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Living Your Life on Purpose - Part 2

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
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January 7, 2021 12:24 pm

Living Your Life on Purpose - Part 2

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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January 7, 2021 12:24 pm

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Please make your donation today at It's natural to have questions about life, questions that evolve and grow as you do, except for the one fundamental question that never changes. Why am I here? Today on Turning Point, Dr David Jeremiah shares more of the Bible's answer as he profiles two figures who found their God-given purpose and lived it well. Here's David to introduce the conclusion of his message, Living Your Life on Purpose. Well folks, it's Friday, and I'd like to say that it's Friday, but Sunday's coming, and most of us who are back in church now, we just can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to get together with God's people every week.

We've struggled with this like everyone else, but we're back in church, and we're totally blessed to be back in church, and I hope you have that opportunity, if not now, very soon. Today we're going to finish up what we started yesterday, Living Your Life on Purpose, as we examine the lives of some Bible characters who did just that, including the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived his life totally on purpose. When you find that sweet spot, that sweet spot of living your life on purpose, it changes everything. When you know you have a reason for living, that God has put you on this earth and has given you a particular assignment, it lights everything up. And I hope you'll stay with us as we sort that out today. This is a series we've called The Life God Blesses, and we're going through some messages that are meant to help us get our bearings and build a strong foundation for 2021. We're so happy that you joined us for this edition of Turning Point as we close out the week together.

Let's finish up our discussion of Living Your Life on Purpose. The story of Daniel actually is the story of three of his friends and himself who were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, who was the king of Babylon. So he brought Daniel and his three friends into his palace, and he began to train them. He taught them the Babylonian culture.

He changed all of their names from Jewish names to Babylonian names. And Daniel, who was a wonderful, godly, Jewish young man, was thrust into the midst of this pressure cooker where they were trying to squeeze all of his godliness out of him and turn him into simply an outward Jew with an inward Babylonian heart. And Daniel's first test came when he was brought into the king's own palace and offered food from the king's table.

Now, you're remembering the story? He decided that he would not eat the king's meat or drink the king's wine. He made up his mind.

He laid it up in his heart is what the text means. He refused, and all the might of Babylon and all the policy of Nebuchadnezzar and all the worldly wisdom said he should comply with this powerful king. But Daniel purposed in his heart. He began to live his life from that moment on at least on purpose. He was young, but he purposed in his heart.

So don't let anyone tell you young people that you're too young for this message. He was in the minority, all of the rest apparently complied, but he purposed in his heart. He was away from home, away from all of the underpinnings of his culture, yet he purposed in his heart. If he disobeyed, he knew he could be killed, but he purposed in his heart. The eating and the drinking of the king's wine and food would have been a capitulation on the part of Daniel to the lifestyle of the world.

And it would have been in direct disobedience to God and his word. So Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not and he did not. And I need to tell you, because you don't have time to go with me through the rest of the book of Daniel, that that moment in that young man's life, who perhaps was somewhere between 14 and 18 years of age, that moment in his life set him up for all the rest of his life. Read the book of Daniel and you will see that because of his commitment to God and putting God first in everything, he rose to the top of at least three different administrations and he was a man who came to be known as Daniel the dearly beloved. He played a huge role in God's plan for his people and it all began in his heart when he decided to live on purpose. He made up his mind what to do and he sets himself apart from so many others.

I was reading in the Old Testament and I read about a king by the name of Rehoboam. And it kind of struck me because it says in 2 Chronicles 12, 14 that he did evil. Now watch this, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. There is a point in time in all of our lives as Christians where we have to step back and decide the Christian life isn't going to just come to me.

It's not just going to float over me like the atmosphere. If I am going to be honoring to God and make a difference in my world, in my family, in my church, in my culture, I have got to make purpose the center of my thinking. What have I decided to do?

What purpose is in my heart? Daniel shows us the power of purpose. I wish I could tell you the rest of the story because it is a glorious story.

But I need to hasten on to the next person. And this person from the Old Testament is a man by the name of Ezra, sometimes referred to as Ezra the scribe. Now Ezra is usually given credit for writing the book which bears his name, the book of Ezra, for giving details concerning the book of Nehemiah and perhaps even the Chronicles of the Old Testament.

