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Best Of Finding Purpose

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
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August 2, 2023 12:30 am

Best Of Finding Purpose

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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August 2, 2023 12:30 am

Today's episode is a "Best Of" for Finding Purpose. 

Finding Purpose
Russ Andrews
What's Right What's Left
Pastor Ernie Sanders

This is Andy Thomas from the Masculine Journey Podcast where we discover what it means to be a wholehearted man. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds.

Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious.

This is part two of a special two-part episode. But at some point, she must have heard Jesus preach and she must have been captivated by the authority of His message and she must have seen the love coming from His eyes. But she also, I believe, felt convicted of her sin and so she repented and she was determined to live a new life in Christ. And one day, she heard that Jesus was at the home of a very prominent Pharisee and she wanted so much to go to Jesus just to show Him how much she loved Him.

She didn't really care who was watching. She was not ashamed to show her love for Jesus publicly and so she went to the rich man's house. And when she arrived at the house, she quietly came over to Jesus and I'm certain that the conversation at the table stopped. Every eye in the room was on this uninvited woman. Humbly, she knelt at His feet. Tears began to well up in her eyes and they began to lily run down her cheeks and drip on His feet. She didn't have a cloth so she just took her hair and she began to dry His feet and she began to kiss them and she poured perfume on them.

I'm sure she brought that perfume with her, probably expensive perfume. And the Pharisee said to himself, if this man were a prophet, he would know who's touching him and what kind of a woman she is, that she is a sinner. And Jesus looked at the Pharisee and said, Simon, I have something to tell you. Tell me, teacher, he said, two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him 500 denarii and the other 50 and neither of them had the money to pay him back. So he counseled the debts of both.

Now which of them will love him more? And Simon replied, I suppose the one who had the bigger debt counseled. And Jesus said, you have judged correctly. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman from the time I entered has not stopped kissing my feet.

You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.

Then Jesus said to her, your sins are forgiven. What does it mean to love Jesus? I believe it begins by recognizing how sinful we are. How sinful we are. As we begin to understand the extent of our sin, then we come to understand more and more how great and wonderful is God's grace.

Have you ever thought about that? You see, I don't believe that we can truly love Jesus until we really see ourselves for what we really are. We are sinners who need a Savior, and we need to experience the grace and mercy of God. Romans 3 makes it so clear. There's no one righteous, not even one. There's no one who does good. All have turned away.

They have together become worthless. I've learned a lot about the grace of God. I've just looked back at my life and thought about knowing that I've known Him since I was 10, and some of the things I've allowed myself to do. And so I'm really kind of glad that God has revealed to me the extent of my sin and the immeasurable extent of His grace, because now when I have someone come to me, like I did a man a few years ago who was married and had a six-year-old daughter, and he confessed to me that he had three homosexual relationships, the last thing I did was throw my Bible at him and tell him that he was a sinner. I began to share with him some of my sins so he wouldn't feel so bad about his sin. He already was consumed with guilt.

That's why tears were running off of his chin as he sat in my office. Romans 5, 8 states, but God demonstrates His own love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And 2 Corinthians 5, 21 states, God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Until we come to understand the extent of our sins and that Jesus took them all upon Himself and literally died in our place, we can't really love Him the way we should. Do you really love Jesus? If you want to live your life in a way that pleases God, then it begins by loving His Son more than anything or anyone else.

That must be the first condition of your heart, and here's condition number two. You must be willing to die to self. Look at verse 38 again. Anyone who does not take His cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. What did Jesus mean when He said anyone who does not take His cross? Well, to understand what He meant, you must consider and think about what a person did on the cross. John MacArthur writes, no one in the Roman Empire in New Testament times could have missed Jesus' point. The cross symbolized the extremes of both excruciating pain and heartless cruelty, but above all, it symbolized death. Only a few years before Jesus spoke these words, a zealot named Judas, not the one that betrayed Jesus, this was another man named Judas, this Judas had gathered together a band of rebels to fight the Roman occupation forces.

The insurrection was easily quelled. In order to teach the Jews a lesson, the Roman general Verus ordered the crucifixion of over 2,000 Jews. Their crosses lined the roads of Galilee from one end to the other. You see, during Jesus' day, everyone knew what a cross meant. It meant death. You see, today, I think the cross has lost some of its meaning. You have to think about it. Today, the cross most often is seen hanging as a beautiful piece of jewelry around a lady's neck.

