Life is all about relationships; you can't love Christ and not love his people. At the end of our lives, we will be evaluated by our love. Here is a challenge to expose our lives, so that we can grow with the help of others who love us enough to speak truth into our lives, even when that truth may be uncomfortable.
Living Life on Purpose - Week 5
Living Life on Purpose - Week 4
Living Life on Purpose - Week 3
Living Life on Purpose - Week 2
Living Life on Purpose - Week 1
As we work our way through this little series we're doing, Living Life on Purpose is the way we're looking at it or referring to it. I want you to be reading through that book that we have given you guys. You read chapters 8-14 this week which looked back on what we talked about here when we were together last week, which is the fact that God is seeking worshippers, God wants you to worship him, and why that is.
We talked about how the reason that God wants you to worship him is because God has your best interests in mind, not because he is insecure. I had a good conversation with a gentleman after our time last week. He was talking about how desperate he was using the analogy. If you weren't here last week, I'll just catch you up.
I kind of closed with the time I took my kids to a candy store and let them choose anything they wanted. The one who was a little older looked to me and said, "Dad, what would you get?" The one who was a little younger just went right for what was at her eye level, looked bright, looked friendly, fit into her little hand. She grabbed it and it happened to be an Atomic Fireball.
We talked about how, as a Dad, I wanted her to trust me that I could enlighten her and give her a revelation and perspective, some experience about what would be some great candy. Afterwards, he came up to me and he said, "You know, I want my little girl so desperately to listen to me. I wish that I could help her in that same way." I talked to him.
I said, "Why do you want your little girl to worship you in that way, to look to you and say, 'Dad, help me,' when she is 6? Is it because you're insecure and an egomaniac and need the approval of a 6-year-old girl?" He kind of looked at me, "What?" I go, "That's not the reason at all, is it?" He goes, "No." I go, "Well, why is it?" He goes, "Because I love my little girl, and I know I can help her."
I want you guys to understand this. When I tell you that you were created to worship God and God created you to worship him, you need to know that he is not an egomaniac. He is not an insecure God who needs you or anybody else to worship him. He loves you and he wants you to have the perspective that he as the Creator and the Sovereign can give to you that would allow you to experience some sweet things.
So I want to just kind of go back over one thing we ended with last week and set this up because what we're going to talk about now today and the next two Thursdays are some sweet things that if you look to God as your Father, he would have you choose. Some things that he would say, "Look, I know how you're wired. I know what you tend to want to do. I know how you want to isolate.
I know how you want to look strong. I know how you want to present this idea that you can make it on your own. I know how, in your nature, you're wired to not show vulnerability, but I want to show you some sweet things, some things that when you grab them, when you trust me and let my hand guide you someplace, you're going to be glad you looked to me and said, 'Dad, what would you do?'"
Now it doesn't make any sense that you would ever choose some of these things unless you knew that he was a Father who loved you. That's so much of what I'm about right now with my little gals and what the guy in front I talked to last week is about with his and what many of you are about with yours and what your parents, if you don't have any children, were about with you.
They wanted you love them because they loved you and had your best interests in mind. Now there were times as kids we didn't always believe that, but that's what's going on with our parents. Let me just walk you through the first part of this where we look at the stuff we talked about last week. Again, I'll remind you.
God doesn't want us to pay some spiritual tax. That's the first blank, that word tax. God says he delights in obedience more than sacrifice, but it's obedience that's born out of love. He is not looking for a bunch of people… When you think worship, don't think Sunday morning. When you think worship, don't think music. When you think worship, don't think ritualistic showing up, plugging in, doing specific things.
God is not so small that he needs you to jump to every time he says to jump to at a certain location. What God is looking for right there is somebody who worships in spirit and truth. In fact, when you see folks who are "showing up" in places where they're supposed to be engaging with God and they're not engaging at all…
They're daydreaming through whatever is going on before them. They've lost focus and interest in what's happening up front. The words don't have meaning to them. Their heart is not engaged. People who would come in and watch and go, "If that's the kind of relationship that this kid has with that father, then I'm sorry for him, but I'm not going to get dragged into that."
In fact, people who don't worship in spirit and truth, God would much rather say, "I'd rather you not come. I'd rather you go and just make sure you continue to worship what it is you're really worshipping, that you're really engaging your heart in." You don't just show up and be dispassionate about what you're trying to make yourself greater in some other area.
