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Brand New Purpose

Daniel Thompson - 5/26/2019

[Manuscript/Notes]

Our purpose is to be fully alive.

Hey, my name is Daniel and I feel fortunate to be spending today with you all. I see a lot of familiar faces, but the backstory on me if your don’t know me is that Lakeside is my church home. I surrendered to Jesus and was baptized August 1, 1999—our last Sunday at Lakeside Christian Church’s old Rita Rd. Location. I was felt called to… was affirmed in… and set apart for local church ministry at Lakeside. God’s grace has consistently met me here.

Being a part of Lakeside has been so foundational to me because at every stage of my life, my heart, mind, and core relationships have all been defined by this community. For that I am fortunate. And it was within this community that some core questions really began to pry at me.

The unmistakable questions following me everywhere I went—especially as a child—were simple but profound… what is eternal life? and how do I attain it? These are incredibly important questions.

Here’s what I’ve found however. If you’re anything like me—once you become convinced of the perilous state of humanity left to its own devices—these questions can occupy a place of dread within us. They shift toward darker questions…Am I really saved? How do I avoid eternal death? What if I’m wrong about all this? What if I mess up along the way? … we could go on for the rest of today if we wanted to. 

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

New. Here. Now.

We’re working through this series called Brand New You. We’re learning that far from simply changing our status from lost to found… the life that Jesus Christ offers will completely overhaul everything about you. That is… If you allow that to take place. We’ve been learning how our heart… the guiding center of who we are… our minds… the place where we process the ideas and images before our minds eye… and our relationships… our families and even our enemies… the Newness Jesus offers will overhaul all of that.

Now I’ve always had good answers for “What is eternal life”, and “how do I attain it?” But I’ve had a harder time with other questions… If I’m a New Creation…”What really is my purpose… here. Now?” and “is that purpose really compelling enough to surrender my everything to Jesus?”

FIRST-Light – My entire adult life I’ve served in the local church. But here recently I stepped away from serving in the church. I still think that’s what I want to do with my life, and I’m more compelled by Jesus than ever before, but I just don’t work at a church office from 9-5 M-F right now. So for the first time in my life I have stepped into the non churchy workforce.

Right now I’m assembling flashlights for Brad Owen’s brother in law… And I have been learning to solder… Biggest lesson so far… an 850 degree soldering iron doesn’t feel great on bare skin.

So I’ve been forced into the age old question again… What is my purpose? If I’m not my job… my role within my family… my role in the community… etc..

Today I want to ask you the same question. What’s your purpose? do you live to work… work to live… work hard so you can play hard? Love so you’ll be loved in return… I could go on.

There are a lot of competing narratives out there for why we should live… so what’s our answer? I have always been more confident in the forever questions… But what about those immediate questions about my life and purpose… here and now.

What does Newness look like? Why does my life matter? What is my purpose? I’m sure no one else ever think about this… I want to suggest that it’s hard to understand our purpose when we come at it with a “me-centered” perspective. Because the question of what’s my purpose has to fall within a bigger question (at least for those of us who claim Jesus).

What is God up to? If you zoom in and take inventory of the New Testament, you’ll surely notice a man named Paul… He wrote most of the letters of the New Testament. Paul’s personal experience with Jesus reshaped the way he saw everything and his life’s purpose. He beings to see that God is up to far more than we ever expected.

You’d think by the way that we talk about eternal life that God is the most concerned with saving ME and you, Individually, as paramount importance. But that may be an exercise in putting the proverbial cart ahead of the horse. So listen to what Paul says about what God is up to: 7 In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:7-10)

I want to be clear. God loves you so incredibly much. God embodied Himself in the human form of His Son Jesus, at a specific time and a specific place. And Jesus succumbed to death to redeem and restore you. That is profound, but that’s a beautiful part of an even more inspiring whole. In Jesus, God isn’t simply saving you…

He’s bringing unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Eternal life is about more than you and me. Eternal life in its fullest more beautiful sense… is about God bringing EVERYTHING back together.

What I am saying is Our Purpose falls within God’s Purpose. When we understand this, things begin to change. Does that make us less important? By no means! It just means that we are valued and cherished so much by God that He would include us in His plan to redeem and restore EVERYTHING. We’re integral to God’s plan to bring all things together in Jesus.

But we’re part of the picture. Not the entire picture.

I used to lie down in my bed at night as a kid… convinced that Jesus was who He said He was… but legitimately confused as to what I was supposed to do with my life because of that. And I don’t think I’m alone. If you’ve been following Jesus for any length of time I’m sure you’ve had similar thoughts.

The best answer I really had at the time was to behave differently. To avoid bad stuff—whatever that bad stuff was— out of sincere devotion to the Jesus who loved me and died for me. But again… as pure as that desire was… it was placing the cart before the horse. It focused on my role set apart from God’s story, rather than within God’s story.

After that new creation line that we shared earlier… Paul continued on to place that within the bigger picture… He said this: 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

Our purpose falls within God’s purpose. ALL THIS IS FROM GOD… He reconciled us… and God gave us a ministry (purpose).

You can really use those words as synonymous. If you’re new in Christ… and you place your purpose within God’s purpose… you don’t have to twiddle your thumbs or stare at your ceiling at night figuring out what your purpose is. Because God didn’t just save us from something… He gave us something in the process.

From a purpose standpoint… I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. In a lot of ways, I still don’t know. The idea of making it through 12th grade and college to work for the rest of my life and lose summer break never really seemed to compelling to me. So I did what all good Christian kids at youth conferences do. I committed to serving in Christian Ministry! What better way to serve God on the daily!? I figured if I had to work until I was 65 or older I might as well work for him!