Some of them are attributed to him. Whatever we know about Ezra, he was a great man, a man greatly used of God and he illustrates the preparation of purpose. You see, God had used Ezra the scribe to bring reform to his people who had returned from captivity to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. Using the written word of God, Ezra led the people in a revival.

What had happened was while they had been away for 70 years, they had forgotten many of their traditions and many of their commitments. They came back to rebuild the walls and rebuild the temple. And while there was some excitement at the beginning, it wasn't long before the Jewish people began to descend to the depths of living, much of which they had learned in the Babylonian culture but much of which was just their own decadent lives. And while God sent Nehemiah back to build up the walls of the city, he primarily sent Ezra back to teach the people from the word of God so that they could be renewed and they could begin again to worship Jehovah God as they had been called upon to worship him in the beginning. And Ezra came back. And the Bible tells us that he instituted reforms and he began to lead revivals. And after the completion of the wall, Ezra and Nehemiah gathered the people together. And if you want to read a great chapter in the Bible sometime, read Nehemiah, for there you will see what happens when God's word is given freedom to have an impact on the life of a culture. For seven days, now watch this, from early in the morning until noon, everybody came together and they listened to the word of God as Ezra stood on a platform and he read the word of God and he told them what the word of God meant. Now, this wasn't your normal morning service.

It started at daybreak, probably around six, and it lasted until noon and they stood up for the whole service. And the only attraction for that gathering was God's holy word and a man by the name of Ezra who knew the word of God and could interpret it and explain it to the people. And you say, how in the world did he get into such a position of leadership and strength and influence so that he literally turned the course of a nation through the teaching and preaching of the word of God?

Well, I want to give you the key. It's in Ezra chapter 7 and verse 10, and this is what it says, for Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Look at the front of the verse. Once again, he prepared his heart.

Say it out loud. He prepared his heart. You don't really do anything for God that's going to make a difference unless there is an on-time, intentional, purposeful decision that this is going to happen. I don't know anybody that just floats into greatness, do you?

I don't know anybody that just sort of goes with the flow and makes a difference in their culture. Somewhere along the way, you have to drive a stake in the ground and say, this is what I'm committed to. And for Ezra, it was the commitment to prepare his heart to seek the law. It would be like a young man today coming forward in a service and saying, I believe that God has called me to the ministry and I am going to go to seminary and learn to teach the word of God so that I can make a difference in the generation to come.

That's what Ezra did. He began to live his life on purpose so that everything about him had to do with his focus on the word of God and what a dramatic change took place because of his influence. So we have Ezra in the Old Testament and we have the opportunity to see what God did in his life and we have Daniel in the Old Testament, just two illustrations of people who lived their lives on purpose.

Now let's come to the New Testament because some of you say, well, give me something more recent. And I want to share with you, first of all, the life of Paul, who under any gaze has been listed as perhaps the most influential man who lived upon the face of this earth apart from Jesus Christ. To him, we owe 13 of the epistles of the New Testament according to most people, if you include Hebrews. To him, we owe the foundation principles of the church.

To him, we owe the missionary strategy of outreach. To him, we owe the power of a testimony from a transformed life and you can go on and on. Paul was and is even to this day considered one of the greatest men who ever lived. But as we turn in our Bibles to Philippians chapter 3, we learn his secret according to verse 11 of the third chapter. Paul's passion and his goal in life was to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. And in order to do that, Paul made a decision in his life. He decided to live on purpose. And listen to this statement, which is one of my favorite passages in the New Testament.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, say that out loud. One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul had as his all-consuming goal to know Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering. But he didn't just have a high moment in his thought process. The Bible says he made a decision. He made a decision to make that the very core of his existence. He didn't say, these many things I dabble in. He said, this one thing I do. And he focused himself on that decision and determined to live his life on purpose.

And you know what the result of it was? At the end of his life, and we have the record of this in 2 Timothy, which was his swan song, the last letter that he wrote. In the swan song that Paul wrote in 2 Timothy, he writes these words, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure or my death is at hand. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only, but also to all who love his appearing.

