Ecclesiastes 8. 14 to end. NIV|
Why did you come here this morning? Was it by the flesh–did you come because you had to, as an example to your children? Maybe to show off a new outfit? Or were you moved by the spirit and did you come to remember the sacrifice of Christ? Do you feel thankful? It may be you have things to do as soon as you get out of here. I know from personal experience all those motivations, but today let’s go beyond petty human feelings.
Let’s examine the Big Question. It involves taking a test–not multiple choice, but an essay. No pencil and paper? Well, you can take the test at home–honor system–no books, save one. And the question is, "What is the purpose of my life–the goals I’ve set for myself?" So let’s think about it here today in this class. To give you a head start, we’ll begin with first things. How did I get here? Did I ask to be born? I refuse to feel guilty just for being alive, but don’t I need to have a purpose with some goals? I don’t know--, but I do know–I do think, so I am. Some things make me happy and some things make me sad. We know physical pleasure, e.g. eating and physical pain–we all know of that. I also know of emotional pleasures and pain, love and hate, manifested physically. So am I just another animal? No. Because I have loftier purposes–to find a life companion and try to make her happy; to raise a family, to provide a home.
A psychologist would say, "Don’t fool yourself. All that is just an elaborate way we have devised to satisfy the instinct of self preservation.". But look, self preservation is not a goal or purpose, it’s innate-- constitutional, if you will. You can’t stop it or be rid of it, so to speak. But there must be something else beside the animal state. Can it be found in what we call the conscience? This ability to determine right from wrong , called natural law , discoverable by human reason and the innate moral sense is described in Romans 2. 14 where the Gentiles who don’t have the written law, do by nature what is right; they are a law unto themselves. Thus we see man who seeks the knowledge by which he can help others, for example, developing medicines, vaccines, etc. There is a willingness in many to help without the possibility of reward.
Let’s look at the problem of life’s purpose in another way. With over 6 billion people on the earth now–many before and many after–are these human beings any different from bees, for example–wonderfully organized to make hives and honey? One slight difference: honey and hives and bees have remained unchanged through the ages. With humans, not so. Humans can make better lives, better honey, better life spans. Humans have the unique ability to improve life. But that’s all they can do, improve it. . They can’t make the earth perfect and they can’t make man perfect. But look, mirabile dictum! They can conceive of it in what we call truth, the ultimate good, called God.
Can you know God? We’re told His ways are past finding out. What is possible is that you can be known by Him because he has revealed to you some of His purpose. ( Isaiah 45. 22 ): Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.
So God has fed us, will we eat? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom 8. 31, 32).
He has called. Will we answer? Does our purpose and goal abide in His grace?
Fear not, little flock. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12. 32) These are the promises that He has made to us: immortal life in the Kingdom.
And as for perfection? Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1Cor 15. 51 - 52).
From the beginning, God chose Abraham who believed God and His purposes. Abraham took hold. He pulled up his tent stakes and left for the unknown land of Canaan and the Promised Land. And God will fulfill His purposes through Abraham, the consummation yet to come. Are you willing to subordinate your own purposes as did Abraham, and take hold of God’s purposes-- to pull up stakes and be led to the Kingdom? In this land, by God’s grace, perfect men and women will inhabit a perfect earth, all written down in the book I mentioned earlier, the word of God.