“Why Am I Here?”
Hello and welcome to “Key to the Kingdom”. My name is Bret McCasland. Have you ever found yourself in a place you really did not belong? You felt uncomfortable and somewhat lost. You were surrounded by people you did not know, and looked for a quick way out. Or, maybe you found yourself in a situation that was not good and presented some problems and you ask yourself the question, why am I here? Well, that question is asked in a variety of situations, and we search for the answer. Maybe we ask that question most often, however, when we think about our purpose on the Earth. We wonder why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing. We wonder what we are to accomplish or to contribute to this world. Today on "Key to the Kingdom", we will explore from the Bible some answers to that question. We will look at 3 things the Bible identifies regarding our purpose on Earth, and that answers the question, why am I here? I hope you will join us for this study as we now open our hearts and our Bibles, together.
On the last episode of "Key to the Kingdom", we sought to ask and answer the 1st of a two-part question, and that was, who am I? And we learned from the Bible last time, we are somebody very special who is loved by God very much, we are also called by God to be a part of His family, and to share in that rich inheritance, and we are also redeemed and set free by the blood that Jesus Christ shed upon the cross of Calvary. That is who we are. That is our identity in the sight of God. Now the 2nd part of that question is, why am I here? Have you ever thought about an answer you might give to that question? Why are you here? What is your purpose and your direction for life? Oh, some people might say, well I am here to be a good husband or a good wife to my spouse. I am here to be a good parent to my child. I am here to serve my fellow man or to love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself. Other people might say, well I am here to make as much money as possible. I am here to live in the nicest house my money can afford. I am here to enjoy good success and to live out my retirement in ease and comfort. Oh, there are many answers people give to the question, why am I here? In fact, 3000 people were once asked the question, what do you live for? In other words, why are you here? And the response was, 94% of them were simply enduring the present while waiting for the future. Yes, for many people there is no real purpose or direction in life. For many years the comic strip “Peanuts” has enlightened and brought smiles to people's faces. In one particular episode of “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown and Lucy are standing on the deck of a cruise ship, and Lucy says, “Life is like a deck chair,” (out here on this cruise ship). Some place their chair so they can see where they have been, others place their deck chair so they can see where they are going, while still others place their chairs so they can see where they are at that moment. After hearing all of that, Charlie Brown responds by saying, “I cannot even get my chair unfolded.” I suppose that is the way it is with many people in the world today. They cannot get their life unfolded, and figure out their purpose or their direction for their life. As we think about answers from the Bible to the question, why am I here, I want us to focus on 3 specific things that we read from God's Word, and hopefully these will help us understand more clearly our purpose in life. Number 1, we are here to bring praise and honor to God. 3 times, in Ephesians 1, in verses 6, and 12, and 14, Paul reminds us that Christians are to live to the praise, and the glory, and the honor of God. Above all else, and above all others, we are to praise God, as He deserves; and as He demands be the 1st priority in our lives. Oh, contrary to popular belief, and contrary to the actions of many people around us, we are not to bring honor to ourselves. How many times do we see people say, “Hey, look at me. Look at what I am doing. Look at the things I am accomplishing, and who I am.”? And they seek the praise and the admiration, the recognition of other people. But that goes against the teaching of Jesus. On several occasions He stated, the 1st will be last and the last will be 1st. Oh, humility is to characterize our lives as we divert attention and praise for ourselves to God, understanding that He is worthy and deserving of it. Sometimes, however, we might be tempted to say, I deserve a little attention or recognition for what I am doing. And we seek the praise of other people. We seek those accolades and that kind of recognition. Yet when that happens, it takes praise away from the God who actually deserves it. I want to share something that might be hard for us to handle, but let us understand that none of us deserve anything that comes our way. We don't deserve it. We don't even deserve the very breath that we breathe right now, because God is the one who made us. He is the one who places us upon this Earth, and sustains our life each and every day. And so, we can't take credit for ourselves. We cannot say, “Hey, look at who I am. Look at what I am doing.” But rather, it is God who deserves our praise and our honor, because of what He is doing for us. The words of Hebrews 13:15 are true. -Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise; the fruit of our lips that confess His name.- Oh, honoring and praising God is to be an ongoing part of our every day lives. And in the midst of our busyness, we are to make room for God. Why is that? It's simply because God is in the business of making room for us each and every day. Every day He takes care of us. He watches over our lives. He hears and He answers our prayers. He provides for and takes care of our needs. Yes, God is as busy taking care of us as we are busy pursuing the interests and the desires of this world. And so, we pause to remember who God is. We reflect upon what He has done for us throughout our lives and we give Him all the praise, and the glory, and the honor that belongs to His holy name. In Ephesians 5:20, the apostle Paul writes, -Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.