Whether that's your physical fitness or whether it's your fiscal fitness, you're passionate and fully engaged there and people see it give you life and people see it give you energy, though it's going to be fleeting in the end. What God wants is folks who worship him, it says, in spirit and truth. I'll tell you there's a true story about a guy who grew up in Germany a little over 100 years ago.
He was the son of a very devout Jewish man who did not miss… Any time that the temple was open, he was there to worship and he required the same of his kids. This young man, really his father was his hero. He loved the discipline that his father represented and he loved his father's strength and his father's conviction.
Well, things worked out where they had to move from this one town in Germany to another. When they went to this other town in Germany, there was no synagogue and so the dad came home one day and announced they were going to go to the Lutheran church. The son said, "What do you mean we're going to go to the Lutheran church? We're Jewish."
He goes, "We're not anymore." He said, "Well, why not?" He said, "Because it's necessary for us to go here if my business is going to make it in this new town." You can imagine what it did to this young man. He became incredibly disillusioned. He realized his dad didn't have the conviction he thought he had, didn't have the strength, didn't have the spirit to worship God for whom he really was, that he would change for just a moment because it made sense for him economically.
This young man left home, went to England, spent a lot of time in the British museum writing and journaling. He took his writings and his thinking together and he began to create a philosophy of life and a worldview and a system of belief that has since grown to enslave many people. His key thought in this is that religion is for fools, that religion can simply be explained as something that exists for economic reasons.
He wrote a little book, this guy Karl Marx did, that has caused a lot of horror in a lot of people's lives. It all goes back to watching a man who did not worship God in spirit and truth. God wants folks who engage with him with their hearts, who have a relationship with him, and who aren't paying some spiritual tax.
They're not worshipping the God who they have created. They worship him with all their heart and they worship him for who he is. That's the truth part. That's what God is looking for. Now as you move down through your little sheet right here, it talks about how if you want to worship God, you have to stop trying harder to do what he wants and start trusting more.
Here's the illustration I did with my little friend last week as we were talking about some different things and some applications. He said, "I'm trying so hard to worship God. I'm trying so hard to believe that he has my best interests in mind." I said, "Now wait a minute. God is always going to be more anxious for you to know his will than you're going to be to seek it. He is more anxious to give you, present to you, sweet stuff than you ever will be to consider it. So don't tell me you're trying. You're not really trying."
What I did… I'll try and do it. If you can hand me that pen right there. I'll just show you and I'll use my friend Victor right there. I have this little Sharpie. You may not be able to see it, but you'll get the idea even as I talk. I'll just tell Victor. I said, "Victor, I want you to try and take that Sharpie out of my hand. No, you took it. Give it back. Try and take that out of my hand. No, you took it again. I want you to try. Just try and take that out of my hand. Try. Now you took it."
Now what am I showing you? Anybody who says, "I'm trying to get to know God. I'm trying to worship God," I want to say, "No, there's no such thing as trying to do something that God is wanting you to do. You either do it or you don't. If you want to take it, you can take it." There are a lot of guys who might be out there to say, "Hey, I'm trying to have a relationship with God. I'm trying to worship him."
I'm going to go, "Well then, are you?" What you need to really do is stop trying to say, "God, what do you want from me? What's the sweet stuff in my life?" and start trusting him because he is desperate to give it to you. I'm going to talk to you again about why he is desperate to give it to you. Go on back to my analogy with my kids.
I was desperate to give it to my kids because this was going to be a fun memory for us. We got to go to the candy store. They could pick anything they wanted. I wanted them to have the best memory they could. I wanted them to have the sweet stuff. The same thing is true for us in life. Now don't hear me say, "Prosperity," when I say this, but the stuff that makes any condition and circumstance in life sweet. That's what God wants us to have.
We have to trust him that he has our best interests in mind when he says, "Go through life this way." Too many guys are convinced that they're trying to do what God wants. I would tell you, "You have to stop trying harder and begin to trust more." Does that make some sense? In other words, when God says, "This is the way you go through life." Don't try and do it.
Trust him and go through life that way and begin to be obedient every way that you can and let him take your hand and direct it toward that sweet way even if it's hard and you're passing over some things that your eyes or your flesh are drawn to. Stop trying and start trusting. That's that blank right there.
Now we move into this next section because this is really key to where we're going to be. The Scriptures talk about the fact that we are all created by the same Father, every single one of us. There's nobody anywhere who is not created by the same God, but we are not all children of the same Father. Now what do I mean by that?