And I don't think there's anything wrong with this. But over time, the beauty of these pieces of jewelry has resulted in the cross losing some of its meaning. The cross was an instrument of execution. It was a place of horrible pain and death. And so to hang a cross around your neck back then would be like us hanging a gas chamber around our neck today.

And who would do that? See, it was symbolic of death. With that meaning in mind, Jesus tells us that we're not worthy to follow Him if we're not willing to take up our cross. Jesus died on His cross. He's challenging us to die on our cross.

Are you willing? Before you answer that question, you might want to know what it means. What does it mean to take your cross and follow Jesus? Warren Wisbee writes, to carry the cross does not mean to wear a pin on our lapel or put a bumper stick on our car. It means to confess Christ and obey Him in spite of shame and suffering. It means death to self, to our own plans and ambitions, and a willingness to serve Him as He directs.

A cross is something we willingly accept from God as part of His will for our lives. Ed McCully was one of the other five missionaries who died on that fateful day, and he was probably the most talented of the five, although they were all talented. He was the one that the other guys thought would be so successful, whatever he did, in the secular world, in the business world.

But God had something greater in mind. Ed was six feet two, weighed 190 pounds, very good-looking, great athlete. He starred on the football team and the track team at Wheaton. In 1949, he entered and won the National Oratorical Contest. Ten thousand students entered it, and he won it. He was elected senior class president.

After graduation from Wheaton, he enrolled in Marquette Law School, where he planned on becoming a lawyer. And in his second year, he took a job as a night clerk at a hotel because he was thinking he would just spend all this time studying, but he began to actually read the Bible more. He was corresponding with Jim Elliott, and he got inspired to go be a missionary. He decided to say no to the world and to literally take up his cross and follow Jesus.

And before he went down to Ecuador, he trained in dentistry and obstetrics and gynecology so that he could be a medical missionary down in Ecuador. So exactly what is the cross of a believer? MacArthur writes, the cross of a believer is the willing sacrifice of everything one has, including life for the sake of Christ. To take up your cross might mean simply bowing your head in a public restaurant and saying the blessing. To take up your cross might mean sharing your faith with a friend, risking that friendship. To take up your cross might mean giving to someone in need and denying yourself something you want. To take up your cross might mean standing up for the truth, knowing few will agree. To take up your cross might mean going to some distant country to share the gospel with those who might not want to hear it. To take up your cross might mean refusing to watch something, refusing to partake of something, refusing to do something even though everybody else is doing it. To take up your cross might mean refusing to follow the crowd.

It might mean being less popular, and it might mean being a little lonely. To take up your cross means to enter through the narrow gate and walk down the narrow road. It means to seek the applause of God rather than the applause of men. It means to live a sacrificial life rather than an indulgent one. To take up your cross means to live for God and others rather than for yourself. Are you willing to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

Everyone needs to understand this truth. Following Jesus will always cost you something. This is why Jesus gave this warning in Luke chapter 14. He said, suppose one of you wants to build a tower.

Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him saying, this fellow began to build and was not able to finish. Can you imagine if Noah, I was reading about Noah in my Bible yesterday. Can you imagine if Noah got about 30 years into his 120 years that he spent building the ark? 120 years cutting down trees, ridiculed.

Don't you know he was ridiculed? It had never rained. What is this, a boat?

Nobody had ever seen a boat. 120 years. I think he must have measured the cost. You should count the cost before you pick up your cross because following Jesus will always be costly.

But as Darlene Rose once said, the compensations far outweigh the cost. And so if we really want to live our lives in a way that pleases God, we must be willing to pray the same prayer that Jim Elliott prayed. God, light these idol sticks of my life and may I burn for thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is yours. Are you willing to pray this prayer? Do you really want to live your life for God? If you do, then you must love Jesus with all your heart and you must be willing to die to self. And finally, you must be willing to lose your life. Look at verse 39 again. Hoover finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

See, that's what the Bible says. But what does the world say? I've learned that I have to be contemporary when I use illustrations because sometimes I'll refer to like an old commercial. I didn't realize it was in the 1960s.