- When we realize God is the source of every good thing, it is then we will live with thankful hearts and praise on our lips; acknowledging God for His goodness in our life, expressing our gratitude and appreciation for all the wonderful things He does for us. In Psalm 119:8, we read, -Accept my free will offering of praise, O Lord, and teach me your ways.- Yes, as God finds ways to bless our lives we are to be creative in finding ways where we can give Him all the praise and all the glory that is due His name. When we ask our self the question, why am I here upon the Earth, the 1st answer we can give is, we are here to live for the praise and the glory of God. The 2nd answer we can give to the question, why am I here, is simply, I am here to live a holy life. In Leviticus 11:44 we find these words of God. –I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.- Whether it is in the Old Testament or the New Testament, God has always longed for His people to live with holiness; understanding that God is holy and He cannot associate with anything that is not. If He has association with something unholy then it makes Him unholy, and that will never be the case. And so, God sets the standard for how we live in this world. If we want to live in close fellowship with Him then we will live in holiness. Notice these words, from Colossians 3 beginning with verse 12, as Paul tells us what that holiness looks like. -As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, humility, kindness, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.- As we look at that passage of Scripture, Paul addresses those people who are chosen by God, understanding they are holy. And then, he lists some characteristics of what it looks like to live out a holy life. He mentions several things; like compassion, and kindness, and humility, but number 1 above everything else is to live with love. Oh, other passages in the Bible tell us something similar; that holiness is characterized by the way we live and it is also characterized by the impact we have upon other people. Paul writes this in Philippians 4:8, - Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.- Let me ask you a question, today. What do you think about? What do you allow to enter into your mind on a daily basis? What do you dwell upon throughout the day? Well, hopefully it is what Paul describes as that which is right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; understanding that those things will transform our life and they will dictate the way we live in this world. Oh, these are just a few of the things that describe for us what a holy life looks like, and how God calls us to live here in this world. He begins with what we allow to enter into our minds and infiltrate our hearts and then that becomes what transforms our life in this world, and when we think about that which is good, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, then it will affect, for good, our every day life. Here is another statement from the apostle Paul. We might even call this a summary statement, as he writes in Colossians 3:17 these words. - Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.- Oh, that says it well, doesn't it? Whatever you do, in word or in deed, whatever you say, whatever you do, do it all in order to bring honor, and praise, and glory to God. In other words, live those holy lives so that God will be pleased with you. Yes, what we say and what we do is to be said and done out of respect for the Lord, who saves us and who calls us to be like Him, and that develops our character. It shapes who we are and it transforms our life. Finally, there is one more passage of Scripture. It is found in Galatians 5 beginning with verse 22, a familiar passage for many. –“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”- That is what we call the Fruit of the Spirit. Those 9 qualities, those 9 characteristics are to be a part of our makeup. They are to be a part of our life, and as they are, and as we grow and develop in those things, then it will produce that holiness. Oh, once again these are just a few things that will help change a person's heart and transform a person's life, and identify us as one who is living a holy life in the sight of God. And so secondly, we can say today, in answer to the question, why am I here, I am here to live a life of holiness. But then there is a 3rd answer to that question. We are here to live so that we can be an example to others, so we can show to other people what God has done for us. Listen to these words, from Jesus Himself, in Luke 6 beginning with verse 35. - Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”- Then Jesus goers on to ad, -“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given unto you.- When we think about those things, we understand that is the way Jesus lived. That is the way Jesus treated people throughout His Earthly ministry. He forgave, and He blessed, and He did that which is good. He led with compassion and kindness, and in fact, He displayed the very heart of God by the way He lived upon this Earth. And now He asks us to do the very same thing. In Matthew 25, beginning with verse 31, we find that parable, or that story, about the judgment scene, there before God, as He gathers the nations of people upon the Earth and He separates the righteous from the unrighteous: the righteous on the right-hand, the unrighteous on the left; the separation of the sheep and the goats. And we remember that parable, don't we? He says, for those of you who fed the hungry, and gave something to drink to the thirsty, and clothed the naked, and visited the sick, you will inherit My eternal home. But for those of you who did not, you will be cast aside. The response is, when did we see you in all of those situations, and the Lord will say, when you did it to the least of these, My brethren. Well the message is not, we do those things to receive that eternal inheritance. As we've already stated, there is no way for any of us to earn our salvation. There is no amount of good deeds we could possibly do to say, “I deserve to live with you eternally, God.” But rather, because of the salvation we already have, through Jesus Christ; being set free from sin, redeemed and a part of God's family. It is then that we go out, and we minister to, and we serve those people around us. It is then that we feed, and clothe, and visit those who are overlooked and neglected by this world. Yes, Jesus wants His followers, His disciples, to show love, and forgiveness, and mercy, and kindness; the very