If you want to, just flip on over to the back. I want to read you these little verses in Galatians that are here. It talks about how a number of us are still a slave to something other than this trust and loving relationship that we have with God. Some of us are a slave to our own sense of right or wrong. Others are a slave to some religion, some law, or some performance mentality.
This is the idea here in Galatians 3:23. It says this. Until faith in Christ was shown to us as the way of becoming right with God, we were guarded by the law. In other words, the law protected us and God did give us something that would show us the right way to live. We were kept, if you will, in protective custody, so to speak, until we could put on our faith in the coming Savior.
God gave us a rail that we could run by, but what he didn't give us is a means to stay near that rail. Let me put it another way. It says in the Scripture the law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. It was our tutor. It taught us something. So now through faith in God we are made right with God.
In other words, it's by trusting God that we begin to have the relationship with him that will lead us to the sweet stuff. How do you become a child of God then? You become a child of God through this thing called faith. You look down there. You see what's in John, chapter 1, verse 12 and 13 to the third verse down there.
It says, "But as many as received Him…even to those who believe in His name…" and all that his name represented. Do you remember when Moses said to God, "Show me who you are. Reveal your glory to me." God said, "I'll tell you who I am. I'll tell you who to tell Pharaoh sent you: the great I AM, the one who always was and always will be. You want to see who I am?"
He revealed to Moses his attributes and his character. He revealed to Moses his glory and said, "Moses, when you see who I am and you believe in who I am and begin to trust me and you let me direct you to the sweet stuff and start to choose what you select in life when you can have anything you want… When you begin to choose what I've told you is best for you because you believe in my name, you're not going to try and please me by keeping a law.
All the law showed you is the greatness of who I am. All the law showed you is that you're not as holy as I am. You can't live to the standard that I've established so you have a need. I'm a great God who meets your need. That glorifies me that you would know that I'm greater than you are and that I'm able to cover the distance between you and who I am because I love you.
In grace, I will make a provision for you that if you trust in me and stop trying to please me; I will give you the life you seek. Then if you trust in me to cover that gap, you'll evidence that by the way you'll trust me to live this life that you're in." See, that's the story. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…" That God is good and worthy of trust.
Now men, this is essential to everything that we're going not talk about these five weeks. I wanted to show you. It's a very simple illustration and I think it'll complete for you what I'm talking about. Everybody can see this chair, correct? You know and believe that this chair exists. Does anybody doubt this chair exists? Is there anybody who doubts that this chair could hold you up if you just sat in it?
That it would give you rest and leisure and you would not have to provide your own chair and rest in life. You wouldn't have to trust in your own legs, your own endurance, but there is rest available in this chair. We all believe that. Likewise, there are many people who believe the story about who Jesus is.
They're not going to argue with you that, "Yeah, Jesus was this man who claimed to be God who evidenced that with his words and his works, who died on the cross. He said the reason he died on this cross was to provide for man what he could never provide for himself." They don't even argue with historicity of the resurrection. They'll believe that the Scriptures are God's Word.
Let's just say they take all that. What they're doing is they say, "I believe the chair is there. I believe if you rest in it, it exists." They have what is called intellectual assent. They have knowledge about who Jesus is and they agree that he is who he claimed he was, but they have never done the one thing that makes him a sufficient Father for them.
That is, they've never trusted in him. They've never gotten up off their own system of provision, whether it's a chair they've built or a race that they're running, and said, "I'm done trying to do it my way and getting my provision, and I am going to trust in him." Men, this is what it means to stop trying and start to have God as your Father.
Is you say, "It's no longer going to be about my performance. It's no longer going to be about me keeping up with the law. Do you know what the law shows me? I can't meet that standard, so I need something else. God is more glorious than I am. I have offended his glory, and no amount of effort can ever close that gap.
God, in his love and greatness, has revealed his further glory by bridging that gap, by providing for that which has caused us to be separated. The Lord has caused the iniquity to fall on himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Now I believe in his name and his goodness and his provision and I get up off what I'm trusting in and I say, 'God, your grace is sufficient for me.' I take what I do not deserve. I have rest and I am righteous before God because of what Jesus Christ has done. Period."
Now that's, men, what it means to say, "I want you to be my Father." It doesn't mean you show up at any place of worship or do any specific thing or respond to any sin in any specific way outside of the context of saying, "Bottom line. How I know that my Father loves me is that he has shown me his greatness that I cannot meet. He has told me that he meets the provision that I could not ever close the gap on myself, and he has asked me to trust in him. So I'm going to stop trying to please him and accept his love and rest in him."