And the young people are going, what's he talking about? So there was a beer commercial from the 1960s, Schlitz. They didn't make that beer anymore. We don't even know that, do we? I shouldn't have asked that question in church. But the commercial went like this, you only go around once in a life, so what?

You're as old as I am. Grab all the gusto you can. The young people go, what's he talking about? You only go, I think you can figure it out. You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can.

What does it mean? It means you only have one life to live and so live it for yourself. Grab everything you can that will make you happy and wealthy and have pleasure. And I have to be honest with you, if I was not a Christian, that's exactly what I'd be doing. I'd try to make as much money as I could. I'd buy as many things as I could and I would have as much fun as I could because I'd be living for this life.

I'd be living for the here and now. Malcolm Forbes, the millionaire and former publisher of Forbes Magazine who died in 1990, he is the one who apparently coined the phrase, he who dies with the most toys wins. And he had a whole lot of toys.

He had some big expensive toys. You see, this is the message of the world and this is how all television ads are produced. TV ads are created in error to tempt us to live for today and to grab all that we can to make our lives as comfortable and pleasurable as possible. And this is how the vast majority of Americans live, including a lot of Christians. And this is why God hates the prosperity gospel.

Sorry, I had to throw it in there. It seemed like every sermon I do get into that. But it's, this is why God hates that false gospel because it fosters this kind of thinking. Grab all the gusto because God wants to bless you. That's not what I think God means by blessing. And that blessing, this material blessing, I believe is waiting for us in heaven.

The last time I checked, 10 of the 12 disciples were martyred and they were not exactly rich. Were they blessed? You better believe they were blessed. Your blessing comes in proportion to your relationship with Jesus. That's how you're blessed.

It's easy to listen to the world. I fight this battle every day, don't we all? And begin to live for the pleasures of this world. And sometimes I want to get a retreat and just live my life for myself. I know I'm saved.

I'm just going to go and to the beach, which I could do. But that's not what God's called me to do. See, whenever I get to thinking like this, selfish thoughts about I need to get something else, I need something else, I try to remind myself of some people that I know very well who have nothing, like Maggie who worked for my family, she has nothing. And I also try to think about the people who've gone before me, like Jim Elliot and Corrie Ten Boom, Darlene Rose, who turned away from the world and pursued God with everything they had. They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

And I want to live my life like that. And it's not easy. In fact, we can't just muster up the strength and go do it. We need the Holy Spirit's power to help us.

Every day, it's a daily battle. We need the Holy Spirit to help us. So if you really want to, if you're a Christian and you really want to live for Jesus and you want to follow Him like some of these missionaries have, I know some of you sitting here today are actually pondering going to the Missionville.

Isn't that right? You need the Holy Spirit to give you the strength, the courage, and the guidance. Now, what did Jesus mean when He said, whoever finds his life will lose it? Well, here's what He meant. When your focus is on yourself and finding happiness in the things of this world, you will discover exactly what Solomon discovered, that you will never find real lasting happiness in the things of this world.

Do you know why? Because they were never intended to give us the kind of happiness and peace that we have and give us the kind of happiness and peace and contentment that God wants us to have. Solomon, who was the richest man who ever lived and who denied himself nothing, writes this in Ecclesiastes. He said, I denied myself nothing my eyes desired. I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I tore to achieve, everything was meaningless.

A chasing after the wind. Nothing was gained under the sun. This is why so many very rich people are miserable. They spend their lives going from one island of relief to another, and they never find what they're searching for, which is peace and joy and contentment. You see, these can only be found in God and in serving Him.

That is the way He wired us. Life is found in dying. Blessing comes from giving. So if you try to find life by spending your time, your energy, and your resources in the pursuit of pleasure, you will lose your life. You'll never find what you're seeking, and you'll never find what your soul really needs and longs for. This is why Jesus said, whoever loses his life will find it.

Now think carefully about this. What does it really mean to lose your life? I believe to lose your life simply means to die to self. You surrender your ambitions and self-centered desires to God. When you've died to self, you have lost your life.

It's like you don't exist. If you don't exist, you're no longer preoccupied with yourself. You're no longer the focus of your life. Jesus and others become the focus of your life. And as you turn, listen, as you turn the focus of your life off of yourself and on to Jesus and others, you will experience joy like you've never experienced. This explains why Jesus said, my food, what He meant by that, my nourishment, my source of peace and contentment is doing the will of my Father.