same things that we ourselves have received from Him. He calls upon us to demonstrate justice, to demonstrate righteousness among those people who perhaps have never received it, and they will never received those things unless they receive it from people like you and me, who have received those things from God Himself. In other words, we are to live in a way that shows other people the difference Jesus has made in our own lives; understanding that all of the rich blessings and benefits we enjoy in the Lord are never meant to be terminal with us. I don't know for sure how that 1st began. How we believe everything God does for us is going to remain with us, and certainly that is not good, is it? For God gives us these blessings, and He takes care of us, and He loves us in so many ways, we are to take those things and share them with those who do not have them. In Micah chapter 6, beginning with verse 6, the Old Testament prophet writes, -With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? And what does the Lord require of you?- And Micah answers those questions by stating, -To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.- Things like justice, and mercy, and humility are those things which characterize the people who are redeemed by God. This is what God requires of those who walk with Him. This is the life God calls us to live in response to the love we have received from Him. Oh, when I read passages like Micah chapter 6, which clearly identify what God asks of me, then I like to sit up and take notice. It really does not matter what I believe to be important. What matters is what God asks of me and what He wants me to do in order to represent Him to other people in this world. Oh, I love the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:16. - Let your light shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.- I hope we can say that people are seeing our good deeds and they are receiving from us the love God has for them. Yes, we do good deeds and we bless the lives of other people, not to draw attention to ourselves, not to say that we can earn or deserve eternal salvation, but we do those good deeds to show what God has done for us and what God can do for them, so they too will live in praise and honor of the Lord. And so number 3, as we think about our purpose upon the Earth, as we think about the answer to the question why am I here? We know that we are here to show to other people what God has done for them. When we think about why we are here, when we think about our purpose and our direction here upon this Earth, we keep in mind how God wants us to live. We keep in mind who we are in the sight of God, as well. We know that we are loved by God, more than we will ever know. We are called to be a part of His family. We are redeemed and set free from sin by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And that allows us the opportunity to live in a way that honors God, that brings glory to His name. We live in a way that describes holiness to this world, because we are following and worshiping a holy God. And then, we live in a way that lets other people know what God has done for us, and has done for them as well. Here is a short video clip which illustrates our lesson today.
It seems today that many people struggle with finding their purpose in life. Does that describe you? I read about a woman, recently, who moved away from her home, her friends, and her family in the Midwest to an island in the South Pacific, and there she began to sell chocolate covered pineapples. Someone asked her, why are you doing that? Why are you moving away from everything that is familiar to you to do something you have never done before? She responded by saying, “I had to find myself.” Well, many people have to do that it seems. They go to a great deal of cost, and expense, and effort in order to find themselves and their direction, or their purpose, in life. But if we go to the Bible we find, in Ephesians 1, Paul tells us what our purpose in life really is; that as Christians we are to live to the praise and glory of God. And he tells us that not once or twice but 3 times, in verse 6, in verse 12, and also in verse 14; that whatever we do in life we are to bring praise and glory to the name of God. It is so easy for us to pursue those things that we believe bring joy and happiness into our lives, to pursue our own interests, and wants, and wishes, and desires, and yet often times that joy and happiness is only short-lived. But when we begin to pursue that which brings praise and glory to God, it is then that we can experience true happiness, and true significance and meaning in this world. The next time you wonder about what is your purpose in this world, I would encourage you to think about living a life that brings praise and glory to the name of God, and as you do that then you will be accomplishing your purpose in this life.
2 of the greatest and most important questions any of us will ever ask are, who am I and why am I here? And how we answer those 2 questions will dictate the way we live upon this Earth. My encouragement and my prayer, for each and every one of us today, is that we will remember who we are. We are somebody special, loved by God, redeemed by His Son Jesus Christ. And now we can take that into the world and let the world know that we belong to the Lord. We’re living to His praise and glory. And now other people can also be a part of God's family, redeemed and set free from sin. I hope today that you will always confidently be able to answer the questions, who am I and why am I here?
Thank you for joining us for today's lesson. I hope it was an encouragement to you. When we pause to consider why we are here, let us never forget the answer revolves around God. He is the reason for our existence and we are called to honor Him with our lives. If this lesson prompted you to ask more questions about your purpose on Earth, or even in your relationship with the Lord, perhaps we can help. Our website offers a variety of resources designed to assist you in your walk with the Lord. All of them are free from any charge or obligation. I hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about God and His purpose for your life. Thank you so much for being a part of today's program and please join us again next time as we continue to study the Bible on “Key to the Kingdom”.