Guys, if you have never come to a place in your life where you're going to say, "Dad, Father who created me, who loves me, who has been trying to show me where the sweet stuff in life is," and the very first sweet thing he says is, "Relationship with him." It's about the glory of God. God is glorified in showing us our sin. He is glorified in showing us how he deals with our sin and he seeks us to be worshippers.
Why? Because he knows that when we worship him and thank him for what he has done for us in light of our rebellion against him it should follow that we would trust him with this life that we live even now. We would start to say, "God, show me where the sweet stuff is in life." That's where we get to today.
I'm going to look at today a second major purpose that God has for you. This second major purpose, you have to understand the reason God calls you to it is because he loves you. That's why he wants you to worship him. Now that if you worship him you say, "I trust you. You're my Father." Then he says, "This is the sweet stuff."
You had Kyle talk about it this way. He said simply this. What Kyle said is, "Look, have you ever been in a situation where you're 1,000 miles away from home and you wondered if there would be some way you could deal with this horror that was going on with your family? Because by the grace of God I was led to trust God and connect with other men the way that he wanted me to and to be a part of a community the way that God called me to…
Because I had trusted him even though it was hard and painful at times and even though I wanted to isolate myself and run my own offense and not have accountability, because I did what God wanted me to do, let me just tell you how sweet it was for me, how sweet it was for my son, how sweet it was for my wife. What a wonder it was to all who watched it that particular night."
What I'm going to just challenge you with is to stop trying to believe God and to start trusting God. This is a major area to trust. The second purpose that we're going to focus on today. Look back at your sheet with me. Being part of a great family. That's what God calls you into. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…"
If you're a child, you're a part of his family. He is your Father, not just your Creator, but he is your Father in an intimate way. Being part of a great family is a great privilege. It's not something anyone should stay quiet about. Man, here's what I want to let you know. What God says is, "Look, your faith is a very personal thing, but it is never private."
It's very personal, but it's not private. In other words, you don't keep it to yourself and it's not something where you just get in a corner and it's just you and God. God says, "No, you are a part of a family and we want you to engage with the family." Now the Scriptures say the way that you tell the world that you're a part of God's family is…what? Through this little event called baptism.
Now what's so amazing is baptismis how you tell the world you're a part of God's family. If there's a time in your life when you start to say, "Do you know what? I'm through trying to define life by my own purpose, my own strength, my own works, my own ways, and I'm going to look to God to give me strength." If you get off your own works, your own provision and trust in Jesus and rest in him, the Scripture says there's something you should do when you do that.
Now there are a lot of guys who have never done this public declaration who do other things. Communion, by the way. Some of us have heard about this idea of the Lord's Supper, Communion. Many people take it on a regular basis and yet have never done the thing that God says that we should do individually.
Communion is what we do as a body of Christ when we get together and we corporately testify, those who have faith in God, that we trust in his broken body and his shed blood. We take that as a profession of our faith, as a reminder of the greatness of God, as an act of worship together, and that we are under one head, one Lord, with one faith.
Jesus says, God says, "There's a time I want every one of my sons and daughters to stand up and say, 'This is now my chance to stand and say I want you to know that I'm part of this family.'" It does a lot of things for you. It creates some accountability. It opens up doors of opportunity. It will grow you and put you in a right and safe environment.
When you stand before guys and you kind of, if you will, say, "I'm going to be a part of this team. You can count me with who Christ is, and this is what my life is going to be about," what's so important about this is… See, as guys, our whole lives we've had men around us who have encouraged us for different things.
I can remember as a kid when I would do well in school and I would get some good grades, even as a very young kid in elementary school my parents would cheer for me. There'd be an assembly and the school administrators would cheer for the kids who did well in a certain area. When you get your Presidential Youth Fitness Award, you got a patch. Folks would cheer for you.
When you made a good play out there on the baseball field or the basketball court or the football field, folks would go, "Man, that is great!" and they would cheer for you. They'd celebrate the right decisions you made. Coaches would work with you. Dads would be behind you. Brothers would be for you. That goes all through life.
Then all of a sudden, you get through college and you're at a place where there's not anybody really cheering for you anymore except the world is starting to say, "Hey, make yourself great in the business world." We may not cheer for you, but maybe somebody will write an article about you. Maybe somebody will say something behind your back. Maybe they'll look and drive by your house and go, "Man, that brother has a spread!"
