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God’s Purpose for People - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2022 6:00 am

God’s Purpose for People - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 18, 2022 6:00 am

What is our purpose inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Find out as Skip shares the message "God's Purpose for People."

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The question, what is man or who are we, is one of the most fundamental questions. In fact, I noticed the other day an internet survey that said of all the questions that people ask on the internet, the number one question is what is the purpose of life?

In effect, what is man? Why are we here? What is the reason for our existence? A lot of people wonder about the meaning of life and their own purpose. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig. Skip shares insight from scripture about God's purpose for all people, including you.

But before we begin, here's a resource that will help you pursue a life of faith and purpose, even in uncertain times. Some people find comfort in the status quo. Others just can't wait to challenge it. If this were a recovery meeting, I would begin by saying my name is Skip and I'm a nonconformist.

How about you? Do you go with the flow or swim against the current? The truth is, going against the status quo keeps you going. It can be difficult, but following Jesus requires it. The Bible's account of faith is available. It's our way of saying thanks for your gift of $35 or more to help connect more people to God's word. And when you give, we'll also include the booklet What on Earth Am I Here For by Rick Warren. These two resources will help you stand out from the crowd for God's glory.

Visit connectwithskip.com slash offer to give online securely today or call 800-922-1888. Once upon a time, a little boy found an eagle's egg. And after he found it, he placed it in the nest of a prairie chicken. So the eagle it hatched, but grew up in this environment of prairie chickens. So as it grew, thinking it was a prairie chicken, it started doing what prairie chickens do.

It dug in the dirt for seeds and insects. It clucked and cackled like prairie chickens do. It flew in short increments, furiously flapping its wings, but not going very far. And it did that for years. And one day when the eagle was very, very old, it looked up in the sky and noticed this magnificent bird soaring overhead, hardly beating its wings as it glowed.

It collided through the atmosphere. And it said, What is that? And one of the other prairie chickens' neighbors said, That is an eagle. It is the chief of all the birds. But then quickly said, But don't give it a second thought.

You could never be like him. So the eagle never gave it a second thought and died thinking it was a prairie chicken. That little fable is, by way of introduction, to simply say that we've been lied to by this culture.

This culture has basically said, Y'all a bunch of prairie chickens. You're an accident. You're ape-like, though advanced in your evolutionary stages. But you are simply an animal, an accident, a cosmic accident, when, in fact, you were meant to soar like an eagle.

You are uniquely made as God's crowning creation. What is man? What is man?

Psalm 8. David said, When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man? Now, that question, What is man, is what I want to talk to you about today.

Not everybody answers that question the same way. What does it mean to be human? One of the great philosophers, Immanuel Kant, was taking long summer walks, as he often did. He was walking in his neighborhood, stopped in a park, sat on a bench for several hours, and just sat there. And a policeman saw him and walked over to him and wanted to know what he was doing. So he said, What are you doing? And Kant said, I'm thinking. A policeman inquired further and said, Who are you? And Immanuel Kant, that great philosopher, turned to the police officer and said, That's precisely the problem that I've been thinking about.

Who am I? Now, the study of that is called anthropology. Anthropology, the study of humanity, mankind, behavior, practices, origin, past and present. There was a survey that said, Of all the questions that people ask on the Internet, the number one question is, What is the purpose of life? In effect, What is man? Why are we here?

What is the reason for our existence? Now, some people answer that question through different lenses. Some answer it through the lens of philosophy. Some answer it through the lens of biomechanics. And so you get a variety of answers.

But let me throw up a smattering of what people have said. We are. So Mark Twain said, Man the machine. Man the machine, very, very basic level. Aristotle called us a political animal.

I suppose that is true, especially in the next coming weeks. More and more of us are acting like political animals. Ben Franklin said, A tool making animal. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, said, Man is a reed, the most feisty animal.

The most feeble thing in nature. And I wanted to throw up what Buckminster Fuller said. You go, Who's that guy? That guy invented the geodesic dome. He was a futuristic thinker and architect. But listen to his description of humanity.

The human is a self balancing 28 jointed adapter biped and electrochemical reduction plant. Didn't that make you feel great? That's what you are. Listen, all of those sayings, that's like telling an eagle you're a prairie chicken. That is not the full scope. That is not what it means to be human. So we need better answers than that. To be anthropological, you must first be theological. You have to discover where you came from and if you were created, what that creator's original intention was for you. That's how you answer the question what it is to be human. So let us discover in the book of Genesis what it means by three distinct stages. That is God's creation of man and God's reflection in man. And finally, God's interaction with man.