Paul got to the end of his life because of the purpose he had made at the beginning of his life. And he said, looking back on my life, I can say I've finished my course. I did what I was supposed to do. I fought the fight. And I'm excited about the future because there's a crown waiting for me.

You say, can anybody live like that? I mean, maybe if you thought about that in your own life right now, and you thought, boy, this is my day of departure, what would your thoughts be? For many of us, I'm sure it would be all the things that we wish we had done that we didn't get done. All the things we wanted to do for God or we were going to do for God someday, but we never quite got to it. But Paul put his anchor down deep, drove the stake in the ground, and he said, this is my goal to know him. And I look back on my life now, and I can say I've finished the course.

I'm ready to go. I'm ready to meet God. Perhaps you've seen the slogan that says, God put me on this earth to accomplish a specific purpose. Right now, I'm so far behind that I will never die. Have you ever seen that little phrase?

That's funny, I'm sure, but it misses the point, doesn't it? It is possible to live on earth in such a way that you do accomplish God's purpose for you in this earth. It's called living on purpose. Not living as it comes to you, not letting life just dictate where you go, but making a decision that for whatever amount of years you have left, be it many or few, this is where I'm going, and this is what I'm going to do by the grace of God, because this is what God has put in my heart. I could almost tell you right now if I passed out a three by five card, and I said to all of you, write down your first thing when I say this.

What do you think God wants you to do with your life? Most of you would come pretty close to getting it right on target. It's not that we don't know. I'm convinced it is not that we don't know how God has gifted us and equipped us and helped us to get ready.

It's not that at all. It's that we just never get around to it. We let the pressures of life and the years that come to us push us in a direction so that we can't get to it, and we never will unless we do it on purpose. Let me give you one last illustration, and you might think this is almost unfair because it's the person of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. We often say we shouldn't use Christ in his example because he was the God-man. I mean, how do I compare to this?

I mean, how do I deal with this? What arena can I find a way to be in with him? But he came to live among us, to be one of us, and he came to show us through his power how we could live a life that is meaningful and purposeful. And Jesus knew why he was here.

Did you know that? He never ever doubted the reason why he came to this earth. In fact, when Jesus was just 12 years of age, you remember he went to the temple with his parents, and he, well, he didn't get lost, but they forgot him, which is something that happens on occasion if you go to church as much as we do. You forget your children and leave them there. I've come home a couple of times and counted noses at the table, and there weren't enough noses for the chairs, and we had to go back and get somebody.

We forgot. Well, Jesus' parents left Jesus at the temple, and they went back, and you can tell from the text that they were a little bit upset with him. I mean, how do you get upset with Jesus? But they were upset with him, and they were going to scold him, and they began to chide him for his absence. And in Luke 2, 49, Jesus, 12 years old now, listen to me, 12 years old, Jesus said, Why did you seek me?

Did you not know that I must be about my father's business? Did Jesus know where he was going and what he was doing? On one occasion, many years later, his disciples told him that he needed to eat to replenish his strength. And Jesus said, John 4, 34, My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Just before he healed a blind man in John chapter 9, Jesus said, I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day.

The night is coming when no man can work. Almost every place you turn in the life of Jesus, you get the sense that here was a man driven by divine purpose. It was everything to him. It was his food, it was his water, it was his air, it was his sunlight, it was the rain, it was life itself. And all the pressures and all the anxieties and all the hostilities that surrounded him never got in his way.

Why not? Because he had his mind fixed on doing God's purpose in his life. He was a man who was fueled by divine purpose. It rang in his voice. It throbbed in his veins.

It shaped his every waking hour. And what was that purpose? Listen to these verses. Mark 10, 45, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. Luke 19, 10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 10, 10b, I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. If you ever asked Jesus on any day he was on this earth, Lord Jesus, why are you here? He would not have flinched. He would have said, I came to die. That was his purpose. He was born to die that he might fulfill the will of his father and provide redemption for all of us. Aren't you glad Jesus never wavered from his purpose?

