S-1166 01/31/10 4SAC/3C (O) #5; (S) #507; L.S. #370; #376; #16; (C) #283
Texts: Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13, Luke 4:31-44
Theme: “Purpose Driven” (Luke 4:42-44).
Question: “What is your purpose in life?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Fourth Sunday after Epiphany is from the Gospel Lesson: “And when it was day, He [Jesus] departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought Him and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them, but He said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’ And He was preaching in the synagogues of Judea” (Luke 4:42-44).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved Rick Warren senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, wrote a book in 1995 titled “The Purpose Driven Church.” This book is intended to help pastors and other Christian leaders be more effective in leading their churches. In 2002, Warren wrote a follow up called “The Purpose Driven Life” as a 40-day devotional book. This has become an international best seller, with over 30 million copies in print. This book took the same five purposes and focused on the life of the individual Christian.
According to Rick Warren’s web site: “This devotional booklet invites Christians to embark on a journey of discovery during 40 Days of Purpose and answer life’s most fundamental question: ‘What on earth am I here for?’ This intensive campaign has changed millions of lives all over the world, moving people to live out God’s five eternal purposes.
He continues: “Nothing brings more glory to God than having His people fulfill His purposes here on earth. The goal is not to simply take your congregation through the campaign but to compel your members toward Kingdom work. As the Body of Christ, we must all work together ‘to serve God’s purpose in our generation’ (Acts 13:36).
Even though Rick Warren’s book starts out with the words, “It’s not about you,” meaning the life that God created us to live is one driven by His purposes, not our own desires. A person who goes through this 40 day campaign can’t help but begin to think of what He is doing with/to God.
If you paid close attention, you would have heard the words, MUST, GOAL, NEEDS AND WORK a person should be doing for God. Let me be frank by saying to you Rick Warren’s books are a terrible and dangerous message to all Christians even if it sold over 30 million copies for these two reasons: 1. He doesn’t know the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what that Gospel accomplishes in the lives of the believer. And 2. It is ALL ABOUT WHAT I HAVE TO DO FOR GOD. It is law oriented and man-centered work
Today’s text speaks of another purpose which is not what am I doing for God, but what God in love is doing for me through His Son, Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading before us today, the evangelist Luke tells us of the purpose for which Christ came to earth—to preach the Good News—to bring about healing, deliverance, forgiveness and peace
Christ was sent to destroy the works of the devil. In His preaching, healing, teaching, Jesus manifested the purpose to which He was sent. The devil even knows and believes that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God, is sent of God; to accomplish the work of God.
The purpose of Christ’s coming was the breaking of satan’s power. Both the enemy that is conquered shows his malice and shows His over-ruling grace the Conqueror and Christ.
What is Jesus’ purpose for coming?
- To bring the rule of God’s Grace in Christ to all people.
- To assure them of His forgiveness and redemption
- To bring about salvation and eternal life.
- To be loved by Him.
- To open their eyes and hearts that He is the heaven-sent Messiah, the freeyer of the Captives and the slaves of sin and death and hell
- To be partakers with Him and His Kingdom.
You see we are not subject of God’s Kingdom, but partakers of it. Jesus came to earth for one purpose and one purpose only to deliver man and to proclaim the Good News of our salvation. This He did on the cross of Calvary.
For this reason in the reading today we hear Him tell how He must go to other places to preach the Good News. Jesus will go on to other towns and Preach, He will! Along the way, He will miraculously liberate and compassionately renew those who hear His preaching. And finally this journey of preaching will end up with His arms outstretched; wearing a crown of thorns on a Roman cross on a pulpit we call Calvary. This Gospel, this Good News, now from this pulpit in Armour reaches our ears, our hearts and accomplishes the same task. We are forgiven. We are renewed. We are FREE!
Yes, dear fellow redeemed, Christ’s purpose in coming was to take you into His Kingdom to free you, to love you and rejoice over you as a groom rejoices over his bride. Our purpose in life is to be loved by Him who is love—Jesus Christ. This love is rooted and grounded in Him and not in us. For the truth needs to be told, that it is not we who loved Him, but He who loved us first – so our love and all actions, all behavior, all service that we render is always and only the fruit of His having first loved us.
And so that brings us to the next part of our sermon. What is our purpose in life? Not like Rick Warren’s idea in that we have to do something for God. NO! But rather, to be loved by God in Christ. Your purpose in life is to be loved by Him who is LOVE and the Author of life. That is why He came to give the certainty YOU ARE HIS FOR TIME AND FOR ETERNITY.
What is the fruit of that love? His Incarnation given to and lived out in us as we humbly go in His name doing His will and sharing the Good News with one and all; to the weak in faith to strengthen them, and for the lost to show them the light of the Gospel.
Even in the Old Testament reading for today, we see by the Divine ordinance of God, the prophet Jeremiah’s purpose is clearly identified before He was born—that purpose is to speak the Word, utter the Word and make the Word known to all people. That Word was placed on his lips by God Himself.
Today, we will install new officers who have been chosen by God’s saints to begin serving on different boards. Remember you have been chosen for one purpose and one purpose only—to serve the Lord and His Church. This is the fruit of the Good News being active in your lives and words and works.
People of God, chosen and beloved don’t forget that you are God’s beloved child. Don’t forget that you have been redeemed. Don’t forget that you have been purchased with a price—the blood of the Lamb—Jesus. Don’t forget that you are not a slave in His Kingdom but a partaker of His. Soon, very soon you will partake of the fruit of this love.
Therefore, realize this: The fruit of Jesus’ amazing love is found in the cross, the font, the table with bread and wine on it. This is love in action for you. Jesus reveals His love not simply in words but in deed. Look again at the cross and see His purpose for you. Here in His love, we see clearly and concretely the fruit of that love – service! When you receive His Divine Forgiveness, you are forgiven, and now you are free to serve as freely and fully as you have been loved, that is, with thanksgiving!
What a blessing and a privilege the Master Jesus Christ gives us today, to know our purpose in life—to be loved by Him forever. Having been loved, truly loved by the Author of Love and Life, we arise from this vineyard and go forth in His name and by His authority and preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to others. We do this not for our glory, but for His. After all He is the One who is using us to spread His wings of love to all. Amen.
Now the peace of God…