2 Introduction What is the point of life? Why are we here? i.e., What is life’s purpose?Have you asked yourself . . .? People of all cultures have been asking these questions since the beginning of time. I certainly have.
3 Introduction Life has no purpose apart from God. Why? Analogy of a phone / coin flipConclusion: If life has a purpose, it must come from God and his purpose for making us.I want to start with a bold claim, but one of which I am very confident. / What’s the purpose of a phone? Getting “tails”? If something just happens by accident, it has no purpose. Philosophical Atheists agree. Just conclude life has no purpose.
4 Does It Matter If Life Has a Purpose? “No” #1: “Life doesn’t have or need a purpose”“‘What is the meaning of life?’ is a stupid question. Life just exists. You say to yourself, ‘I can’t accept that I mean nothing so I have to find the meaning of life so that I shouldn’t mean as little as I know I do.’ I see life as a dance. Does a dance have to have a meaning? You’re dancing because you enjoy it.” – Jackie MasonJackie Mason is a Jewish comedian who is an atheist.
5 Does It Matter If Life Has a Purpose? “No” #2: “I can find meaning for my life apart from a purpose for life.”“I can find meaning for my life through work, sports, family, friends.”
6 Does It Matter If Life Has a Purpose? “Yes” #1: If we were made for a purpose, we can expect God will judge us according to the reason he made us.“we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Romans 14:10How do you evaluate a broken phone that does not work? God will judge us according to why he made us, not according to our own goals. Heavy, scary idea. “Don’t think this will happen.” But that’s a gamble. Even aside from this, other reasons…
7 Does It Matter If Life Has a Purpose? “Yes” #2: When we live for what we want, satisfaction often escapes us.“Life has been good to me. I’ve had great success, many friends, prestige, a great wife and a beautiful family. And yet sometimes I sit at home in my mansion and get so lonely. I used to wonder why so many rich people commit suicide—now I know.” - O. J. SimpsonO.J.-A famous professional football player who got in a lot trouble with the law. Before this, back in the 1980’s, he said He got what most people want, yet found it unsatisfying. Oscar Wilde – “In this life are only 2 tragedies, not getting what you want, and getting it.” Lack of satisfaction in getting what we want can be a sign we have not been living for what we were made
8 Does It Matter If Life Has a Purpose? “Yes” #3: We can make our own meaning for life, but it will never be a lasting meaning.Work, Sports, Sex, Etc.-Eventually can’t doFamily, Community, world population, Future generations –All will die some dayAll this raises the question of, “How could we have a lasting meaning for our lives?” . . .
9 Does It Matter If Life Has a Purpose? “Yes” #3: We can make our own meaning for life, but it will never be a lasting meaning.To have a lasting meaning, we need God.My storyI was 17, driving back from a vacation and I was thinking that my life was going well and I was getting what I wanted, but it all seemed empty. Though I had been keeping a distance from God, I wanted a lasting meaning; so I turned to him.
10 How Can We Know Life’s Purpose? Can we figure it out ourselves?Only one reliable way I know—God tells usThe Bible claims it is a record of God speaking to us. What does it say?There is no direct statement like, “The reason God made people and the world is this . . .”However, scattered throughout many parts of the Bible, God’s reason seems to emerge from what he says.
11 Made for God’s Glory “. . . everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glorywhom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7Will explain where this idea comes from in the Bible, explain what it means, and what it does not mean. / The only place in the Bible where God says WHY he made someone. “For my glory.” He is referring to Israel here. Does this apply to more though?
12 Made for God’s Glory“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” - Numbers 14:21God is speaking and he says that one day the earth shall be filled with his glory. He is working to this end. He says the certainty that this will happen is as certain as the fact that he lives.
13 Made for God’s GlorySo, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God Corinthians 10:31This is addressed to Christians, and it is all encompassing. Whatever you do: eat, drink, go to classes, hang out with friends, complete at PhD, do it to the glory of God.
14 Made for God’s GloryThe majority of the books of the Bible plainly state a desire that God be glorified.Conclusion?“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” – Westminster Shorter CatechismI only mentioned 3 statements from the Bible, but / WSC written hundreds of years ago to teach the Christian faith. First point is this. “Enjoy God” is important because we were made to get our satisfaction from glorifying God.