Let's begin at the beginning. Genesis chapter one, verse one, God's creation of man. We're told in the beginning, God created the creation of man. He created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Then God said, let there be light and there was light. Take it down to verse 26. Then God said, let us make man in our image according to our likeness. Let them have light and light.

Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Now that verse, verse 26, is the verse of primary reference. Meaning it's the first time we discover God's intention for what he created in mankind. It's a verse of primary reference when it comes to humanity. This is God's original intention.

God created people. Artists have depicted that for centuries. I want to show you probably the most famous depiction of that.

You've seen that before. This is the, at least in pictures you've seen it. This is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome. This was painted in 1508 to 1512, 500 years ago. Put up there by Michelangelo.

Spent four years on a 70-foot scaffold painted the ceiling. There's a lot of images on the ceiling, but the two most prominent ones are Adam on the left and God on the right. It's a picture of creation. It is Genesis 1 26 put in art form. So we have a picture of Adam lying on the ground and sort of languidly with his hand out, not really purposefully, just sort of hanging there in midair.

This is what art curators will point out. But God moving toward man, he's the initiator. He has a more purposeful point because God is the one who's creating Adam.

Now what people do in looking at art like this, and it's part of a vast ceiling, is they'll say there are two images that dominate the scene. God and Adam. And depending on your worldview, you will make more of one than the other. So, for instance, if you were a Greek thousands of years ago, the Greek worldview was man-centered, anthropocentric. They lived in an anthropocentric world.

That was the mistake they made. They began with themselves and built outwardly and upward. And as they wanted to find out their purpose, they had to fill in a lot of gaps, a lot of blanks. They had to make stuff up so they came up with gods and goddesses, a whole pantheon belief system of beings that did things that explained why the world is the way the world is. Now all of that, not all of that, but a lot of that comes from a philosopher, a Greek philosopher in the 5th century BC named Protagoras. Protagoras said man is the measure of all things. Man is the measure of all things. That's the worldview, man-centered, anthropocentric.

It's all about us. And they built their system outwardly. The Bible does not do that. The Bible, on the other hand, is theocentric, God-centered because God initiated things. So rather than looking at it and filling in the gaps with speculation and imagination like the Greeks did, the Bible gives us revelation. God explains to us what He did and what He meant to do in making mankind. There was a college class, and I think it was a biology class, and the professor stated that the goal of the class was to instruct his students that the only hope of civilization is in the pursuit and application of scientific knowledge. That's what this class is about, he said. And he explained to his students, I have no room for God.

I have no room for religion. I don't believe in metaphysics. This is science.

That's all life is, and the only hope for the future is that. Well, at the end of the semester, each student wanted the professor to not only evaluate the student but write a reference for the student's future. So one of the students by the name of John did that, and the professor gave this description of John. He said, John, biological description.

John is a living organism. Group? Vertebrata. Class? Mammalia.

Order? Primates. Genus? Homo. Species? Sapiens. Tissues and cells.

Protoplasm. Five organs of sight, taste, touch, sound, and smell. Chemical description. A large quantity of carbon. Some gallons of H2O.

Various amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, lime, nitrogen, and some mineral salts. Psychological description. Mind? Conscience?

And unconscious. Intellectual? Emotional. Volitional powers. Various instincts.

IQ 130. So far, it's a very accurate description of John scientifically, but it still does not define what it is to be human. So listen to the concluding paragraph of the professor. I hope John will fit as an admirable unit into the various machines, industrial and commercial, and so on, that make up our scientifically planned society.

But regrettably, I have serious misgivings about this. There is something in John that refuses to be cribbed, cabined, and confined, and reaches out to a fulfillment beyond the capacity of a machine-like destiny to supply. As well as in the deep discontent to which he once confessed his inability to live up to his own ideals, it seems to me that John is on a quest that existence, even in a four-dimensional space-time continuum, can never satisfy.

Now let me give you my translation of that in Skip English. He's saying, we've been telling John his whole life he's a prairie chicken, but John is a prairie chicken. John knows something else is up. John believes that he's an eagle, and he can fly.

So he's not satisfied. There's something in John that reaches out beyond this. So that takes me to my second stage here. After God's creation of man, we have God's reflection in man, and I want to zero in on these verses. This is our image.

That's what I want to focus on. According to our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God. He created him.

