – this is where the ‘body’ can ‘admonish’ and ‘encourage’ one another!!!!]

Input:  What trials/tests have you faced in life, and what did it teach about yourself and/or about God?

[various answers]

III.  Life Is a Temporary ASSIGNMENT.

- The Bible makes reference to this principle in a number of places:

  • Psalm 39:4 LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.
  • Job 8:9 For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, because our days on earth are as a shadow.
  • Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days [life is limited; we’re not going to live forever on this earth], that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
  • Hebrews 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.

- To make the best use of your life, you need to keep two things in mind:

A.  Compared with eternity, life is extremely brief.

  • 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.

B.  Earth is only a temporary residence.

1.  God talks about us being aliens, pilgrims, foreigner, strangers, visitor, and travelers.

  • Psalm 119:19 I am a stranger in the earth . . .

[Yellow Card – hand these out to each person – like the “Green Card” (a visitor registration card for someone out of the county, it allows them to work, even though they are not citizen of the U.S.)

- The yellow card reminds us to be CAREFUL or CAUTIOUS along our journey, and to remember that we are not of this world – Psalm 39:4

  • Psalm 39:4 LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.
  • Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2.  We are ambassadors for Christ to this world (2 Cor. 5:20)

>  To fulfill our mission, we have to have contact with the culture and relate to them, but not be conformed to it

  • 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

“Compared with other centuries, life has never been easier for much of the Western world.  We are constantly entertained, amused, and catered to.  With all the fascinating attractions, mesmerizing media, and enjoyable experiences available today, it’s easy to forget that the pursuit of happiness is not what life is about.  Only as we remember that life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment will the appeal of these things lose their grip on our lives.” – p. 49

Input: What are some possible thoughts that could go through your mind 2 seconds after you’ve been in heaven?

> Let’s keep that in mind TODAY and be diligent to do the will of God from the heart so we are prepared when we get to heaven!