What happens is we stop having people who love us and have our best interests in mind who are around us who are really, because we haven't identified ourselves with the right team, if you will, the team that God says, "Look, you go work hard and do your best at business and if there's prosperity there, great. Fantastic. Be a good steward of it. If you have a nice home, wonderful. Enjoy it. Share it as best you can, but that's not the sweet stuff."
God says the sweet stuff is joining a team where other men will come around you and will celebrate the sweet stuff. Time that you say, "You know what? I could make X number of more hundreds of thousands of dollars this year. I could maybe advance in the company, but to do that would mean I'm not going to be there to impact my own children, my own boys, my own gals. I'm not going to be there to love my wife and pursue that relationship with her. I'm going to make a decision to say no to this so I can say yes to that."
If you're not on the right team, you're not going to have anybody cheer you for that. You're going to have folks threaten you and intimidate you all for that. You need to be around a group of men who, when you're away on a business trip and you have an opportunity to get alone and you're lazy at night and you can start to get those channels on, you can start to put those movies on, you start to lock in on some things, you need to have some guys who are going to say to you, "Hey, what did you watch when you were on that business trip?"
You need to say, "I'm going to tell you what I watched. I didn't watch what I wanted to watch. Everything in me wanted to watch this little movie that I saw that was advertised right there. I wanted to watch HBO and the stuff that was there, specifically Real Sex or whatever it's called there. I wanted to watch Sex and the City and get a glimpse of that. I wanted to do this. But I didn't do it."
You need to have men around you who will go, "That is awesome. That is what a man does. He is faithful to his wife. He disciplines his flesh. He doesn't get lost in fantasy. He lives in reality. Fantastic for you for not taking that opportunity in your job because you knew it would cost you time with your family right now at a strategic moment."
That's what a man does. He is selfless and he is a servant and you need to have guys around you because you've acknowledged that you're on God's team, to champion that in your life, to encourage you. If you don't ever stand up and say, "I want to be that kind of man. I want to be on that team," guys aren't there to be able to tell you, "Hey, I'm going to hold you to that. I'm going to push you to that.
You're part of my family. You're part of my team. I'm going to call you to that kind of manhood. I'm going to call you to that kind of greatness. I'm going to help you be all that you want to be in that area because you're my brother, you're on my team, and I will help you excel at the position that God has called you to excel."
Much of which is like the position that I'm in. Some things are unique to what I do and unique to what you do, but I'm going to champion you for that. See, that's why God wants you stand up at some point and personally say, "You can count me as part of this team, which means I expect my teammates to make sure that I'm living out my life, working out my life, and disciplining my life toward that which will bring sweetness and glory to our God."
There's great benefit in that. It's how you were wired to get along. None of us can exist without that. If you've been wondering why the life that God has called you to doesn't have all that it should, you have to ask yourself, "Has there ever been a time that I've gone public and that I've stood up and personally said before the community, 'Count me as a man who has found a loving Father. Count me as a man who wants to trust God'?
I believe that God has died for me. You can identify me with God. I trust in his death and burial (there's the picture in baptism) and his resurrection which gives me hope, and now I walk in newness of life which should be reflected in the way I treat my life, the way I love my kids, the perspective I have toward money and other material things. You help me be that man."
You want to live life on purpose? You want to have a challenge? You want to have a thrill? Every one of us, a lot of us have played sports at some level. When you're with a team that accomplishes a goal, at the end of that season you go, "That was so great to do together!" But this is a game that never ends, fighting for a prize that never fades until we meet our Lord and he gives us that reward which says is priceless, pure, imperishable, and will be protected by him.
Now that's a good trophy. What else do you want to live for? That's the sweet stuff. That's what God wants you to experience, but you have to trust him before you want to live that way. So you have to ask yourself, "When did you or why haven't you publicly declared your relationship with God's family?" I would ask you, "What's the only reason that someone shouldn't be baptized?"
Let me just tell you something. There's a real good reason why some of you guys shouldn't be baptized. I want you to know something. Our love for you and our commitment to you is not going to change one bit based on how you respond to what we're talking about in terms of what we think life is about or who we think our Father is and how good he is.