Aren't you glad? He set his face like a flint to go to the cross. He never lost his way and he lived his life on purpose. And you know what the Lord Jesus said when he got to the end of his earthly existence?

No, he didn't end his existence but his life on the earth. In John 17 and verse 4 in the great high priestly prayer, Jesus said, I have finished the work which you have given me to do. I want us to read that out loud. I have finished the work which you have given me to do. Did you know that just as God the Father gave Jesus a certain work to do, he's given every one of us a certain work to do.

Did you know that? I believe that with all of my heart. We are not just wandering around here trying to bump into something good to do. We are here by the design of almighty God. He's equipped us, each one. He's given us gifts. He's given us abilities. He's given us opportunities. He's put us in families and in neighborhoods and in positions in the workforce. And he's putting us in the military and he's given us all specific tasks to do. But we will never know the joy of doing them unless we seek what they are and begin to do them on purpose.

We don't just do them because we're in the mood. There were many times for Ezra and Daniel and Paul and even for Jesus when having set their purpose, there would have been opportunity to go off course. I don't believe Jesus could ever have gone off course because he was the sinless Son of God. But certainly, the opportunities would have been put in his way. You remember when Satan took him out into the desert and tried to get him to abort the kingdom's work, to bow down before him. And Satan said, I'll give you everything.

And the Lord refuted him from the Scripture. A sense of purpose sets you in a direction. No, it doesn't mean you won't have any detours, but you always know the road to get back on.

It doesn't mean that you won't ever get lost on occasion, but when you get found, you'll know where you are. But without understanding that God has a purpose for our lives, we will struggle and we will always be doing this meandering through life. Wondering, what is it all about? And we will be the first in line to say my most important question to God is why am I here? Why am I here? I am convinced, men and women, that God has a purpose for us.

Even though we will never be called upon to become the Savior of the world, it is still true that there is a divine purpose that must direct our lives. Our frustration and loss of inner directedness often comes when we lose sight of our goal. When we forget the purpose for which we are here. We grow weary when we get caught up in the side issues. When we chase rabbits.

When we pursue tangents instead of keeping our minds fixed upon the goal. We need purpose. Amen, we surely do.

And you know, the early part of the year, the beginning of the year, the first few days, this is a good time to reflect on that. Let's determine that by the grace of God, we're not going to get lost, as I said earlier, in the cul-de-sacs on the detours. But we're going to keep our mind focused on what God has called us to do and do it with all our hearts. Well friends, as we come to the end of the week, I'd like to take a moment and just tell you how important it is that you get to church.

That used to be a given. It's not that anymore because some people can't go to church. Their church isn't open or available to them.

I'm not here to pass any judgment on that. I'm just here to say that if there is a church where you can go, you should go. If not, do the best you can to approximate it, which usually means something on the internet from your pastor.

And then be sure and watch us on television this weekend. I say that now without any fear of your being conflicted over going to church or watching the television program because it's all available to record. If our program is on during your church service, whatever you do, go to church and record the program, watch it when you get home. But weekly television is another way that we're teaching and preaching the Word of God across the country.

Now more than two million people a week watch this program. You may be one of them, and if not, we'd like to encourage you to join us this coming week as we open up the Bible on Turning Point Television. Be sure to go to church, be sure to watch us on television, and then most of all, be sure to join us next Monday right here on This Good Station as we continue learning about the life.

God bless us. Our message today originated from Shadow Mountain Community Church and Dr David Jeremiah, the Senior Pastor. Would you like to tell us how Turning Point ministers to you?

Please write to us, Turning Point, Post Office Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163. Or visit our website at forward slash radio. Ask for your copy of Jack Countryman's new book, God's Blessings Just for You. It features 100 inspirational readings and reflections, and it's yours for a gift of any amount. And if you still haven't requested David's new daily devotional for 2021, Strength for Today, there are still copies available. It's a great way to get a dose of biblical truth every day. Ask for your copy when you visit forward slash radio. I'm Gary Hoopfleet. Join us Monday as we continue the series, The Life God Blesses. That's here on Turning Point with Dr David Jeremiah.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-07 04:52:13 / 2024-01-07 05:02:13 / 10

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