By the way, the Bible uses that terminology and references. We're made in the image of God six times. Male and female, he created them. Then God blessed them. And God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, see, I have given you every herb that yields seed, which is on the face of all the earth, every tree whose fruit yields seed to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, to everything that creeps on the earth in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food, and it was so. Then God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. So evening and morning were the sixth day. In celebration, God made a bunch of stuff, looked at it and said, I like it, or it's good.

On day six, he paused, and he said, I want to make something different. I want to make something that reflects my image, my glory. It's amazing to think that when God wanted to think of something that would reflect his image, he made you.

He ain't no prairie chicken if you're in the image of God. To be in the image of God is to bear the reflection of God, to be his representative on earth. The two Hebrew words here, image and likeness, they roughly refer to the same thing. They're Hebrew words that refer to something that is similar but not necessarily identical.

Similar but not identical. So a mirror how's that? A mirror gives you an image. You look in it, you have an image of yourself. You may like it, you may not, but it's an image. You can orient the mirror in a different way and get an image of somebody else. You can see other things, but the image is in the mirror.

As our lives are oriented toward God, we can reflect the glory of God. What that means is I'm not just protoplasm. I'm not just a bunch of chemicals. I am different from a dog or a cat or a whale or a spotted owl or an orangutan. I've always loved the story of the man who went to the zoo. He knew the zookeeper. He goes to the zoo and he's going through all the little exhibits and he goes to an orangutan exhibit and he notices that the orangutan is sitting there with two books, one in each hand.

One's origin of the species and he's thinking, no way. So he starts talking out loud. He goes, excuse me, you can't actually read, can you? The orangutan looked at him and said, of course I can.

And so the man said, well, do you understand what you're reading? The orangutan looked puzzled and he said, well, I'm not so sure because this book holding up the Bible says that I am my brother's keeper. But this book says I am my keeper's brother. And so I have a conflict going on.

Which is it? You are made in the image of God. God formed us. Look at chapter 2 really quickly. And again, we're just looking at a few verses. We're not really digging deep here.

Chapter 2 of Genesis, verse 7, the Lord God formed man. Out of what? Dust?

Wait a minute. Dust? Dirt?

That's pretty humbling. A dirt clod? The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, ah, but breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became, in Hebrew, a nefesh, a soul, a living being, it's translated. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there he put the man whom he had formed. Pretty humbling in one hand to realize the origins of a dirt clod.

Pretty amazing on the other hand to think of the image of God. So we have a combination of something very low and something very high. Let's call it dust and glory.

Dust and glory combined. Yeah, physically speaking, we're made up of a bunch of chemicals. And I remember in school some of my teachers would say, you know, if you were to add up all of the chemicals in your body, your body would only be worth $2. That didn't make a kid feel really good about himself. That's telling an eagle he's a prairie chicken.

And actually my teacher was wrong. Today in this day and age, accounting for inflation, your body chemicals are worth about $160, but that's not the point. If you evaluate your life only in those terms, you're speaking prairie chicken language, not eagle talk. So what does it mean to reflect God's image? Well, there's a few things and I put them in your worship folder.

I'm just going to touch on these four things. It means, first of all, we are God's reflection in that we are rational beings. We are rational beings. Right now we're in political season.

People get a whole lot of crazy going on right now. But we are rational beings. We have intellectual power. We can think. We can learn. We can research. We can explain. We can formulate thought. Animals do not do this.

They cannot do this. Only TV animals do that. Okay? I grew up with Mr. Ed. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. A talking horse. I want a talking horse.

That only works on TV. Disney characters can talk, right? Mickey Mouse can talk. Donald Duck. He can talk.

But not in real life. Only we can reason. We can evaluate. We can have original thought.

Animals react to stimuli. We, like God, can create. We can make paintings and sculptures and music and we can imagine. We can build.

That's Skip Heiting with a message from the series 2020. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these teachings coming to you while connecting others to the gospel. Isn't it amazing that our sovereign God who created the universe longs to be our dear friend? We want many more people to enjoy this friendship with God.

And we would love for you to be a part of making that happen. Your gift today not only helps this ministry, but also helps others. As we reach more people with God's Word, it also keeps these messages that you love coming to you. Here's how you can give a gift today. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give your gift today. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

Again, that's 800-922-1888. Coming up tomorrow, Skip Heiting shares about a special purpose God has for you. God has given us that eternal capacity. That's what prompts us to probe. That's why your kids ask so many questions. Why, Daddy?

Why that? Well, then what happens, Dad? They're probing. They want to know more. They're yearning beyond just this.

Saint Augustine put it so beautifully when he said, thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. The connection. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-30 11:22:42 / 2023-04-30 11:30:47 / 8

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