We hope that you see in our lives a purpose that makes you go, "I wish I had that kind of hope and security and passion. I wish I had that kind of team around me." We're going to love you and be your friend no matter what you decide. Let me tell you there's one reason why you shouldn't be baptized. That's because you have not decided yet that he is your Father and he is worthy of your trust.
If you tell me that he is your Father and worthy of trust, then the very first act of obedience is that. Until then, you ought to watch other guys who do it and observe their lives and say, "You know what? When you did that, I thought you should do this. I thought your life should begin heading that direction. Why isn't it?" That's why a lot of guys don't get baptized. Because they want to just try and be that person and not trust that God will enable them to be that person when they do what he says.
All right. So very simply, you are called to belong to God's family, not just believe in God's Son. In the midst of that, he meets one of our greatest needs. We are made in God's image. Part of who God is is he is three and yet one. Father, Son, and Spirit. God has never been alone. If we're made in his image, that would suggest to me that we are never made to be alone either. That's the next blank.
That means life is all about relationships. At the end of life, relationships are all that really matters. I just point to you again. Tragically, for different reasons, I've had a chance to be around death again in the very recent couple past days. I can tell you when I'm around folks who are at that moment when things become crystal clear what matters and what doesn't, what people want around them at that moment are the things which are ultimately significant.
What folks ask to have brought to them are the relationships that they have invested their life in. Nobody is asking for books or bank accounts or pictures of their assets. They want people to be there with them, to hold them, to laugh with them, to remember what their life was about, to know that their life will live on in the legacy that is the love that was given them.
Life is all about relationships. That's why God called you to be in a relationship with others who know who he is and that together you can be called to the sweet stuff. In the midst of that, the Scripture says God is love. Now let me help you understand this. In math, if A equals B, that means B equals A. That's not true biblically.
God is love, but that doesn't mean love is God. God is far more than just love, but when you think of love at its highest expression, you can think that is happening in God. God is the right definition of love, but God is much more. Love is not God. He's much more than just love. When he revealed himself, he didn't just say, "I am love."
No, he revealed himself in a very round, balanced, complete, holistic way. Since God is love, that means that all of life ought to be about becoming more loving because God has called us to become like him. It is impossible to go through life saying that you want to love and trust God and not be consumed with becoming a more loving person.
Here we go with those blanks. You can't love Christ and not love his people. That little verse right there in 2 Corinthians 8:5, says this. "…they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us…" It's like the two were inseparable. That verse in Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus was asked. Hey, there are all kinds of commandments and guess what? There are 10 biggies, right?
Four of those biggies talk about our relationship with God. Six of them talk about our relationship with us. When God is saying, "Do you want to know what life is about? It's about relationships." They said, "Look, take those 10 and boil them down. What's the main one?" He said, "Here's the main one."
"And He said to him, '"YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."'"
What God called us to, is say, "Look, you can't tell me that you love me and that love is not rolled out and expressed in your relationships, in the way that you live your life and, specifically, in the way that you live your life with those who you're most yoked to, in your family and in the body of Christ of which you are a part if you are somebody who trusts in God."
There's no such thing as being alone. You're not called to believe in Jesus. You're called to belong to his family. Part of being a person who believes in Jesus is being a committed, known, self-expressed committed person who is a member of the local church. That's where the sweet stuff is. A church that worships God with their heart for who he is in truth and for nothing less.
It says right here in this next little blank. I just said it to you this way. If we believe John 3:16, we should know and practice 1 John 3:16. Just flip your little sheet over. John 3:16 you know that. Most of us are at least curious about it. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him [trusts in him] shall not perish [but will get the sweet stuff] ." Will get real, true, abundant life both in terms of quantity and in terms of quality.
But, 1 John 3:16. Look at this. "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to [if we know love] lay down our lives for the brethren." That's what marks us as people who know his love. The Scriptures say this. Flip it back over. You want a blank filled. If we don't love each other, then the world has a right to think we aren't a part of God's family or the world will have a right to believe that Jesus is a fraud.
The Scripture says at the end of our life, we're going to be evaluated by our love. The Scripture says that at the end of our life, the Father is going to look at those who trusted in him and received grace from him and he is going to judge us as sons to be part of his family, but there's going to be a judgment of us as servants as well.
The way that we're going to be judged as servants is he is going to say, "How did you do at loving? How did you do at caring for others? How did you do at having your life not be about you? How did you do about increasing in humility and looking at others?" By the way, humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is thinking of yourself less. Does that make sense?