Doing God's will satisfies our souls. Several years ago, my sons attended a Christian camp by the name of Canna-Cuck out in Branson, Missouri, and they talked to my sons, the I'm third principle. It goes like this, Jesus first, other second, I'm what?

Third. And one of my sons came back, he thought it meant I'm first, second, and third. So I had to reorient him. No one exemplified the I'm third principle more than Jesus. When Jesus left heaven and became a man, He left a place where He was glorified, came to a place where He was vilified. He left a place where He was served and came to a place where He served. He left a place of great comfort and came to a place of great pain.

He lived a simple life serving the needs of others. In John chapter 13, when they were having their last meal together, which we'll have in a few minutes, Jesus, knowing that He was going to return to His Father, He got up from the meal, He took off His outer clothing and wrapped a towel around His waist. And after that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

Now think about this. This is the Creator of the universe who's kneeling before these lowly fishermen and washing their feet. And then He said to them, I've set an example that you should do as I've done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Do you want to experience God's blessings? I think about, gosh, I can't think of her name. This, what's her name?

Let's see, what is her name? Abigail, who serves over in Uganda. And I met her, David and Abigail Kakito.

There you go. David and Abigail, I wasn't planning this. David and Abigail Kakito. I met them at Providence Baptist Church a few years ago, and I gotta be honest with you, that I went there and I told Crecy when I walked over there, I said, listen, I'm not giving any more money to any more missionaries.

We got more missions than we can support right now. So when I went to this missions conference at Providence, and she was the featured speaker, when she stood up, she had me. The moment I heard her speak, I was captivated by her heart and what she's doing over there. She went over there like at age 20 and never came back. I mean, she came back, but she didn't really come back. Her heart was there. That was, that became her home. And she married a Ugandan, David Kakito, and they've pulled about 30 young African boys off the streets who were into drugs and stealing, and they brought them in brought them in, and they're feeding them, giving them clothes and housing, educating them, and tell them about who? Jesus. I think one of those young guys now has graduated. He's going to be an engineer.

Another one's going to medical school. Have you never seen such joy in a person like Abigail, the joy of the Lord? I love Jim Elliott's prayer. We should all try to pray it every day and really mean it. God, I pray thee, light these idle sticks of my life, and may I burn for thee. Consume my life, my God, it is yours.

What do you think Jim meant when he prayed this? You know, if you think about it, sticks aren't very attractive. They're not very strong, and they don't last very long. And if you burn them up, they just turn to ashes. They're consumed, and there's nothing left. It's like they're wasted.

According to Webster, when something is consumed, it is used up or wasted. And that's how the world will view our lives when we follow Jesus, is if we're wasting our lives. I'll never forget one of my friends who came up to me when I decided to leave my former career and go to seminary and get in ministry. He said, Russ, I think you might want to rethink that decision.

He told me exactly what he thought of my decision. It looked like, it looks like that we're wasting our lives, but that's not how God sees it. In John chapter 12, Jesus said, the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.

But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Who but serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be.

My Father will honor the one who serves me. On January the 8th, 1956, Jim Elliott, Nate Saint, Roger Uderian, Pete Fleming, and Ed McCully gave their lives as they tried to share the gospel with the Alcas. On that day, they were brutally speared to death. Headlines around the world spread the news of this tragedy.

And by the way, it took place, I looked it up this morning, it was on a Sunday. And so, that's how they worshiped God that day. They gave their lives to them, literally. And so, the headlines around the world talked about this great tragedy, these five talented young men who wasted their lives.

Was it really a tragedy? You see, to God, it was the pouring out of five lives for Him. They literally consumed their lives doing the very will of God. And their deaths have produced countless thousands upon thousands of new lives in the many men and women who've turned to Christ because of their testimony, a testimony that lives on today. I read that when the news of their deaths went around the world, thousands of young Christians signed up for the mission field. Jesus is so right. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.

But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Do you want to have a productive life for God? Then you must be willing to die.

Are you willing? Are you willing to pray, God, light these idle sticks of my life, and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is done. I seek not a long life, O Lord, but a full one like You.

Amen. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-02 04:02:58 / 2023-08-02 04:13:34 / 11

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