15 What Does This Mean?The word, “glory”, contains the idea of greatness, particularly recognized and honored greatness.E.g., “glory” of a country,. . .sports team,. . .sunset.Like many words, “glory” has a range of meanings. However, the common idea seems to be this.
16 What Does This Mean?People sometimes want to make something great that will be their glory.Artist – paintingArchitect – buildingAuthor – bookParent - childA parent who wants to shower their love and attention on a child so that they can grow up to be a wonderful person.
17 What Does This Mean? Your glory reflects something about who you are. God made people to be a great expression of who he is.Here are some famous “masterpieces” – some “glories”. Each express something different about the one who made them.
18 What Does This Mean?God made us so that our lives would express his glory as we trust in and follow him.“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” -John 15:8God made us to be living expressions of his glory!Jesus is speaking to his disciples. What proves they are his followers is that their lives produce much fruit—love, joy, peace, good works, etc., and THIS glorifies God.
19 What This Does Not Mean1. “God does not have any individual purposes for us”An example of God speaking about an Egyptian king:“But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)God has specific purposes for particular individuals, groups and even nations over different time periods.By implication, I believe he has a plan for each one of us.
20 What This Does Not Mean1. “God does not have any individual purposes for us”However, God’s overall purpose is most important.His individual plan for you depends on if you accept God’s overall purpose or not.When you accept God’s overall purpose, His individual plan involves bringing you in line with his overall purpose.When you reject God’s overall purpose, His individual plan is either to turn you around or, knowing you won’t do that, use you to advance his overall purpose in others.Do you really want to be a living expression of God’s glory? Yes – God’s plan for you is focused on making you a person who expresses his glory and joy. No – If won’t change, God uses you in developing people who will, like he did with Egyptian king.
21 What This Does Not Mean2. “God has no other purposes for humanity and for his followers.”Examples in the Bible: To do good works, manage the earth well, relate with other believers as in a loving family…However, these are all to be done in order to fulfill an ultimate overall purpose of expressing God’s glory.When they are not done like this, disharmony and conflicts result!When people put themselves in the center instead of God, conflicts always arise.
22 Review Life only has a purpose if we were made by God for a purpose. We can only know life’s purpose if God tells us what it is.According to the Bible, people were made for God’s glory. This means being living expressions of his glory— reflecting his nature, greatness and joy.God has other purposes and plans for people, but they all center on developing a people who will be his glory.Matters – Judged according to fulfilling our purpose, don’t find satisfaction with own purposes, and no lasting meaningWant to end with a practical question.
23 How Can We Fulfill Life’s Purpose? I will mention 4 basic steps.
24 1. Recognize We Have All Failed We have all turned to our own purposes, not caring about God’s purpose for usWe seek our own glory ORWe just want to be left alone to do our own thingsOur rebelling against God has corrupted us, and our lives express brokenness and disharmony—not God’s glory“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” - Romans 3:23In Chinese, character for “sin” is the same as “crime”. But the Bible’s meaning is much bigger. It includes crimes, but also includes things like envy, anger, and selfishness. It’s putting ourselves in the center instead of God. As a result, we don’t express God’s glory.
25 2. Look to Our One Good Model “Christ, who is the image of God.” - 2 Corinthians 4:4“He is the radiance of the glory of God” – Hebrews 1:3“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” - John 17:4The Bible says people were made in the image of God. However, after people turned away from God, no one is described as being God’s image, with one exception. / When he was on earth, he made it his goal to glorify God with his life, and he succeeded!
26 3. Know Christ Wants to Save Us “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – 1 Timothy 1:15“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” – Luke 19:10To save us is to forgive us and to work to change us so we can fulfill life’s purpose.The Bible describes us as sinner and as lost—not following our true purpose & often unaware of it. Save = rescue.That we can become people who express God glory and find great joy and satisfaction in doing this.
27 4. Trust in and Follow Christ So He Can Make You More Like Himself “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” - Revelation 3:20As we receive him and follow him, he makes us more like himself. We then increasingly express God’s glory through our lives and actions—and we fulfill our purpose!Christ takes the initiative and knocks at the doors of our lives. If we receive him, he says he will come in and we can have a relationship with him.
28 Discussion QuestionsWhy do you think people across the world think about life’s purpose?Do you think this is an important concern? Why?What do you think about this idea that life’s purpose is to express God’s glory? Do you have any questions about this?