Too many times we think, "Oh, I'm not a good guy. Oh, I'm not really… I'm not good at that." That's not humble when you say that you're not good at stuff you are. "I'm not gifted in that area." or I have to self-deprecate. That has nothing to do with biblical humility. Biblical humility is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself less. Does that make sense?
In other words, it's what God did. Instead of staying safely enthroned in the heavens where nothing but glory is due him, he thought of you and I and he sent his Son and, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that [we might receive the gifts and the blessings that he deserves] ." As you know that God and become like him and pursue who he is, you yourself will begin to become more like him: more humble and gentle. Especially when you stand up and say, "I'm going to trust that's the sweet life, that there's life in giving myself away."
All right. If you want to and you just go look at those and then flip it over because these two verses are worth reading. In John 13:34 and 35 very quickly as well as John 17, it just says this. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples…"
See, the world doesn't understand when people love in a way that they're not doing it to manipulate and get things back. I had a young lady who I had a friendship with, and I had been a leader in some different areas in her life. She went on to play some college sports. She went on to play soccer in a Division I school.
There was a lot of lesbianism on that soccer team. During soccer practice, when the balls were kicked over the fence where they practiced, she would always go and get the ball, even if she didn't kick it, and bring it back over. So this group of lesbians approached her and said, "Hey, we didn't know that you liked us that way and that you wanted to have that kind of relationship with us."
She said, "What are you talking about?" They said, "Well, we know why you're doing that. Because you like her. Because you like her, and you have to be a lesbian, because nobody would do that if you didn't have an ulterior motive, which is to have us look at you. So you must be one of us." What they said is… They misunderstood.
They had no concept that somebody could do something because they thought less of themselves than others without wanting something, which is maybe a physical relationship, physical pleasure, or even emotional connection in return. She had a chance to look at them and go, "No, no, no. You don't understand.
I do that because I want to serve you guys and you're valuable to me and if it's as small as me going to get the ball that you kicked if you don't want to get it, don't mistake the motive of my love. It's not to woo you. It's to win you and help you understand who my God is whom I'm just trying to emulate."
See, that's our mark, and the world, if it doesn't see it in us, is going to have a right to go one of two things. Either you're not a part of God's family or you are a part of God's family and God is a fraud, specifically Jesus. That's John 17. Jesus is praying. "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me."
In other words, what Jesus is saying right there is if they don't love each other with such oneness and selflessness and mutual concern, if they don't treat my house when it's on fire like they would theirs, then the world is going to look at that and say that Jesus is not who he said he was because he said he would produce this in his people who wanted to become like him and by his grace and power would work through them.
People will make two deductions. First, you must not be a true follower of Christ or, secondly, you are a follower, but the guy you follow is a fraud. Now you choose which one of those two you'd rather have. I'd rather go, "You know what? I need to be a person who loves for two reasons. First, because I know there's life where God is. Secondly, it's the sweet stuff."
Let me tell you why Kyle had as many people at his house as he did that night. Because Kyle loves people. He invested in people. He cared for people. When we had a chance to show our love back to him, it was the most natural thing in the world to be there. Let me tell you who else has folks there when they are around somebody like Kyle who hasn't loved Kyle.
I know if there had been a neighbor of Kyle who didn't have God as a Father whose house had burned down that Kyle would've been there and Kyle would've called us and said, "Come help me love this person so that they can see the love of God and that they matter to him in the way that we sacrifice for them."
I ask you right here, "Given that life then it's all about relationships, what do you need today to invest in others and to allow others to more fully invest in you?" Who do you need to give yourself to today because you love them? Do you say relationships matter? Then I would ask you, what does your schedule say? Are you investing in people and does your life reflect that?
I'll tell you the reason that's important. Because the only thingthat can help you grow as much as the Bible is other believers. Specifically, in this context. The only believers who can help us grow are those who love us through the conflicts and disappointments that my life around their life will naturally create.
I'll read you the next blank, and all these work together. I'll give you an illustration. Only two people in the world can tell you the truth about yourself. I really believe this. One is an enemy who has lost his temper and the other one is a friend who loves you dearly. Gang, this is what God has called you to.
He wants you to have friends who are going to come alongside of you and sharpen you because you've said, "I'm a part of this team," they're going to be interested in you and they want to see you become all that God wants you to be. They're going to love you enough to speak the truth in love. They're going to love you enough to sharpen you.
