Today my message is entitled “What is Your Purpose in Life?” Many people wonder about the purpose of life. Why are we here on this planet? Without purpose, life is meaningless. So, everyone is looking for purpose in their lives. Some people’s purpose is to make as much money as possible. Other’s purpose is to find their true love and live happily ever after. Yet others seek to find purpose in a satisfying career or in raising a family. Most of those purposes are worthy goals in life. Today, we’re going to look at two foundational purposes that God has for every person in life.
Acts 17:26-27 (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
These verses tell us God’s purpose for every human being that He created. Our initial purpose is to seek God and to find Him. To find God is to become a child of God, a member of His family. Finding God in your life does not happen for anyone automatically. In order to find God, you must seek Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV) You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
This verse from the prophet Jeremiah gives us some more insight into seeking God. In fact, this verse is an amazing promise that everyone who seeks God with all their heart will find Him. This promise is God’s promise to everyone that He has ever created. In order to find God, you must seek Him and you must seek with all your heart. Once a person finds God in their lives and becomes a child of God, what now becomes their main purpose?
The Bible teaches that there are five purposes in life for the believer: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. All are important and should be part of a believer’s life, but I believe that one should be our main purpose. When you look at the five purposes, we will be able to do four out of the five in heaven. Which one can we only do on earth? Evangelism – reaching the lost will not happen in heaven, so I believe it is to be our main focus on earth.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
This verse is talking about when Jesus will return. It is saying the Jesus is not slow in coming back, He has a plan. He is being patient, waiting for more people to repent and be saved, rather than perish. In other words, Jesus is not waiting to return until we have better worship, fellowship, discipleship or ministry. He is waiting to return until the last person in His plan repents and is saved. Reaching the lost with salvation is the main purpose of believers in this life. So, let’s look at the purpose of people who do not yet know Jesus.
Luke 18:35-36 (ESV) As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.
As Jesus approached Jericho, there was a blind beggar by the side of the road. In those days, if you were blind, you were not able to work. So, the only way to support oneself was to beg and ask people for money.The noise of the crowd following Jesus prompted the blind man to ask what was going on.
Luke 18:37-38 (ESV) They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When the beggar heard that Jesus was passing by, his response was immediate. He cried or shouted out Jesus, Son of David. It is clear that this man had heard of Jesus before and knew that He healed people The blind man addressed Jesus as Son of David. This was a title for the Messiah in the Old Testament. He called on Jesus to show him mercy in his desperate state.
Luke 18:39 (ESV) And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Some in the crowd following Jesus told the blind man to stop calling out to Jesus. But he would not stop and called even louder, Son of David, have mercy on me.We see here a persistent seeking after Jesus that would not stop, despite opposition. He continued to call out until Jesus stopped.
Luke 18:40-41 (ESV) And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”
Jesus heard the blind man’s cry and asked someone to bring the beggar to Him. Jesus asked him the intriguing question, “What do you want me to do for you?” We might have thought it should be obvious to Jesus what the problem was. Jesus knew full well that the blind man need his sight. Yet Jesus wanted to blind man to be specific in his request. Not just for mercy, but specifically for recovery of his sight.
Luke 18:42-43 (ESV) And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Jesus gave the command to be healed. A method that His disciples also followed in healing and we should consider as well. Why was the man healed? Jesus said it was because of his faith. The blind man believed that Jesus, the Messiah, had both the power and the will to heal him, and he was healed instantly. What was the outcome of the blind man’s seeking of Jesus? He began to follow Jesus and continued to praise God. Likewise, the people who saw the miracle praised God as well. The blind man sought to follow Jesus with faith.
The application of this story is two-fold. First of all, the blind man is an example of how people who seek God find Him. It doesn’t matter where a person is at in the world, it doesn’t matter if they have a Bible or not or whether they’ve heard the Gospel from another person. People who seek God with all their hearts find Him.
A common question posed to believers is what about all the people in the world who have never heard the Gospel. Will they be saved or lost. Some people assume they will be lost and don’t think that is fair. The Bible is full of stories of people in pagan nations who sought God and found Him. In closed Muslim countries today, people are becoming believers when Jesus appears to them in dreams and visions. Those who seek God with faith will find Him.
The second application of the story is to believers. Meeting the needs of people with the love of God opens their hearts to the Gospel. We’ll talk more about that in the next story.
Luke 19:1-2 (ESV) He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.
As Jesus continued His journey, He is going to meet a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was not just a tax collector, he was a chief tax collector. That meant that he was very rich and hated by all the Jewish people for cheating them and working for the Romans.
Luke 19:3-4 (ESV) And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.
Notice that Zacchaeus as well was seeking to see Jesus. He was rather short and so could not get a good view with the crowd in front. So, he actually ran ahead and climbed a tree to get a view of Jesus. This was certainly not a dignified thing for a chief tax collector to do. But he as serious about seeking after Jesus.
Luke 19:5-6 (ESV) And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.
When Jesus got close to the tree with Zacchaeus, he looked up and saw him. Jesus spoke to Zacchaeus and told him to hurry and come down from the tree. Jesus had invited Himself to stay at Zacchaeus/ house. Zacchaeus was overjoyed, took Jesus to his home and served him there.
Luke 19:7-8 (ESV) And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
Many of the people in the crowd grumbled because they hated Zacchaeus and considered him the worst of sinners. Zacchaeus spoke to Jesus, calling Him Lord, indicating that He was following Him. He had decided to take two actions to atone for his past sins. He was going to take half of his wealth and give it to the pour.Of the remaining half, he would restore four times to everyone he had cheated. That would certainly not be an easy task and would take most of his remaining wealth.
Luke 19:9-10 (ESV) And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus pronounced that Zacchaeus was saved, he was a spiritual son of Abraham. The story of Zacchaeus closes with Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth. Jesus came to the earth to seek and to save the lost. Last week, we talked about the story of the rich young ruler who was not willing to give up his riches. Jesus said that is was very difficult for the rich to be saved. But now we have an account of God doing the impossible, a very rich person being saved. Jesus and we must seek to save the lost.
The people in the crowd around Zacchaeus had written him off. They considered him a sinner who no hope of salvation. All too often, we write people off in our own minds. We think that certain people are too great sinners or not interested in spiritual things, so we don’t seek for them to be saved. God desires to help each one of us as believers to seek the lost around us. Even those we think are lost causes.
How did Jesus seek after Zacchaeus in this short story? He noticed Zacchaeus, even though he as hiding in a tree.He invited himself to Zacchaeus’ home to show his value and build a relationship with him. How can we seek after the lost around us? First of all, we can notice them.
The are three types of people around us. Some we know are saved, some we know are not saved and some we don’t know where they stand. Make a list of five people you know who are not saved or you aren’t sure. Begin to pray for these people daily that they would be saved and God would use you. Look for opportunities to build a relationship with them. To invite them to church, to answer their questions. As you do, you will be fulfilling your purpose in life, just as Jesus did. Seek to save the lost.
The first purpose of every person in the world is to seek after God and find Him. That is something each of us can pray for those we know who are not saved. Pray that they would begin to seek after God and that God would use you in their lives. Seeking to save the lost is to be a priority for every believer. There is no greater joy than seeing someone come to Jesus and get saved. May God help each one of us and our church help more people find salvation.