Now I’m still convinced that God called me to serve in Christian Ministry. BUT, I now understand that my imagination of God’s purpose for my life far undershot the reality of what it could be.

Ministry is a churchy word that we often associate with a person that sits in a room studying the Bible for the sake of giving a talk. That’s always what I thought.

Growing up, I would come to Lakeside every week listening to Jon preach and think to myself… no joke… if only I could be like Jon. If only I could know as much about the Bible as Jon and have a job like Jon… well… I could know for sure that I was saved.

When I grew up and worked at Lakeside for 2 years… I knew I had to reevaluate things after Jon prank called me through one of his alter egos asking to pray for his fake cat…

Ministry is not just a churchy word. Ministry is work. At its root it’s the idea of administering something on behalf of God. It means working alongside Him. Of course that includes the unique distinction of people who work in the church office. But the ministry of reconciliation is an everyone work. It’s an everyone Job.

Reconciliation is a job that Jesus did, and that we get to be a part of as a result.

In Jesus we have Reconciliation with God

(v20) Jesus lived and died so we could be one with God…. So we could be the people God created us to be. And so we mirror this. We embody reconciliation with God and share that message…

But it goes further than this. In Jesus we have Reconciliation with Others

(Ministry of Reconciliation) Sometimes we imagine the only thing we can do once we know Jesus is tell other people about Jesus… That’s essential by the way.

But it genuinely interests me that a lot of the time we see following Jesus as detached from our relationship with other humans. So let’s set the record straight. Our brand new purpose in Jesus means that God wants us to have relationships with others that are full. Our view of our family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, even our enemies… these relationships are reformed in Jesus because we understand that if God wants to rescue everyone… He wants us to have relationships with others that point to this reality.

Finally, in Jesus we have… Reconciliation that is complete

What does it mean for God to reconcile the world to Himself? I always assumed this was shorthand for “all the people of the world.”

But I want you to let your imagination run wild… what would it look like if God was really in the business of restoring all things to the beautiful purpose He created this world for. In a mysterious way… A world where nothing is wasted. A world where there is harmony. A world that is a glorious reflection of the God who created it. Would that reshape your perception of your life on this planet in any significant ways?

Transition to point 3: So we know that if we want to understand our purpose it needs to fall within God’s purpose. From that point we’ve begun to see what that work looks like. But the final question is how. How do you actually live out that purpose?

A lot of people consider Paul’s letter to the Roman church his most famous. And what’s notable is he spends 2/3rds of the letter talking about what God has been up to for forever. How God made everything, saw it through the turmoil of human rebellion, and provided a way for complete redemption, restoration and reconciliation through Jesus.

It’s only after painting that massive picture that Paul wants to share how we can live out our purpose within God’s purpose: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

Because Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient we can give a sacrifice that is fully alive. And I’m not sure if we’ve scratched the surface of how profound this is. Because of Jesus, not all sacrifices die.

When Jesus died, He didn’t just save us from death. He saved us to a full life. This won’t mean smooth sailing at every corner. It won’t eliminate sorrow and pain. And it is true: In some corners of the world there are people who joyfully die because they are so surrendered to God’s purposes. But even with all that considered, a life wrapped up in God’s purposes provides you with access deepest purpose in the universe. God’s renewal and restoration of all things.

This is what God’s purpose is for you.

Followers of Jesus… Our purpose is to be fully alive.

For the curious… Following Jesus provides meaning/purpose now… not just “forever” (no difference) … Try it on for size.

Have you ever considered that following Jesus isn’t a strategy for avoiding poor behavior but a wholesale liberation notice? Have you ever considered that eternal life includes this life? Have you ever considered what it would be like to be so fully caught up in the life that God intends for you to live that the darker questions like whether or not you’re saved lose their grip on you?

In Jesus, it’s possible to be fully alive.

Acts 2:42… Go be the church where you live work and play.

When we are fully alive, our purpose becomes second nature rather than elbow greasy in nature. Instead of striving for behavior modification, you start living for Jesus in every corner of your life.

Where you live (family, roommates… and gasp… neighbors)

Integrate God’s purpose for your life with the people it impacts the most. The folks who are so close to us that it’s easy to gloss over them.

Where you work (co-workers, clients, customers, patients, students, bosses)

We need people who work well. If your life in the marketplace, or even as a professional parent, or even as a retiree or a person with a disability is less than compelling… it will not draw others into our brand new purpose.

Where you “play” (3rd spaces… coffee shop, regular diner, your home away from home… etc.)

Life enjoyment actually finds it’s expression within God’s purpose for your life. We don’t retire or recuperate from His purposes. We joyfully bring them with us wherever we go.

Kintsugi Pottery/Communion

(Acknowledge that a lot of tapping into God’s purposes for our lives gets shrouded in individual brokenness – Pride/Shame)

As Jesus is restoring and renewing all things… through His life, death, Resurrection, and now his rule and reign as King through His Kingdom people… Jesus still meets us and restores us personally.

A teen student of our at Lakeside began to reflect on these ideas of brokenness and renewal as she wrote a piece about Kintsugi pottery and the song Broken Vessels that we sing here at Lakeside. Check this out.

Scripture Verses

2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Ephesians 1:7-10, Romans 12:1-2

Worship Playlist

  • Sound of Adoration
  • Who You Say I Am 
  • Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) 
  • Glory to Glory 

Study Questions

Apply It!

Resources

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