They're going to love you enough to tell you the truth about your marriage, about your schedule, about your life, about your priorities, about your attitudes, about your language, about your values and to spur you on in that way and to wrestle through some things with you. This happens in my life all the time. I will tell you that as much as there is any good in my life, it is because there are men in my life who are constantly refining me. " [As] iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." It sometimes can be painful.
Last one. A believer without a body is dismembered. The first sign of decline in a believer's life is isolation from others in the body. What I mean by that is simply this. Is that it's a grotesque idea that somebody who believes and trusts in God and says, "Living the way God wants me to live is a sweet life," but then you don't step forward, count yourself as his child publicly, and step forward to be part of his family and say, "I'm going to live my life on purpose this way and I'm going to do it on my own and I'm going to isolate myself." It's a dismemberment.
Do you know that the idea of membership, that this club as a membership, has its roots in Christianity, in the Bible? It goes to a passage in 1 Corinthians 12. It talks about how we are all members of one body. When there's a body that gathers for social reasons, for golf reasons, for whatever other reasons, they become a membership or a part of a body that pursues this.
God says, "I want you to be a part of a body that pursues the sweet stuff." To try and do that on your own is a grotesque thing that will cause carnage, loss of life, and pain. The appendage will die and wilt and the body will not function as it should. That is why if you ask yourself, "Am I a man who trusts God? Is he my Father? Am I going to live my life trusting that he knows the sweet stuff or am I going to pick the Fireball?"
Then the first thing you do is you have to say, "I have to get connected. I have to connect in a deep way because there's life there for me even though it seems hard." Now I skipped one little blank and I'll give it to you. It's the one in the middle. It's just simply this. It says, you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. You can give without loving, guys, but you can't love without giving.
I want to tell you something. God didn't tell you he loves you and then not give you the provision that you needed in order to find life. He told you he loves you and he gave his own Son. As followers of his who want to be like our Father in heaven, he says, "Will you increase in giving yourself to one another?
There is life there. Men will sharpen you as you don't run away from conflict. You handle conflict the sweet way that I told you. Men, the finest way to handle conflict is when you have a problem with a man, you go to him like a man, and you say, "I need to talk to you about this." Then you work your way through it together and you think less of yourself.
You take responsibility for what you did and you don't tell six other people about some other guy. You're a man who goes to them because you love them and you want to see them do better. That's the sweet way. It takes care of gossip. It takes away slander. It takes away all of the fractures that can come in all of the community that God wants to be one. Let's be those kind of men.
If you are dismembered, let us encourage you to connect. If you're not sure that God is a Father who can be trusted, we'd love to talk with you about that personally. If you have never trusted him yourself, before you leave here today, I encourage you to think about where your trust is and what you're really sitting in.
If you have trusted in him and have never stood publicly and said that, I would tell you that you're missing the first step of obedience and the first step toward the sweet life that God has called you to. We're glad you're here. Next week, we'll take a look at another sweet thing that God has called you to. Read chapters 15 through 21 this week. That kind of covers what I just talked about. Then we'll tackle what's next.
Lord, thanks for these men. Thanks for a chance to gather together. Lord, thank you that you seek worshippers, but not because you're insecure, but because you want us to know what life is about. You seek those, Father, who would worship you with all their heart. Not in some rote, dead, religious form, but would engage with you in relationship, would share life with you and trust you. Not you as they think you are, but you as you've revealed yourself to be: the God of love and justice and goodness and glory and grace and mercy and truth.
I pray, Father, we'd respond to that well. The first way we'd respond to that is by believing that you've called us not to live this life on our own, but with other men who would help us celebrate our pursuing you in this sweet community called your body. May we, as a body who know you, glorify our head by the way we love even as you have loved.
I pray for our friends who are here today who haven't made that decision. They never crossed that line of faith. That they would just engage with us enough about that to say why and that they would experience from us a love that is not manipulative and they would know that we care for them as persons not as projects that might eventually believe as we do.
Help us to love them well, even as men who maybe right now don't share the same purpose in life. Father, we do know this. Wherever we come today, you want us to love one another. I pray that we'd grow in our ability to do that. Thank you for these men and this morning we've had together. In Christ's name, amen.
You guys have a great week.
Self-help books often suggest that you try to discover the meaning and purpose of your life by looking within yourself, but until you begin with God's reasons for creating you, life will never make sense. So where does real purpose come from and what does it look like? Find out as the men of Watermark study "The Purpose Driven Life" and look at over 1,500 places from God's Word where He answers this question.